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Letters to the Editor: 5-29-2014

THE POWER OF SEXISM

The emergence of sexuality in the teen and early adult years is confusing for all of us. For women, the situation is complicated by their position on the victim end of sexism. Many young women, myself included, enter this period with a belief that men and women are equal, and that their wishes regarding their own bodies will be generally respected by others. It is a shock to find out that this is not true.

In my late teens, I slept over at the house of a very close friend. In my innocence, I thought nothing of sleeping with friends — friends often have sleepovers. This friend was male, and I believed that my explicitly stated wish to remain platonic would be respected. After all, four years of friendship builds trust.

I awoke in the middle of a sexual act to which I had not consented. When I told my friends I was raped, they said that couldn’t be true because he was a friend and I was sleeping at his house. I must have “asked for it.”

Our society repeatedly confuses innocence with agency in the case of rape victims. Men confuse refusal with flirting. All young men need to be taught to ask explicitly for what they want in a sexual encounter, and wait for an obvious verbal or physical “yes.” They have a responsibility to be aware of the power sexism gives them over women.

My male friend had to learn the hard way, by victimizing me. Since I spoke up, he learned to be more respectful of women’s boundaries. We remained friends.

To all victims of sexual assault everywhere: Trust yourself. Only you know what you wanted, how far you were willing to go, and where your partner/ perpetrator crossed the line into nonconsensual acts. Being unwilling or unable to prosecute your attacker does not change the accuracy of the label “rape.”

It is never your fault if you engage in “risky behaviors” because you believe the world is a safer place than it actually is. Instead of “learning our place” as women in this society (i.e., don’t get drunk at parties, don’t wear revealing clothes, don’t go into private spaces with men, etc.), we should be expecting our boys/ men to learn how to make this a safer world for everyone.

Kara Huntermoon, Eugene

 

REST HAVEN CELL-OUT

Rest Haven Memorial Park is currently courting a new occupant for the park, a 115-foot AT&T cell tower, disguised as a tree.

Last week, a sorrowing mother was waiting at the canopy of burial to bury her deceased son, not 300 feet from the proposed cell tower site, yet had not been informed about this plan in process. Is this fraud? It certainly seems to be duplicity.

The neighbors on the other side of Rest Haven and many homeowners within 300 feet of this noxious plan are being marginalized as much as possible by Rest Haven and the city planners.

Also, dear readers, do you know that we already boast approximately 100 active cell towers in Eugene, not to mention antennas, powerful broadcasting towers and other AT&T tower proposals in the works?

These towers are not harmless. EMR (electro-magnetic radiation) emissions promise us everything from sleepless nights to our own premature burial — perhaps even at Rest Haven! There are recent studies out of Yale University to confirm these dangers.

There is no planning by our city officials and there seems to be no limits set for dangerous cell tower sitings in Eugene. Communities used to agree, by law, that these dangerous and unsightly cell towers belonged on the periphery of our lives, away from homes, schools and places of human gathering. What has happened? And how can we recall this reckless abandon?

Barbara Nugent, Margie Cambell, Sat Hari Khalsa and 10 others

 

DISCONNECTED

The EW Outdoors issue May 22 is a perfect illustration of the environmental value/behavior disconnect within the Eugene community. Most of us have environmental values, but are then ironically mindless about the ways in which we find adventure. Is driving many miles to go on a walk in the woods a responsible choice considering the challenges we face with our already problematic carbon-emitting habits? I would love to see the Weekly showcase ways to get fresh air within bus/ bike/ walking accessibility. 

This sense of entitlement to do what we want, when we want to is a cultural pattern that needs to change if we truly want to have an equitable footprint as global citizens. The UO Outdoor Program and the Obsidians outdoor club are two examples of groups that car/vanpool to destinations inaccessible by city bus. 

Robin Quirke, Eugene

 

DEFECTIVE STONEWORK

Regarding the news story “Problems in Historic Stonework at Spencer Butte” May 8: There were 70 instances of defective work performed by the contractor as defined by the contract specifications. The article referred to “70 design flaws” instead.

The project cost taxpayers over $25,000. Critical structural elements that were specified such as below-grade stone foundation work, thickness of stone walls, proper “keying in” or masonry bonding of stones are non-existent or greatly lacking.

Face stones have already begun to fall out of the structure. Premature costly repairs are to be expected.

While he ignores addressing the bulk of the defective work, [contract manager Jesse] Cary-Hobbs says he let the contractor not meet some required specifications “because the contractor had encountered some difficulties with the stone.” So let me get this correct: The city hired stonemasons who couldn’t competently work the stone that the stonemasons themselves provided for the project as part of the contract.

A public works bid like this is supposed to give a level playing field to all contractors qualified to bid. We all bid on the same specifications and agree to fulfill the contract as specified. How is it fair to the qualified contractors who based their bids for this project on meeting the required clearly defined specifications only to be underbid by a contractor who then proceeds to not comply with what the contracts specifications demand?

I think the city did a really poor job of protecting the city’s interests and honoring the historical stonework of the park.

Alan Ash, Eugene

 

SUBSIDIZING DEVELOPMENT

I was so glad to see the city taking such a proactive stance in encouraging outsiders to settle in Eugene and become part of the community. Specifically the Glenwood conference center and hotel was front page center in the R-G April 13 with a “big vision.” Over the next few days it got a lot of prominent coverage including asking us, the taxpayers, for a little leg up in the form of $8.5 million. Well hey, I’m a believer in social investment: the commonweal being used for the betterment of the whole. So go for it, City Council, use my tax dollars to help them. 

The ironic juxtaposition of the front-page big vision shared the exact same page with the homeless Whovillians petitioning the sovereigns for a miniscule living space. That despicable social investment is immediately met with the “need for rugged individualism,” “give-aways to slackers” and “get a job.” I’m absolutely with the conservatives on this one. 

City Council, how about some equity here and extend the homeless $8.5 million to develop their “big vision” of living space. Let’s do it with unanimous consent on your part and get it done in three days like Springfield did. 

Mark Koenig, Eugene

 

MODERN-DAY LYNCHING

The R-G [and EW and other media] write about the scandal at the UO. The scandal is not that three men’s basketball team members engaged in consensual sex with a co-ed. Nor is the scandal about a promiscuous young woman having sex with three young men. The scandal is that the R-G, the Coalition to End Sexual Violence, the UO and the Eugene community carried out a 21st century lynching.

The young men were not charged with a crime. There was no doubt in the police report that the actions were consensual. The district attorney did not indict anyone, yet the people of the community thought they should be punished. Why? The R-G wrote that the scandal affects recruiting. Of course it does. Who would feel safe in a community that is above the law or play for a coach who throws his players under a bus?

Shame on us.

Norman Bellitt, Springfield

 

ANOTHER RESOURCE

In light of the UO’s recent struggles with sexual assault, I looked forward to reading the article “Self Defense Classes Teach Women to Fight Back” May 15. While the article was good, I was struck that no mention was made of the excellent programs led by Ryan Kelly, who is co-owner (with his wife) of Northwest Martial Arts, next to Cozmic.

Ryan taught martial arts at UO for more than 13 years — including five current classes — and has been the head women’s self-defense instructor for the last seven years. In addition, Ryan and his wife, Jenna, teach women’s self-defense workshops to many community groups and nonprofit organizations.

Although Ryan has spent over 20 years training with the world’s most respected martial arts and self-defense experts, he and Jenna are incredibly understanding of people of all abilities and experiences. Both strive to make every single individual feel valuable and respected both at NWMA and through their workshops.

Recently, Ryan and Jenna created the Assault Prevention 101 Program, which uses proven, effective techniques and strategies that are the easiest to learn and quickest to master. As well, the program helps the viewer understand what she can do to prevent these situations in the first place. And unlike joining a martial arts school where there are set class times to attend, you can watch and practice these techniques anytime and anyplace. For more information, and to download free videos, visit assaultprevention101.com.

Natalie Whitson, Eugene

 

OPPOSITION IS BIGOTRY

There certainly has been no shortage of comments since the Whole Foods name was mentioned, anywhere from “It’s a local job killer and corporate weasel” to “good for downtown businesses” and “What’s the big deal? Don’t like it, don’t shop there.”

I feel the oddest comment I’ve read was in the May 1 EW where you have the Kiva, Sundance and Market of Choice as local and in the same sentence. 

I wonder if when MoC opened stores in Ashland and Corvallis if the Ashland Food Co-op and First Alternative Co-op didn’t view the MoC entry into their city as a large out-of-towner harming their businesses and not a good fit for their cities’ character.

The Kiva is in the best place it’s ever been with the bus station and nearby student housing. Sundance customers wouldn’t be caught dead in Whole Foods. Though small, MoC is a corporation.

I feel the strong opposition to Whole Foods is simply bigotry and that the issues around the city lot and sale of alleys is best left to land use and permit criteria.

Don French, Eugene

 

BLOOD IN THE WATER

The Department of Environmental Quality just released a pre-enforcement notice that it sent to Christopher Bartels doing business as Bartels Packing for discharging blood wastes to Fern Ridge Reservoir, wastes that are hazardous to health and pose a risk of “significant environmental harm.” Bartels, our local slaughterhouse, was fined over $15,000 for similar violations last June. In fact, they have been cited and fined several times for over the last 10 years. Between 1998 and 2008 alone there were nine complaints of non-compliance and fines, largely unpaid. Since then there have been more, including these most recent charges.

 This is something to consider when choosing to eat animals, in particular locally raised animals, most of them ending their lives on the killing floor of Bartels. There are, of course, the humane considerations of the horrors animals endure during the process of slaughter, but if that isn’t incentive enough to give up eating animal flesh, then the continuing, blatant damage done to our watershed by Bartels, supported by irresponsible food choices, cannot be ignored by anyone with an environmental conscience.

Diana Huntington, Eugene

 

CYCLING FOR VETS

I read with interest the “Let’s Roll: Enjoy the Great Outdoors with Eugene’s Many Community Bike Rides” story by Sarah Hagy May 22. I’d like to share with you information about our Cycling for Veterans (CV) group that wasn’t included in that article. 

CV is a weekly after-work ride for veterans, especially disabled veterans, their friends and families held at 5:30 pm every Tuesday, May through September, starting at Maurie Jacobs Park off Fir Lane off River Road, here in Eugene. These rides are free. This is our third year. 

CV is a program of the city of Eugene Adaptive Recreation designed to improve health and wellness and to promote camaraderie between veterans, their friends and family members over the age of 18. This is less than 12 mph ride, we leave no one behind and ride as a group so we can support one another. Also, veterans needing adaptive cycles are encouraged to call Patty Prather, city of Eugene Adaptive Recreation, at 682-5311.

This year CV is also hosting monthly training rides throughout the summer as a way to prepare for the VA MOVE Trophy at the Cycle Umpqua ride Sept. 6. The next training rides are the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway Veterans Ride June 28, The Row River Trail ride July 12, the Blackberry bRamble Aug. 3, the Eugene Celebration Parade Ride Aug. 23 and the VA MOVE Trophy competition at Cycle Umpqua Sept. 6. 

These are also training rides for Team Oregon disabled veterans selected to participate in the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic (NVSSC) held in September. Patty Prather, city of Eugene Adaptive Recreation, is also the coach for the Team Oregon attending the NVSSC.

Feel free to contact me at 337-3710.

Ree McSween, Cycling for Veterans, Eugene

 

WRETCHED HIGHWAYS

I am happy to see that there will finally be improvements made to the Beltline between Coburg Road and River Road! 

From home to work I have to navigate Delta Highway, avoid vehicles coming onto Delta off Beltline then try to make my way onto the Beltline. I travel at 8:30 am and have many times barely made it onto the highway, narrowly missing logging trucks and other fast-moving vehicles. I am only on both wretched highways for 10 minutes but it is incredibly stressful. 

I’m not educated in the logistics of highway safety, but I don’t believe the lights that were installed on the on-ramps help because traffic is congested and still moving too fast to merge at times. My greatest hope during this decision-making time and development is that the speed limit will be reduced at all times. 

I ask drivers to slow down, be aware and allow traffic to get onto these highways safely! We’ve all been on those awful on-ramps and know how it feels to try to navigate without getting into an accident. And to those people who honk at me or tailgate when I slow down to allow a vehicle onto the highway: Back off!

Monika Barry, Eugene