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Letters to the Editor: 7-24-2014

VAMPIRE PLANNING

Regarding the proposed Seavey Loop industrial zone land grab: I can’t believe the four Tea Party commissioners and the Springfield City Council are trying to ram this atrocious proposal past the citizens of Lane County, but I guess the success of the Parvin Butte murder has convinced them that they can do anything they want, including destroying our most popular county park, a community of several thousand people and hundreds of acres of farmland.

My friend’s backyard adjoins Oxley Slough. The industrial zone would cover Oxley Slough (divert it? put it in a pipe?) and threaten the homes that border the slough, which serves as flood control in the event of Willamette River flooding. The homes are probably safe with the slough undisturbed, although part of my friend’s yard is always underwater in February, but when they take that floodwater sponge away, who knows what will happen.

Does allowing this scam to go forward constitute illegal takings of private land for no public benefit, or will they get away with it as they did with destroying Parvin Butte and the city of Lowell, or the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, or any of hundreds of thousands of other robberies conducted by the 1 percent of the 1 percent?

Can we stop Aaron Jones and his relatives and friends from destroying Lane County, or are we doomed to watch helplessly as our lives are sucked away by the vampire class?

Ann Tattersall, Eugene

 

OCF-GMO BLUES

An open letter to the Oregon Country Fair: I have attended the Fair since 1974, including participating in food booths and entertainment. I still believe it is truly one of the most magical events of its kind. The Fair has always represented a visionary dream of peaceful coexistence, green sustainability and creative expression through art and a wide variety of entertainment. I have watched the Fair grow and overcome seemingly impossible odds to continue its improbable run. 

One area the Fair vision doesn’t square with is the dream of sustainability and its blind eye to its lax food booth standards. This is a glaring weakness that the Fair needs to address over the next few years. The preponderance of genetically modified food ingredients in the majority of food booths runs contrary to the vision of true sustainability. Does green sustainability at the Fair end outside of the Community Village and Energy Park? In the case of most Fair food booths, it unfortunately does.

Why would the Fair support the use of these GMO ingredients? By allowing this practice, the Fair is, in effect, supporting chemical poison companies like Monsanto? The excuses for change are as weak as its food policy. I hear that “food costs will soar. How would it be policed? How do vendors know how to weed out GMO ingredients?” These problems can be overcome. The Fair needs to step up to the plate (literally) and make sustainable changes.

Andrew Harrison, Gold Hill

 

 

COHOUSING NOT HARMONIOUS 

Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing (OMC) has half the members that it needs, partnered with Paradigm Construction, Essex as general contractor and Will Dixon as the project manager. The city of Eugene’s permit department has listed the permits as apartments, townhouses and commercial building, not condominiums. The planned unit development (PUD) application is for condos, which must be owner occupancy. Is the permit department allowing the permit to say apartments or townhouse because Paradigm is supporting OMC financially? The city has said the scope of work will change to condos after the application has been approved. OMC’s application is in appeal to Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), which set a hearing for July 24. This is all happening just down the road from the major development on River Road behind the old Goodwill in the Greenway. 

Check out the meadow before it gets developed. Everyone has the right to hire a company to check for a water line. EWEB has proceeded to do more work than just locate a water line for OMC project without approved permits. This all seems to be more about money than land use change and being harmonious to the community. 

Please visit saveoakleighlane.blogspot.com.

 Anne Love, Eugene

 

A CARING COMMUNITY

Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing (OMC) has just about 75 percent of the homes spoken for and building plans have been submitted to the city as of June 30. The project was incorrectly titled “apartments” at that time, but it has since been taken care of and the records updated.

The LUBA decision should be rendered by mid-August. OMC is aiming to break ground and start construction this fall. Essex is our general contractor and Paradigm Properties is our partner. EWEB is helping us design the water and electrical facilities for our project.

There’s no big, bad developer from out of state trying to make a profit here. OMC members are the developers and the community will be member-managed. We care very much for the River Road area and want to strengthen and contribute to our neighborhood and its ties to the larger community and city.

Come join us. OMC is actively seeking folks to be a part of our growing community. We are a joyful, enthusiastic and caring bunch, excited to welcome others to share in the process. Top five reasons to join now: greater selection of homes; more discounts on purchase price the earlier you join; participation in the creation of community agreements and more; more time for building friendships before move-in; contribution of ideas for any final planning decisions.

Will Dixon, architect, OMC Project Manager

 

EVACUATION PLANNING

I had the pleasure of being told to evacuate the Springfield Station at 6 pm July 17 while watching a major fire a half mile away. The black toxic smoke was impressive and I can understand if that smoke came back down on downtown it could have life-threatening consequences. To err on the side of caution is good. 

The R-G reported that the sightseers were not removed till 7 pm when the road was closed, which seems a little slow. I was more impressed that as I rode the LTD to Eugene we passed a busload of people heading to Springfield. I know the city and the county have their differences but on this issue they should have tried a little harder to communicate with each other.

Vince Loving, Eugene

 

BEER SHORTAGE

Is it just me, or isn’t it about time someone opened a decent brewery in this town!

Peter Tildesley, Eugene 

 

THE NATIONAL INTEREST?

The Pacific Connector pipeline is the chosen route to bring natural gas from the shale oilfields of the mountain west to a not-yet-built natural gas compression plant at Jordan Cove on Coos Bay, just across the channel from the city of North Bend. Private pipeline developers have been granted the power of eminent domain to seize over 300 parcels of private property, which lie in the path of the 230-mile Pacific Connector route. 

Jordan Cove developers argue in their application to FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) that building the plant and the pipeline are in the national interest because unless foreign markets are found for U.S. natural gas, fracking in the Rockies will slow down or stop. 

Aside from the obvious one about exactly why it’s in our national interest for a Canadian developer to make massive profits selling U.S. gas to China, a more practical question has arisen concerning the Jordan Cove project. Developers are denying property owners along the route the ability to contact each other. Requests by property owners for the names of others along the route have been denied, because of “the threat of terrorism.”

A moment’s thought makes it clear that a 100-foot-wide scar on the landscape that extends for 230 miles across nearly the entire state of Oregon is not going to be very difficult for bad guys to locate. There must be another reason why the developers don’t want the property owners facing eminent domain claims to contact one another. Could it be the insultingly low prices ($300/acre) being offered for destructive easements and the prospect of having massive amounts of explosive gas running under their properties?

How about it, Jordan Cove? Why are you refusing to release the names of the property owners whose land you plan to seize?

Fergus Mclean, Dexter

 

WORSE THAN PRISON

We must demand that our government take good care of all children in America. They are failing to do so now! Videos of how the children escaping Latin American injustices are warehoused by the U.S. are without conscience. Of the 57,000 kids in custody, groups of hundreds of kids are sleeping together on cement floors.

We don’t allow our too many adult prisons to be run like this. This kind of custody is Nazi-like, not compassionate. It must be replaced by humane treatment.

Who the hell is our government these days? Our government is now ignoring 1.6 million American children who are homeless to live in even worse conditions of neglect. 

Monstrous!

Jerry Smith, MSW, Eugene

 

STOP UGB GROWTH

Unbelievable! I just returned from the grocery store with empty pockets. It looks like every item has doubled in price. I guess when friends say farmland with water is worth gold they really mean it and the escalating price of food and food scarcity is beginning. 

We are so fortunate to live in Oregon where we have wonderful farmers markets and the ability for our farms to flourish, but the national loss of farmland will escalate the cost everywhere. It’s time for me to start planting vegetables in my front yard. It is also time for Oregon to put a stop of any more extensions of UGB into valuable farmland. 

I can’t believe the beautiful farmland on the way to Mount Pisgah may be destroyed for another polluting industrial park!

 Ruth Duemler, Eugene

 

DICKS ON PARADE

You are what you eat: UOPD officers forced to eat their own words. Even though I agree with eight out of the 13 on the police blog published by The Register-Guard, if you bundle cyclists with fraternities, it is disconcerting that a major portion of the campus population is on the hate list. Their problem stems from presentation; if the hook line were “eat a bowl of soap” they would have avoided the whole controversy. 

Since the shift commander is now the director of professional standards he should get in touch with the English department and put a wordsmith on his staff before endeavoring on any future literary endeavors.

P.S. Avoid “cake,” lest history repeat itself.

Vince Loving, Eugene

 

DESIGNED TO KILL

In light of the recent bee kill at the Jacobs apartments, it has become evidently clear of the harms of pesticides and how effective neonicotinoids are at killing bees. It’s as if these poisons were designed to kill bees. To witness the dying bees on the ground was disturbing, but to see bees foraging in the flowers of the linden trees unknowingly poisoning themselves broke my heart. Some of the trees that had “tree maintenance” or had been poisoned were city trees. In spraying these trees they violated city, state and federal law. 

When I first heard the news of the bee kill I was worried for my bees. My bees were farther than three miles away, and I was relieved for them but concerned for the beekeepers who had bees closer to the kill site. They should not have to worry whether their bees will live or die from this pesticide exposure. From what I saw, though, I doubt many made it back to their hives at all. This stuff really kills bees.

I wonder how many other trees have they been spraying with these pesticides. Many of my fellow beekeepers’ bees died last year, and with the use of these poisons it’s no surprise. It’s legal for people to poison our landscape and kill our bees but legal doesn’t make it right. It’s time to stop your support of companies that poison our landscape and stop the use of pesticides immediately to save the bees. 

Doug Hornaday, Eugene

 

TAXING POT

Cannabis. Weed. Pot. Marijuana. Call it what you like, and think what you will of its users. It seems to me that even the most cynical or moralistic Oregonian is forced to recognize the context in which we are asked to pass Measure 53, the latest measure forwarded to voters about whether to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana sales and consumption: 1) folks smoke it in defiance of the law and will continue to do so if the measure fails, 2) this is the direction the country is heading, 3) the measure borrows largely from the framework established by the Oregon Legislature, including a stipulation that 40 percent of taxes will be put directly toward K-12 education and 4) we need the tax revenue desperately to keep those programs most essential to a decent, functioning state and society.

I do not use marijuana, but I am excited at the prospect of securing stable funding for our kids’ education to the Quality Education Model’s mandated level — simply by allowing Oregonians to do what they’re already doing: buying and selling marijuana for personal use. I am also excited about the possibility of establishing workers’ associations among trimmers, growers and cashiers to fight for fair wages and safe working conditions.

In short: We either allow marijuana users to step into the sunshine and help pay for programs that are currently starving for revenue or we remain in a state of denial that continues to starve vital state programs. 

Steve Coatsworth, Eugene

 

 

 

 

 

TOWERING TOWNHOUSES

Our neighborhood vs. Oakleigh Meadow Co-housing (OMC) development: LUBA court date is set for July 24. As we near this date, the community and neighborhood becomes more frustrated with the deceitful meadow plans along the West Bank bike path. 

It turns out that OMC disrespects the existing community and has lost neighborhood support and friendship. Its plans to build monstrous townhouses will take up vast amounts of the meadow, including adding over 150 truckloads of gravel to fill the flood plain in the greenway. The development will tower over existing residential homes and will more than double the population on our lane. Its plans do not fit the character of the existing neighborhood and increase traffic and safety issues. OMC is not the green, friendly group that it pretends to be; it is just another development going after a river view. 

 Citizens are disappointed with the city approving building permits for their tax revenues, and not caring or supporting tax-paying homeowners. The city and developers are stepping all over the mandate to protect the Willamette Greenway here in Oregon. River Road wants to be known as the “Garden District”; sadly there will not be much garden space left. 

 Check out saveoakleighlane.blogspot.com or visit us on Facebook.

Rachel Stedman, Eugene

 

BOMBS AWAY

Regarding the Eugene City Council cracking down on illegal fire works and the “God-given” freedoms of hyperpatriots who like things that go boom and bang: My thought is that those who enjoy “the rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air” have never been shot at while actually defending those freedoms. In addition to traumatizing their neighbors’ dogs, it can’t be restful to those veterans who’ve heard loud bangs for real.

I’m just sayin’.

James L. Whetstine, Eugene