BEAUTY IN THE CRACKS
As an alternative to more buildings downtown, how about some grass, flowers and trees? There’s a reason birds and bees and human beings naturally flock to them.
City leaders seem hell-bent on filling every downtown space with concrete, providing green for the moneyed interests but only gray for the rest of us. There’s beauty lying dormant in the cracks.
One such crack is Kesey Square. Wouldn’t a little bit of nature in the center of things be preferable to yet more metropolis? We need Beauty to tame the Beast.
Ken Kesey looked at things differently. Maybe we should too when considering what to do with this eponymous public space.
Benton Elliott, Eugene
DREAMS OF COMPASSION
I dream of a Eugene where bicycles and pedestrians outnumber cars by a significant ratio. I dream of pleasant interactions with neighbors as we ride bikes or go for walks rather than insular existences in the blocks of steel that take us from work to home and back. I dream of community involvement and living life rather than rushing home to binge-watch the latest Netflix release.
I dream of a culture that celebrates creativity and knowledge, rather than who can be the most violent football player, MMA fighter, marksman, etc. (roller derby is OK, ha ha).
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I dream of a Eugene that is full of compassion and respect for our fellow women, men and children. Eugene is ahead of many cities in this, but we still have a long way to go. Simple compassion and respect for others in our daily interactions and political decision-making could cure so many of the societal ills we see today. The best thing about compassion and respect is that it can begin at the individual level. You can do something. You do have power.
James Brains, Eugene
WIDE SPOT IN THE ROAD
After reading the Dec. 24 EW, I dream of Glenwood development that includes input from the residents of this beautiful neighborhood. As usual, Springfield, Eugene and now even the Weekly, choose to listen to developers’ ideas rather than the dreams of those of us who live here. What a shame. This is a lovely area with big trees, amazing yards and affordable housing. When that is gone, Glenwood will be nothing more than an over-developed wide spot in the road with student housing and “affordable” apartments blocking the view of the river.
Development will inevitably happen, but it should not happen to the detriment of local homeowners. So let us dream of a Glenwood that includes open spaces, a riverfront bike path and regular old houses with yards.
Kris Maenz, Eugene
SMILE ON EACH OTHER
I live at the Eugene Mission and have been there for the last three months after being released from prison. A shout-out to the Mission: I love what they are doing as a wellness center, getting people off the streets and transitioning to housing and employment.
But what I really want to talk about is this: I want to nominate January as Eugene’s official “Smile Month.” After all, simple kindness goes a long way, and smiles are free.
Richard J. Lindhardt, Eugene
The secret of Donald Trump’s popularity among the majority of Republicans can be explained by science: “Neuroscience Reveals Brain Difference Between Republicans and Democrats” (see sciencedaily.com).
Basically, conservative Republicans are controlled by their reptile brains that react out of fear. Democrat socialists have evolved beyond the reptile brain and operate out of reason and empathy.
The good news is that all the polls are showing that Bernie Sanders and his empathetic brain would beat Trump and his reptilian brain in the general election.
Humans are evolving, and there is hope for our children’s future.
Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain
POISON FROM THE AIR
Did you know the people of Oregon have been trying to end aerial spraying of herbicides by the timber corporations for more than 40 years? Why are Oregon communities still being poisoned by timber industry herbicides? The stories are many from Lane, Lincoln, Douglas, Curry, Josephine and Lincoln counties.
Make your voice heard! Help ban the aerial application of herbicides in Lane County! To find out more visit freedomfromaerialherbicides.org and find us on Facebook.
Eron King, Blachly
A WILD INCENTIVE
I have just thought of an idea to help stop global warming by reducing carbon dioxide and increasing our oxygen supply. Let’s amend our property tax codes to reduce or even eliminate the property taxes for property owners who agree to leave their property undeveloped and wild. The more green plants and trees we have, the more carbon stored and oxygen produced.
Today, often the only way you can afford to hold larger tracks of wild property is to develop it somehow to make money so you can pay your property taxes. And if you sold the property, the exemption could remain as long as it remained undeveloped. Just an idea.
Dave Peck, Florence
INDUSTRY MUST CHANGE
Schools in west Eugene are in a toxic environment. Pollutants are being produced by factories next to schools in the Bethel School District, negatively impacting the health of elementary, middle and high school students. The dangerous side effects of the pollution include the rise of asthma rates, allergies and more.
Middle schools in this district have a 20 percent asthma rate, and elementary schools have a 14 percent rate. The air quality is so poor that some schools keep their students inside all day. Having clean air to breathe should be a human right. The Our Children’s Trust lawsuit has a similar concern; young people spoke up and said that climate change was violating their constitutional rights.
Factories should create a green plan to emit fewer chemicals and enforce a cap at the level where air is safe to breathe (350 ppm). Eugene’s new Climate Change Ordinance plans to limit fossil fuels and Eugene to become carbon neutral by 2020.
Rather than focus on goals for the future, factories need to take steps now towards improvement. One way to not release toxic chemicals is to start with ecologically friendly materials, which do not destroy the environment and people’s health. These factories need to come up with solutions to keep producing without intoxicating people and the environment with harmful chemicals. If factories do nothing to change, the health of this generation is at risk.
Maya Banyacski, Eugene