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Letters to the Editor: 7-9-2015

The Pitcher’s Mound
Celebrating the life of a Civic Stadium

In the city of Eugene, in the valley of the Willamette River, on a warm summer’s eve, a ball cracks on a bat. Tension builds in the shifting legs of the catcher and in the strengthened stance of the outfielder.

But nothing explodes the valley into joy as does the swelling sound of the crowds cheering, sound moving through the air, undulating like the swarm of honeybees into a new morning.

And so in the city of “Eugene,” which means, by the way, “a good beginning,” long, warm summer nights return, once again.

The wooden grandstands overflow with people; grandparents and grandchildren, high school sweethearts, would-be Little Leaguers, moms and dads, babies in strollers; all adding to the drum of feet, the dripping ice-creams, the popcorn with too much butter, the pink cotton candy and the rainbow snowcones. Many eyes fill with sparkling delight on a summer night.

But the best is the game! The strikes, the balls, the flies, the catches, the slides, the wides and the “outs.”

The pitcher’s mound marks the beginning. A white place marked in the green: “If you build it, they will come.” They came. In 1938 during the Great Depression, Civic Stadium was funded through the New Deal and rose to its glory that same year: a remarkable symbol of renewal and hope. The pitcher on his mound steps back and then forward.

And so it is, in life, in love, in loss, we must all stand in the grandstand at some time. And we must each stand on the pitcher’s mound: stepping back in memory and then, when the ball is hot in the glove, letting it spin out, through the air, across the green field, to land a new dream.

Aurore Maren, aka Deirdre Moursund, was born in Eugene and attended South Eugene High School. 

 

 

CONIFERS ARE BETTER

I object to any logging of fir and other conifers at Buford Park. I do not agree with management planning to convert mixed conifer lands to “oak savanna.” I do not believe there is any evidence that park users prefer oak savanna and prairie to stands of traditional fir habitats. Why try to make famous “green Oregon” look like the Midwest?

There is no question that Mother Nature determined that fir and cedar are most suited to western Oregon. The Northwest was originally blanketed with magnificent, diverse old-growth conifer forests of which few remain. Man continues to log fir stands over and over again until the deep duff and watershed is diminished and drier species emerge. 

It seems land managers are reluctant to allow nature to determine its own best habitat and let evolution proceed. Left alone, Buford Park will do just fine, eventually returning to fir, cedar and associated species with marked improvement of the watershed. I believe that undisturbed for 200 or 500 years, Mount Pisgah would be as forested as Spencer Butte with its remarkable diversity of life.

Parklands enjoy year-round use. Conifers remain green all year. Oaks are barren in the winter. I note that Delta Ponds look more like the original gravel ponds in the winter due to the absence of conifers. I believe the removal of conifers on the city’s new Ridgeline Park reserve near Iris Ridge was tragic and not in the public benefit. It seems nature’s preferred Douglas fir is now almost considered an “invasive species.” 

I consider it folly to attempt to force nature to move backwards. How far back do you want to go — 200, 500 or 5,000 years? 

I urge a serious reconsideration of the current zeal for “oak savanna.” I do not believe these conversion efforts represent a public preference for our parklands. I believe they prefer unmanaged landscapes such as found in wilderness areas, national parks and the public lands that nature still controls. 

 George R. Hermach, Eugene

 

APPOINTING JUDGES?

Responding to the Slant discussion June 25 on no longer electing judges, you omit any look at the results such a change might bring.

Some data from other states suggest that when judges are only appointed, at least in large cities, they tend to be lawyers from the big law firms who have represented the big corporations, collection agencies, landlords, etc. They are the ones who have their firm’s support to be able to donate time to bar committees. And they have many partners and associates who vote for them in bar preference polls. Or they are former district attorneys. 

The judges who are appointed are less likely to be the former public defenders or small firm/solo practitioners who have represented tenants, victims of discrimination and the people who have been denied disability or other benefits.

In Lane County we have been fortunate to have as judges former public defenders and lawyers for victims of discrimination. But in large cities, as Portland is becoming, only having appointed judges might be more of a problem.

Martin Henner, Eugene

 

PROUD TO SUPPORT VINIS

I am not someone who normally writes letters to the editor, and I don’t often ask others to support a particular political candidate; however, I am proud to ask you to support Lucy Vinis for mayor of Eugene in 2016 if she does decide to run. 

Lucy is currently the development director at ShelterCare, she is the mother of two successful sons and she is an engaged leader in our church. 

With her optimistic, infectious personality and boundless energy, Lucy is ready to lead Eugene. I know her to be a thoughtful, kind and inclusive person with a knack for finding sensible compromises and a respect for diverse points of view. These characteristics will serve her and our community well. 

Lucy deserves your strong consideration as we move forward.

Katherine Moyer, Eugene

 

RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY

Our government accepts that churches that refuse to marry inter-racial or same-sex couples will still keep their tax exempt status, but what our government should never tolerate is any church that does harm to young minds by teaching that being gay is evil, loving someone of the same sex is wrong or that all gay people are contributing to the moral decline of our society. 

Hurting others, especially the young, should have no place in any religion. Leaders, political or religious, who preach on religious grounds that all gays are morally corrupt, are doing real harm. As an almost 70-year-old gay man, I know full well what harm religious-based bigotry can cause. 

Larry Leverone, Eugene

 

UNSAVORY CHEMICALS

Carol Ach wrote a letter to the editor June 25 raising concerns about the use of herbicide by the McKenzie Watershed Council and the McKenzie River Trust as part of ecological restoration efforts at the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area. An editor’s note after the letter pointed out that this is a “complex issue,” and noted that the two organizations plan to meet with Carol to walk the land and discuss the project. While this informational walk is helpful, the fact that restoration practitioners regularly use and rely on herbicides to accomplish their goals needs to be called into question.

Herbicides including Roundup, 2,4-D and Imazapyr are commonly used in parks, wetlands, forests and along nature trails to eradicate invasive species and “restore” ecosystems to an idealized historic state. Though invasive species are often vilified for reducing biodiversity or impairing ecosystems, the herbicides used to eradicate them also have unsavory ecological effects, including known toxicity to people and other creatures. 

Invasive species are never going to be controlled long-term with herbicides, especially if the ecological conditions leading to their proliferation remain unchanged. We need a new approach to ecosystem restoration that moves beyond the herbicide-based eradication paradigm.

Tao Orion, Cottage Grove

EDITOR’S NOTE: Orion is author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration.

 

A SAFER HERBICIDE

In response to Carol Ach’s letter June 25, I’d like to weigh in from my experience in multiple stream restoration projects while living in Pennsylvania. Fifteen years ago, our local Trout Unlimited Chapter (Perkiomen Valley) and our technical partner (Delaware Riverkeeper Network) both came to the conclusion that herbicide use was a necessary component of the restoration process, primarily because the invasive (multi-flora rose) was stubborn to eradicate and the volunteer power was not sufficient to continue with a manual removal of the plant. 

We did, however, choose a safer product in riparian areas under the trade name of Rodeo (Dow) and utilized the product not as a broadcast spray but as a spot treatment on the exposed woody stem of a manually or mechanically cut target invasive. This was best accomplished in the fall when plants were retrieving sap storage in the roots for the winter. While the active ingredient (Glyphosate, N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) is the same as Roundup (Monsanto), our research indicated that the inert ingredients changed the bioavailability making it less harmful on aquatic environments. 

Our chapter felt confident that the environmental impact was negligible. We were, after all, intending to do no harm to the wild trout in the subject streams. The labels stated: “There is no restriction on the use of treated water for irrigation, recreation or domestic purposes.” It was, however, a much more expensive product than Roundup, but a safer environmental choice.

Unfortunately, the alternative is manually or mechanically harvesting the invasive over multiple events. It would require an army of volunteers and having them available every two weeks. The recruitment, logistics and support for such a large contingent are usually beyond the means of most conservation organizations. 

The risk involved with a large volunteer corps is inadvertent trampling of other native species (particularly ones of special concern). Mechanical harvest would also cause significant delay in the timetable for completed restorations. I hope this information may be useful.

Louis J. Wentz, Eugene

Past president, Perkiomen Valley Trout Unlimited

 

FLAUNTING CHIEF WAHOO

This morning (July 2) a young man wearing a Cleveland Indians Chief Wahoo T-shirt was in line at the Lillis building cafe on UO campus behind two tribal members who I have seen all week sitting in meetings around campus. 

I guess the surprise on my face was obvious and the young man reacted to my shock with a dismissive, snarky, “It’s a baseball team.” I didn’t respond because of course I know that particular team from the American League, but I wonder if he would have worn the stars and bars if the UO had hosted a fair housing conference, community policing workshop or a black lives matter demonstration. 

So, please tell me, keepers of the hippie flame, the high holders of the social justice bar, after two years of living in Eugene, have I drunk the Kool-Aid?

Was my reaction out of line? Seriously.

Stephina Brewer, Eugene

 

EXPAND VACCINATION

We must encourage our senators to support the resolution that Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) introduced. Polio has been 99 percent eradicated worldwide and there is no reason not to go all the way. As we saw with the anti-vaxers and the measles, the danger is there when even one virus survives. 

We must support the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, which engages Americans to advocate and raise funds to ensure vaccines reach children in developing countries. What good is a vaccine if it’s not given to everyone, as we saw with the recent resurgence of measles in our own country? It is our global responsibility to help whenever we can.

Adel Gresham, Springfield

 

PAPAL FALLIBILITY

While it may be refreshing for some to learn of the pope’s stance on global climate change and the church’s concern for the possible man-made causes, one should keep in mind the same church once held Galileo in serious violation of church doctrine for his beliefs (and writings) on Copernican cosmology — serious enough for him to fear for his very life. The pope is not always infallible. God, maybe.

Pete Stingley, Ash Valley

 

POVERTY AND CLIMATE

Pope Francis said protecting the planet should be a moral and ethical "imperative" for believers and nonbelievers alike that should supersede political and economic interests. In his long-awaited encyclical he also underlined the problems of a society in which there is much economic differences between the rich and the poor (people and countries).

Naomi Klein, who has been invited to participate in the "People and Planet First" at the Vatican, said that the Pope's encyclical not only challenges the denial of the science of climate change but also addresses the matter of its urgency.

The pope repeatedly calls for radical change. In a leaked document he said, "In a corrupt culture we can't believe that laws will be enough to change behaviors that affect the environment."

Klein, who appeared on DemocracyNow.org on June 18, believes that what the pope is saying is that the root of poverty and the root of climate change is the same: This logic of domination and endless greed; and the way out of both crises is a new economic model that strives to live within nature's limits.

Now the pope has to come on board with reproductive rights (abortion and birth control) and include women in the clergy to make the real big changes in his religion that are needed.

David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene