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Letters to the Editor: 9-17-2015

UNRESOLVED ISSUES

The South Willamette Area Rezoning plan appears to address increasing density without thought of livability of the whole area. Evidently a feasibility study of traffic, parking and schools does not have to be done when zoning is done to give tax exemption to developers. Parking on the street is currently a problem, and the parking issue is not addressed in the plan. Also, traffic issues on Willamette are not addressed in the plan or previous changes except for capturing bike lanes. The plan allows developers to increase the height of buildings if more green space is allowed. Is this like green space around Capstone Apartments?

Green space and wildlife can be seen while walking in our neighborhoods, and these buildings will impact that experience. The new Cascade Manor buildings are close to the sidewalk and cast a big shadow on the streets. The current Cascade Manor also gives a negative sample of how taller buildings impact our neighborhood experience; however, there is a green space from the surrounding single family dwellings that may go away with the plan.

We have some beautiful trees that are struggling in our area, and I am afraid this will also change; we will be seeing these trees disappear as the plan is implemented.

Ann Miller, Eugene

 

 

DEVELOPER’S DELIGHT

I oppose the South Willamette Special Area Zone in its current form. Contrary to Ken Standhardt’s suggestion [Letters, 9/3], my opposition to this plan is not out of ignorance. I have read every document and studied every map. The new design rezones 229 single-family homes to allow seven-story condos and apartments. 

There are many insular neighborhoods here. While some blocks could benefit, other historical neighborhoods will have their character and stability negatively altered. I bought my 1952 home on Portland Street north of 31st Avenue a year ago. I did my research, too.

I received no notice from the city. I was not aware of the plan until the record before the Planning Commission was closed.

This area is too diverse in character to take such a broad-brush approach. The area should be looked at block-by-block, lot-by-lot for change. While the city claims it wants to make the area more pedestrian and bike friendly, the design contains no requirements for traffic, sidewalks, bike lanes, parking or underground utilities. I’m sure it is a developer’s delight. City documents show that it is already planning to extend MUPTE to developers of the area.

Allison Hassler, Eugene

 

DOWNWINDERS SUFFER

On a recent Saturday, I went to a birthday at Emerald Park. I smelled cigarette smoke and saw numerous parents smoking in the playground area, including vapor cigarettes. They want to watch their kids and make sure they’re safe, just like I do. They’re not worried about the smoke. That’s up to them. I don’t think it is OK for my kids.

We had our party on picnic benches by the skate park. Our kids rolled their decorated scooters around the skate park while boys on bicycles smoked vapor cigarettes inside the fence. Someone else smoked a cigarette outside the fence. At Monroe Park, close to home, people talk at the picnic benches and smoke. The smoke travels downwind into the playground area.

The problem isn’t homeless smokers. The problem is smoke in public space. When I inhale cigarette smoke, my private space, my body, is being infringed upon, and so are the bodies of my children.

I used to smoke. I know it is a hassle to be told you can’t satisfy your addiction when you want. Unfortunately, we share a responsibility toward our mutual wellbeing. And some of us — many of us — have our strongest feelings around the health of our children.

A smoking ban isn’t a class issue. It is possible to be homeless and be a nonsmoker. The health of someone homeless counts too along with the health of my children. Everyone, even smokers, suffer from secondhand smoke.

Otis Haschemeyer, Eugene

 

VINIS A GREAT CHOICE

Lucy Vinis is a compelling choice for the next mayor of Eugene. With deep roots in this community, she cares about the things that are most important to me and my family: protecting our quality of life while promoting a healthy, vibrant economy.

I’ve known Lucy as both a colleague and friend. A warm and open individual, she is a natural leader — articulate, thoughtful, principled and inclusive. During her many years of service to this community, she gained firsthand experience with some of our most pressing issues: homelessness, jobs, education, sustainability. She plans to build on the progress we’ve made in these areas over the past decade, earning Eugene its bragging rights as one of the most livable cities in the country. I hope you’ll join me in supporting her.

 Sonja Snyder, Eugene

 

MILD FRAGRANCES

My family was disappointed to learn that the Saturday Market Board of Directors has voted to suspend Barbara’s Soaps of the Season, due to a complaint about scent-sensitivity from one of the other stall owners [see Biz Beat last week]. I understand that some people are sensitive to fragrances, but we find it difficult to believe that this business is affronting anyone’s olfaction. My husband is the most fragrant-sensitive person I know. He can’t tolerate perfume and has to leave areas where people are wearing strong scents. Yet he isn’t able to detect Barbara’s Soaps until he is in their stall, and even then, the scents are mild. 

Barbara and her husband, David, make amazing products, and we use the soaps as well as the deodorant. Because we frequently give the soaps as gifts, or run out of them as our own supply runs low, we are often at Saturday Market. If this stall isn’t there, it’s doubtful we’ll go more than once or twice a year. I imagine there are many who feel as we do. We hope the board will reconsider suspending Barbara’s Soaps of the Season, and instead do whatever is needed to move the affected parties’ stalls apart so that everyone can continue to enjoy Saturday Market. 

Duana C. Welch, Eugene

 

SOAP OPERA

I want to thank you for your short article in Biz Beat Sept. 3 on the troubles at Saturday Market. I am a fan of the market and especially of Barbara’s Soaps, which I think are wonderful. I question the fairness of ejecting her from the market — she seems to be the only vendor targeted by the new scent-free policy. It bears mentioning that one of the board members who voted on this issue is a soap maker who has been heard to complain about Barbara’s products cutting into her sales. I have always thought the atmosphere of the market was one of tolerance and acceptance. Surely there is a less extreme solution to this problem.

Meanwhile, I will follow Barbara wherever she sells her soaps, shampoos and lotions — I wouldn’t use anything else!

Teresa McFarland, Eugene

 

WORKER POWER

Jim Hightower’s Sept. 3 essay “Democratic Audacity” presents some important points regarding the origins of Labor Day. However, it failed to mention what I consider to be the most important aspect of those origins. Before there ever was an American Labor Day, there was a far more radical labor day, May Day (May 1). This was, and to some extent still is, Europe’s genuine celebration of working people. In the spirit of social amnesia that characterizes so much in the U.S., America’s Labor Day is a depoliticization of International Workers’ Day, chosen by the Socialists and Communists of the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago (May 1886). 

There were other times — and other countries — in which politicians actually cared about (and feared) what working people thought and did. Much of the social safety net now enjoyed by German workers was enacted in the late 19th century by Otto von Bismarck (otherwise not exactly a “progressive”). The reason: to take the wind out of the sails of socialism, at the time the most vibrant social movement in Europe. 

What will it take for America’s elites to care about what working people think and do?

Stephen Slater, Eugene

 

DENYING REALITY

What is cognitive dissonance? It happens when new information doesn’t jibe with existing beliefs, ideas or values. It causes mental distress. For example, the fact that Oregon’s snowpack this past year was only 11 percent of the average of what we’ve seen in the past 121 years doesn’t fit with how I want to proceed with planning for this upcoming ski season. Yet the past is often the best predictor of the future. So how do I resolve this disconnect? I deny climate change is happening. That way, I can go ahead and buy my new ski equipment and rev up my SUV.

The Oregon Center for Public Policy recently published some data that ought to produce some cognitive dissonance. In 2014, a minimum wage worker in Oregon working 40 hours a week earned $18,928. The problem is, the income needed for a single adult to achieve a basic level of economic security, in Eugene, is $26,958. (This does not include saving for retirement, college or a rainy day fund.)

Let’s not react with denial. Let’s support increasing our minimum wage to $15 per hour. When we know our bills can be paid, we all sleep better.

Jennifer Gordon, Eugene

 

SINGLE TINGLE

Thankin’ Rankin for contribution to conversations on loneliness [cover story by Kelsey Anne Rankin, 8/27].

I myself finally understood that a person more fascinating than myself simply doesn’t exist. (Except in an abstract, ephemeral sort of way.) Dependence on others is a cruel burden ... especially dependence on stuff like groceries, shoes and, sure, sex. Those others are all even more driven by grandiose fantasies of boundless success or power or perfect love than me.

Only solution I’ve discovered is make your own clothes, produce your own food (chewed and swallowed by your very own digestive apparatuses), create your own entertainment and march along to your unique copyrighted beat. I don’t claim to have achieved this exalted ideal but, man, it sure makes for a real local low-energy lifestyle.

Break it to them gently. Let the others know you don’t need them any more. Make rare great art for no one but yourself.

David Hugh Tyson, Eugene

 

HUGE STINK

Dearest Eugenean dog owners, I love how you love your pups, and I wish that I could own one right now. But can you please mind your poop? Thank you to all who bring poop bags on their walks, but when you throw them in residential garbage cans, it creates a huge stink, and they sometimes fall out on garbage collection day to get run over by cars or picked up on the road by yours truly. Thank you for being mindful citizens of such a wonderful town. Let’s keep it up!

Marylin Magnus, Eugene

 

LIGHTEN UP

“Appalling”? Well shut my mouth, but wait until I get my tongue out of my cheek. In reference to Margaret Hadaway’s response in the Sept. 3 letters to my earlier letter about a front page picture about care of books, all I can ask is “please lighten up.”

It was only my attempt at laughing about the preaching at Eugene Weekly cover art. The world needs to remember that you cannot communicate from a soap box. Opinions are not facts.

Kenner McAlister

Cottage Grove

 

CLEANER BUSES

The other day I learned that LTD is considering the purchase of zero-emission, electric buses. I’m glad to see this shift towards cleaner forms of transportation. I hope that this continues, as it is better for the air that we all breathe and more economically cost effective in the long run.

Charles V. Perricone, Eugene

 

BETTER INVESTMENT

To the Egyptian billionaire who’s offered to donate an Italian/Greek island to the escaping refugees of the turbulence in their African and Mideastern home countries: It might be wiser to invest your resources in seaworthy vessels and honest, conscientious, well-trained navigators and thus eliminate the unscrupulous smugglers who separate individuals from their dignity, their life savings and in many cases, their lives!

Jim Graham, Eugene