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Letters to the Editor: 12-3-2015

FAIRGROUNDS SHELTER

Let’s consider the Lane County fairgrounds as a possible site for sheltering the unhoused. The fairgrounds, close to central Eugene and on a bus route to downtown, comprise 55 acres of land, many of which get little use outside the main events held there annually, such as the fair itself, the logging expo, home shows, etc.

Almost all the sheltering projects developed in the last few years are in the Whiteaker neighborhood. It would be fairer to spread the burden throughout Eugene.

The northwest corner of the fairgrounds is four blocks away from the Lane Events Center, and is rarely if ever used, including during the fair. It is already fenced on two sides. It would be easy to fence off a triangle or rectangle of land to create a dusk-to-dawn camp or tiny village where residents could be separated from the rest of the Fairgrounds.

At a recent Jefferson Westside Neighbors meeting, many neighbors seemed open to the possibility of a shelter site at the fairgrounds. We are in a housing crisis and the luxury of holding 55 acres of property close to the center of town empty for most of the time is a luxury we can no longer afford. 

Vickie Nelson, Eugene

 

DISTURBING CONTRACT

I, like many other EWEB customers, am disturbed and angered at the secret contract with Seneca lumber (Slant, 11/25). I can see in the power climate five years ago the appeal of such an agreement BUT the secrecy and lack of protections for ratepayers/owners is a slap in the face as well as a gross “mistake.” 

Why are we as consumers obligated to protect Seneca’s “competitive edge” when they have absolutely no desire to renegotiate anything about this deal? Why is a publicly owned entity working with any company whose business strategies seem to involve secrecy and law suits? Better luck next time, Eugene.

Michael Shubert, Eugene

 

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE 

The upcoming climate talks in Paris will do little to stop the use of fossil fuels. Delaney Pearson (Letters, 11/19) asks, “How many of our policymakers feel the urgency to really change course for a healthier and more just world?” Depending upon one’s perspective, the answer has to be: very few, or none.

At the federal level, any person accepted into the executive, congressional and judicial branches of government is necessarily beholden to special interest groups and the military-corporate complex. Yet we continue to insist “our government servants” make humane decisions.

Oh, they throw crumbs at us from time to time, but it’s simply impossible for their venal minds to grasp the concepts of our well-being and our planet’s welfare.

Mary DeMocker (Viewpoint, 11/19) says, “The time for speaking up is now. … Help push the world in the right direction.” Many of us did just that on the first Earth Day in 1970 and during subsequent Earth Days, until Corporate America took over Earth Day. Now is the time for action, but we’re not going to accomplish anything meaningful by relying on our government stooges to act.

I have a suggestion for Pearson, DeMocker, Peter Kugler (Letters, Nov. 19) and others:

Ride the #66 or #67 LTD bus round trip beginning at the downtown transit station. On this ride, notice the many auto dealerships along the way. Also notice the many parking lots, especially at Valley River Center, Delta Oaks and Oakway Center. During this bus ride (about one hour) — how many cars, trucks, SUVs and vans do you see? Too many to count?

When the fossil fuel-burning vehicles at these auto dealerships are sold, they will be replaced with more fossil fuel-burning vehicles. In a relatively short time, parking lots throughout Eugene will fill; we’ll experience even more road congestion and road rage; and more parking spaces and paved roads will, of course, be needed.

What’s the purpose of global marches for climate solutions when there are currently tens of thousands of polluting elephants right here in the room we call Eugene?

What’s the purpose of organizing another march and pretending this will achieve anything — other than a bunch of like-minded folks having fun? 

The members of the various 350 groups really need to deal with their collective cognitive dissonance.

Robert Simms, Eugene

 

A WAKE-UP CALL

Our book group just read Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Not an easy read, but certainly a must-read.

We have a hard time looking at climate change, Klein says. We are too overwhelmed to change the bigger economic/political systems that are making the crisis inevitable. We are in denial. What can we do? 

1) Learn more. Respect yourself enough to look further than the TV news and sources that are allied with corporate interests. 

2) Draw your own conclusions. Even if we disagree on the cause/nature of climate change, we must start talking about it and acting on any points of agreement. 

3) Find ways you can lower your family’s contribution to climate change. Enjoy the positive side effects of being a more conscious consumer. 

4) Most importantly, go to the root of the problem. Look to organizations such as Friends of the Earth, 350.org or Sierra Club for information and support. Vote! 

Klein writes that climate change is “a civilization wake-up call — spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts and extinctions — telling us we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet. Telling us that we need to evolve.“

Sandy Holder and members of the 1/2 and 1/2 book group, Eugene

 

ARE YOU WITH ME?

I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am a Catholic. I am a Protestant. I am a Buddhist. I am a Hindu. I am an atheist. I am a deist. I have no theology. I embrace all theologies.

I am a young woman. I am an old man. I am neither. I am a young man. I am an old woman. I am neither. I stand with anyone who is not an asshole. 

What is your name? Are you with me? Or, not.

Robert Pinger, Eugene

 

DAMNED PANHANDLERS

I am totally sick and tired of the Eugene panhandlers. I am tired of the city of Eugene actively supporting and encouraging these panhandlers. This has to stop. The panhandlers I am referring to are the development entities begging for 10-year Multiple Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) waivers that the city willingly provides, while wringing its hands about the homeless and travelers that “blight” our city. 

I get the feeling that there is a sizable local contingent that would just like to have the local gestapo forces round up all the homeless, put ’em in rail cars and ship ’em off to some “relocation camp.” 

Daniel Schlender, Springfield

 

WOLVES IN DANGER

Politics, rather than science, are fueling the current state of affairs with wolves in Oregon. On Nov. 9, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Commission ruled to remove endangered species protections from the 80 or so wolves in the state of Oregon. Had this discussion revolved around any other species, a population of 80 individuals would not be considered a strong and sustainable population no longer in need of protection.

The ODFW count indicated 85 known wolves, but in the last three months alone, three wolves have been killed. Two “mysteriously” died about 50 feet from each other, the Sled Springs pair in northeast Oregon. They had pups from this past spring who will most likely not survive the winter on their own. The third wolf, who was radio-collared and had bright neon ear tags, was “mistaken for a coyote” and shot.

Empower yourself by joining with any number of the groups who are working diligently to protect wild animals and lands in our region. Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wild, Center for Biological Diversity and Predator Defense are just a few such groups. You can also let ODFW Commission know how you feel about this at odfw.commission@state.or.us.

Karen B. Olch, Eugene

 

WE MUST DO MORE

Peter Kugler writes in his Nov. 19 letter that, “At times it would seem that we are a species bent on our own destruction.” So very true, as is the fact that we are also rapidly destroying all other species of flora and fauna on Earth. 

In addition to nonstop human population growth (soon to reach nine billion), our eating habits are unquestionably playing a major role in this destruction. The general population — and especially environmentalists — are frequently heard to ponder “What will be left for the grandchildren?” But anyone who is truly concerned needs to seriously consider the one obvious change s/he can make as an individual to help counter this human-created disaster.

I watched the two-minute Citizens Climate Lobby video found in the link Kugler provided, and while CO2 emissions certainly contribute to climate change, other factors such as the methane produced by the ever-expanding, ever-polluting animal agriculture industry are even more insidious. 

Lobbying politicians to create a system that promotes clean fuels — as Citizens Climate Lobby suggests — is laudable, but it is incumbent upon us all to do a lot more. See cowspiracy.com.

Barb Lomow, Eugene

 

POTENTIAL TERRORISTS

The Nov. 19 Slant column asks the question, “Are we afraid of Syrians because we truly think thousands of innocent people are actually terrorists?”

The answer is: “No — only that some of them might be.”

Still, Gov. Kate Brown and other lefties want to “welcome them with open arms.” Can we assume then that these “open arms” folks are willing to provide the funding to house, clothe, feed and educate the refugees?”

Didn’t think so.

Meanwhile, we have a huge homeless problem. How about the governor and her liberal allies “opening their arms” to them instead?

 Jerry Ritter, Springfield

 

A BLIGHT ON EUGENE

I write regarding the letter Sept. 24 (“Ban the Camping Ban”) on the homeless in Eugene. Having spent a few months in this fine city (I am a native of England) and having spent some time with the amazing people and places here, I am drawn to compare my homeland and the fantastic place where I now spend my time. 

The situation of the homeless here is a blight on an otherwise positive landscape.

My understanding is that these young people who spend most of the daylight hours on the sidewalks of Eugene move from state to state and seem to find money for beer and weed, which makes me wonder if this is a lifestyle choice. This must impact the retail areas of the city, as shoppers are under pressure when walking around during work hours.

Please don’t think I have no feeling for human suffering, but I am sure help is available for the ones who really want to progress.

Derek J Milburn, Eugene

 

MORE CHEAP EATS

My favorite part of voting in the “Best of Eugene” categories is the “Worst Thing About EW.” That being said, I really appreciate the coverage of veterans in the two issues around Veterans Day. My continual biggest surprise is in the “cheap eats” category. Before voting next time, check out El Super Burrito on South Willamette (near Off the Waffle).

 Don French, Eugene

 

THE IVORY TOWER

A parable: Once upon a time brutal philosopher thieves genocidally settled an expansive grassy hill nearby old forests, where they could see a stream entering the sea. They proceeded to clear a plat and construct a fortress. They measured and prepared, laid foundation stones and joined beams into a marvel of geometry, establishing an orchard enterprise with hay, grain and livestock herds.

As time passed and the founders grew prosperously old, the stream beneath the hillside loosened the slope. Imperceptably, the earthen base shifted. Their scions eventually noticed the inherited estate house had cracked stones, with beams and joists spreading apart. So they made reinforcements, walled off the cave-ins and added another floor for an even better view, with turrets and balconies.

As wealthy great-grandkids raised great-great grand kids, the slope slipped further as wood groaned under the load of additional stories. The architecture was strong and grandiose. Reinforcements were powerful and state of the art. But the hillside collapsed in a landslide and left everything wrecked in the water below. 

No matter how stalwart and beautiful the ivory tower, no fixes upon deceitful foundations can prevent collapse by slow erosion of trickling truth. Let’s build ourselves an honest foundation. 

Mike McFadden, Eugene

 

BAD OLD DAYS

I’m so tired of mostly men on social media saying they miss the “good old days.” I want to ask them here what part of the “old day” they miss? Is it when the “man of the house” disciplined his wife and children as he saw fit and no one stepped in. 

Maybe they miss when the man got the job and women just needed to get married and tend to their children. Or maybe when the state of Oregon’s Constitution disallowed blacks to live in Oregon. Anyone remember the sundowner law? 

Maybe they miss getting away with drunk driving or when pot possession was a felony for life? Or before the tree huggers put them out of work before cutting down the last 5 percent of the timber and shipping it overseas. Maybe they liked never seeing raptors flying the rivers due to DDT, etc. Do they miss wild salmon? Perhaps they might like a different country, maybe Russia or China for some good old-fashioned family values?

Marvin Davis, Eugene

 

YEA FOR YIMBY

Last month, there was a town hall meting called “YIMBY” — Yes In My Backyard. It was a gathering of nearly 200 neighbors across Eugene to discuss needs and solutions for the varied faces of homelessness.  It was heartening to see NIMBY confronted from all the neighborhood associations, seeking solutions that might be found in their “backyards.”   Fearful objections will, no doubt, continue but knowledge is education and education can lead to change.

As neighbors bring forth options to county commissioners and City Council, please listen with open ears and hearts.  It is cold and the need is great.  Creativity and pro-action is needed….such as being willing to adjust the phrase “not in a neighborhood or near a school.”  The unfounded fear that prompted that phrase is ebbing.  If a given neighborhood agrees on  YIMBY, that “condition” should not be the deterrent to options that it currently is.

YIMBY fits most of Eugene — and will find resonance with others, if given a chance.  Onward!

 Jay Moseley, Eugene

 

STATUTES OF LIBERTY

Gov. Brown of Oregon has offered space for as many Syrians as the feds allow. Gov. Abbot of Texas refuses to take any. Texas already has over 200 refugees but Gov. Lone Star Greg hasn’t said what he’s going to do about them, especially if some are Christian. 

We both have deserts to offer if they want to feel at home while acclimating to our culture. Eastern Oregon has Rajneesh’s old place near Antelope and I’m sure Texas has similar displaced occult centers as well. If you can make a falafel you can make a taco.

Vince Loving, Eugene

 

A PRAYER

 Each morning

I put on gloves, fleece coat

Tangerine rain jacket 

And black rain pants with reflective stripes.

I put on a blue helmet

Whatever I need to stay warm and dry and safe.

I bicycle to the hospital to work

or downtown to run errands

or to Spencer Butte or Mount Pisgah to hike.

 I have no illusions

That my bicycled miles

Make any significant difference 

in the damage already done

and ongoing

to the climate and to the Earth.

 What I do know

Is that

I bicycle joy for being alive

I bicycle love for my children

and all children

and all life.

I bicycle a prayer for the Earth.  

Lauren Herbert, Eugene