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Letters to the Editor 2017-08-31

HOUSING HYPOCRISY

In “Say Adieu to fees for ADUs” (EW, Aug. 17), Terri Harding continues Eugene planner’s “alternative facts” campaign against single-family homeowners. Harding claims the Eugene City Council “passed some amendments to our zoning code in 2013” that accidentally made secondary dwelling units (SDUs) more difficult to build.

Actually, the City Council approved Ordinance 20526 in 2014 to provide protections for single-family neighborhoods around the University of Oregon. As Harding well knows, the amendments were no “accident.”

These new development standards arose from the Infill Compatibility Standards Task Team on which Harding served. Community members spent months developing standards to help ensure future SDUs would be compatible with their surroundings.

Meanwhile, Eliza Kashinsky spouts off about “affordable” housing, yet she bought a single-family home on a 9,000 square-foot lot in the Jefferson-Westside Special Area Zone. The S-JW zone permits two full-size houses on Kashinsky’s lot, and S-JW’s flexibility enables Kashinsky to build another house for $100 to $135 per square foot, radically less than most new housing costs.

Nevertheless, Kashinsky whines that “[t]he complexities and limitations in the code are making it very complex.”

She plans to rent the house for $800 to $900 month, returning more than 10 percent on her investment. If Kashinsky is truly “less about making money” and really “want[s] to help someone else have a home,” she should cut the rent to $500 or $600.

In the end, it’s just another example that so much preaching about affordable housing is more often about making a buck than solving the housing crisis.

Paul Conte, Eugene


THE REAL SOLUTION?

What does Naomi Strawser suggest we do with the “known neo-Nazis [living] comfortably within our boundaries” [“Setting the Terms After Charlottesville,” Aug. 17]? Seize their property by eminent domain? Criminalize their thought and speech so we can lock them up? Hound them into fleeing? Form vigilante mobs to kill them outright?

Obviously, neo-Nazis are already detested by the vast majority of people living in Eugene. The counter-march to the Hate is Not Welcome rally, if EW is to be trusted, amounted to a single Trump supporter holding up a Trump/Pence campaign sign. By that measure, the white supremacists are outnumbered in Eugene by about 1,500 to 1.

Whatever the actual ratio, it’s clear that white supremacists cannot feel reasonably comfortable in expressing their views here. They’re not quoted or referenced approvingly in any paper, ever. They never have a voice in any public decision. They are not welcome to espouse their views anywhere outside their own company. They are, in a word, marginalized.

So, I have to wonder what Strawser is suggesting. Does “living comfortably” equal being allowed to live at all? Is the price of being reckoned an ally destroying the legacy of free speech and freedom of, and from, religion in this country? Do we have to drive out and eliminate the white supremacists, who are already marginalized and despised, just to prove that we’re not with them?

If that is the price, don’t you know that you can count me out.

Timothy Shaw, Eugene


MARIJUANA CARPETBAGGERS

I would like to express my support for the will of Creswell voters (“Pot Petition,” EW, July 27). Although pot smokers were able to change the laws, communities like Creswell were given the chance to opt out. They did.

People like One Gro’s Mike Arnold have for decades dissed those in the counterculture as dirty, smelly, drug addled hippies, but now they want to exploit the hippie culture of pot, but “sell it in a way to not market it to potheads.”

I’m offended when non-pot-smoking wannabe pot mogul vulture capitalists want to exploit pot for vast personal gain.

I’m also opposed to the One Gro monopoly, because increased tolerance is something a person gets from smoking pot. Tolerance is obviously not something that One Gro execs have. The people voted to opt out. Their decision should be respected.

Instead of trying to weasel into Creswell, I think Arnold should put his talents toward promoting legal cultivation of hemp, something that could benefit Creswell farmers. The greed and intolerance shown by One Gro is only surpassed by its hubris. Their actions no doubt create ill will towards the entire pot industry.

Will they keep their many promises to Creswell? Does Creswell have the taxpayer money it may need to enforce them? I’m offended any time vulture capitalists want to exploit an entire community.

I urge everyone to oppose the One Gro takeover of Creswell.

Kevin W. Cook, Eugene


DUCK SHIT

I am writing to thank Joshua Welch for his Aug. 24 letter (“Evil Uncle Phil”) regarding Nike founder Phil Knight.

Having graduated from the University of Oregon a few months ago, I feel as though I’ve just managed to escape from a ocean of intense, blind and cult-like adoration for the Ducks athletic teams — adoration that, for me, speaks only to our culture’s prioritization of sports over, well, everything else.

I would sit back and watch money being poured into the creation of new sports facilities while my own department (dance) was told it had to suspend its graduate program because of a “lack of funds.” Lack of funds? More like “lack of drawing thousands of drooling fans who will spend big bucks to watch people tackle each other.”

Phil Knight is painted as a benevolent philanthropist when his own priorities (and those of Nike) run contrary to the values ostensibly held by the self-identified “progressives” and “liberals” here in Eugene. Granted, hypocrisy is nothing new in Eugene, as people are (I hope) quickly realizing. Knight and the UO football team are only symptoms of the underlying issue.

This town has an extremely racist and bigoted history, and even now I constantly see people who hide behind pretty slogans and heartfelt Facebook posts while their own actions and behavior contradict their words.

Instead of trying to erase and ignore history, we need to acknowledge it and learn from our mistakes. Otherwise, we’re all doomed. 

Kendra Lady, Eugene


CIVIC HARMONY

To the kind and brilliant person or people who put the two pianos downtown, I bow to you.

And to the artists who painted them, I bow to you too … they are beautiful.

To walk or bike by the Eugene Public Library and the Hult Center, and see someone zoned out, blissfully playing the piano — to hear the music wafting through downtown — makes my heart so happy.

In a world too full of insanity, harshness and hatefulness, this is a sweet addition to our town. I have seen young and old and people from all walks of life playing the pianos.

I’ve seen people teaching others to play. Once, a guy came along while a young woman was playing; he jumped in and played this beautiful accompaniment with what she was playing ... and then hopped on his bike and was gone.

It was amazing!

Thank you for these lovely additions to our downtown ambiance.

Karen Olch, Eugene


FIGHTING BIGOTRY

I appreciate your coverage of the Charlottesville Solidarity March (Aug. 17). The increasing confidence of white supremacists under the current administration poses a cataclysmic threat to our lives and those of our descendants.

As a 70-year-old white woman, I am extremely grateful to have lived long enough to witness local people of color leading our community’s fight against racism in all its forms. 

At the Aug. 14 rally, many people spoke courageously about their experiences living in Eugene. An African-American woman told of being verbally assaulted by a sandy-haired man driving by while she waited for a bus on Highway 126. A black man living in south Eugene had his house spray-painted with a slur.

A number of the speakers called out white people in the audience to do more than show up at a rally, saying “silence is violence.” 

White people need to educate ourselves on how structural racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia work to divide and manipulate us. Then we need to move out of our comfort zone and initiate difficult conversations with friends and relatives.

We must find in ourselves the integrity to address racism wherever it occurs, including our workplaces, our local government and police. As a start, check out the Southern Poverty Law Center website “Ten Ways to Fight Hate.”

To be free means to be safe, and injustice anywhere means injustice everywhere — so do something today towards creating a safe, respectful environment for everyone in our community. 

Patricia Bryan, Eugene


TOO MUCH CARBON

Our skies are filled with smoke in Eugene and we have only encouraged more carbon into our air, promoting climate change. As climate heats, we will have more fires, more smoke and heat and less water.

Our legislature did away with solar credits, taxed bikes and they are now promoting trucks. I understand we have heavier trucks than Washington and California, and that they eat up our roads and produce more carbon.

Trucks are the largest source of carbon in Oregon and they fill the highways at night. Trains can only unload merchandise near Portland. If trains could unload in Eugene or the center of state, this would lower truck use, be cheaper for many, save delivery time and have lower carbon emissions.

And soon we might have another carbon producing biomass plant in Saginaw.

Is it too late?

Ruth Duemler, Eugene


HISTORY LESSON

Because the Confederacy’s existence was never politically recognized, Andrew Johnson and Jefferson Davis never signed a surrender document. The monuments recognize those who ended the war and slavery. 

The bloodiest conflict our country ever endured, resolving the issues of states’ rights, secession and slavery, relied exclusively on military actions. These military actions were fought out to the last measure of human endurance. Great men like Grant, Sherman, Lee and Johnston, and their soldiers, resolved what should have been political issues.

Monuments north and south testify to the sincerity of those few who endured the tragedy of that struggle.

Their involvement came after abolitionists and planters and their political allies failed to identify those positions outside their inflexible ideologies that would have brought peaceful agreement. Instead these fire-eating miscreants of both persuasions stumbled into the Civil War.

Now similar intellectual dwarfs would repudiate this history.

Nolan Nelson, Eugene