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Letters to the Editor: 8-2-2012

REPAIR MAKES SENSE

We moved to Eugene in November of 2007 because of its arts, culture and outdoors. We also liked the philosophy of “reduce, reuse, recycle.”

I read with interest Mark Gillem’s article [7/19] on 4J school consolidations. It seems that not only does it make sense to refurbish existing schools instead of demolishing (sending to the landfill) and starting all over, but it is actually $100 million cheaper. HELLO.

As we searched for a home here in Eugene, it struck me that there was a lot of “deferred maintenance” throughout the city. Indeed, the house we ended up buying turned out to be one of these “opportunities” — so it doesn’t surprise me that the schools face the same situation.

The Eugene Chamber held one of its Business After Hours events at the Northwest Youth Corp building last year. Architects were there to show us around and explain the before and after of the building. It was extremely well done — beautiful and functional.

It makes sense to refurbish these schools, adding “repair” to the popular moniker above.

Kim Kelly, Eugene

 

WASTE NOT

If any of your readers usually has just one garbage pick-up monthly, they may be interested in this: If their neighborhood has a choice between Sanipac, Lane Apex and/or Royal Refuse, then this may be their order of preference. For close to a decade we’ve used Sanipac. I can’t remember ever having a problem, so good job, noble waste workers!

However, our neighborhood (City View area) can choose among any of those three haulers, so I gave everyone a call about price.

It turns out only Sanipac is willing to pick up our garbage on a once-a-month basis. (If we have any extra garbage that month, we can call them.) Lane Apex minimum is every other week. Royal requires paying for weekly pick-up. So if you have a small household that lowers your waste stream enough, the price differences can be more than triple.

Let’s go deeper on recycling. As everyone should know, you can’t commingle certain things (e.g., bottle caps). But Master Recycler Dale Kegley escorted me to the Glenwood Receiving Station to show me where to put flotsam and jetsam. It’s a neat place to visit. For example, a diabetic family member has to dispose needles, and the friendly folks there showed us which free laundry soap containers work perfectly for that medical waste.

Thanks to everyone who understands that environmental devastation mandates an unprecedented response.

David W. Oaks, Eugene

 

FEAR OF THE HOMELESS 

I attended the July 24 public meeting at Cesar Chavez School on the Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE) proposed for the empty field north of 14th near the school. I thought the OVE presenters were extremely patient and thoughtful, the crowd not so much. There was an appalling amount of fear of the homeless, and prejudice against them, expressed at the meeting. People were often rude and belligerent, interrupting and heckling speakers. I wondered if this is now considered acceptable public meeting behavior among the middle class.

I also wondered why they think homeless people are dangerous, and if they have any idea how scary it is to be homeless, especially for women, families, the old and disabled. Recently I talked to a middle-aged homeless man, disabled with the use of only one arm and leg. Last month he was attacked on the street by men who took all of his belongings, including his wheelchair.

Housing is a human right, and Eugene has to provide it to the homeless. If every neighborhood in Eugene says “not in my backyard,” there will be no place to put OVE. That’s not acceptable.

Lynn Porter, Eugene

 

COAL TRAIN HYPE

All the hype about coal trains passing through Eugene is a distraction from more important issues and has become a bandwagon cause. I really like the photo (twice-used) of the UO Climate Justice League-kids standing by the Autzen footbridge on Union Pacific’s tracks wearing capes, with their hands on their hips like they’re Superman about to stop a speeding train. 

What the young students have failed to realize is that no coal will be rolling anywhere near campus because coal comes from Wyoming, not California or Arizona, and so will be coming via the Columbia River Gorge and Portland, not from Oakridge, Springfield and the east side of Eugene. Coal trains will enter Eugene’s train yard (known as a toxic place already) along the Northwest Expressway, take a sharp curve on the way before even crossing underneath Chambers, and roll west from there through an already heavily industrialized west Eugene, never stalling cars for hours in the Whiteaker like everyone thinks, or making all the kids on campus cover their faces whenever the wind blows and fear the very solidity of the ground they walk on. 

The new route to Coos Bay could actually have some short-term positive effects, like help to upgrade those tracks and therefore stimulate the local economy around here and in Florence and Coos Bay (Amtrak to the Coast anyone?). Perhaps a better angle of attack for the No Coal!-trendsters would be the dredging of Coos Bay and how that will affect the ecosystem, or how the water quality at Fern Ridge may be impacted. But in light of everything else already out there happening, this whole coal thing is just a drop in the bucket; personally, I can’t wait for the coal train to arrive.

Aaron Dactyl, Eugene

 

DON’T CONFINE GOATS

I’m all for the local food movement, having been a small part of the local farming community for the last 12 years. Keeping a few chickens in your backyard is one thing; the idea of parking ruminants there is another. Importing every ounce of feed that these animals need into a city environment doesn’t strike me as “sustainable,” nor does it smack of “homesteading.” It seems to me more like a miniature Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). It doesn’t leave any room for rotational grazing or using the land in a responsible manner. Nor will animals appreciate living in a mud pit during our rainy winters, which will happen when you have hoofed animals roaming around a small area. 

Ruminants need room. There are formulas for stocking densities per acre. This isn’t breaking news; there are libraries of books on the subject, universities dedicated to animal management and production and plenty of local sources to buy animal products that have been humanely raised. The Eugene city code isn’t the problem; the problem is the perpetuation of misinformation leading to feelings of warm fuzzies about having your livestock close at hand, where you can treat them as “pets” and anthropomorphize all day long, imagining their thoughts and feelings.

Livestock belong in the country. Leave the farming to farmers and support them at your farmer’s market and/or at restaurants that chose local purveyors, or buy a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)share. Or get a job on a farm. 

Phil Biboux, Cheshire

 

POPULATION CONTROL

Inasmuch as guns don’t kill people but that people do, it appears there are too many people. Does the NRA have an official stance on birth control?

James L. Whetstine, Eugene

 

TIRED ARGUMENT

I’d like to respond to Curtis Taylor’s letter of July 19. The reason I didn’t mention either mandatory spay/neuter or breeding ban laws is because they do not work. Even the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (I am not a fan) does not support these laws; and Curtis, it’s not “euthanasia,” it’s killing.

I did rather enjoy his rant blaming the “irresponsible public.” Blaming the public for the very real shortcomings of animal facilities that do not fully embrace the No Kill equation is a very old and very tired argument. Sorry, Curtis (and Greenhill), we don’t buy it. Affordable (not mandatory) spay/neuter is one of the cornerstones of the No Kill equation; thankfully we have the Willamette Animal Guild Spay/Neuter clinic here. WAG has made a gigantic impact reducing the number of kittens and puppies born locally.

Curtis’ argument about “excess” animals locally does not make sense, either, as Greenhill imports dogs from California. There is certainly the same number of dogs locally that they could help. What Lane County deserves and wants is to be a No Kill community, based honestly on the No Kill equation. The transition at LCAS in its last 18 months of operation under the leadership of Rick Hammel proves that. See wkly.ws/1by for an explanation of No Kill.

Pointing fingers at Greenhill? You bet we are. Greenhill should be leading the way to a No Kill community, and they refuse. It’s time for transparent and accountable No Kill administration at Greenhill. The No Kill equation saves lives.

Tamara Barnes, No Kill Lane County, Eugene

 

FACING GREATER TRAGEDIES

Could the media please give us a break with endless grisly accounts of the Aurora killings? I understand it was a tragedy, and our sympathies lie with the 70 innocent victims. But we also need to appreciate that 86 Americans are killed by firearms every day, and nearly 4,000 are killed prematurely by chronic diseases linked with consumption of animal products and lack of exercise.

So, let’s replace the vacuous hand wringing over the Aurora tragedy with constructive personal steps to lessen the greater tragedies facing us every day.

Edward Newland, Eugene

 

WHICH WAY, 4J?

The only purpose of consolidation of any school is to benefit the career bureaucrats and keep the parents away — completely out!! Costs and everything else mentioned in the article are totally irrelevant.

Frank Skipton, Springfiel

 

BREAK FROM LANE COUNTY

Would the Florence coast benefit from: 

• its own sheriff, district attorney, commissioners, assessor, treasurer, clerk, country workers, contracts, etc.;

• access to local courthouses, county offices and service shops;

• taxes, fees, etc. it pays going into its own needs instead of Eugene’s;

• return of county jobs that were out-sourced to that galaxy on the other side of the worm hole;

• service by county staff who live, work, and play among us;

• eliminating abusive treatment by Lane County when improving our homes, businesses, and communities;

• shedding the 150 years of their bad management baggage;

• application of proven technology providing superior services at reduced cost?

Is the coastal area mature and ready to assume control of its destiny; county government-wise?

Lane County continues to reduce services, increase fees and propose new/higher taxes; little of which has ever been returned. To get anything done requires traveling several hours repeatedly through the worm hole. We have a part-time sheriff’s deputy only through a federal grant that expires in July 2013. The coast is treated as a mere satellite colony far away in a galaxy easily ignored. It has little political say; even the area’s commissioner is overwhelmingly selected by the greater Eugene voters. Lane County is just too big, its bureaucracy too crushing, and its 150 year of baggage too daunting.

 Lane County is the result of several subdivisions of a prior larger county and its time to make another cleaving off the 480 square miles west of the worm hole (Hwy. 126 tunnel). The question can be put to a ballot vote involving only the coastal communities as the rest of Lane County has “no voice” in any of this! The current assets, liabilities, taxes, etc. of “just” the coastal area is then transferred to “our” new elected management team.

I may be a rat; but, fleeing the sinking ship of Lane County to start a new and invigorating life on the coast certainly seems the healthier choice. I feel like an American colonist seeking to declare independence from the distant British Empire that has a history of threatening our lives, liberties, and property rights. Maybe we too can create a county that is healthy, successful, and leading the way for the rest of Oregon. Come visit and/or join the discussion at the free www.yahoogroups.com group “CoastalCounty” and/or email me at keithusa@lavabit.com

Keith Stanton, Florence

 

QUESTION THE ELITE

I have noticed since moving here from San Francisco about 10 years ago that I have begun to come to loggerheads with people about the nature of liberty and therefore its future growth. Oft-times letter writers’ opinions favored in your paper are quite agreeable to the Democratic Party policy approach with a touch of melancholy over the party’s seeming waning fortitude. I posit that all that can be bemoaned is that progress hasn’t been revolutionary.

I used to holler at the walls about the slovenly pace of the Left. Now, no longer. I challenge the progressive, the liberal, the leftist, the socialist: Is the future of human liberation a structure, institute, central planning bureau, social progress department? A policy backed by the worlds’ armies to make us all one giant family? Or, is it being able to have an unlicensed propane tank, work for less than minimum wage — in cash, harvest contraband, do what you want on your family’s land without having to pay off your neighbors so they don’t send in the law? 

Are we becoming an empire for the good, for the future to look back upon and weep at our fine example and sacrifice? Question the elite you follow. The Party isn’t always right.

Donovan Worland, Eugene

 

WHEN WILL IT STOP?

American are being denied their constitutional rights that our forefathers established for us, the American people, but Big Brother, our “government,” is at an alarming rate taking these rights away from us, the American people. 

Just look at the old Federal Building downtown Eugene with the feds brief showing of force by putting up that fence — in which the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza is located, which the American people’s tax dollars paid for. So much for free speech — looks like it might come with a price. Deliberate injustice is more fatal to the one, who imposed it, than to the one on which it is imposed. Wake up America.

Gary Jenkins, Eugene