Our city has a serious housing problem that the Eugene City Council cannot continue to ignore. When I got on the council in 2009, 40 percent of Eugene’s households were considered “rent-burdened” because they were paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Since then the situation has only worsened; yet during the same period, the council has granted millions in tax breaks for upscale student housing projects that did nothing to address our most pressing housing needs.
Oregon’s 30-year “Ancient Forest War” has seen scores of lawsuits, big and small, yielding hundreds of court opinions and orders. From Judge Dwyer’s iconic 1991 spotted owl bombshell (“The argument that the mightiest economy on Earth cannot afford to preserve old growth forests for a short time, while it reaches an overdue decision on how to manage them, is not convincing today. It would be even less so a year or a century from now.”) to lesser-known injunctions that have protected the rare plants and invertebrates that make up the forest’s web of life, the courts have said unequivocally that environmental laws mean what they say.
In the heat of the day, we found relief standing in shallow water. Seven of us remained after a tour of the farm and the forested edge of the McKenzie River. Parent conversation roamed across trade-offs between herbicide use and the spread of invasive weeds, climate change and personal change, how to be a good father, how to be a good neighbor. Meanwhile the kids swished scoop nets in the ponded side channel, wowing over tadpoles, boatmen, mosquito fish and dragonfly larva. The air continued to warm, and with it the number of adult dragonflies zig-zagging around us increased as well.
Earthquake day in Nepal minus one — 2 pm Friday, April 24, I’m in a coffee shop in Berkeley. I hit the “send” button on a newsletter to my fellow Nepal 7 RPCV’s (Returned Peace Corps Volunteers) for our 50th reunion in August. My husband, Tom, and I are visiting here from Eugene to attend a dinner for retired Berkeley cops (my husband’s career) and to visit our son’s family. An hour later, 46 out of 76 have opened the newsletter. Success!
I strongly urge Eugene’s leaders to ban tobacco smoking in public areas. As a longtime resident of Eugene and outdoor enthusiast, I appreciate our many opportunities for recreation. As I cycle along the Willamette River bike trail, I also love to see how many other people enjoy our parks and public places. Having safe places for people to exercise or have family picnics while their children run and play are essential to our community’s well-being and liveability. By making downtown and city parks smoke-free, Eugene will once again be in the forefront of communities working together to protect residents from the harms of secondhand smoke.
Recently there has been some confusion regarding proposals associated with “riverkeepers” and “river guardians” in Eugene. Willamette Riverkeeper (WR) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Willamette River. We accomplish this mission through four key initiatives: clean river, monitoring, river discovery education and habitat restoration.
On April 26 TheRegister-Guard ran a story about efforts to re-invent the Lane Metro Partnership as the South Lane Economic Development Corp. The article claims the Lane Metro Partnership had to go away because its director, Jack Roberts, was “not producing meaningful results,” and his board of directors had become “disenchanted” with him because he was not “doing enough to bring new business to the region.” None of that is true. Job performance had nothing to do with why Roberts had to go or why Metro is being replaced.
Memorial Day has its roots in the aftermath of the Civil War when Americans searched for a way to honor and remember the three-quarters of a million people who died in that horrific conflict. The original declaration in 1868 called for “strewing of flowers or otherwise decorating the graves” of the war dead, hence its original name, Decoration Day.
On Saturday, May 23, Lane County residents will participate in the worldwide March Against Monsanto for World Food Day (see details below). Over 600 cities around the world are scheduling events on that day. The UN has named this the “Year of the Soils” and in Eugene we will hold a march to declare our right to protect and restore the soils upon which our food, the climate, and all life ultimately depends.
The plaza at Broadway and Willamette (Kesey Square) has been around since urban renewal in the late 1960s. An old drugstore building was on the site and was condemned because of its unsafe condition. Located at what was then the “100 percent corner” of downtown, the planners of the now long-gone downtown mall decided to put a plaza there.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion,” the Dalai Lama says. “If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” But what does it mean to practice compassion? I sometimes think it’s only a warm, fuzzy feeling towards others, or a New Age trick to subvert my consciousness. Perhaps it’s a sign of weakness and I’ll be bullied. Maybe I should reserve compassion just for a deserving few.
April 26 through May 2 is National Preservation Week and most people don’t really know about it. We do appreciate the historic places around us. We can appreciate buildings from an earlier age for their quality of construction and materials, their remarkable and memorable shape and form or for what might have occurred behind their doors. Sometimes those buildings sit in the landscape, isolated and unique. Sometimes they’re found together in neighborhoods, or the several neighborhoods that make up a town. Each of these, when held in our memory, tells us the story of where we are and why we’re here.
This year Lane Community College embarked on a Cultural Competency Professional Development initiative designed as educational programs for faculty and staff about the history, culture and current experiences of diverse peoples and communities. In this context, the Lane Peace Center Committee chose to focus our upcoming 8th annual Peace Symposium on indigenous peoples. Our purpose is to look at the history and culture of the United States from an indigenous perspective, to borrow a phrase from one of our keynote speakers, Suzan Harjo, “Seeing Red.”
I hope the community will take the time now, before it is too late, to visit the exposed structural frame of our City Hall. It currently has been reduced to the frame, structure or bones. It is very open, transparent, extravagant and architecturally significant. It is still a strong and valuable base one could build from anew if our city seriously embraced sustainability.
In your Jan. 8 email to the UO community, “A message from Interim President Coltrane on sexual assault lawsuit” [see http://wkly.ws/1xk], you indicated that you welcome feedback from the campus on your progress. I agree with the open letter provided here by OASA [see http://wkly.ws/1xj]. I would like to express my additional concerns.
At its core, the West Eugene EmX project is about growing. On the heels of a long recession, we now see our economy ticking up with new businesses and redevelopment in downtown Eugene, downtown Springfield and across our metro area. We want to keep our economy vibrant. We want to retain the natural beauty around us with clean, fresh air. And we want to have more — and better — choices in how we live, travel and recreate.
We have come to a historical moment, when in the course of a few months the issue of racist police violence has fired the imaginations of people all over America, and the world. It represents not so much a reaction to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, but the overflowing of a cup that has been filled to the brim with the blood of Americans, mostly young, unarmed African-American males.
The Slow Money movement is about transitioning from an economy based on extraction and consumption to an economy based on conservation and renewal. It is about investing close to home and seeing your dollars make tangible change in your community. Following on the heels of the international Slow Food movement, which was begun by Italians todefend regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life,Slow Money is based on the premise that we should be investing in the future of our food, i.e., the soil, the farms and the food businesses populating our local food systems.
How would you like to live in the area of Oregon that has the smallest babies born in the entire state? According to Oregon Office of Rural Health and OHSU, if you live along scenic Hwy. 36 from Junction City all the way to Swisshome, your newborn will be the smallest in the state. In fact, this Triangle Lake area far exceeds the state average. The same study states that low birthweight children are significantly more likely to have mental retardation, cerebral palsy, visual and hearing defects, lung disease and learning disabilities.
For every day since Jan. 7 — the day 12 people were murdered at the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo — I could write a book trying to explain the emotional rollercoaster I have been experiencing as a young French journalist. Let me start by paying a tribute to all the victims of the killings that took place in Paris last week. My thoughts go to all who were close to these journalists, cartoonists, employees, police officers, Jews, Muslims, atheists …
A woman with mild developmental disabilities finds herself in an abusive relationship with a man who is also the father of her 8-year-old daughter. Tired of the physical violence and verbal abuse, she files for a restraining order and has the man removed from their shared apartment in a Section-8 housing unit.
I’ve had this sense of it, open season, aka socially sanctioned targeting, since age 7, reinforced at 19, and lulled into a Eugene false sense of security pushing 60. I admit to a certain numbing grief over my lifetime composed of anger, rage, sadness, depression, loss and, finally, resolution. Being black bears the responsibility of acting as though you have some wisdom (at least sense, good freedom-fighter home training) and are working for the liberation of human beings everywhere. Illuminating and undoing the matrices supporting extrajudicial killings interests me more than protesting.
A background in and understanding of grand juries has led me to be very suspicious about the recent grand jury proceedings regarding Darren Wilson, the police officer who murdered 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Over the last 17 years I have represented dozens and dozens of clients who were subpoenaed to testify as witnesses at state and federal grand juries regarding government investigations.
Eugene will celebrate International Human Rights Day Dec. 10. Once again we will listen to city officials talk about how Eugene is (or aspires to be) a human rights city that follows the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But the reality is quite different on the streets where around 2,000 people survive without shelter, (un)aware that they have human rights, treated as criminals by the city.