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Two law briefs that attorney Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center says could affect whether constitutional rights in Eugene and across the U.S. are  “silently but significantly” being eroded and “swept under the radar screen” were filed in courts this past week. The briefs involve participants from Occupy Eugene and SLEEPS (Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep) and preexisting cases that deal with the First Amendment right to protest and assemble in what Regan calls “our revered public forums.”

Thanks to a federal law enacted in 2005, Eugene gets about 40 blasts of a 96- to 110-decibel horn each time a train passes through town, according to Whitey Lueck. Lueck is an instructor in the UO’s Department of Landscape Architecture who has been involved over the years in trying to implement a “quiet zone” for Eugene’s 10 crossings to protect the ears of city dwellers. 

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality sent San Mateo-based J.H. Baxter & Co. a warning letter on March 31 for various hazardous waste law violations discovered by DEQ during an unannounced inspection on March 25 at Baxter’s wood treatment facility in Eugene’s Trainsong neighborhood. Violations included failure to label hazardous waste, failure to conduct required hazardous waste inspections, failure to provide up-to-date contingency plans to first responders and failure to clean up spills.

The Lane County Jail announced on April 21 that it will no longer hold inmates on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers without a warrant or a court order. This is in response to an April 11 federal court ruling that Clackamas County violated a woman’s Fourth Amendment rights by holding her in jail for 19 hours after her case was settled in order to let federal immigration agents begin investigating her residency status. 

New affordable, childbirth education classes will be offered weekly starting this Sunday, April 27, at River Road Parks & Recreation in response to a change in the way PeaceHealth at RiverBend is offering its classes. The River Road classes, taught by Lillian Shoupe, will focus on relaxation, confronting preconceived cultural ideas of birth, a deeper understanding of anatomy and physiology and building positive affirmation for the process they’re going through.

Family physician Alison Erde, M.D., has practiced medicine in Springfield for 12 years and is now relocating her solo Prevention Plus Clinic practice to south Eugene to be closer to home. The clinic is now at 3225 Willamette, Suite 1. She tells us she trained at UCLA and completed a women’s health fellowship. “I am something of an anachronism,” she says. “I have a holistic approach to wellness.” Her “special interests” are in menopause, mood issues, sports medicine and preventive health care.

• A free program on “Visual Justice: Democratized Video as Evidence” will be at 5 pm Thursday, April 24, in 110 Knight Law Center on the UO campus. The event features UO Law School alumna Kelly Matheson, senior attorney for Witness, an international human rights organization that specializes in using video to support change in human rights practice, policy and law.

A study published this month involving Eugene grade school students supports what every chocolate lover already knows: Don’t take away the chocolate milk. 

In 2011, 11 4J elementary schools participated in a study that evaluated the effects of removing chocolate milk as a beverage choice from school lunches. After two months of chocolate milk-bereft lunches, total daily milk sales went down about 10 percent, and children threw away 29.4 percent more milk, meaning that more kids picked up the regular milk but decided not to drink it. 

Three could be Oregon cannabis lovers’ lucky number: That is the potential number of ballot measures heading for the November 2014 election, which could make Oregon the third state in the nation to legalize marijuana.

Anthony Johnson, who worked on the campaign that legalized marijuana in Washington, is campaign manager for New Approach Oregon’s Control, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act of 2014, aka Initiative Petition 53. IP 53 would allow adults to possess up to 8 ounces and four plants, and it sets tax at $35 an ounce. It would task the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) with regulating marijuana commerce.

Achoo! Uh oh, your hamburger was totally just attacked by a snot-rocket! Thankfully, 48 companies in the Eugene area see the benefits of not having sick staff serve food. Paid sick leave, which gives workers the ability to stay home sick without losing financial stability, could be granted to workers within the city limits of Eugene as soon as January 2015. 

As Eugene city leaders floundered last week in relocating the former residents of the Whoville homeless camp, an anonymous benefactor took up the issue, offering a $400,000 donation to establish a sanctuary on private property.

The pledge came as a direct response to, among general grievances, the unyielding position of City Manager Jon Ruiz and others willing to leave the destitute in limbo. “I wanted to step up,” the donor tells EW, “because I saw the city making an attempt to push these people out. They’re citizens, not strangers.”

Sombath Somphone is “one of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic’s most respected civil society figures,” according  to a December 2013 press statement from Secretary of State John Kerry on the one year anniversary of Sombath’s disappearance. Sombath was kidnapped from a police checkpoint in Laos and has not been heard from since. Sombath’s wife, Ng Shui-Meng, will be speaking about her husband’s disappearance and the challenges to free speech and human rights in Laos and in the rest of Southeast Asia while in Eugene on Monday, April 21.

• M Three Timber Company, LLC, 767-3785, plans to spray Accord XRT and Element 3A on their timberlands countywide in Lane County. See ODF notice 2014-781-00342, call Stewardship Forester Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions. 

• Giustina Resources, 485-1500, plans to hire Strata Forestry, Inc., 726-0845, to spray glyphosate, hexazinone and/or sulfometuron methyl on 71 acres near Dexter Lake tributaries. See ODF notice 2014-771-00336, call Stewardship Forester Marvin Vetter at 726-3588 with questions. 


Oregon Department of Environmental Quality sent San Mateo-based J.H. Baxter & Co. a warning letter on March 31 for various hazardous waste law violations discovered by DEQ during an unannounced inspection on March 25 at Baxter’s wood treatment facility in Eugene’s Trainsong neighborhood. Violations included failure to label hazardous waste, failure to conduct required hazardous waste inspections, failure to provide up-to-date contingency plans to first responders and failure to clean up spills.

The Whiteaker Community Council (WCC) got a surprise at its annual elections meeting Wednesday, April 9, when upward of 80 residents of Eugene’s hippest district packed into the small room at the Whiteaker School to air concerns about a proposed noise ordinance.

The Easter Bunny is bouncy, fuzzy and lays eggs. Bunnicula, the vampire, vegetable-sucking rabbit, is reserved, misunderstood and has razor sharp fangs. While both of these sets of characteristics are (almost) all true, real rabbits are made up of a complex combination of the two, something that the holiday Easter Bunny character glosses over.

• Florence police chief candidates will be available for an informal public “meet and greet” from 5:30 to 7:30 pm Thursday, April 17, at the Florence Events Center on Quince Street.

Fifty-five bias-related incidents were reported to Eugene’s Equity and Human Rights Center (EHRC) in 2013 — an increase of four reports from last year. Equity and Human Rights Analyst Lindsey Foltz says a lot of bias-related activity is unreported, in part because of a lack of trust of the government or police. 

Local schools continue to struggle with insufficient funding, and two Lane County school districts, Fern Ridge and Pleasant Hill, filed bond measures that will appear on the May Primary ballot to help pay for improvements to property and facilities that school officials say are greatly needed — one school is basically providing federally assisted school lunches out of a gym concession stand.

The city of Eugene sent a “request for corrective action” letter to Gibson Steel Fab, Inc. last month for various Clean Water Act violations, citing Gibson for deficiencies in employee education and monthly inspections, storing several hazardous materials without secondary containment and failing to contain overspray from painting operations so as to prevent it from coming into contact with stormwater.

The city of Eugene paid 60 staff members to shut down the Whoville homeless camp on the corner of Broadway and Hilyard streets April 4 — a move that campers and homeless rights advocates say put many of the Whoville residents back on the streets alone.

“They’ve taken old, they’ve taken veterans, they’ve taken everybody who has a problem, said ‘You have to go,’ instead of giving them a place to sleep at night and giving them some sort of peace of mind,” Whoville camper Jacob Baird says.

What’s happening with the LUCiA development on Friendly Street? Construction on the second row of townhouses is expected to wrap up by June 1 and one of the units has already been sold, says Mel Bankoff, who is in partnership with architect Jan Fillinger of studio-e architecture and  project manager Teri Reifer (see our 2013 story at wkly.ws/1q3). Bankoff says he plans to have open houses in mid-April. The third phase of residential development will begin in June with a completion target of March 2015.