• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

News Briefs

Those couple days of icy, freezing temperatures last February might stick out in your mind, but while a brief spell of cold days may affect your personal impression of the weather, don’t forget that the climate is heating up across the globe, thanks to rising levels of greenhouse gases. 

Overall, 2014 was Oregon’s second hottest year since record keeping started in 1895, according to researchers with the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute at Oregon State University. The average statewide temperature in Oregon in 2014 was 3 degrees above the average for the 20th century.

• Zemas LLC, 231-5363, plans to hire Andrew Albert Bluhm, 974-2021, to spray Glyphosate 5.4 with Foam Buster on 35 acres between Conger Creek and Wolf Creek Road. See ODF notification 2015-781-01508, and call Dan Menk at 935-2283 with questions. 

As a transgender man who identifies as queer, Emmett Ellingson-Ford says adolescence was difficult enough navigating his gender identity, and the fact that high schools focus on heteronormative sex education didn’t help. Now, Ellingson-Ford, as president of the student-run Gender & Sexuality Alliance at Lane Community College, is hosting LCC’s first-ever Sex Symposium Jan. 23.

The state legislative session begins Feb. 2. Several bills have already been introduced, and House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) confirmed at City Club of Eugene last Friday that education will take top priority. The topic could prove divisive, even in Oregon’s Legislature with its Democratic majority.

The impacts of aerial herbicide spraying in Lane County and across Oregon have come into sharper focus in recent years. In 2011, testing the urine of 41 Triangle Lake residents revealed traces of atrazine and 2,4-D, chemicals often included in the soups of toxic chemicals sprayed from helicopters over the state’s timberlands. In order to prevent incidents like this in the future, local environmental organization Beyond Toxics is spearheading a legislative bill to limit and inform on aerial sprays.

The second annual Harney Coyote Classic is scheduled to kick off Jan. 16, and animal rights groups and conservation organizations are fighting to stop the coyote-killing contest that takes place in Eastern Oregon near Burns. “It’s horrific, blatantly slaughtering wildlife for no reason,” says Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense. “You don’t eat coyotes.”

• Transition Management, Inc., 521-5897, plans to ground spray and hack and squirt clopyralid, glyphosate, hexazinone, imazapyr, sulfometuron methyl and/or MSO Concentrate on 46 acres near Preacher Creek. See ODF notification 2015-781-00427, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions. 

Potatoes and tomatoes on the same plant? Perhaps Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report said it best by including this wacky concept in his segment: “That’s The Craziest F#?king Thing I’ve Ever Heard.”

The plant, named “Ketchup ‘N’ Fries,” can be traced to Log House Plants in Cottage Grove, a wholesale nursery that promotes grafted plants as a natural means to increase productivity and make gardening more accessible to all. 

Seattle is on a progressive kick. In 2013, then-Seattle mayor Mike McGinn sought to block Whole Foods from building in West Seattle, not because he opposed new development but because Whole Foods is notoriously anti-union. And under current mayor Ed Murray, the Seattle City Council voted to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Get ready to grow. Portland is focusing on infill to meet its growing population, but Eugene is looking to expand its city limits in the next few years. The sprawl is likely to happen despite the city’s commitment to make Eugene more bike and pedestrian friendly.

Five years of community input and technical analysis have led to Envision Eugene expansion plans that appear to be favored by the city administration and the majority on the council, including Mayor Kitty Piercy. 

Late last summer, the images captured of police responding to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, with red, laser-sighted assault rifles and hulking armored vehicles precipitated a congressional hearing to survey the federal programs that funnel surplus military equipment from the Defense Department to law enforcement departments around the country. 

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently followed up on the pre-enforcement notices it sent to Jeanne M. Burris and Michael & Rosemary Cress in November for illegal waste-tire storage at property owned by Burris at 29882 Kelso St. in Eugene (see EW 12/11, goo.gl/uGo453). DEQ sent Burris a civil penalty assessment in the amount of $15,041 on Dec. 31, and sent Michael Cress a civil penalty assessment in the amount of $19,755 the same day. Burris is the current owner of the property, while Michael Cress is a prior owner.

It may look like a Labradoodle, but the lagotto Romagnolo is actually an ancient dog breed, carefully selected and bred for its ability to sniff out truffles. Though rare, a handful of lagottos live in Eugene, and now they and other breeds have a chance to strut their stuff. For the first time ever, the Oregon Truffle Festival is holding The Joriad North American Truffle Dog Championship, a sporting event for dog lovers and truffle fans alike. 

 “In the most elemental form, the faculty has traded its voice in internal government and management for the union’s voice, and the union’s only legal role involves terms and conditions of employment for bargaining unit members,” reads a May 2012 memo written by the University of Oregon’s then-legal counsel Randy Geller, calling to abolish the UO’s Faculty Senate and advisory committees that are a part of the university’s “shared governance.” In shared governance, a university’s faculty has a say in how the school is run.

Oregon’s salmon might be moving toward Alaska at a rate of about 30 kilometers (19 miles) a decade, according to a study in the January 2015 issue of Progress in Oceanography. “Marine life is being affected by changes in ocean conditions resulting from changes in climate and chemistry triggered by combustion of fossil fuels,” the study says.

This news comes as Oregon continues to debate the oil trains, coal export and liquified natural gas (LNG) pipeline and export facilities that are jockeying for position throughout the state.

According to our web hits and downloads, the most-read story in EW this year was a story about the other paper in town … The Register-Guard. More precisely, it was our story “Reporter Fired for Checking Email?” about the termination of popular reporter Serena Markstrom Nugent while she was out on pregnancy disability leave. 

That article not only was the most read on our website — it also generated a lot of national attention, with mentions on the journo news site Romenesko and a tweet by NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik. 

M Three Timber Company, 767-3785, plans pre-harvest hack and squirt, spraying Polaris AC on 31 acres near an unknown fish-bearing stream off of Lynx Hollow Road. See ODF notification 2014-781-08761 or call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) may sound like a sci-fi TV show, but they’re actually the name of Oregon’s new science standards for public schools, passed earlier this year. Is Eugene School District 4J ready for them? Well, not yet. Not even close.

Late in the summer of 2013, Lane County closed a protest camp in the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza leading to one of many recent debates on the nature of free speech and whether a government agency can shut it down. 

In a Dec. 15 ruling on a motion to dismiss, Municipal Court Judge Karen Stenard writes that the closure in this instance was not unconstitutional under Oregon law. She writes there were “legitimate health and safety concerns.” Activists disputed those concerns at the time of the closure and in the months afterward.

Local group Predator Defense has devoted a large part of its 25-year existence to putting an end to Wildlife Services, a federal agency that traps and poisons predators. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows Wildlife Services killed more than 4 million animals in 2013. Recently Predator Defense’s documentary, Exposed: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife, which delves into the federal agency Wildlife Services, won high praise from noted primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall, who writes, “I hope it will be watched by millions.”

“We’ve been pretty busy these last couple days,” says Mindy Beer, who created Pay It Forward Cottage Grove a year ago with her daughter, Jennifer Neil. As Christmas approaches and the weather has turned colder, people have turned to Pay It Forward to give and receive everything from baby formula to refurbished bicycles.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent Lane County a warning letter last month for low pH levels in water pollution discharged from Short Mountain Landfill. Low pH means discharges are acidic, and low pH was observed in both initial and follow-up sampling. 

To some river-lovers it’s the scariest place in Eugene: a longtime homeless camp along the Willamette River strewn with soggy mattresses and moldy rugs, used needles, bike parts, food packaging, wet books, even an old TV set. Trash and worse from campers have been collecting for years between the railroad tracks and the river, and a cleanup project is about to begin now that the camp has been abandoned (see photos on our website). 

On Dec. 16 Lane County commissioners discussed whether to question federal law and pass an ordinance that challenges two controversial sections of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

The NDAA, a sweeping defense bill that sets the budget for the military, dates back to the post-9/11 period and is renewed every year by Congress. The controversial sections of the bill include provisions to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism. The current version of the $585 billion NDAA passed the Senate Dec. 12.