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News Briefs

Ryan, who sleeps in a tent at the new Whoville homeless protest camp north of the U.S. Courthouse, says that he and his fellow campers are “managing” through the recent freezing nights. “It was cold last night,” Ryan says, declining to give his last name for fear of repercussions. “It was really cold last night. We could always use more blankets.” 

Christopher John Bartels (doing business as Bartels Packing) has been cited for violations once again by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

For years rural residents along Highway 36 near Triangle Lake in Oregon’s Coast Range have been asking, even demanding, that someone look into the chemicals drifting from airplanes and onto their farms, and into their homes and drinking water. They’ve complained of the health effects on themselves and their children. They’ve had their own urine tested for the herbicides atrazine and 2,4-D. 

Running for elected office can be a rollercoaster of ups and downs, but local green alley advocate Jeff Luers had a ride that was shorter and more abrupt than most. In the end, despite more than 6,000 write-in votes in the race, the votes for Upper Willamette Conservation Soil and Water District (SWCD) will not be tallied for reasons that Luers say “certainly contradict our understanding of democracy in this country.”

The fate of the Elliott State Forest, a sprawling, 93,000-acre forest northeast of Coos Bay and home to some of the oldest trees on the coast, is the topic of a Nov. 17 public forum hosted by Cascadia Wildlands. About half of the Elliott has already been logged, and for the remaining half, Cascadia Wildlands believes in preserving the land instead of privatizing and selling it. 

The Oregon State Land Board will discuss the Elliott’s future next month.

As a peer of the journalists infamously executed in online videos recently distributed by ISIS, the horror of that footage felt particularly real to Reese Erlich. Erlich, a longtime Middle East correspondent for NPR, recently returned from Syria and will speak in Eugene Nov. 19 and 20 about his on-the-ground account of the ascendance of ISIS (the Islamic State) and the United States’ effort to halt it.

Erlich sees an illogical, destructive “third war” coming to a head in the U.S.’s escalating response to ISIS.

Oregon’s economy isn’t exactly booming, but it is improving, and that could lead to about $300 million in tax rebates to individual taxpayers if revenues exceed 2 percent above official state projections in the 2013-15 biennium. That might sound good to taxpayers, but the potential loss of revenue has some Oregonians very worried.

At first glance, it looks like a landfill — abandoned couches and chairs, food wrappers piled on top of plastic bags, electronics and old clothing. But in actuality, it’s a strip of riverbank along the south side of the Willamette River between Autzen Footbridge and Knickerbocker Bike Bridge, and a recent YouTube video portraying trash along the riparian zone has garnered the attention of homeless activists, environmentalists and Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy.

Former county administrator Liane Inkster (previously Richardson) was fired by Lane County more than a year ago, but questions from her uneasy departure still linger, most recently due to a letter from the Oregon State Bar (OSB) clearing her in a disciplinary investigation. 

Everybody sleeps. But for people who are unhoused, sleeping can be controversial and even illegal, due to city ordinances that ban lying down, sleeping or camping.

Those ordinances might be based on bad philosophy, according to Chad Kautzer, an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, who argues that such ordinances outlaw activities that are fundamental to survival.

The city of Eugene recently sent the following Eugene businesses “pre-enforcement notices” for violating the Clean Water Act by failing to conduct required monitoring of industrial stormwater discharges from their facilities: Al’s Sheet Metal, Apex Machinery, Armur Coatings, Bulk Handling Systems (two locations), Mohawk Metal Company, Rolling Frito-Lay Sales, The Truss Company, Tyree Oil and Zip-O-Log Mills (two locations).

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that former Lane County Commissioner Rob Handy’s complaint against the county and against former administrator Liane Richardson (now Inkster) and Commissioners Sid Leiken, Faye Stewart and Jay Bozievich for undermining “his ability to do his elected job” can be amended and move forward for a decision. 

The deadline for ballots to arrive at Lane County Elections is 8 pm Tuesday, Nov. 4. The last day to mail ballots and assure their arrival is Thursday, Oct. 30. Ballots can also be dropped off 24/7 at any of the white ballot boxes around town or on campus. Here are our endorsements in selected contested races and ballot measures. See last week’s paper or go online to read our full endorsements.

 

National & state candidates:

In a season of highly controversial ballot measures and no-compromise, multimillion-dollar “yes” and “no” campaigns, Measure 87 is set to be among the more peaceful decisions Oregonians have to make in November. Facing no organized opposition, the “fact specific and very narrowly drawn” measure would amend the state Constitution to permit state judges to simultaneously serve in either the National Guard or as a paid teacher in public universities.

Eugene videographer Tim Lewis says when he first found out about the controversial mining at Parvin Butte in local newspaper stories, he thought, “That’s a hell of a story” for a film project, “but I have no time to do that kind of stuff.” 

On a recent recreational swim near Florence, diver Diana Hollingshead was astonished once she realized what she was seeing underwater: thousands of healthy juvenile sea stars. Due to sea star wasting syndrome, a disease that causes sea stars (aka starfish) to develop lesions, fall apart and die in a matter of days, the discovery of healthy sea stars was an encouraging one.

The approval of another herbicide specifically for use on genetically modified (GM) crops underscores the timeliness of Oregon’s Measure 92 that would mandate labeling foods containing GMOs. On Oct. 15, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave final approval of the herbicide Enlist Duo, which is used on Dow Chemical crops genetically modified to resist the chemicals glyphosate and 2,4-D. 

• Weyerhaeuser Company, 744-4600, plans to aerially spray 57 acres near Jones Creek in the Coast Range with Accord XRT II, Polaris SP, Rotary 2 SL, Sulfomet Extra, Metcel VMF, Foam Buster, Induce, Insist and/or MSO. See ODF notification 2014-781-00827 or call Robin L. Biesecker at 935-2283 with questions.

As a journalism instructor at the UO, Eugene author Melissa Hart tells her students to write engaging beginnings to their stories. She followed her own recipe with her latest memoir, Wild Within: How Rescuing Owls Inspired a Family, which opens with her husband’s vasectomy. 

Such begins a story about a quirky romance, rescued birds of prey and the process of adopting a child. Hart will read from her book at the UO’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History Oct. 28, along with local author Tom Titus.

A recent poll by Oregon Public Broadcasting shows support for the “top-two primary” initiative Measure 90 at 36 percent, opposition at 38 percent and undecided at 26 percent. If you are among the undecided, here’s a story for you.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently sent the following businesses $1,600 “expedited enforcement offers” for violating the Clean Water Act by failing to monitor industrial stormwater discharges from their facilities: Eagle Plywood Specialties (Harrisburg), Georgia-Pacific Wood Products NW (Philomath), Gheen Irrigation Works (Harrisburg), Natron Wood Products (Jasper) and Sundance Lumber Company (Springfield).

With full-day kindergarten and the new Smarter Balanced standardized tests looming on the horizon, Eugene School District 4J can’t afford to lose any source of funding. That’s why the district is asking voters to renew a five-year local option levy on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The call for all-out war against Islamic extremists is growing louder in the Pentagon, Congress and the White House as the U.S. carries on increasing overt and covert military actions in the Middle East targeting primarily ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. 

But Rep. Peter DeFazio says, “History has shown that U.S. involvement in sectarian as well as civil wars raging in the Middle East does not benefit our interests. ISIS would not exist today if it were not for the unnecessary U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, which I voted against.”

A 4-year-old girl from Eugene diagnosed with a form of nerve cancer called neuroblastoma is receiving treatment at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, and she needs help from her community to afford it. 

Scarlet Craig, along with her parents Tim and Elena Craig, have already raised $43,782 on the website GoFundMe as we go to press. The cancer, which doctors first discovered on Scarlet’s adrenal glands and has now metastasized to her bones, is the same kind of cancer affecting Leah Still, daughter of Cincinnati Bengals football player Devon Still.