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News Briefs

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assessed a civil penalty of $6,676 against PeaceHealth on Sept. 26 for operating an unpermitted underground storage tank and failing to upgrade it with corrosion protection at Peace Harbor Medical Center in Florence. PeaceHealth has owned and operated the underground storage tank since at least 1989 and failed to upgrade it with required corrosion protection by December 1998. 

The Eugene Education Association (EEA) has rejected endorsement of School District 4J’s federal “Race to the Top” grant application, citing “grave concerns over increased workload for teachers and specialists and because of inadequate time given to analyze the 170-page application,” according to a statement emailed Oct. 1 to EEA members from EEA President Tad Shannon.

It will be a hut of a weekend Oct. 5-6, with Opportunity Village Eugene’s grand opening celebration 1 to 4 pm Saturday and Community Supported Shelters’ Conestoga fundraiser kick-off event Sunday. Neighborhood advocate Paul Conte will match up to $5,000 with money from the legal settlement with Capstone and its swanky new student housing project at 13th and Olive.

Local food and agriculture are a big deal in Lane County, but proposed legislation in Salem could take away communities’ rights to regulate those very things. Senate Bill 633 would prohibit local governments from making laws about seeds and their products, leaving a broad swath of traditionally local rules in the hands of the state. The bill, which didn’t advance in the regular session, has been reintroduced as a bargaining chip in complex negotiations about tax increases and cuts to PERS.

With a self-proclaimed political lean that’s “more progressive than most Democrats,” Sandi Mann decided to put her name in the hopper for Lane County commissioner, District 2, because of “erroneous and uneducated decisions” made by the incumbent, Sid Leiken.

“I feel like I can make a difference,” Mann says. 

The Oregon Land Company, long associated with controversial developers and loggers Greg Demers and Norman and Melvin McDougal, has been using the logo of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) on its website without permission. 

After Carolyn Knox lost her 38-year-old son to brain cancer, the grief of losing a child consumed her. She couldn’t stop questioning: Why did this happen? Where did he go? As time passed, Knox recognized that her thoughts on death weren’t going anywhere, and she needed to find a way to address them.

When it comes to helping the needful and underprivileged, social welfare only seems to take us so far. Band-Aid policies that grant assistance help those who require a leg up, but dependence is not independence, no matter how well intentioned. Human beings want to be engaged, and this is where Carolyn Hodge’s Forward Foundation takes assistance one step further.

An uneasy peace between authorities and homeless activists was threatened Sept. 11, as a series of incidents unfolded downtown and elsewhere.

• Giustina Land & Timber Co., 345-2301, plans to hire Western Helicopter Services, Inc. (503) 538-9469, to spray 125 acres near Crow, Norris and Coyote Creeks with Glyphosate, Imazapyr, Aminopyralid, Metsulfuron Methyl and/or Sulfometuron Methyl. See ODF notification 2013-781-00697 for more information.

Those ubiquitous blue-shirted Basic Rights Oregon (BRO) volunteers have been hard at work this summer. Since July, activists hoping to achieve marriage equality and overturn Oregon’s ban on gay marriage have gathered 80,764 signatures (of the 116,284 necessary to qualify) for the November 2014 ballot. Eugeneans can get involved from 2 to 4 pm Sunday, Sept. 22, at BRO’s annual garden party fundraiser at a private residence.

It appears that the city of Eugene has completed its annual review of stormwater monitoring from the 76 local facilities that discharge industrial stormwater to local waterways pursuant to the statewide Clean Water Act industrial stormwater permit. The city oversees compliance at these facilities under an agreement with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Sweet Potato Pie has been selling clothes, hemp products and local glass art for the last 16 years. Now the future of the store is uncertain as the lease for that location ends on Oct. 31 and the neighboring business, Addictive Behaviors, expands into the space.

“I have a limited amount of time to make a very serious decision,” says Elizabeth Thompson, owner of the store.

The Oregon Republican Party might have elected climate change-denier and urine-sampler Art Robinson to be its chair, but these days most Oregonians understand that manmade climate change is changing our planet. Groups in Portland and Corvallis will be hosting anti-climate change “Draw the Line: Stop Keystone XL” events on Sept. 21, and in Eugene there will be a “Pancakes not Pipelines” fundraising breakfast. 

Once home to Occupy Eugene and soon to be the location of the covered “WJ Skatepark and Urban Plaza,” Washington-Jefferson Park will also be the location of a new 24-hour bathroom. Sanitary bathroom access, like a safe place to sleep, has been called a human right by homeless advocates. 

When Gordon Armstrong walks downtown in Eugene, not everybody greets him and pats him on the back. He’s gangly, walks with a stagger and a shuffle, and people who don’t know him might think he’s intoxicated, homeless, maybe dangerous. But he reminds people that he’s “a human being.”

In his first year as head coach of Northwest Christian University men’s basketball team, Luke Jackson is determined to turn a struggling program, which won nine of 30 games last season, into a winner. In recruiting, the former Oregon Ducks star and former professional basketball player looked to larger programs for talent and tried to keep Oregonians in state. His fame helped to persuade former Oregon Ducks and other transfers from Division I schools to come aboard.

• Giustina Land & Timber Co., 345-2301, plans to hire Northwest Reforestation Services LLC, 554-0489 to aerial spray 201 acres near Doak, Rebel and Coyote Creeks with Glyphosate, Imazapyr, Triclopyr Amine and/or Triclopyr Ester. See ODF, 935-2283, notification 2013-781-00811 for more information.

Proposed changes to Eugene zoning, designed to preside over secondary dwelling units (SDUs) built next to existing homes, detached structures such as garages and lots accessed through alleys, brought neighbors to the city’s Planning Commission public hearing Tuesday. A coalition of 45 neighborhood association board members and leaders brought a memorandum of suggested changes to the code amendments designed to prevent too many changes in neighborhood character and livability. Others protested some of the changes were too restrictive on building small structures.

The city of Eugene sent “request for corrective action” letters to States Veneer and Tyree Oil in August for failing to submit industrial stormwater discharge reports to the city for 2012-2013 industrial stormwater discharges from their facilities. Both facilities submitted the required reports after receiving the city’s letters. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent a warning letter to Marjorie Smith of Corvallis on Sept. 3 for operating the septic system at Crooked Creek Mobile Home Park in Alsea without a discharge permit.

Maybe it’s the diaries of Lewis and Clark, or perhaps it’s Woody Guthrie’s folk song “Roll On, Columbia, Roll On” that makes us think of the Columbia River as a uniquely American waterway, but the river actually begins in the Canadian Rockies. The Columbia River Treaty between the United States and Canada has managed the river’s flows since 1964, and the time is nearing to reassess that treaty. 

If you wanted to exercise your right to free speech this week on Lane County property then you would have found that the Free Speech Plaza was shut down. No problem. The county provided a 71-by-73-foot square in a gravel parking lot off 6th Avenue for free speech use from 6 am to 11 pm from Sept. 6 to 10. 

Jean Stacey of SLEEPS, Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep, filed Oregon State Bar complaints against County Counsel Stephen Dingle and former county administrator Liane Richardson in regard to testimony they gave Aug. 19 in the cases against Alley Valkyrie and 21 SLEEPS protesters in the Free Speech Plaza that were later dismissed. The Lane County Commission is currently discussing making changes to the “free speech area” of the Wayne Morse Terrace, as the county is now calling it.

As kids gear up for another school year, sex education probably isn’t the first thing on everyone’s minds, but perhaps Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards’ upcoming visit to Eugene can serve as a reminder that learning about sex in an informative, helpful way is still an integral part of our school system. Richards has served as president of Planned Parenthood since 2006, and in that time, she has worked to promote sex education and maintain access to preventive care throughout health care system upheavals.