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News Briefs

When the Buddha was passing on his teachings more than 2,000 years ago, 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere wasn’t an issue. The Earth was a far cry from the present day environmental degradation and climate change that it now faces. But we reached 399.89 ppm on May 9, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and that’s a concern for the Dalai Lama. 

Treehuggers having a square dance in a barn to raise money to save Oregon’s wildlands may have seemed more like a spoof than an actual event when it started, but Cascadia Wildlands’ annual hoedown has held up for the long haul — the conservation group’s 10th “Hoedown for Cascadia’s Ancient Forests” is on Saturday, May 18, at a Cottage Grove horse arena.

The May Special Election is May 21. Here are our endorsements on selected local issues and contested races. 

A bill that would ban roping horses by the neck and legs and tripping them for entertainment passed out of the Oregon Senate with a vote of 22-6 and has been the subject of several recent House Judiciary Committee hearings. Horse tripping in Oregon has been documented in Jordan Valley and Burns, according to testimony, and proponents of SB 835 say that being chased and tripped terrifies and injures the horses. 

ODOT spring spraying is under way, but calling the 888 number below indicates the plan is not followed closely.

• The week of May 13, the Veneta section including Hwy. 126 west of Eugene, Highway 36 and Territorial Highway.

• The week of May 20, the Florence section of Hwys. 126 West, 36 and 101.

Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 (Lane County area) at 744-8080 or call 1-888-996-8080 for herbicide application information.  

The Whiteaker is known for its vibrant cultural scene, but some residents say that the nighttime noise level is making sleep difficult, and say it could be time to revise the Eugene noise ordinance to be decibel-based and less subjective. Under Eugene’s current noise code, a noise disturbance can be any sound that “annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities.”

There’s a “Monsanto protection act” in the Oregon Legislature, and opponents say that due to its vague language its repercussions could affect not only seed growers but also city and county governments managing vegetation. SB 633 passed out of the Oregon Senate May 1 on a 17-12 vote. Sen. Floyd Prozanski and Chris Edwards voted against it.

Whistleblowing former Lane County attorney Marc Kardell filed a lawsuit against the county on May 1, also naming County Administrator Liane Richardson and District Attorney Alex Gardner. Kardell says that he was fired in retaliation for questioning their actions. He says in his suit that the county is mismanaged, wastes funds and abuses authority.

The May Special Election is May 21. Here are our endorsements on selected local issues and contested races.

There’s a rumor circulating in Eugene that suggests the city could be vulnerable to city-services-fee-based litigation like the city of Des Moines, Iowa, which has been fighting lawsuits since 2004. Due to differences in the type of fee, state laws and locally based federal agencies, experts indicate that type of lawsuit wouldn’t be successful in Eugene.

ODOT spring spraying plan: 

• The week of May 6, two days on Hwy. 58 and two days on Hwy. 126 east of Eugene.

• The week of May 13, the Veneta section including Hwy. 126 west of Eugene, Hwy. 36 and Territorial Highway.

• The week of May 20, the Florence section of Hwy. 126 West, Hwy. 36 and Hwy. 101.

Spraying began a couple weeks ago, call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 (Lane County area) at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. 

Up the bike chart we go! Every year, the League of American Bicyclists releases a ranking of states’ friendliness to biking, and Oregon jumped from number five to number three in 2013. The rankings are released to give kudos for bike-ability strengths and provide suggestions for improvements, such as the need for better infrastructure.

The city of Eugene sent Doc’s Pad a notice of violation April 26 for failing to remove food grease from a catch basin that is clearly marked with a “No Dumping” placard. The grease was poured into the catch basin by a Doc’s Pad contractor (C & A Industrial Supplies, Inc., doing business as “Extreme Clean”) on the morning of April 16, and Doc’s Pad was contacted by the city the same morning and told to remove it.

Women represent only 17 percent of Congress, and only one member of the Oregon delegation, Suzanne Bonamici, is a woman. Only 23 percent of elected officials statewide in Oregon are female. These are some of the reasons that Kamala Shugar is encouraging people to come support Emerge Oregon at its May 9 fundraiser. 

Out-of-state corporations have begun to fund the pro-jail levy “Yes on 20-213” campaign. The companies may or may not be interested in improving public safety in Eugene, but they could benefit if the levy goes through because both Corizon Health, Inc. and ABL Management, Inc. are both national corporations that the county has contracted out with, cutting local union jobs in an attempt to cut costs.

An April 23 Lane County Board of Commissioners meeting explored but did not go forward with the possibility of recovering lost filing fees from the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), a private company that tracks servicing rights and ownership of mortgage loans for big banks. Multnomah County is suing MERS and 18 co-defendants for $38 million, saying that it wreaked havoc on the public property records system and denied the county of required transaction fees.

West Lane County residents often feel a little shortchanged by the Lane County Commission. They pay taxes to the county but say that they get less public safety and other benefits. A recent county vote to sell land near Ada Park, which is on the shore of Siltcoos Lake near the Oregon Coast, to a logging company has some West Lane residents even more upset over county politics.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife killed sea lion number CO22 (or as activist group Sea Shepherd dubbed him, Brian) April 16, for eating too many salmon, but conservationists say that it’s suction dredge mining, sucking up riverbeds in giant vacuums, that poses a bigger threat to Oregon’s rivers and their fish.

A series of community events are being planned to celebrate the upcoming visit to Eugene by the Dalai Lama May 10 and to raise funds for the creation of the Palmo International Peace Center.

Marijuana is legal in Washington and Colorado, and it should be in Oregon, too. That’s the goal of the upcoming Global Cannabis March to be held at high noon on Saturday, May 4, in downtown Eugene’s Free Speech Plaza. Eugene is one of 235 cities participating worldwide, and it joins Portland and Medford in a localized effort to pass legislation. 

The Eugene City Council voted 7-0 April 24 to draft an ordinance to lift the city’s ban on camping in undeveloped city properties for 120 days. Local homeless people and their advocates say that the experiment could go well if measures such as sanitation and safety are taken into consideration.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent Eugene-based Bennett’s Drain Savers a pre-enforcement notice on March 29 for performing sewage disposal services without a current license 697 times between Nov. 16, 2009, and March 6, 2013. DEQ sent Goshen Forest Products a warning letter on April 15 for failing to submit a 2011-2012 industrial stormwater monitoring report.

p>The Winnemum Wintu have been fighting for years to bring their native salmon back, and local filmmaker Will Doolittle will be premiering his documentary film, Dancing Salmon Home, about the tribe and their efforts on May 3 at Bijou Cinemas. The event will also feature the short film Ceremony is Not a Crime and a Q&A with Doolittle and Chief Caleen Sisk. 

Drones bomb people in Pakistan. They make “targeted attacks” in Yemen. A recent piece on “Drone Strikes and the Boston Marathon Bombing” on The Atlantic’s website argues that drone strikes have “probably made this kind of terrorism — home-grown terrorism, committed by longtime residents of America — more likely.”