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News Briefs

In objection to the planned West 11th EmX extension, perennial bus-rapid-transit-opponents Our Money Our Transit (OMOT) filed a lawsuit against the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) June 11, calling for the project to be halted pending further review. The suit claims that the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) that the FTA issued after reviewing the expected effects of the LTD project’s impact was improper, but LTD says that it thinks the FONSI will hold up in court, and there’s not much chance that the EmX extension will be delayed.

After a brief but vociferous debate, the Eugene City Council voted 5-3 June 17 to grant Core Campus, a Chicago-based developer, approximately $4.5 million in tax exemptions over 10 years for a planned 12-story student apartment building. In response, neighborhood advocate Paul Conte announced that he would file a ballot initiative petition to abolish any Multiple-Unit Property Tax Exemptions (MUPTEs) granted after April 2013.

One bunny had a broken jaw and was missing its tail. Three more wound up at the home of a Cottage Grove employee after a co-worker said her kids couldn’t keep them. Heather Crippen of Red Barn Rabbit Rescue says that those were a few of the results of a previous “animal scramble” at the Cottage Grove Rodeo.

If the Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) wins its appeal before the Oregon Supreme Court, Lane County could get $7.2 million from communications giant Comcast in taxes. If the state loses, then Lane County Tax Assessor Mike Cowles says at least the county won’t owe any money, thanks to a bill that was passed in the 2011 Legislature after the Comcast dispute began in 2009. Ten Oregon counties are affected by the dispute: Lane, Multnomah, Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Linn, Marion, Polk, Washington and Yamhill.

Love your “I love My Ducks” T-shirt? John Henzie of Triangle Graphics is worried that with the UO’s new request for proposals (RFP) for apparel licenses asking for a half million dollars as a “minimum annual guarantee,” small, local businesses like his won’t be able to compete and make spur-of-the moment T-shirts anymore. The RFP does not affect Nike.

A week before the school year ended, students at Edison Elementary held a protest after being cut off from bento boxes. For most of the year, Ume Grill’s Helen Nahoopii had been delivering the single-portion lunches packed in boxes to kids at Roosevelt Middle School and Edison Elementary after their parents ordered the boxes online. She says the district ordered her to stop because providing the food violates the district’s contract with food service giant Sodexo. 

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assessed another fine against local residents for pollution from a leaking septic system last week, this time on Tioga Drive in Cottage Grove. DEQ assessed a civil penalty of $11,857 against David and Laura Pendergrass after Lane County discovered the leaking septic in January, and the Pendergrasses failed to respond to three separate letters from DEQ and the county. The discharge appears to be continuing, and DEQ’s order requires it to be eliminated immediately.

After an opening win against the Bend Timbers at home, the EMFC Azul head onto the road for a collection of games head coach Jürgen Ruckaberle isn’t taking lightly. The team faced Bend on Tuesday, June 11. Azul won 2-1, and a few changes were in store. Italian midfielder Eleonora Petralia made her debut in return from injury, as did UO’s Achijah Berry. 

It’s not pot! That’s one of the main messages behind Hemp History Week, says Eugene hemp activist Michael Moore, better known as Papa Hemp. Eugeneans will gather for a free educational event from noon to 10 pm Saturday, June 8, at 267 Van Buren St. across from Ninkasi, and learn more about the plant that can’t get you high.

With thick fur and paws that work like snowshoes, the Canada lynx is a cat specialized for hunting in the snow. Already decimated by habitat destruction and overhunting, lynx are now facing the added danger of climate change, which may diminish their snowy habitats. 

The Eugene Metro Football Club (EMFC) Azul took on and defeated the Bend Timbers by a score of 4-1 in front of 700 patrons packed in bleachers above the South Eugene High School soccer field. In this season-opening game, fans and head coach Jürgen Ruckaberle got their first peek of Gaia Mastrovincenzo, a touted forward and midfielder from the prestigious Serie A’s Riviera di Romagna in Italy, who stood out in leading her new team to victory.

It’s been more than half a century since packs of gray wolves wandered the rim of Crater Lake and the Three Sisters Wilderness, but conservationists say that their howls may soon be heard again in those areas, once they disperse into western Oregon. Due to a recent settlement between several conservation organizations, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, wolves are now granted increased protection by Oregon law, easing their transition as they recover their population.

Eugene and deserts sound like an unlikely combination, but the USDA lists four Eugene food deserts, census tracts that contain a high percentage of low-income people living in areas with low access to fresh, healthy food. For a year, students from the UO Architecture School’s Digital Media Collective (DMC) studied public use of private space and accessibility of healthy food throughout the city, and their final project is the fabrication of food shelving that’s adaptable enough for “pop-up” markets.

UO architecture students aren’t just taking classes and making floor plans, they’re using their degree-earning time to rebuild a house — with a special focus on the marriage of design and sustainability. The Center for the Advancement of Sustainable Living (CASL, sounds like “castle”), at 1801 Moss St., is re-creating and adding onto the house where it’s based, while inviting the local residents inside to brainstorm about their own projects.

After some delays and years of planning, the curtain is rising on the newest theater downtown — the Bijou Metro. Saturday, June 1, the art house cinema will open to the public with screenings of the Japanese anime film From Up On Poppy Hill, The Angels’ Share (a whiskey flick), The Rep (a movie about indie cinemas with an appearance by the Bijou’s owner-booker Ed Schiessl) and a midnight showing of a cult classic (TBD).

It came to a grand total of $550,000 to bring the Dalai Lama to Portland in May, but what it cost to bring him to Eugene is not yet known. His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, spent most of his Oregon visit in Portland, with a stop in Eugene for his May 10 lecture, “The Path to Peace and Happiness in the Global Society.” 

UO spokesman Phil Weiler says the UO has not yet done a final accounting of the Eugene event, with some big-ticket expenditures still coming in, but that the UO’s “expectation from the beginning was that expenses would exceed revenues.”

• Walton Hylomorphia plans to ground spray 175 acres near the Siuslaw River with Glyphosate, Triclopyr Ester and Glyphosate Amine.

• ODOT spring spraying plan: the week of May 13, the Veneta section including 126 west of Eugene, Hwy. 36 and Territorial Highway; the week of May 20, the Florence section of Hwys. 126 West, 36 and 101. Spraying began at the beginning of May, call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 (Lane County area) at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. 

Last week, Oregon DEQ assessed civil penalties against Prize Properties and Bennett’s Drain Savers, both of which DEQ sent pre-enforcement notices to in March (EW 3/28, goo.gl/jEZwT; EW 5/2, goo.gl/gz1FR). DEQ assessed a penalty of $15,417 against Eugene-based Bennett’s Drain Savers for performing sewage disposal services without a license and surety bond, including disposal at Heard Farms on Airport Road in Eugene.

Although city parks are generally considered open to the public, Tamara Barnes of No Kill Lane County alleges that two officers from the Eugene Police Department (EPD) told her and three others to leave Alton Baker Park at Greenhill Humane Society’s Bark in the Park benefit on May 19, raising the question of whether a permit holder for an event can have protesters removed from an otherwise public area.

“I feel very strongly that if we don’t stop GMOs it will be the end of humanity,” says Lizzy Cwynar. She had never organized a protest before, but her concerns over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) led her to organize Eugene’s part of the worldwide March Against Monsanto. Eugene police estimate that about 2,500 people participated in the May 25 event. At least two million people are said to have participated in marches nationwide.

UO’s decades-old urban farm program didn’t sprout overnight, but the university’s various farm projects are now growing fast. In addition to the 1.5 acre Urban Farm north of Franklin Boulevard, it added sites on Columbia and Moss Streets in 2012. The Service-Learning Program started a farm at Edison Elementary School in the Fairmount neighborhood.

Oregonians would rather protect water, forests, fish and wildlife on their federal forestlands than cut them down for money for the timber economy and local governments. That’s the gist of a recent bipartisan statewide poll of likely voters in western Oregon by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Eugene’s path toward a sustainable budget will probably be a bumpy road, filled with all the suspense and comedy of a summer blockbuster. Since the city service fee went down in flames on Election Day, Eugene’s budget process is going to get interesting. 

Sniffing out what you shouldn’t miss in the arts this week