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News Briefs

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.”

Demand is increasing for Occupy Medical’s free downtown health care, and the group needs more volunteers and donations. Occupy Medical’s mobile unit — that distinct red and white bus you see parked downtown at the Park Blocks on Sundays from noon until 4 pm — served 49 patients on April 21, according to Clinic Manager Sue Sierralupe. Occupy Medical serves patients for free, regardless of income or insurance. 

Eugene voters have been told critical services are on the chopping block if Eugene’s proposed city services fee fails the May 21 ballot, including some of Eugene’s most popular: one of two CAHOOTS vans, funding for the Buckley House sobering station, funding for library services and the Sheldon Pool, a fire crew in the Whiteaker neighborhood and the Looking Glass Station 7. But is it true? Fee supporters and opponents disagree on whether the services will be cut if the fee is voted down.

Rosboro LLC, 746-8411, now plans to spray a total of 900 acres on its forest roadsides throughout Lane County with Garlon 4 and Glyphosate. See ODF notices 2013-781-00324 and 2013-771-00333.

Giustina, 345-2301, plans to hire Northwest Reforestation, 554-0489, to ground spray Atrazine, Clopyralid, Hexazinone, Sulfometuron Methyl and/or Triclopyr Ester on a total of 219 acres near Preacher, Camas Swale, Coyote, Hawley and Doak creeks, also on 57 acres near Little Sand Creek. See ODF notices 2013-781-00321 and 2013-730-00485.

Eugene’s Multiple-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) has stirred up a lot of controversy for awarding tax breaks to downtown developers. Critics say the current ordinance and process don’t adequately ensure that the projects the 10-year tax exemptions incentivize are what the public needs. Now MUPTE could undergo a complete overhaul, if an April 22 City Council work session is any indication.

Comments to Oregon DEQ regarding five local facilities’ industrial stormwater pollution control plans are due by 5 pm April 25. These facilities are: Gary Foglio Trucking (Florence), Oregon Industrial Lumber Products (Springfield), Rosboro Vaughn Complex (Veneta), Seneca Noti (Noti), and SierraPine (Springfield). Visit goo.gl/ScwdH to see stormwater plans, and goo.gl/iMDQb to comment.

Tackling the enormous problem of sexual violence begins with breaking its surrounding silence, and this year’s 34th annual Take Back the Night (TBTN) aims to do just that in a rally, march and speak-out event beginning 6 pm Thursday, April 25.

More than 60 parents, teachers and students met April 18 to discuss the common schedule coming to all 4J high schools. Organized by a group called 4J Parents Supporting Public Schools, the meeting brought together people from all four high schools, who expressed frustration with both the 4J School Board’s mandate and the process leading up to it.

A mixing zone is a spot where pollution enters into a river, and it’s legal for it to be there. These mixing zones exist throughout the Willamette River, and last fall, Travis Williams of Willamette Riverkeeper found himself floating over a dark, murky patch of water in the Willamette near Halsey. That murky water has led to a settlement between Cascade Pacific Pulp and Willamette Riverkeeper. However, the question over whether Cascade should have to post a sign letting river-users know about its mixing zone will be decided by a federal magistrate judge in Eugene.

With less than five weeks until Eugene voters decide whether to approve a city service fee, a committee is beginning to work on the fee’s low-income threshold, and its collection method is still up in the air.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been causing controversy nationally and locally, and those who are fighting the specter of genetically modified canola in the Willamette Valley as well as the dominance of chemical companies such as Monsanto will be bringing their call to action to EWEB’s Earth Day celebration April 20 and on the 21st.

Nothing goes together like nudity and nature, but there’s a limited number of places one can enjoy the outdoors au natural in Lane County. The recent shutdown of access to Glass Bar Island, one of Lane County’s traditionally nude beaches, has some questioning if the closure is targeting an already stigmatized group out of discomfort with the idea of nude gay people, while supporters say the proposed restoration project benefits humans and nature. Previous dumping brings more complications to the issue.

The 4J School Board expanded public comment time at the April 10 meeting as part of its pledge to hold more feedback sessions with community members. Over about 90 minutes, comments touched on the district’s move to a common high school schedule, changes in the way health clinics operate and proposed cuts to library services.

Neighborhood advocate Paul Conte has filed a notice of intent to petition the Land Conservation and Development Commission for an enforcement order related to the city of Eugene’s planning processes.

Recent layoffs and walkouts at the popular downtown bar John Henry’s have people asking several questions: Is the new management getting rid of the old John Henry’s? Will John Henry’s change its name? Will G.L.A.M. Nights continue?