• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

News Briefs

What’s the first thing you should do when you commit to living a more sane and energy-efficient life? “Inventory your possessions” and figure out what you can live with and what you can’t live without. That was the painful advice home designer and artist Michael Pease gave to empty-nesters Alan Dickman and Sue Burden-Dickman, who downsized from a large conventional house to an efficient new 1,300-square-foot living space in June.

This summer’s “animal scramble” at the Cottage Grove Rodeo appalled animal lovers, who say the rabbits used in the event can be hurt or even killed. The Cottage Grove Riding Club, which puts on the scramble, said at a Sept. 10 board meeting that the event prevents the rabbits from being slaughtered for meat.

The Eugene City Council is readying for another public forum on the Downtown Public Safety Zone, often called the downtown exclusion zone, in advance of an Oct. 8 vote on whether to renew it. Occupy Eugene police liaisons and attorney Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center say the Eugene Police Department stonewalled their public records request until the last minute. Now the EPD is suggesting that the city pay $15,000 for legal representation for the accused rather than do away with the exclusion ordinance.

Those trees lining the streets of Eugene are more than just urban decoration. They could help the city deal with climate change. Friends of Trees (FOT) is an organization that brings people together to plant and care for trees and green spaces. The group hopes to begin a community-wide conversation about creating a resilient urban canopy to help mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Eugeneans who don’t want their tax dollars used to investigate and raid medical marijuana facilitators have a lot to complain about in the latest Oregon raid.

Canola (aka rapeseed) opponents are celebrating the announcement that canola will not be planted in the Willamette Valley this year. The Oregon Court of Appeals has put a stay on a temporary rule that would have allowed the controversial crop to be planted in an expanded area this fall on about 480,000 acres in the valley.

Forget cut-offs, streetlights and looking both ways before crossing the street. This weekend the city of Eugene is allowing South Eugene neighborhoods to take back the streets for a day.

Last year’s event took place in the Whiteaker and downtown, closing a mile-long stretch of road on 5th Avenue between Pearl and Blair Boulevard. It drew close to 2,000 people and garnered a lot of positive feedback from the community, according to city Transportation Coordinator Lindsay Selser. 

It’s almost fall, blackberries are ripening, and it’s harvest season. But for the rural communities around Triangle Lake, that also means it’s pesticide spray season. Eron King, a mother and farmer, says while an Oregon Health Authority (OHA) investigation into the toxic sprays by the timber industry appears to be on hold, the fight against them sprays is not. 

Retired Portland mail carrier Jaime Partridge put the finishing touches on his monthlong “postal road warrior trip” when he visited Eugene Aug. 27. Partridge has been visiting Oregon U.S. Postal Service (USPS) processing centers and post offices on the chopping block in the coming year to help communities organize to save them. While here, he met with members of the Eugene/Springfield Solidarity Network (ESSN), a local labor and civil rights organization that will continue the fight to save the Gateway processing center in Springfield. 

Congressman Peter DeFazio has weighed in on the coal export debate that is raging in the Northwest. He says, “I’m not a big fan of coal; I wish we didn’t burn coal at all.” However, he says that the Powder River Basin coal that would be exported via Coos Bay under the current proposal is a cleaner burning coal than what is being currently burned in Korea. “In this isolated instance, my understanding is this is to displace dirtier coal,” already burning in existing coal plants, he says, as opposed to proposals along the Columbia that would ship coal to new power plants in Asia.

Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon (PPSO) is busy moving into its new regional Health & Education Center at 3579 Franklin Blvd., in Glenwood, and will open its doors to the public at 10:30 am Tuesday, Sept. 4. The long-awaited new facility consolidates the Eugene High Street center, the Eugene administrative offices and the Springfield Q Street center, but other sites, including the Bethel Express Health Clinic, will remain open.

Lost Valley Educational Center in Dexter is having its annual open house Sept. 8, and this year the proceeds will benefit both Lost Valley and the fight to save nearby Parvin Butte. Lost Valley is a learning community that hosts courses, workshops, events, a conference center and the Meadowsong Ecovillage residential community. The Lost Valley Fest starts at 4 pm and will feature music by the Conjugal Vistors, tours and treats. See lostvalley.org for directions.

When Susan Lynette Hughes felt a sting on her buttocks while she stood near East 11th and Mill July 10, at first she thought it was a bee sting. Then the men she was talking to started feeling stings, and she realized they were being shot with BBs.

Hughes, who is unhoused, says she had heard of college students shooting homeless people with BB guns, but she and the men standing with her were still shocked and angry. The men and the shooter exchanged shouts, and Hughes says she wanted to prevent the situation from escalating.

A cut-and-paste error by an attorney was enough to send the conservative members of the Lane County Board of Commissioners into a tailspin and reportedly briefly lock progressive Commissioner Pete Sorenson out of his office. Fellow liberal Commissioner Rob Handy had been locked out of his office for more than 80 days and was only recently let back in, long after an investigation into allegations of financial impropriety by the Oregon Department of Justice had released the office. 

The “war on drugs” — particularly on marijuana — has already played a big role in Oregon politics this year, garnering national attention during the Oregon attorney general race. Despite that attention, Libertarian vice presidential candidate James P. Gray, former presiding judge of the Superior Court of Orange County, Calif., said during a visit to EW that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are rolling out any new ideas when it comes to the failed drug war.

Anti-pesticide activist Day Owen believes the forestry herbicides that drifted onto his organic farm and onto his skin from a nearby helicopter spray in October 2007 may have given him skin cancer.

In the historic Mabel Schoolhouse lies an all-but-forgotten organization of farmers and community, the Mohawk Valley Community Grange in Marcola. While the history of these community buildings is long, this grange is taking on a new role as one of the community’s oldest backbones. 

“The spirit of the grange is opening up the community,” Grangemaster Tom Baratta says. “We try to open the doors through volunteerism, planning community events, fundraising and renting out the facility.” 

The proponents of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline and export facility proposed for southern Oregon say it’s in the public interest to extract natural gas through fracking, pipe it through public and private lands and export it overseas. Conservation groups and landowners beg to differ. “Incredibly, they claim they need to increase fracking in the Rocky Mountain basin,” says Francis Eatherington of Cascadia Wildlands. 

Three Lane County Young Democrats, Andrew Becker, Steven Coatsworth and Celine Swenson-Harris, are embarking on a “Great American Adventure” Aug. 24 in a well-worn 1989 Honda Civic freshly painted with stars and stripes. The three are traveling cross-country to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is forging ahead with its plan to expand planting canola in the Willamette Valley, and canola, also known as rapeseed, opponents are fighting the weed-like plant fiercely. They say not only does canola risk the livelihoods of vegetable seed growers, but also canola is so easily dispersed that conventional (nonorganic) canola is often contaminated by genetically modified (GMO) crops. 

National Honeybee Week has local bee enthusiasts abuzz with activity, canvassing neighborhoods, celebrating bees and asking the city of Eugene to stop using pesticides in public parks and other spaces. “We want to educate and empower ourselves to protect the bees because our government is refusing to do so, and that’s at the federal, state and local levels,” Lisa Arkin of Beyond Toxics says.

Drive down Highway 99 through Goshen and you won’t see much: the Land o’ Goshen Tavern, some homes, some cattails and a couple mill sites. It’s a little unclear what the big deal about Goshen is and why some people from Lane County are pushing hard and fast to have the unincorporated town outside Eugene’s urban growth boundary (UGB) rezoned and revamped into an industrial park. 

Contracts show that Lane County paid thousands of dollars in 2011 to Wildlife Services, a federal agency that reports show killed almost 60,000 animals in Oregon over a 10-year period through trapping, snaring and poisons. It is unclear whether Lane County has signed a new contract with the agency in the new budget year, according to Commissioner Pete Sorenson.

Canola. It sounds so harmless. Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seed in Philomath says that the name comes from “Canadian oil,” and the moniker was devised after Canadian scientists took a plant called rapeseed and modified it to make it lower in erucic acid and thus a little more edible for animals and humans. Canola is causing a controversy among those who support local foods as well as spurring allegations about biofuels producers and suppliers such as Eugene’s SeQuential Biofuels.