Marc Kardell didn’t look like a fight-the-power kind of guy at his “name-clearing hearing” in the Lane County commissioners’ offices on Jan. 18; he looked like the proper, grey-haired attorney and public servant he is, or rather, since being fired by Lane County last May, was.
Fiscal cliff, debt ceiling, recession. The words out of Washington are gloomy and confusing, but Jared Bernstein, who has been chief economist and economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, executive director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class and a member of President Obama’s economic team, says when he comes to give a talk in Eugene on Jan. 28, he comes “with a message of hope for the future” and that he is also here to listen and help clarify the economic news out of the nation’s capital.
As salmon populations continue to decline on the West Coast, policy makers and government officials argue over ways to prevent extinction. But according to Caleen Sisk, spiritual leader and tribal chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe in Northern California, the salmon can’t wait much longer.
Friends of Michael David Rister, who was better known downtown as Sweet Pea, want to know who the assailants were that they say attacked him. Sweet Pea, a homeless street artist, was often seen outside the Circle K and Pita Pit in Eugene. Friends are working on a memorial celebration for him, and they also say they want justice for him in his death.
The ninth annual All Comer’s Meet hosted by the Disciples of Dirt mountain bike club will begin at 9:45 am Sunday, Jan. 20, at Whypass near Lorane. This is the DOD’s largest annual event and has steadily grown each year.
“Attendance last year, verified by signed wavers, was 149 people but estimates were closer to 165, even with snow on the ground that day,” says Shawn Litson, spokesperson for DOD. This is a free event and open to all.
Eugene might want to update its slogan: “A Great City for the Arts and Outdoors — and Beer.” Claim 52 Brewing, a west Eugene craft brewery that began first and third Friday dock sales in November, is adding a European-style flavor (among others) to the local offerings.
Accustomed to seeing a UO cop, thinking “rent-a-cop” and continuing your misbehavior? Better take a second glance in that rearview. The newly christened University of Oregon Police Department (UOPD) could hand you a ticket or lock you up off campus if UO decides — internally — to change its public safety policies.
The BP oil disaster that sent an estimated 4.9 million gallons of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico for three months after an April 2010 oil rig explosion is neither gone nor forgotten. BP is still paying settlements on the long-term effects of the Macondo well’s spill on the fragile ecosystem as well as paying millions in criminal fines. And the legal cases continue: On Jan.
Numerous events in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday,
Jan. 21, have been scheduled around the valley.
In Eugene, an annual march will begin at 11 am at Autzen Stadium followed by an event at 12:15 pm at The Shedd Institute featuring actor and activist Danny Glover and recording artists Lela Parra, Sayba, Ray J and Jeremy Rosado of American Idol fame. Free tickets will be given out at the parade.
Monitoring of the Amazon Creek Basin by the city of Eugene under the city’s Clean Water Act permit for urban stormwater discharges during 2011-2012 shows a decreasing trend for about 77 percent of indicators, though water quality standards for various pollutants are still exceeded in the basin. For copper, 30 percent of samples exceeded the relevant water quality standard by up to seven times.
The Lane Board of County Commissioners had scheduled a vote to appoint Senior Assistant County Counsel Stephen Dingle as the new county counsel at their Jan. 8 meeting, but postponed the issue of Dingle’s contract, voting instead on another part of the agenda item — to re-create the Office of Lane County Legal Counsel as a separate county department.
That’s not rain outside; it’s the 1,200-resident Capstone student housing development moving full steam ahead now that the company has settled with neighborhood advocate Paul Conte for $260,000 in exchange for Conte dropping land-use and planning-related legal appeals. Conte and two other fund managers will use much of the money for improvements to the areas around the student housing project.
At bar close in the Barmuda Triangle on Tuesday, Dec. 4, Tomo Tsurumi — saxophonist for Volifonix and origami artist — was attacked by a twenty-something Caucasian male with fair, long curly hair. Tsurumi, who has been busking with his alto saxophone in downtown Eugene for the past seven years, says he had stepped into Jameson’s for one beer before bar close. Upon exiting, Tsurumi was approached by a “drunk and happy” man.
Sid Leiken, chair of the Lane County Board of Commissioners, put a positive spin on hope for the poor state of the county’s finances during his State of the County address on Jan. 7. Leiken focused on the positive improvements in areas such as community health, while members of SLEEPS (Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep) protested outside Harris Hall to advocate for the homeless.
A recent Register-Guard article about restructuring the University of Oregon’s Office of Equity and Inclusion set off a firestorm among students, many of whom were gone for break when they heard the restructuring involved ending the contracts of three popular administrators.
In a curious case of human logic, public opinion is growing in favor of better gun control regulations, but gun sales are up, and the businesses that sell firearms won’t talk. Cabela’s, Bi-Mart, Walmart and S&M Gun Shop didn’t respond before press time, while Eugene shooting range and gun retail store Baron’s Den refused to comment. The reluctance to respond to repeated phone calls could be an indicator of how uncomfortable firearm distributors nationwide have become in the wake of shootings in Clackamas and Newtown, Conn., among others.
Conrad Barney says you never have it all while being homeless. “It almost seems like places have two out of three things that you need,” he says. “We have an ample supply of material; we have water and clothing and blankets because our community cares.” Barney commenced a hunger strike Dec. 11, he says, because the city’s camping ban makes something that’s important in rainy cold Eugene, shelter, difficult to attain.
Idle No More is a campaign for indigenous rights, sovereignty and environmental justice that began in Canada in part as a response to Canada’s omnibus bill C-45 that is seen as taking away treaty rights. Though neglected in mainstream U.S. media coverage, the campaign has generated rallies and flashmobs across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Flashmobs were held in Portland’s Pioneer Square Mall on Dec. 23 and Eugene’s Valley River Center Mall on Dec. 29.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently sent Shell Oil Products Company a warning letter for failing to have the wastewater system at its Halsey facility, near I-5 and Highway 228, supervised by a certified operator. DEQ considers this a serious violation of the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act permit for this facility expired on June 30, 2011.
In July, federal agency Wildlife Services set a bear trap at Lane County Waste Management’s Rattlesnake Road facility without consulting Patti Hansen, manager of the facility. Hansen says that the bear trap was set while she was on vacation and that she had the trap removed before any bears were trapped and killed.
Private citizens, members of Cottage Grove’s Forest Web and former Lane County commissioner Jerry Rust are concerned the decisions about Oregon’s public forests, and specifically the O&C forests that have been used to generate cash for counties, are being made in secret. Rust and Cristina Hubbard of Forest Web held a press conference and delivered letters to Gov. Kitzhaber’s office on Dec. 18 asking him to open his O&C “timber panel” up for citizen participation.
On the evening of Nov. 23, a 17-year-old African-American girl was beaten and left for dead near the Springfield Fred Meyer. Now family members say they need the public’s help to catch the perpetrator.
“Some people have a mentality of not wanting to talk to the police, but this is somebody’s life,” says Jeremiah Farish, the girl’s brother. “She could have died — if the lady didn’t find her, she could have died.” He urges anyone with knowledge of the attack to call the Springfield Police Department Tip Line at 726-3721.
Nine more local facilities’ industrial stormwater pollution control plans are up for public comment this week. These plans are for facilities that have applied for Clean Water Act permit coverage under the new industrial stormwater permit issued by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and that took effect July 1. Comments are due by 5 pm on Jan. 3.
Frequent travelers on Willamette Street between 24th and 32nd avenues know that the corridor isn’t Eugene’s finest for travel, and with the November passage of the pavement preservation bond measure, there’s funding to repave and possibly reconfigure the stretch in the next five years.
Congressman Peter DeFazio, whose own hometown of Springfield made national headlines in 1998 with the deadly Thurston High School shootings, says this week that Congress “will need to address a number of critical issues next year and this [mass shootings] should be a top priority.”