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News Briefs

A delegation of nine city officials will visit Eugene from Kathmandu, Nepal, May 13-17. The problems of Kathmandu are “a microcosmic view of what the entire planet is going to be facing before we know it,” says Dennis Ramsey, president of Eugene’s Kathmandu Sister City Association.

The visiting delegation will include the mayor of Kathmandu, its city planner and the director of Kathmandu’s environmental program. A photo exhibit featuring Kathmandu at New Zone Gallery on Monday, May 14, is also part of the visit. 

The race for the North Eugene seat on the Lane County Board of Commissioners has become a brawl, with revelations of drunk driving and allegations of wrongdoing flying right and left.

An “emergency meeting” last week, attended only by the commission’s conservative majority and County Administrator Liane Richardson, resulted in a swift vote to release to the media information related to allegations against incumbent Commissioner Rob Handy. Handy calls the allegations a “smear tactic.”

Lost Creek Rock Products has begun blasting at Parvin Butte, and neighbors say the noise is frightening people and their pets. The once-wooded land has been logged and the butte, which gives a scenic backdrop to boaters on the nearby Dexter Lake reservoir, is slated to be razed. 

Neighbor Pete Helzer tells of a neighbor’s dog that was so scared by the blasting noise that it ran through two fences before it could be stopped. He says destroying the butte harms not only the rural community but its history, as well as the water and environment.

In Eugene’s rainy spring, Save Civic is an umbrella — for two smaller Civic groups, that is. The movement to save the old wooden stadium, formerly home of the Ems, has refined itself into Friends of Civic Stadium, centered on historic preservation, and Civic Stadium Sports and Entertainment, focused on business and future activities.

Timber barons can speculate on trees, land barons can speculate on selling properties but the West is not supposed to have water barons. It’s illegal under Western water law to speculate on water. An Oregon administrative law judge has ruled a private company would be speculating on the waters of the McKenzie River if granted its application for 22 million gallons of water a day out of the river. 

On April 27, the judge recommended to Oregon’s Water Resources Department that Willamette Water Company’s water right application be denied. 

Ted Taylor

 et al.

County Commission candidate Pat Farr, running against incumbent Commissioner Rob Handy, has raised about $91,000 so far, averaging $1,000 per donation. Lindholm Company, a consulting and polling firm where Farr worked until taking a leave, has donated a total of $4,060 in cash and in-kind services. Wildish Sand and Gravel Co. donated $5,000, followed by $3,000 from Delta Sand and Gravel and $2,500 from Hamilton Construction in Springfield. Also donating $2,500 each were Rosboro Lumber, Murphy Hardwood Plywood Division and John R. Murphy.

As the City Council’s vote on the 10-year Multiple-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) for the proposed 1,200-student Capstone project nears, Eugeneans are piping up about potential impacts on the livability of downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. 

It was Kids Day, a part of Occupy the Trees, a weeklong Earth Day-oriented celebration. But the April 25 children’s event ended dramatically with two mothers pepper sprayed by Eugene police and children crying, according to attorney Lauren Regan. 

Kids Day consisted of a kids’ march and a scavenger hunt for nature items, as well as speeches from children about the environment, according to a press release from Occupy Eugene. 

The Oregon attorney general primary race between Dwight Holton and Ellen Rosenblum is fraught with complexity and nuance, but for some medical marijuana advocates, the race has boiled down to who’s better on pot.

“Dwight’s Not Right” reads the headline on a press release from Robert Wolfe of Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement (CSLE), which is sponsoring Initiative Petition 24, which would legalize marijuana for personal use. If the initiative is approved, a ballot measure will go before voters in November.   

The all-volunteer Cascade Medical Team, a veteran of 11 years of operating primary care clinics in Guatemala, will again be providing a similar mission in Lane County. This weekend, six doctors from the CMT and the community will provide free medical services to people without insurance or access to affordable health care. Individuals and families are welcome and no proof of residency or other documentation will be required. 

After EW commented on Lane County Commission candidate Andy Stahl’s connection to Cato Institute Senior Fellow Randal O’Toole in an April 5 Slant column, the fur began to fly. Letters to the editor, online comments and even tweets chided EW for “smearing” Stahl with the connection to O’Toole and Cato.

The trees are being Occupied. In downtown Eugene and out in the Goose Timber Sale, near the town of McKenzie Bridge, activists are “occupying the trees” as part of a “worldwide environmental protest against corporate and personal greed,” spurred by Occupy Eugene and the Cascadia Forest Defenders (CFD). 

Activists gathered at the Eugene downtown post office on Tax Day, April 17, “to challenge militarism and corporate greed and to call for the re-ordering of federal spending and tax priorities from supporting war and Wall St. to meeting human and environmental needs,” according to Michael Carrigan of CALC. 

Eugene’s 32rd Take Back the Night (TBTN)/ Recobrar la Noche may be unusually quiet this year due to the mandatory reporting policy implemented by UO last fall. The new guidelines state that all university workers are required to report cases of sexual assault reported to them to the Department of Public Safety, with or without the consent of the survivor. 

Bus tours generally take you fun places; they take you sightseeing. But a recent bus tour took Lane County participants on a trip into environmental justice — or the lack of it. Small houses cringed in front of smokestack plumes and neighborhood residents told of days the smell of chemicals have them hiding in their houses, their children stricken with asthma attacks. This isn’t happening in some big dirty city in some other state. It’s in west Eugene.

As the May primary lurks closer and closer, campaign money and endorsements are piling up in the county commissioner race for South Eugene. The Pete Sorenson vs. Andy Stahl contest seems a bit of a liberal against liberal, green against green match-up, but race-watchers say it’s more clearcut than that. 

Earth Day was first observed in 1970. Forty-two years later it’s still going strong and the Earth still needs saving. Here in Eugene and the surrounding area, a lot’s going on to commemorate the occasion. How do you decide what to do? It won’t be easy, but here’s a roundup of some local happenings going on for Earth Day 2012. For more events, see our Calendar.

Unions. They brought you the 40-hour, five-day workweek; they fight for health care and they’re a font of music you can sing along to. “Solidarity forever/ solidarity forever/ the union makes us strong.”

George Mann will be bringing his labor and folk music to Eugene at 8 pm Friday, April 20, at the Whiteaker’s Reality Kitchen. The show is sponsored by Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network/Jobs with Justice, AFSCME Local 3214 and the Lane branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

The UO neither supports nor opposes the efforts of its faculty to unionize, a spokesperson says. It just objects to the all-encompassing and overlapping categories of tenured professors, tenure-track professors, adjunct instructors, faculty of graduate and professional degree programs, emeritus faculty, postdoctoral scholars, research associates and fellows, visiting faculty and supervisory employees as parts of the same union.

Not only do Lane County residents know who most of their county commissioners are, they like the ones they know, according to a survey done by the Lindholm Company. Commissioners Rob Handy and Pete Sorenson, who are up for re-election, both scored well in the survey. 

Sid Leiken, a former Springfield mayor and now county commissioner for Springfield, topped the list both in name recognition, 70 percent, and in favorability ratings, 36 percent favorable, 12 percent unfavorable. Leiken is not up for re-election this cycle and is the current chair of the board.

“If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a speculum — it sucks,” Breeze Harper said to a predominantly twenty-something audience at the UO on April 7. “But the speculum is this commodity that came out of the suffering of African American slavery.”

Former prostitute and porn star Annie Sprinkle has come out of the closet as an ecosexual. Sprinkle, a leader in the sex-positive feminist movement, will be coming to Eugene and leading an “ecosexy walking tour” from 3 to 4:30 pm Thursday, April 12, outside the EMU at UO. 

Animal advocates almost didn’t get a chance to tell the Board of Lane County Commissioners what they think of the plans to make major changes to the way the county deals with its stray pets. The public was allowed to comment April 5 at a commissioners’ meeting, but only after Commissioners Rob Handy and Pete Sorenson made repeated requests to have the animal control issue added to the agenda.

In last week’s Chow! story “Angels in the Rye,” the location of the restaurant called Rye was incorrect. Co-owner Kiyallah Heatherstone tells us the restaurant is at 444 E. 3rd Ave., just off the Ferry Street Bridge. The phone number at Rye is 953-3473.