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News Briefs

A dispute over a Bloomsday reading of James Joyce’s Ulysses in Kesey Square has moved literature — and performing it — out of the classroom and into the legal quagmire of Eugene’s downtown.

All workers in the city of Eugene might be eligible for paid sick leave in 2015 if the City Council moves forward with a proposed ordinance. 

Seventy-eight percent of low-wage workers and 51 percent of private-sector workers in Eugene don’t receive paid sick time, according to a study the Institute for Women’s Policy Research did for Everybody Benefits Eugene, a coalition of local organizations and businesses that support a paid sick leave ordinance. 

Eugene company Glass Tree Care and Spray Service has had its license suspended and will face a fine following an investigation into the death of 5,000 bees after the company sprayed 17 blossoming linden trees at Jacobs Lane Apartments with pesticides, says Bruce Pokarney of the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is accepting comments through 4:30 pm Monday, June 30, on a proposed $410,000 settlement concerning groundwater contamination caused by McAyeals Cleaners (located immediately south of the Eugene Public Library in downtown Eugene). Visit http://goo.gl/miiyvW for info on commenting, and http://goo.gl/7kOLXt to view the proposed settlement. If more than 10 people (or a group with more than 10 members) request it, DEQ will hold a public meeting on the proposed settlement. 

The Elwha Dam, illegally built without fish passage in 1913, blocked native salmon and steelhead from spawning in 70 miles of pristine habitat along Washington’s Elwha River. In 1987, Mikal Jakubal drew attention to the dam, tucked away in Olympic National Park, when he anonymously painted a large crack on it and the words “Elwha be free.” In 2013, the dam came down.

• Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call 1-888-996-8080 for herbicide application information. Highways I-5, Beltline and 99 were sprayed recently.

• Roseburg Resources Co. plans to ground spray 109 acres near Green River with imazapyr, triclopyr ester and/or oil surfactant. See ODF notice 2014-781-00593, call Jim Hall at 997-8713 with questions.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) hit Pacific Recycling with a $327,686 fine on Friday, June 13, for stormwater pollution problems dating back to 2008 at its facility on Cross Street (near Roosevelt Boulevard) in Eugene. Pacific Recycling has repeatedly discharged harmful levels of industrial pollutants (specifically copper, lead, zinc, suspended solids, and oil & grease), and promised to install additional stormwater treatment in 2011, but never did so.

Skateboarders should be allowed to ride in streets and bike lanes like bicyclists, according to Lee Shoemaker, Eugene’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. He has not gone to the Eugene City Council with the proposal because he has heard mixed opinions about it, he says. Eugene city law currently allows skateboarders to ride in the streets only while crossing them. Downtown, skateboarding on sidewalks is also illegal. 

The 2014 FIFA World Cup may be in progress a full continent away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw on your USA jersey and experience a sliver of the camaraderie and sporting atmosphere here in Eugene. Several local establishments should have more than enough soccer — ahem, futbol — on tap in the coming weeks to be your World Cup proxy. 

Kick, push, kick, push; clunk, clunk, clunk. With the official opening of WJ Skatepark + Urban Plaza June 21, those are the noises that Eugeneans will be hearing a lot more of. And that is music to the ears of Jeremy Conant, the marketing director for Tactics, a Eugene-based skate, snow and surf shop, located just blocks from the new skatepark.

Soon after news broke of the Eugene Celebration being canceled last week, individuals and community groups came up with big plans to have a celebration without Kesey Enterprises, the private group that has run the EC and parade for years. The parade might still happen. Brendan Relaford of Kesey Enterprises says that a meeting was held with “various stakeholders” Monday, June 9, and “we are going to make a decision in the next day or two.” An email query was also sent out to organizations that have participated in the parade in the last two years.

Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call 1-888-996-8080 for herbicide application information. Highways I-5, 99 and 126 were sprayed recently. 

Seneca Jones Timber Company, 461-6245, plans to hire Washburn Contract Services, 503-831-1593, to spray about 5 miles of roadsides near Coyote Creek with 2,4-D, glyphosate, metsulfuron methyl and/or triclopyr with additives MSO and Syl-Tac. See ODF notice 2014-781-00563, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions. 

It’s been a good month for gray wolves so far: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife documented new wolf pups in southern Oregon, and just across the border, the California Fish and Game Commission just voted to protect gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act. The pups were fathered by Oregon’s famous OR-7 and are the first pups to be born in the Oregon Cascades since the 1940s.

Eugeneans looking for help with odd jobs or more can now turn to residents of Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE), a self-governing community of about 30 people trying to transition from homelessness to stability. Two weeks ago, “villager” Al Hutt launched a website searchable by task being sought or villager’s skill or need.

“Sometimes when people come in here they have immediate needs like a toothache or maybe they need shoes. And they can’t get going until it’s met,” Hutt says.

Sea stars are known for their ability to regenerate limbs, but a vicious disease now sweeping the Oregon coastline is causing sea stars to rot and disintegrate much more quickly than their powers of regeneration can handle. If the die-off continues and we lose Oregon’s iconic orange and purple sea stars, local extinctions could cause long-term trouble for other marine animals. 

“The way the rate has accelerated, I don’t think most sea stars along the Oregon coast are long for this world,” says Bruce Menge, a marine ecologist with Oregon State University. 

Kevin Sullivan

 et al.

The Common Core approacheth: Starting with the 2014-2015 school year, Oregon public schools will do away with the old OAKS (Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) testing and usher in the Smarter Balanced Assessment, a new standardized test that evaluates student performance by Common Core standards. But with its ties to corporations and its rushed implementation in Oregon, Smarter Balanced is not winning over everyone.

Eugene City Councilor Greg Evans has introduced a downtown smoking ban for the City Council’s discussion. He says the ban is aimed at making downtown more desirable for business and recreation.

 “In downtown areas across the country you have cadres of folks who congregate not necessarily because they’re there to do the right thing, but because they’re there to hang out and do things that are illegal,” Evans says.

A ban on smoking downtown would decrease aggressive behavior and illegal activities such as drug use and dealing, Evans says.

ODOT is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Hwys. I-5, 58, 99, 101, 105, 126 and Territorial were sprayed recently. 

• Weyerhaeuser Company, 744-4684, plans to hire Mountainside Spray, 756-1193, to spray 2700 feet of roadsides near Hawley Creek with glyphosate, methylated seed oil and/or triclopyr. See ODF notice 2014-771-00460, call Marvin Vetter at 726-3588 with questions. 

It’s rafting season on Oregon’s rivers, and the last thing water enthusiasts want to see is a dark smear of effluent in the river as they drift by. Travis Williams saw just that — a dark patch of pollutants in the Willamette River — as he paddled past the outflow for Cascade Pacific Pulp in Halsey, south of Corvallis, in May.

As hiking and, for horse lovers, trail-riding season begins, Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah (FBPMP) has improved trails at the Howard Buford Recreation Area for humans and habitat. FBPMP has finished work on the north trail network in the park, including parts of trails 3, 4, 7 and 17. The group added materials to the trails in order to withstand use from horses and hikers, and redirected some trails. 

Oregon is “the hub, for whatever reason, of the for-profit fire industry,” writes journalist and South Eugene High School grad McKenzie Funk in his book Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming (Penguin Press, 2014, $27.95). Funk writes not simply of how we are preparing for a warmer planet, but rather he focuses on those who see the melt, drought and deluge of climate change as a market opportunity. Funk will speak at 6 pm Thursday, June 5, at the Eugene Public Library, free. 

On May 27 the Eugene Police Department brought the City Council a proposal to close Kesey Square between 11 pm and 6 am, a move that some say is targeting the homeless population. Kesey Square, aka Broadway Plaza, is a city-deemed performance space that sits on the corner of Broadway and Willamette, home to the bronze statue of Ken Kesey. The City Council has not scheduled a vote.

Civil Liberties Defense Center attorney Lauren Regan says the proposal to close the public square is repugnant in the face of the human rights image touted by the city of Eugene.

The current fight against GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in Lane County is one small battle in a larger war, according to Thomas Linzey, the executive director of the legal nonprofit group the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

Marbled murrelets have been observed in the East Hakki timber sale in the Elliott State Forest, according to the Coast Range Forest Watch, a group of citizen scientists that regularly surveys for the threatened sea birds that fly many miles in from the ocean to nest in the Elliott.