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News Briefs

As the city of Roseburg and the community around Umpqua Community College try to process and recover from the Oct. 1 mass shooting that killed nine people and injured nine more, Oregon and the nation are seeking answers for why the shooter, who also died, would bring six guns to campus and seek to murder his writing class. 

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, 99 and 126 were recently sprayed. According to an Oct. 1 notification, ODOT plans to spray Hwy. 36 from Junction City to Mapleton including near schools, beginning Oct. 15. This will be the fourth time this year Hwy. 36 will be sprayed.

Dr. Julian Bell is all fired up about climate change. But rather than lobby politicians to enact laws cracking down on fossil fuels causing greenhouse gas, he’s decided to dive right into politics and run for governor against incumbent Kate Brown in the Democratic primary. 

As Linda Wheatley stood on the edges of the Civic Stadium site on June 29 and watched the structure become engulfed by flames, she felt sick. “It was as if something I owned myself were burning,” she says. 

It’s the opposite of Citizens United and then some. Corporations have rights beyond personhood, according to Thomas Linzey of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). Those rights allow corporations to run roughshod over local communities, affecting everything from their drinking water (think of Nestlé in the Columbia Gorge) to their homes (as with coal trains running through towns). 

Two big conventions — or “cons,” as attendees call them — hit Eugene this weekend, one focused on gaming and the other revolving around comics and pop culture. 

The emergence of tech-centric events is great for the area economically, but the question of whether this town is too small for multiple cons has led to a little drama, according to event organizers.

Campaign season is well under way for the presidential election. Locally, candidates for Eugene City Council and mayor, and Lane County Board of Commissioners are starting to declare themselves. 

But those elections and campaigns are still taking shape, while here in Eugene, a campaign has launched for a Nov. 3 special election: the library levy.

Vote Yes! for Libraries has kicked off its campaign. Measure 20-235 would add $2.7 million a year, for five years, to the library’s operating budget. 

The Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Hwy. 99 was recently sprayed.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting comments through 5 pm on Friday, Sept. 25 on an application from Utah-based Layton Construction for Clean Water Act permitting of discharges of construction-related stormwater pollution at McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center, in Springfield. Visit goo.gl/Yp4iAK for info on commenting.

Photo by Gary Hale / Forestland Dwellers

 

Eugene lost a culinary legend with the passing of chef Gabriel Gil last week. Known best for his influence on local restaurants past and present, including Rabbit Bistro and Bar, Soubise and Tacovore, Gil was a friend and inspiration to many in the local restaurant community. 

Gil was 43 years old and died after suffering a medical crisis.

His partner in life and work, Amy Hand, says working with Gil was “challenging but rewarding. I learned a tremendous amount from him — he upped my personal game. It was inspiring to work with him.”

Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Hwy. 36 near Mapleton and Hwy. 99 near Eugene were recently sprayed.

Although statewide results won’t become public until Sept. 17 for the Smarter Balanced Assessment — a standardized test Oregon students took this spring to determine if schools are teaching in alignment with the Common Core State Standards — preliminary results show that around 11 percent of Eugene School District 4J students did not take the test.

For local anti-testing group Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE), this statistic is good news. For school officials on the local and state level, the number strikes a more ominous tone. 

350 Eugene, a local climate activist group, will hold its fall gathering from 7 to 8:45 pm Thursday, Sept. 10, at First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street. The group is planning for the Paris 2015 United Nations climate summit Nov. 30 to Dec. 11. A global climate march is being planned in November.

• Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Hwy. 36 near Mapleton and Hwy. 99 near Eugene were recently sprayed.

• Sharon Kester, 520-0131, plans to hire Applebee Aviation, 866-311-4354, to aerially spray two units totaling 93 acres near Hawley Creek with Accord XRT II, Arsenal Applicator’s Concentrate, Oust XP and/or Syl-Tac. See ODF notification 2015-781-12122, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions.

Leasing water rights? Logging? What about bringing back Faerieworlds, the Dirty Dash and other events? Lane County’s park system is massive in scope — it encompasses 4,300 acres from the coast to the Cascades, including everything from marinas and campsites to hiking and horseback riding — and also massive is the draft master plan Lane County Parks produced last month.

For the first time since 1980, Lane County is updating its Parks and Open Space Master Plan, and the county is now taking public comment on the almost 300-page document. 

On Sept. 8, ShelterCare Development Director Lucy Vinis announced her candidacy for mayor of Eugene in the 2016 election, and she said three platforms drive her campaign: education, affordable living and climate change. 

Vinis, who worked with environmental nonprofit EarthShare of Oregon before her time at ShelterCare, said those three issues have emerged “consistently and repeatedly” as she’s talked with members of the community. 

“I want Eugene to be a city in which everyone has an opportunity to thrive,” she said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently entered into separate settlement agreements with Portland-based Cascade Petroleum Transportation, Inc. concerning a March 2012 truck crash near Westfir that resulted in the release of thousands of gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel to a ditch on the west side of Hwy. 58. The ditch flowed to Deception Creek, which in turn flowed to the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. Gasoline and diesel fuel also ended up in groundwater that supplies drinking water to nearby residents.

As school starts up next week, coordinators of the 4J Middle School Mentor Program are looking for volunteers to spend 30 minutes once a week with at-risk students. 

Lucy McWhorter, a mentor to middle school students in Eugene School District 4J, says she was amazed to observe that only 30 minutes a week of mentoring can lead to greater confidence in middle school students.

• Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Highways I-5, 99, 105 and 126 near Eugene were recently sprayed.

• Seneca Jones Timber Company, 689-1011, plans to hire Oregon Forest Management Services, 520-5841, to spray four units totaling 293.7 acres near Simonsen Road and Hamm Road with triclopyr, imazapyr, Conquer and/or MSO Concentrate. See ODF notification 2015-781-12022, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a penalty in the amount of $1,875 in July to Brad Boyd (doing business as Brad’s Next Day Dry Cleaning at 3660 Meadow View Drive in Eugene) for failing to submit annual hazardous waste and air quality reports for 2013 and 2014 to DEQ. 

A rezoning plan for the South Willamette is raising hackles among some residents there, who say it could have serious impacts on the quality of life in the area. On the other hand, city planners say the South Willamette Special Area Zone (SW-SAZ) came about as a part of an Envision Eugene goal to create walkable, liveable areas in key corridors. 

Eliot Treichel came to Eugene searching for a mecca of kayaking that he knew he wouldn’t find back in his home state of Wisconsin. Eugene then became a haven for him as a writer. Twice now, Treichel, an author of two books and an occasional reviewer for Eugene Weekly, has been a recipient of a Career Opportunity Grant from the Oregon Arts Commission and The Ford Family Foundation.

• Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Highways 99, 105, 126 near Eugene and Beltline were recently sprayed.

• Freres Timber, (503) 859-2121, plans to spray roadsides in Sections 9 and 11 of Township 16S Range 7W near tributaries of Lake Creek with Element 4 (ester), Opensight, Mad Dog Plus and/or MSO Concentrate. See ODF notification 2015-781-11607, call Robin Biesecker at 935-2283 with questions.