When Ali Emami steps outside his store on Willamette Street, he can look into the neighboring public plaza and see the statue of Ken Kesey. He says he remembers chatting with sculptor Pete Helzer in 2003 when Helzer was working on the bronze artwork officially known as “The Storyteller.”
Kesey is a part of Eugene’s unique culture, Emami says, and that’s something the city should be building on, not tearing down. When Emami was in high school in Iran, he says, he read Kesey’s books. Now, years later, he owns the two properties that border the iconic square that is a landmark to the famed Northwest author.
It’s halfway though fall term and Michael Schill has been UO president since July 1. He’s five months into his term as the fifth president (counting interim leaders, too) in five years, something that has led the Chronicle of Higher Education to call the Ducks’ leadership position a “revolving door.”
Schill met with members of EW’s editorial board Oct. 30 to talk about some of the UO’s current occupations.
Charles Ogletree has a vision for the Black Lives Matter movement, the youth of our country and even a vision for how to change the conditions of generational poverty featured on HBO’s The Wire. Ogletree, an activist and prominent Harvard law professor, will visit Eugene on Nov. 12 to give speeches on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Barbara’s Soaps is back at Saturday Market and will have its usual booth space at Holiday Market, according to owner Barbara Hascall and confirmed by Kimberley Cullen, Saturday Market’s general manager. Complaints about excessive aromas coming from the booth have apparently been resolved, though details about the mediation have not been disclosed. “To create a safe place that is conducive for effective mediation, it is standard procedure at the Center for Dialogue and Resolution to agree to confidentiality at the start of each session,” Cullen says.
• The documentary Exposed: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife will be shown at 6 pm Thursday, Nov. 5, at Bijou Art Cinemas, 492 E. 13th Ave., along with The Imperiled American Wolf. A discussion will follow with cinematographer Paul Garrett and Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense. See encirclefilms.org.
“Right now at this moment a coyote is strangling in a neck snare or a wolf is struggling in a leghold trap,” says Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense and one of the nonprofit’s founders. The predator advocacy group is celebrating 25 years of work to protect coyotes, wolves, cougars and other predators on Nov. 5 with movies and a Q&A at the Bijou Art Cinemas on 13th Avenue.
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, 36, 58 and 99 were recently sprayed. Most of Highway 36 was sprayed Oct. 20 and the area near Triangle Lake School was sprayed Oct. 23 when classes were not in session.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently fined Central Point-based LTM, Incorporated (doing business as Knife River Materials) $159,144 for polluting a tributary of the Middle Fork of the Coquille River with sediment; grading and stockpiling earthen material without a Clean Water Act permit; and placing wastes where they are likely to escape into waters of the state. LTM/Knife River’s violations stem from an excavation project on Oregon State Hwy. 42 under a contract with Oregon Department of Transportation.
A landslide of citizen protests led the Eugene City Council to vote to postpone a proposed plan to rezone major portions of the South Willamette neighborhood. Those citizens, the South Willamette Neighbors, have united in a badge-wearing, yard-sign bearing movement against the plan, saying the rezoning could ruin the “single-family home” feel of their 20-minute neighborhood.
Knowing a little science doesn’t hurt when you’re going into politics, says Julie Fahey, a human resources consultant who is running for Oregon state representative in House District 14, a position currently held by Val Hoyle. Fahey has a degree in chemistry, and she says having a background in math and science provides a good framework for politics.
Local and regional solar companies will like this. The nonprofit Environment Oregon (EO) is pushing Eugene and other cities to “prioritize solar energy” through a petition that can be found at environmentoregon.org (click on “Go solar, Oregon”). The group says Oregon gets less than 1 percent of its energy from solar, “but local governments can play a big roll in repowering our state with clean, renewable solar energy.” How?
• Transportation safety in Springfield is the focus of a meeting with Mayor Christine Lundberg at 11:30 am Thursday, Oct. 29, at the roundabout at Harlow Road and Hayden Bridge Way. Roundabouts and other issues will be discussed, such as the Safe Routes to School program and SmartTrips Springfield.
• The Eugene Budget Committee’s Citizen Sub-Committee will meet at 5:30 pm Thursday, Oct. 29, at the Eugene Public Library Bascom/Tykeson Room.
Two high school seniors from Eugene and Springfield have formed a coalition called the Willamette Valley Student Union, a group of high school students seeking to implement change in education, starting with standardized testing.
Emmy Lindsey, a senior from South Eugene High School, says the idea for the union formed last school year with the roll out of Smarter Balanced, a standardized test students took for the first time this April. Around 11 percent of students in Eugene School District 4J did not take the test.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting comments through 5 pm Tuesday, Oct. 27, on an application from Fern Ridge School District for Clean Water Act permitting of discharges of construction-related stormwater pollution at Elmira Elementary School. Visit goo.gl/Yp4iAK for info on commenting.
The clock may be ticking for the unique bit of open space in Eugene’s downtown that is Kesey Square. But Ali Emami, owner of the two buildings that have common walls with the plaza, says that when he heard rumors the public space might be sold and developed into apartments, he came before the Eugene City Council last week to again renew his offer to open up the walls of the buildings and make the space more inviting.
Civilian oversight of the police tends to be reactive not proactive, says Mark Gissiner, Eugene’s civilian police auditor. Yet a recent $755,000 jury verdict in the “Bowl of Dicks” retaliation case against the University of Oregon’s police department has not prompted change in the UO’s police oversight.
More than 400 technology companies are now up and running in the Eugene-Springfield metro area and the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) now has a director, Matt Sayre, in the southern Willamette Valley. A board meeting and sold-out “Tacos, Tequila and Tech” event was co-hosted by Arcimoto in Eugene Oct. 9, according to a guest column by Skip Newberry, president of TAO, on the Portland Business Journal website.
• Activist and sociologist Gwyn Kirk, Ph.D., will speak at 7 pm Thursday, Oct. 22, at First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street. Kirk is a widely published writer and founding member of Women for Genuine Security. Her presentation will include discussion of her visit to North Korea on a peace mission. Sponsored by Oregon WAND.
From the Billy Graham Rapid Response prayer vans to the Oct. 9 visit by Barack Obama shutting down a section of I-5 and the rush of hundreds of pro-gun advocates from out of town, it’s safe to say the citizens of Roseburg are dealing with two traumatic crises.
First, the Oct. 1 shooting that killed eight students and their instructor at Umpqua Community College before the killer committed suicide, and now the powerful and consuming reaction of the rest of the nation flooding into this rural town of nearly 22,000, an hour south of Eugene.
For the first time since 2003, Eugene School District 4J has increased its year-to-year enrollment, according to school officials. With an additional 217 students this year over last year, it’s the largest increase since 1996, says Kerry Delf, 4J associate director for communications.
4J Superintendent Gustavo Balderas says the increase is partly due to the onset of full-day kindergarten, which started districtwide for the first time this year. Some new students are also transfers, he 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, 99 and 126 were recently sprayed. Hwy. 36 will be sprayed soon.
• Weyerhaeuser Company, 746-2511, plans to aerially spread urea fertilizer pellets on 1,877 acres south of the McKenzie River near Ritchie Creek, Haagen Creek and other tributaries. See ODF notification 2015-771-13224, call Brian Dally at 726-3588 with questions.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently visited Bright Oak Meat Company’s Marcola Road facility in response to a complaint of “a strong and pervasive odor” originating from the facility. Odor no longer appeared to be an issue by the time of DEQ’s visit, and the company attributed the problem to animal viscera not having been transported off-site by a waste hauler. DEQ asked to see waste and wastewater monitoring records during its visit and discovered that Bright Oak was not conducting required monitoring, in violation of Oregon law.
Cascade Manor rises two and three stories above the sidewalks on 29th and 30th avenues in south Eugene, and the large campus of up-scale retirement apartments and assisted living is often mentioned in discussions about the controversial plans to rezone and develop the nearby South Willamette neighborhood into a more urban area with high-rise buildings. “There is a common misconception that Cascade Manor has something to do with the city’s rezoning effort but they absolutely do not,” says Lauren Witt, a spokesperson for Cascade Manor.