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.
Community Alliance of Lane County has announced the departure of Kori Rodley as executive director. Rodley is taking a new position in marketing with Mountain Rose Herbs in Eugene. She has served as CALC director since March 2010 and will continue with fundraising and donor cultivation, according to a CALC statement Jan. 12. CALC started in 1966 as Clergy and Laity Concerned but changed its name when it’s mission expanded beyond opposition to the Vietnam War.
• Volunteers are still needed at most of the Egan Warming Center sites in Eugene and Springfield that shelter the homeless on these cold winter nights. See eganwarmingcenter.com for information on volunteering and to donate. The next volunteer orientations are from 6 to 8 pm Thursday, Jan. 17, and from 10 am to noon Saturday, Jan. 19, at the First Christian Church basement, 1166 Oak St. in Eugene.
• A community meeting on public safety in Lane County is being planned for 6 to 8 pm Thursday, Jan. 17, at the Hilyard Community Center, 2580 Hilyard St. in Eugene.
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.
The Fun with Fermentation Festival is from 11 am to 4 pm Saturday, Jan. 12, at the WOW Hall, 291 W. 8th Ave. in Eugene. The fourth annual event is a fundraiser for FOOD for Lane County and the Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance. Admission is on a sliding scale, $10-$20 per person or $5 with two cans of food. Kids 12 and under are free. The event focuses on the many ways fermentation is used in making foods and drinks.
• The Eugene Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meets at 5:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 10, at the Atrium Building, 99 W. 10th Ave. New member orientation is on the agenda.
• The Eugene Police Commission meets at 5:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 10, at EPD headquarters, Kilcullen Room, 300 Country Club Road. A public forum will be followed by a discussion of domestic violence policy.
Jordan Creek runs through the Mattson family’s land at Polyrock Ranch. The creek is located in the out in the open hills of southwest Eugene, in the Coyote Creek sub-basin of the Long Tom Watershed. The creek is symbolic of the Rivers to Ridges (R2R) partnership, a collaboration of public and private entities working together to acquire and manage natural open spaces in and around Eugene.
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.
• Church Women United of Lane County will meet at 9 am Friday, Jan. 4, at Ebbert United Methodist Church, 532 C St. in Springfield, and again at 7 am Tuesday, Jan. 8, at Brails, 1689 Willamette St. in Eugene. See cwulanecounty.org
• The State of the County Address will be at 10 am Monday, Jan. 7, at Harris Hall, 125 E. 8th Ave. in Eugene. Eugene’s 2013 State of the City Address will be at 5:30 pm Wednesday, Jan. 9, in the lobby of the Hult Center. Donations of canned food for FOOD for Lane County will be collected at the door.
Greenhouse gas emissions are still increasing: Yearly increases were 2.7 percent in the 1990s, 3.5 percent between 2000 and 2007, and 5.6 percent between 2009 and 2010. But nothing effective is being done to reduce them. There are multiple reasons for that:
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.