They’re pretty, they’re loud and they can be dangerous. The Eugene City Council has been discussing changes to fireworks rules for more than a decade, but when the council called for the Jan. 27 work session on the topic after a fireworks-induced blaze destroyed a home in July, the discussion pointed to problems getting worse.
Cultural background can affect legal decisions in the courtroom. Alison Dundes Renteln, a professor of political science and anthropology at the University of Southern California will be speaking on minority rights and cultural bias in the courtroom in her talk “The Right to Culture as a Human Right: Religious Liberty, Gender Violence and the Cultural Defense,” at the UO Jan. 29.
Author and social activist Harsha Walia is best known for co-founding the Vancouver chapter of the movement No One Is Illegal, a network of anti-racist groups that campaign for and represent non-resident immigrants. Her book explores immigrant rights movements through an international look at capitalism, labor exploitation, settler colonialism, state building and racialized empire. In it, she offers strategies for social movement organizers to develop strong communities whose ultimate goal is liberation.
More than 40 percent of people who are transgender have attempted suicide, and about 80 percent have considered it. The attempt rate is 1.6 percent for the general population, and mental health experts say ongoing discrimination is one contributor to the large disparity. On Monday, Jan. 27, the Eugene City Council is scheduled to vote on amending the city code and adding gender identity to the definition of sexual orientation. The amendment applies to protections against discrimination in areas such as employment, housing and public accommodation.
All the Whos down in Whoville are hoping the city of Eugene’s heart grows a couple sizes very soon. The city has posted notices that the site of the homeless protest camp at Hilyard and Broadway is no longer open for public use and it will “clear and clean the site,” according to a press release that went out to the media before the campers themselves were notified, a move Alley Valkyrie of the Nightingale Public Advocacy Collective called “disrespectful and dehumanizing.”
Rental owners in Eugene can take advantage of EWEB’s renewed zero-interest loans and rebates for ductless heat pumps and other upgrades. A lot of older rental units have electric ceiling heat, baseboard heat or wall units that suck a lot of juice. Renters usually get stuck with the high EWEB bills, but we know some rental owners who approached their tenants and asked them if they would be willing to pay more rent in exchange for cheaper, better heat and air conditioning. The deal can pencil out well and add property value.
• A film screening of Ocean Frontiers will begin about 5:45 pm Thursday, Jan. 23, at the UO School of Law, Room 175. Mayor Kitty Piercy will introduce the film and a panel of local experts will discuss the film at about 7 pm, followed by a reception. Live music, beer, wine and refreshments are planned. $5 suggested donation. See ocean-frontiers.org for more information.
Sen. Jeff Merkley surprised Eugene City Councilor George Brown by picking Brown’s The Kiva grocery store downtown to hold a press conference Jan. 10 about big national issues of fair wages and extending unemployment benefits.
A cloud of suspicion around the departure of former administrator Liane Richardson still hangs over Lane County government, in part because the full details of the investigation into her unauthorized changes to her payroll have never been released. On Jan. 13, former Lane County Commissioner Bill Fleenor filed an open records lawsuit over the report by USO Consulting. The outside investigation was commissioned by the county and released with 29 pages blacked out. Fleenor, the R-G and EW were among those who made public records requests for copies of the report.
Lane County is plowing ahead with its plans to develop the rural industrial area of Goshen, which lies just south of Eugene. The county calls its plan to develop Goshen “GREAT” — the Goshen Region Employment and Transition plan — but land-use and environmental advocates have serious doubts about its greatness, and LandWatch Lane County has a case about Goshen before the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA).
• USFS plans to spray riparian weeds in Sweet Home and along Middle Fork Willamette and McKenzie rivers for false brome and yellow archangel with Aquamaster by backpack and Japanese knotweed by injection with Imazapyr. USFS would like comments regarding alternatives by Jan. 31. The environmental assessment is expected to be completed for public review in April 2014. Contact USFS office in Springfield for more information.
It’s one thing to get ousted from office, but quite another when the ousting is based on false statements. That’s what recently recalled Lowell City Councilor Pam Bryant alleges in her Jan. 7 lawsuit against Kenneth Hern and Nancy Garratt, two members of the Recall for Lowell’s Future Committee that sought to remove her from office.
In a time when government secrecy is becoming both more prominent and more criticized, it’s no longer hard to believe that Congress would “fast track” a vote on a secret document devised by international corporations.
The David Minor Theater at 180 E. 5th Ave. is expanding and showing $3 matinees now that Ronny Goldfarb of Ronny’s Audio Vision next door retired the first of the year, according to Josh Goldfarb, Ronny’s son and the owner of DMT. “We are also in the process of expanding and maximizing the space now available to us. So stay tuned for updates!” he says. The DMT has been in business for the past four years. See davidminortheater.com or call 762-1700.
• A Grupo Latino de Acción Directa (GLAD) public safety forum is planned for 5:30 to 7:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 16, at César E. Chávez Elementary School, 1510 W. 14th Ave. Speakers include Police Chief Pete Kerns, District Attorney Alex Gardner and others. Find the event on Facebook.
The city of Eugene is proposing new rules for the residential R-1 single-family areas of Eugene that would lift the ban on building alley-access houses and add some controls over secondary dwelling units. Both of these changes are intended to address some of the grievous developments that have been occurring in residential neighborhoods all over town, inflicting pain and suffering on surrounding neighbors. The city’s stated goal is to allow “compatible infill” in existing neighborhoods and to provide more housing options. But are the rules adequate to protect neighbors and neighborhoods?
Casey Wright was an equestrian and a dancer. She grew up in Eugene, graduated Sheldon High School and worked downtown at the Pita Pit for several years before taking a job at a Springfield metal fabrication plant to support her goals of riding, training and showing the horses she loved. Early on the morning of Nov. 2, Wright’s ex-boyfriend, Robert Cromwell, confessed to beating 26-year-old Wright to death with an aluminum baseball bat as she lay sleeping in the house they once shared.
The Sierra Club, Columbia Riverkeeper and several other conservation groups sued BNSF Railway Company last summer after finding what they call “substantial amounts of coal in and along several Washington waterways near BNSF rail lines.” On Jan. 3 the groups celebrated the most recent development in the Clean Water Act case when the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington denied a motion to dismiss, allowing it to go forward.
Karen Litfin, a University of Washington professor of political science, spent a year traveling and researching her book, Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community. Litfin, along with Deni Ruggeri of the UO’s landscape architecture program and Anita Van Asperdt, a local landscape architect, will be discussing “Ecovillages and Ecodistricts: Solutions for Climate Change” at the UO Jan. 13.
Tom Bowerman of PolicyInteractive is hoping that research from the 2013 Oregon Values and Beliefs Survey will help stir a cultural conversation. Bowerman founded PolicyInteractive in order to understand general public opinions about global climate change and how it may influence our future, but the OVB survey also addressed education, conservation, health, crime, public transportation, economic development and taxes. Bowerman, along with Adam Davis of DHM Research, will be discussing the survey and its findings at the Jan. 10 City Club of Eugene meeting.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent Pacific Recycling, Inc. a pre-enforcement notice on Nov. 27 for multiple hazardous waste law violations at its facility on Cross Street in Eugene (off Roosevelt Boulevard). According to DEQ documents, Pacific Recycling recently acquired land on which J.H.
Students: If you think homework and tests are the albatross around your neck, just wait for student loans to come due. To make that as painless as possible, LCC is holding its 15th annual “How to Pay for College ... In One Day!” Saturday, Jan. 11. The event is free and open to all.
While Whovillians say their informal survey showed business support for the homeless protest camp, some nearby business owners say that since the camp moved in, disturbances are up. Angie Rush, a manager at The Mission Mexican Restaurant, says that since Whoville set up, it has lost a significant portion of its college student business, one of its main customer bases.
Scams inspired by our popular Best of Eugene Awards are evolving. Not only are businesses and groups being offered fake Best of Eugene plaques for $150 (the real ones are free), but local businesses are now getting pitched for “Dental Office of the Year” or “Salon of the Year” and other fake accolades. These so-called awards are touted as “free” but the scammers charge big bucks for making the plaques and shipping them, if in fact they ever make and ship them at all after they take your Visa number.