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.
Nine more local facilities’ industrial stormwater pollution control plans are up for public comment this week. These plans are for facilities that have applied for Clean Water Act permit coverage under the new industrial stormwater permit issued by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and that took effect July 1. Comments are due by 5 pm on Jan. 3.
Frequent travelers on Willamette Street between 24th and 32nd avenues know that the corridor isn’t Eugene’s finest for travel, and with the November passage of the pavement preservation bond measure, there’s funding to repave and possibly reconfigure the stretch in the next five years.
We hear the Eugene Airport is super busy over the holidays with more than 1,800 people departing the day after Christmas, up about 17 percent over last year. Cathryn Stephens, deputy airport director, predicts Dec. 27 and 30 will also be big days for arrivals and departures. She says the more typical departure rate is about 1,100 a day.
• Occupy Medical is seeking monetary donations to make it through the long, wet winter. OM tells us “We are doing what we can to treat and prevent the spread of diseases like pertussis, HIV, hepatitis, diphtheria and pneumonia. Your support saves lives.” St. Vincent de Paul was providing financial assistance, but the funds ran dry in December. Checks can be made out to Occupy Medical and mailed to the Tamarack Center, 3575 Donald St., Suite 230, Eugene 97405. The group’s nonprofit status is pending.
The recent tragic Sandy Hook school shooting has called attention not only to gun control, but also to how the U.S. deals with young people who are behaviorally or mentally challenged. One controversial method that some Eugene 4J schools are using to deal with students in its behavioral programs is to put them in seclusion rooms.
Congressman Peter DeFazio, whose own hometown of Springfield made national headlines in 1998 with the deadly Thurston High School shootings, says this week that Congress “will need to address a number of critical issues next year and this [mass shootings] should be a top priority.”
A former county attorney has filed an intent to sue Lane County for wrongful termination, retaliation for the exercise of First Amendment rights for speaking out on matters of public concern and for whistleblowing. A tort claim notice letter that was hand-delivered to County Counsel (and District Attorney) Alex Gardner Oct. 29 says that Marc Kardell was fired after he raised concerns about misuse of county funds and the actions of County Administrator Liane Richardson that were causing “a multitude of problems” within the county.
Smile: You’re on camera all over Eugene these days. Do a Google search for “Eugene webcam” and you’ll find cameras filming public spaces from the UO to the Owen Rose Garden. A recent revelation that Lane Transit District (LTD) had looked into not just videoing but also audio recording individual conversations on Eugene-area buses has local defenders of civil liberties concerned.