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One result of LTD’s public opinion survey on the proposed EmX extension to West 11th Avenue was about as surprising to the bus agency as spring rain in Eugene. Other responses were more informative.

The least surprising result to LTD, according to Director of Planning and Development Tom Schwetz, was that Eugeneans are split about 50-50 on whether they support or oppose the bus rapid transit extension. “What we were interested in was why,” Schwetz told EW.

Next time you start to reach for a can of pesticide to get rid of ants or weeds, think of the children — and how Oregon’s public schools are managing their pests.

Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) Environmental Health Associate Aimee Code says that Integrated Pest Management (IPM) can actually be defined in many ways, but she likes to approach it by calling it an attempt to get rid of pests while using the bare minimum of pesticides.

“Hump smarter, save the snail darter,” Zygmunt Plater read off a package of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Endangered Species Condoms, which were given out to attendees of the UO’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in early March. 

The questionably witty rhyme got the packed audience laughing in the EMU ballroom on the afternoon of March 3 for the keynote speakers of the day. The subject at hand was a case near and dear to Plater, who is a faculty member at Boston College Law School. 

Eugene doesn’t have to let dirty coal trains come through town wafting lung-clogging dust in their wake, according to a coalition of environmental and environmental justice groups. Beyond Toxics, No Coal Eugene and the UO’s Climate Justice League have teamed up to craft a ballot measure that would buck federal and state law to stand up against Big Coal.

The proposed November ballot measure “creates a city ordinance that empowers the local authorities to stop coal trains from coming through Eugene,” says Zach Stark-MacMillan of No Coal Eugene. 

The nonprofit Helios Resource Network now has matching grant money available for nonprofits and emerging groups planning to become nonprofit, according to Helios President Cary Thompson. The small-grant program focuses on sustainable action and education in Lane County. For more information see heliosnetwork.org/grantinfo.htm or call 636-0465.

• The Opportunity Eugene Task Force on Homelessness will be meeting at 9:30 am Friday, March 30, at Lane County Health and Human Services, 151 West 7th Ave., Room 258. Contact is Michael Wisth, 682-5540 or michael.c.wisth@ci.eugene.or.us

• The SOLVE Spring Oregon Beach Cleanup will be from 10 am to 1 pm Saturday, March 31. Volunteers are encouraged to register at www.solv.org, or call (503) 844-9571 ext. 332.

In Afghanistan

•  1,905 U.S. troops killed* (1,902)

• 15,488 U.S. troops wounded in action (15,480)

• 1095 U.S. contractors killed (1095)

• $513.6 billion cost of war ($511.5 billion)

• $151.7 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($151 million)

In Iraq

“We all live downstream,” says River Road resident Carleen Reilly. She’s worried that Lane County’s efforts to take control of the “urbanizable” land around Eugene and Springfield will result in increased air and water pollution. 

Reilly was among a number of residents who spoke about their concerns over the proposed changes to the Metro Plan at the March 13 joint meeting of the Lane County commissioners and the city councils and mayors of Eugene and Springfield. 

• We used “Cirque du Eugene” as a headline and in homage to Cirque du Soleil for our story March 8 on Kaleidoscope: Cirque-Curious, an event at Bounce Gymnastics March 10. We’ve since heard that a different event is actually called Circque de Eugene, and it’s put on for the second year in a row by Fusion Friendly, a group of avant garde bellydancers. Circque de Eugene will be at 8 pm Friday, March 30, at Cozmic Pizza, 199 W. 8th Ave. $5, all ages. Find Fusion Friendly on Facebook or email fusionfriendlyevents@gmail.com

They eat horses don’t they? Well, not so much in the U.S., but Hermiston, Ore., could become the location of a new horse slaughter plant that would export meat to countries such as France and Japan that see nothing wrong with eating Mr. Ed.

Local horse rescuer Darla Clark of Strawberry Mountain Mustangs outside of Roseburg says while the humane aspect of horse slaughter has gotten the most attention, environmental and economic aspects need to be considered too.

Lorane area: Fruit Growers Supply, (541) 345-0996, plans to hire Oregon Forest Management Services to ground spray using Foresters and Garlon XRT with MSO on 33 acres in Township 20S, Range 04W Section 7 in the Lorane area. Concerns include proximity to King Estate Winery, Lorane Elementary School and Hawley Creek, home to threatened turtles. See ODF notice 2012-781-00174.

Deer, raccoons and even pet dogs have suffered and died in traps set for predators in Oregon, and conservation and animal rights groups want that to change. According to Brooks Fahy, the executive director of Eugene-based Predator Defense, “Oregon is behind other states on a lot of issues, and the current regulations on trapping show very little concern for the non-consumptive use of wildlife.” 

Occupy Eugene (OE) is welcoming spring with a new print and online newsletter and more public events. An open house and volunteer fair will be from 2 to 4 pm Saturday, March 24, at OE’s headquarters, Occupy Eugene V (OEV) 1274 W. 7th. 

“We are excited to welcome the community to come and meet us and find out what we are up to and where we are headed,” says Larry Leverone of OE. “A dozen or more of our committees and working groups will be on hand with literature and newsletters.”

For years the rural residents of Triangle Lake have been trying to stop poisonous pesticide sprays from contaminating their houses, farms and bodies. After a study by Dana Barr of Emory University found pesticides in the urine of 44 people in the area, it seemed like the concerns and health issues of the Pitchfork Rebellion and other Triangle Lake groups would be at last be taken seriously. 

Back in this column March 1 we wrote about Eugene dentist Josephine Stokes, DDS opening her new practice in mid-March, called Pearly Whites of Eugene. She tells us the opening has been delayed a bit, but she’s able to take calls and schedule appointments. “I have also worked out with my dental neighbors that if I have an emergency, I do have a place to be able to see them,” she says. “I have been practicing in Eugene for 10 years and it was time to start my own practice.

• A community forum on Envision Eugene and the city manager’s recommendations will be from 6 to 8 pm Thursday, March 22, at North Eugene High School. See envisioneugene.org for more information and an online survey.

Sometimes you wind up in places you didn’t know you were going.

Portland and Eugene are nationally ranked as cycle-friendly towns, but there is more to boast about than the many urban bike lanes. Oregon is the only state in the nation with designated scenic bikeways. The two most recent additions start in Cottage Grove and Bend, bringing the state total to eight.

“We’re only looking for the best of the best bike rides in all of Oregon and these two made that cut,” says Alexandra Phillips, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department bicycle recreation coordinator. 

A southern Oregon community’s effort to protect forestland has become a race against the chainsaw. The Williams Community Forest Project (WCFP) is working to purchase a locally vital 320-acre tract of forestland where clearcutting has started, in order to preserve it as a “community forest.” 

The two Lane County commissioner races heading for the May primary have narrowed their fields. Conservative City Councilor Mike Clark dropped out of the North Eugene race against current Commissioner Rob Handy Feb. 28, and on March 1 political newcomer Kieran Walsh gave way in the contest for the South Eugene seat held by Pete Sorenson. 

Moving more than a thousand students to the intersection of three Eugene neighborhoods creates a lot of stakeholders. That’s why different organizations have joined together to form the Eugene Community Advisory Team (Eugene CAT) to examine the proposed Capstone project, which would bring 1,200 students into a downtown complex at 13th and Olive by fall 2014.

Weyerhaeuser (744-4684) plans ground and aerial spraying on at least 753 acres in areas including Mohawk River tributaries, Ritchie Creek on the McKenzie at Leaburg, Crow Creek, Farman Creek, Kelly Creek, Horton, Lorane, Michaels Creek and Owens Creek.

Lane County’s green credentials haven’t just slipped lower under the current conservative board majority, they’ve disappeared altogether.   

In 2010 the Lane County commissioners voted to protect the environment 10 out of 12 times, according to the Oregon League of Conservation Voters Environmental Scorecard.

In 2011 under a new, conservative county majority there were not enough votes on the environment to score the Lane County commissioners at all, the OLCV says. The Eugene City Council was also impossible to score, according to the OLCV.

Attempts to turn rural Parvin Butte into a gravel mine have turned the once peaceful hill and the town around it into a morass of legal and political controversy. In the latest twist, the decision to allow mining on Parvin Butte in Dexter without a site review was reconsidered by the Lane County hearings official on March 6, resulting in a partial victory for the Parvin Butte neighbors.