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“Here we go again. Big money moves into a neighborhood and excavates 40 feet into the ground near the river,” Wende Hitchcock says in exasperation. She says a gravel site along the Coast Fork of the Willamette River near Delight Valley Road has applied to the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) to expand its operations, including excavation and asphalt production. Hitchcock and other neighbors fear impacts to the rural community from noise and trucks to possible affects on wildlife and water.

Unhoused Eugeneans will speak at a panel during an April 7 event that the Eugene Human Rights Commission’s (HRC) Homelessness Work Group hopes will help deconstruct stereotypes people commonly apply to the homeless.

Six people who currently reside at Whoville, Opportunity Village Eugene and the city-approved rest stop at the intersection of Garfield and Roosevelt Streets will respond to a prompt and then answer questions from the audience. 

Sustainable Cottage Grove and the Oregon Food Bank are holding a community event called FEAST (Food, Education, Agriculture, Solutions, Together) from 10 am to 4 pm Saturday, April 5, at the Cottage Grove Community Center, 700 E. Gibbs. The event focuses on promoting and supporting local food systems.

• A Eugene Police Commission public forum will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3, at the Harris Hall, 125 E. 8th Ave. The commission will take comments on professional police stops policy and bias-based policing. Call 682-5852 or email carter.r.hawley@ci.eugene.or.us.

350.org Climate Activists are holding their first general monthly chapter meeting at 7 pm Thursday, April 3, at First United Methodist Church, 13th and Olive. Email 350eug@riseup.net for find them on Facebook.

On Oct. 16, 2013 John Burns says a private timber helicopter dripped poison onto him, his land, his neighbors and their water supply. He started coughing and his sinuses ran for hours. Neighbors reported their dogs getting sick and even dying, a horse went blind and the local fire chief had to go to the emergency room. Five months later, the more than 30 people of the Cedar Valley area outside Gold Beach who reported symptoms from asthma to nose bleeds still don’t know what was in the chemical mix that hit the rural community.

Policies currently in place in Lane County would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks only 3 percent by 2035 — 17 percent less than the state goal of 20 percent — according to an evaluation completed in February by the Central Lane Scenario Planning Team.

The city of Eugene has more than 43 miles of alleys threaded between homes and businesses; some are paved, some gravel and some are grassy and overgrown. Where some people might see dreary and even dangerous passageways, Jeff Luers and the Eugene Green Alley Project see a chance to turn Eugene’s often potholed back alleys into environmental, walkable and even wildlife-friendly corridors. On March 31 you can “rally for the alley” at a Ninkasi Pints for a Cause fundraiser. 

Step aside, Keystone XL pipeline: Oregon is advancing toward acquiring a new fossil fuel pipeline of its own, after the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Coos Bay received a conditional export license from the U.S. Department of Energy on March 24. 

Joanie Kleban tells us Greater Goods will be ending its regular hours after Saturday, March 29, and will be open off and on during April. Kleban is retiring after 23 years and is selling off her extensive inventory of hand-crafted, fair-trade goods from around the world. The store is on High Street across from Fifth Street Public Market. What’s next?

Oregon has its fair share of invasive species, such as nutria brought into the state for fur in the 1880s, and red-eared sliders, turtles that compete with our native western pond and painted turtles. Moving species from one place to another can wreak havoc on native ecosystems, but as climate change pushes species to extinction, conservationists have posed the idea of assisted migration, moving a species from its native range to a better-suited territory that more closely matches its ideal climate. 

The Eugene Police Auditor’s office received 400 complaints last year — the most the office has received since it opened. Police Auditor Mark Gissiner attributes the rise partially to low capacity at Lane County Jail and the District Attorney’s office no longer pursuing certain cases, including drug charges.

“So some people feel because it’s not pursued, there’s no evidence and therefore they have a point that the officer did not have probable cause,” Gissiner says.

Chelsea Gerlach was sent to prison in 2007 for her participation in ecologically motivated sabotage with the Earth Liberation Front. Gerlach is now out of prison and on probation, and she is returning to Eugene to guest DJ “Chance to Dance,” an ecstatic dance at the WOW Hall March 22 that will raise money for Gerlach’s 3-year-old nephew Malachi, who has cerebral palsy.

Last weekend a cougar was shot in the head and killed in Eugene after being captured and put in a cage. The 2-year-old cougar killed three chickens and two goats named Justin Timberlake and Rufio near Hendricks Park, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. ODFW reports that another young male cougar was trapped and killed March 17 and a trap has been set for a third cougar. These latest cougar captures mark the trend of increased cougar killings in Oregon, says Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense.

• Giustina Land and Timber Co., 345-2301, plans to hire Western Helicopter Services Inc., (503) 538-9469, to aerially spray herbicides including Atrazine, 2,4-D, Clopyralid, Hexazinone, Sulfometuron Methyl and Triclpopyr Amine on 69 acres near tributaries of South Fork Ferguson Creek, Owens Creek and the Long Tom River. See ODF notice 2014-781-00273, call State Forester Robin L. Biesecker at 935-2283 with questions.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assessed a penalty of $7,608 against Michael Brown of Oakland, Ore., on March 4 for sewage-related violations at Saginaw Mobile Home Park north of Cottage Grove. DEQ has expressed “particular concern” due to Brown’s “prior history of discharging partially treated sewage onto the ground” and noted that the treatment system at this site “may be causing harm to public health or the environment.” DEQ sent Brown a “warning letter with opportunity to correct” back in November following a DEQ visit to the site in late October.

Representatives from Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer rights advocacy group, held a March 2 panel at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. The pair of presenters focused on the history of big money in politics and the potential of even more dollars being spent to stop the climate change movement. 

Core Campus is planning to open its 512-bed, 183-unit student luxury housing project in August 2015, but will “The Hub” at 515 E. Broadway be able to compete with the glut of cheaper student housing already being built, particularly at a time when college enrollment is dropping? At other Core projects, monthly rent for studios runs about $1,000 and five-bedroom apartments go for about $3,000. Penthouse units and those with their own hot tubs are more.

Joe Walacki and Borden Beck will speak and show slides on “High Desert Wildlands” at the meeting of the Many Rivers Group of the Sierra Club from 5:30 to 7 pm Thursday, March 20, at the Eugene Garden Club, 1645 High St. The club is currently working to protect the Owyhee Canyonlands and other endangered desert areas.

In Afghanistan

• 2,312 U.S. troops killed (2,310 last month)

• 19,673 U.S. troops wounded in action (19,656)

• 1,481 U.S. contractors killed (1,481)

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $703.2 billion cost of war ($699.1 billion)

• $290.8 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($289 million)

 

In Iraq

• 4,423 U.S. troops killed, 31,941 wounded

• 1,605 U.S. contractors killed (1,605)

• 135,459 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (134,734)

Though speculating on water is illegal, WaterWatch of Oregon says Willamette Water Company was looking to do just that back in 2008 when it applied for a permit to withdraw 22 million gallons per day from the McKenzie River. On March 7, the Oregon Water Resources Department (WRD) issued a final order denying the Willamette Water Co.’s controversial application to control a large amount of the McKenzie’s water.

The Alder Street Advocates neighborhood group is planning a transportation-themed mural to be painted on the street surface of Alder Street between 19th and 24th avenues. The design and painting of the mural will happen through the collaborative efforts of people who live in the neighborhood. 

Grant applicant Allen Hancock says the applicants have gone door to door and found 50 people who are interested in participating. “Not only because they want to create some art and make the street beautiful, but because they want to meet their neighbors,” he says.

Under Oregon law a nuclear power plant can’t be constructed in this state until there is a safe, permanent way to deal with nuclear waste, and even then, citizens reserve the right to vote on whether a plant can be built, according to Chuck Johnson of Oregon and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. While Oregon does not have a commercial nuclear reactor, Johnson is concerned with the Columbia Generating Station (CGS), a Washington nuclear power plant just across the Columbia River from Oregon.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently sent PeaceHealth a warning letter for hazardous waste law violations discovered by DEQ during an unannounced inspection last month at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield. The facility is classified as a “small quantity generator” of hazardous waste because it generates between 220 and 2,000 pounds of hazardous waste per month.