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News Briefs

The latest in a number of recent studies looking at the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides has shown declining bird populations in areas where the pesticides are used in high concentrations. Neonics have already been associated with bee die-offs, and a new study published in Nature found that common bird populations such as barn swallows and starlings decreased 3.5 percent each year in areas associated with neonics use.

In response to the city of Eugene’s proposed “paid sick days” ordinance, the Lane County Commission has proposed three of its own ordinances. After voting 4-0 to move forward with the ordinances on July 8, the Board of Commissioners will have an emergency meeting the morning of July 21, before the Eugene City Council’s public hearing is set to take place.

• Coast Range Conifers, 335-1472, plans to hire Western Helicopter Services, Inc., (503) 538-9469, to aerially spray Escort, Oust and/or Surfactant L-11 on 60 acres near Swartz Creek, using a helicopter landing pad on BLM land. See ODF notification 2014-781-00754, call Robin L. Biesecker at 935-2283 with questions.

The Nightingale Health Sanctuary Steering Committee has found a 1.1-acre lot on which they will start the Nightingale Health Sanctuary, a self-governing community of homeless people intended to promote health and recovery.

Steering committee member Mary Broadhurst asked that the location not be disclosed because the group is still doing neighborhood outreach. 

Fiscal year 2014 went out with a bang in Eugene July 1 and took park bathrooms, irrigation, trash service and jobs with it. Restrooms at three parks — Hendricks, Sheldon and Sladden — will close and neighborhood parks will see less watering and garbage pick-up, as $300,000 in reductions to park maintenance set in.

Eugene’s City Council approved the cuts June 9 as part of a balancing act to fill a $1.9 million deficit in the city’s general fund.

With banners reading “Buy the Elliott State Forest, Expect Resistance” and “Stop this ecocide,” protesters organized by Earth First! and Cascadia Forest Defenders descended upon Seneca Sustainable Energy on the morning of July 7 to call attention to what they say is the company’s pollution in a low-income area and clearcut logging in the Elliott State Forest.

California’s budding population of invasive common watersnake could make it up to Oregon due to similar climate and suitable habitat in the Willamette Valley, according to a recent study at University of California, Davis, that projected possible areas of infestation. 

• Freres Timber Inc., (503) 859-2111, plans to hire Western Helicopter Services, Inc., (503) 538-9469, to aerially spray 69 acres near upper Lake Creek with glyphosate, imazapyr and additives. See ODF notice 2014-781-00704, call Robin L. Biesecker at 935-2283 with questions.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent Delaware-incorporated Jordan Cove Energy Project L.P. a warning letter in late June for excavating residual sludge waste (generated by the Weyerhaeuser mill that used to be at this site) and incorporating that waste into berms associated with the Jordan Cove project (located on Coos Bay). DEQ’s letter requests that Jordan Cove Energy Project submit a permit application for its activities by July 31.

Studies have shown the links between neonicotiniod pesticides and pollinator deaths, but some jurisdictions have been quicker to ban the bee-killing chemicals than others. The city of Eugene banned them on its properties in February, but the June incident in Eugene where 17 sprayed linden trees killed more than 5,000 bees and other pollinator species calls attention to the fact that the city ban does not apply to private properties or all properties under the city’s management.

Eugene’s City Council will meet in September to talk about local food security — reliable access to healthy and nutritious food.

“It’s kind of a multi-level problem,” says Deb Johnson-Shelton, Lane County Food Policy Council president. “The more quality food you make accessible at more affordable prices, the healthier the nutritional environment is for everyone.” Food insecurity is strongly correlated with household income, she says. 

Vanilla Ice, Rob Lowe, Courtney Love: The list of 1990s icons interviewed for National Geographic Channel’s three-night series The ’90s: The Last Great Decade? is as quirky and odd as that peculiar era of jelly shoes and grunge. The episodes — which will be seen in 171 countries and aired in 45 languages — also include local videographer Tim Lewis and former Eugenean Tim Ream as well as footage from their documentary of the Seattle World Trade Organization riots, Breaking the Spell: Anarchists, Eugene and the WTO.

• Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. 

• Seneca Jones Timber Company, 461-6245, plans to aerially spray 57 acres near Douglas Creek and 15 acres near Battle Creek with glyphosate, imazapyr, metsulfuron methyl, methylated seed oil, non-ionic surfactant, Syl-Tac andd/or Sylgard. See ODF notice 2014-781-00632, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions. 

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting comments through 5 pm Tuesday, July 8, on the erosion and sediment control plan for construction at the new Malabon Elementary School, and through 5 pm Wednesday, July 9, on the erosion and sediment control plan for construction at Wedgewood Subdivision. Both projects are in Eugene. The new school is located at 1380 Taney St., and the subdivision is located at Gardenia and Grizzly avenues. Visit goo.gl/Yp4iAK for information on reviewing the plans and submitting comments.

The recent confusion over Commissioner Jay Bozievich’s public records request for a list of ballots with signature problems has drawn attention to what many see as an ongoing issue at Lane County: transparency and openness. Commissioner Pete Sorenson has asked the county to resume looking into the way it responds to public records requests as well as into the public’s ability to use county facilities. 

On June 19 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Los Angeles law prohibiting people from living in their vehicles, and legal experts say that law could affect other cities in the region with similar bans. Judge Harry Pregerson wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel that “the City of Los Angeles has many options at its disposal to alleviate the plight and suffering of its homeless citizens. Selectively preventing the homeless and the poor from using their vehicles for activities many other citizens also conduct in their cars should not be one of those options.” 

A dispute over a Bloomsday reading of James Joyce’s Ulysses in Kesey Square has moved literature — and performing it — out of the classroom and into the legal quagmire of Eugene’s downtown.

All workers in the city of Eugene might be eligible for paid sick leave in 2015 if the City Council moves forward with a proposed ordinance. 

Seventy-eight percent of low-wage workers and 51 percent of private-sector workers in Eugene don’t receive paid sick time, according to a study the Institute for Women’s Policy Research did for Everybody Benefits Eugene, a coalition of local organizations and businesses that support a paid sick leave ordinance. 

Eugene company Glass Tree Care and Spray Service has had its license suspended and will face a fine following an investigation into the death of 5,000 bees after the company sprayed 17 blossoming linden trees at Jacobs Lane Apartments with pesticides, says Bruce Pokarney of the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is accepting comments through 4:30 pm Monday, June 30, on a proposed $410,000 settlement concerning groundwater contamination caused by McAyeals Cleaners (located immediately south of the Eugene Public Library in downtown Eugene). Visit http://goo.gl/miiyvW for info on commenting, and http://goo.gl/7kOLXt to view the proposed settlement. If more than 10 people (or a group with more than 10 members) request it, DEQ will hold a public meeting on the proposed settlement. 

The Elwha Dam, illegally built without fish passage in 1913, blocked native salmon and steelhead from spawning in 70 miles of pristine habitat along Washington’s Elwha River. In 1987, Mikal Jakubal drew attention to the dam, tucked away in Olympic National Park, when he anonymously painted a large crack on it and the words “Elwha be free.” In 2013, the dam came down.

• Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call 1-888-996-8080 for herbicide application information. Highways I-5, Beltline and 99 were sprayed recently.

• Roseburg Resources Co. plans to ground spray 109 acres near Green River with imazapyr, triclopyr ester and/or oil surfactant. See ODF notice 2014-781-00593, call Jim Hall at 997-8713 with questions.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) hit Pacific Recycling with a $327,686 fine on Friday, June 13, for stormwater pollution problems dating back to 2008 at its facility on Cross Street (near Roosevelt Boulevard) in Eugene. Pacific Recycling has repeatedly discharged harmful levels of industrial pollutants (specifically copper, lead, zinc, suspended solids, and oil & grease), and promised to install additional stormwater treatment in 2011, but never did so.

Skateboarders should be allowed to ride in streets and bike lanes like bicyclists, according to Lee Shoemaker, Eugene’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. He has not gone to the Eugene City Council with the proposal because he has heard mixed opinions about it, he says. Eugene city law currently allows skateboarders to ride in the streets only while crossing them. Downtown, skateboarding on sidewalks is also illegal.