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News Briefs

Beyond Toxics has been calling attention for years to what it says are the “disproportionate environmental and human health effects” of the Seneca biomass burning plant on nearby communities. Seneca Sustainable Energy is located in the West Eugene Industrial Corridor, an area with a higher-than-average number of low-income and Latino residents, according to Lisa Arkin of Beyond Toxics.

• Oregon Department of Forestry, 935-2283, plans to hire Nick’s Timber Services Inc., 503-910-1120, to spray herbicides including Rodeo, Accord XRT II, Polaris SP, Element 4, MSM 60, Sulfomet XP with additives including LI700, MSO and red or blue dye for site prep and release on a total of 356 acres near Liebre, Gall, Nelson and Wildcat creeks and tributaries. See ODF notification 2014-781-00727, call ODF at 935-2283 with questions.

Legalization of marijuana for adult use qualified for the November ballot the same day a panel of legalization advocates outlined how the new Measure 91 will work if it passes. What will it do? How is it different from Washington’s and Colorado’s marijuana laws? What will be the impact on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program? How will the tax revenues be allocated? What about hemp? What about the huge black market that currently distributes pot?

Kenneth MacPhearson, aka Kenny Mac, was featured in EW Oct. 10, 2013, as a homeless vet trying to get back on his feet with the help of local agencies, churches, nonprofits and Veterans Administration programs. After our story came out, Mac found six months of housing in a small apartment, but died July 13 following an apparent head injury sustained in the Whiteaker neighborhood. 

After allegations of a sexual assault by three Duck basketball players surfaced in May, UO President Michael Gottfredson announced he would appoint an independent review panel “to examine our practices for preventing and responding to sexual violence.” UO psychology professor Jennifer Freyd then emailed Gottfredson and suggested he appoint Oregon’s U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall to the panel. He did not.

The Eugene Police Department (EPD) finds that in approximately 44 percent of the cases investigated for serious misconduct, the officer investigated has committed serious misconduct. That is a rate higher than many other cities, according to the city of Eugene Police Auditor’s 2013 Annual Report. The report, released May 31, shows four other cities with “sustained” rates ranging from 2 to 20 percent.

Freres Timber Inc., (503) 859-2121, plans to hire Alkin Forest Management LLC, 503-510-9477, to spray 3.7 miles of roadsides in Benton County near Williams Creek and Coleman Creek with Forestry Garlon XRT, LV6, Opensight, Rodeo and/or MSO. See ODF notification 2014-551-00305, call Bill Mahr at 929-3266 with questions.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) followed up on the pre-enforcement notice it sent to Hollingsworth & Vose Fiber Company (H&V) in May for hazardous waste law violations at its Corvallis facility (see EW 5/22, goo.gl/yde2bm) with a $10,400 civil penalty on July 16. The most serious of H&V’s multiple violations concerned failure to clean up releases of crushed brick dust containing barium, cadmium and chromium.

• The Eugene Toxics Board meets at 3:30 pm Thursday, July 17, at the Eugene Emergency Services Center, 1705 W. 2nd Ave. Fire Conference Room. On the agenda is an Envision Eugene overview and other items. Call 682-7118 or email joann.c.eppli@ci.eugene.or.us for more information.

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.