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News Briefs

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. 

The 2014 FIFA World Cup may be in progress a full continent away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw on your USA jersey and experience a sliver of the camaraderie and sporting atmosphere here in Eugene. Several local establishments should have more than enough soccer — ahem, futbol — on tap in the coming weeks to be your World Cup proxy. 

Kick, push, kick, push; clunk, clunk, clunk. With the official opening of WJ Skatepark + Urban Plaza June 21, those are the noises that Eugeneans will be hearing a lot more of. And that is music to the ears of Jeremy Conant, the marketing director for Tactics, a Eugene-based skate, snow and surf shop, located just blocks from the new skatepark.

Soon after news broke of the Eugene Celebration being canceled last week, individuals and community groups came up with big plans to have a celebration without Kesey Enterprises, the private group that has run the EC and parade for years. The parade might still happen. Brendan Relaford of Kesey Enterprises says that a meeting was held with “various stakeholders” Monday, June 9, and “we are going to make a decision in the next day or two.” An email query was also sent out to organizations that have participated in the parade in the last two years.

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, 99 and 126 were sprayed recently. 

Seneca Jones Timber Company, 461-6245, plans to hire Washburn Contract Services, 503-831-1593, to spray about 5 miles of roadsides near Coyote Creek with 2,4-D, glyphosate, metsulfuron methyl and/or triclopyr with additives MSO and Syl-Tac. See ODF notice 2014-781-00563, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions. 

It’s been a good month for gray wolves so far: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife documented new wolf pups in southern Oregon, and just across the border, the California Fish and Game Commission just voted to protect gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act. The pups were fathered by Oregon’s famous OR-7 and are the first pups to be born in the Oregon Cascades since the 1940s.

Eugeneans looking for help with odd jobs or more can now turn to residents of Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE), a self-governing community of about 30 people trying to transition from homelessness to stability. Two weeks ago, “villager” Al Hutt launched a website searchable by task being sought or villager’s skill or need.

“Sometimes when people come in here they have immediate needs like a toothache or maybe they need shoes. And they can’t get going until it’s met,” Hutt says.

Sea stars are known for their ability to regenerate limbs, but a vicious disease now sweeping the Oregon coastline is causing sea stars to rot and disintegrate much more quickly than their powers of regeneration can handle. If the die-off continues and we lose Oregon’s iconic orange and purple sea stars, local extinctions could cause long-term trouble for other marine animals. 

“The way the rate has accelerated, I don’t think most sea stars along the Oregon coast are long for this world,” says Bruce Menge, a marine ecologist with Oregon State University. 

Kevin Sullivan

 et al.

The Common Core approacheth: Starting with the 2014-2015 school year, Oregon public schools will do away with the old OAKS (Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) testing and usher in the Smarter Balanced Assessment, a new standardized test that evaluates student performance by Common Core standards. But with its ties to corporations and its rushed implementation in Oregon, Smarter Balanced is not winning over everyone.