• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

News Briefs

Whistleblowing former Lane County attorney Marc Kardell filed a lawsuit against the county on May 1, also naming County Administrator Liane Richardson and District Attorney Alex Gardner. Kardell says that he was fired in retaliation for questioning their actions. He says in his suit that the county is mismanaged, wastes funds and abuses authority.

The May Special Election is May 21. Here are our endorsements on selected local issues and contested races.

There’s a rumor circulating in Eugene that suggests the city could be vulnerable to city-services-fee-based litigation like the city of Des Moines, Iowa, which has been fighting lawsuits since 2004. Due to differences in the type of fee, state laws and locally based federal agencies, experts indicate that type of lawsuit wouldn’t be successful in Eugene.

ODOT spring spraying plan: 

• The week of May 6, two days on Hwy. 58 and two days on Hwy. 126 east of Eugene.

• The week of May 13, the Veneta section including Hwy. 126 west of Eugene, Hwy. 36 and Territorial Highway.

• The week of May 20, the Florence section of Hwy. 126 West, Hwy. 36 and Hwy. 101.

Spraying began a couple weeks ago, call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 (Lane County area) at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. 

Up the bike chart we go! Every year, the League of American Bicyclists releases a ranking of states’ friendliness to biking, and Oregon jumped from number five to number three in 2013. The rankings are released to give kudos for bike-ability strengths and provide suggestions for improvements, such as the need for better infrastructure.

The city of Eugene sent Doc’s Pad a notice of violation April 26 for failing to remove food grease from a catch basin that is clearly marked with a “No Dumping” placard. The grease was poured into the catch basin by a Doc’s Pad contractor (C & A Industrial Supplies, Inc., doing business as “Extreme Clean”) on the morning of April 16, and Doc’s Pad was contacted by the city the same morning and told to remove it.

Women represent only 17 percent of Congress, and only one member of the Oregon delegation, Suzanne Bonamici, is a woman. Only 23 percent of elected officials statewide in Oregon are female. These are some of the reasons that Kamala Shugar is encouraging people to come support Emerge Oregon at its May 9 fundraiser. 

Out-of-state corporations have begun to fund the pro-jail levy “Yes on 20-213” campaign. The companies may or may not be interested in improving public safety in Eugene, but they could benefit if the levy goes through because both Corizon Health, Inc. and ABL Management, Inc. are both national corporations that the county has contracted out with, cutting local union jobs in an attempt to cut costs.

An April 23 Lane County Board of Commissioners meeting explored but did not go forward with the possibility of recovering lost filing fees from the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), a private company that tracks servicing rights and ownership of mortgage loans for big banks. Multnomah County is suing MERS and 18 co-defendants for $38 million, saying that it wreaked havoc on the public property records system and denied the county of required transaction fees.

West Lane County residents often feel a little shortchanged by the Lane County Commission. They pay taxes to the county but say that they get less public safety and other benefits. A recent county vote to sell land near Ada Park, which is on the shore of Siltcoos Lake near the Oregon Coast, to a logging company has some West Lane residents even more upset over county politics.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife killed sea lion number CO22 (or as activist group Sea Shepherd dubbed him, Brian) April 16, for eating too many salmon, but conservationists say that it’s suction dredge mining, sucking up riverbeds in giant vacuums, that poses a bigger threat to Oregon’s rivers and their fish.

A series of community events are being planned to celebrate the upcoming visit to Eugene by the Dalai Lama May 10 and to raise funds for the creation of the Palmo International Peace Center.

Marijuana is legal in Washington and Colorado, and it should be in Oregon, too. That’s the goal of the upcoming Global Cannabis March to be held at high noon on Saturday, May 4, in downtown Eugene’s Free Speech Plaza. Eugene is one of 235 cities participating worldwide, and it joins Portland and Medford in a localized effort to pass legislation. 

The Eugene City Council voted 7-0 April 24 to draft an ordinance to lift the city’s ban on camping in undeveloped city properties for 120 days. Local homeless people and their advocates say that the experiment could go well if measures such as sanitation and safety are taken into consideration.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent Eugene-based Bennett’s Drain Savers a pre-enforcement notice on March 29 for performing sewage disposal services without a current license 697 times between Nov. 16, 2009, and March 6, 2013. DEQ sent Goshen Forest Products a warning letter on April 15 for failing to submit a 2011-2012 industrial stormwater monitoring report.

p>The Winnemum Wintu have been fighting for years to bring their native salmon back, and local filmmaker Will Doolittle will be premiering his documentary film, Dancing Salmon Home, about the tribe and their efforts on May 3 at Bijou Cinemas. The event will also feature the short film Ceremony is Not a Crime and a Q&A with Doolittle and Chief Caleen Sisk. 

Drones bomb people in Pakistan. They make “targeted attacks” in Yemen. A recent piece on “Drone Strikes and the Boston Marathon Bombing” on The Atlantic’s website argues that drone strikes have “probably made this kind of terrorism — home-grown terrorism, committed by longtime residents of America — more likely.”

Demand is increasing for Occupy Medical’s free downtown health care, and the group needs more volunteers and donations. Occupy Medical’s mobile unit — that distinct red and white bus you see parked downtown at the Park Blocks on Sundays from noon until 4 pm — served 49 patients on April 21, according to Clinic Manager Sue Sierralupe. Occupy Medical serves patients for free, regardless of income or insurance. 

Eugene voters have been told critical services are on the chopping block if Eugene’s proposed city services fee fails the May 21 ballot, including some of Eugene’s most popular: one of two CAHOOTS vans, funding for the Buckley House sobering station, funding for library services and the Sheldon Pool, a fire crew in the Whiteaker neighborhood and the Looking Glass Station 7. But is it true? Fee supporters and opponents disagree on whether the services will be cut if the fee is voted down.

Rosboro LLC, 746-8411, now plans to spray a total of 900 acres on its forest roadsides throughout Lane County with Garlon 4 and Glyphosate. See ODF notices 2013-781-00324 and 2013-771-00333.

Giustina, 345-2301, plans to hire Northwest Reforestation, 554-0489, to ground spray Atrazine, Clopyralid, Hexazinone, Sulfometuron Methyl and/or Triclopyr Ester on a total of 219 acres near Preacher, Camas Swale, Coyote, Hawley and Doak creeks, also on 57 acres near Little Sand Creek. See ODF notices 2013-781-00321 and 2013-730-00485.

Eugene’s Multiple-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) has stirred up a lot of controversy for awarding tax breaks to downtown developers. Critics say the current ordinance and process don’t adequately ensure that the projects the 10-year tax exemptions incentivize are what the public needs. Now MUPTE could undergo a complete overhaul, if an April 22 City Council work session is any indication.

Comments to Oregon DEQ regarding five local facilities’ industrial stormwater pollution control plans are due by 5 pm April 25. These facilities are: Gary Foglio Trucking (Florence), Oregon Industrial Lumber Products (Springfield), Rosboro Vaughn Complex (Veneta), Seneca Noti (Noti), and SierraPine (Springfield). Visit goo.gl/ScwdH to see stormwater plans, and goo.gl/iMDQb to comment.

Tackling the enormous problem of sexual violence begins with breaking its surrounding silence, and this year’s 34th annual Take Back the Night (TBTN) aims to do just that in a rally, march and speak-out event beginning 6 pm Thursday, April 25.

More than 60 parents, teachers and students met April 18 to discuss the common schedule coming to all 4J high schools. Organized by a group called 4J Parents Supporting Public Schools, the meeting brought together people from all four high schools, who expressed frustration with both the 4J School Board’s mandate and the process leading up to it.