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News Briefs

The Oregon University System’s bargaining with staff is coming down to the wire, with classified staff union SEIU 503 scheduled to vote on strike authorization Sept. 9-11, in advance of a Sept. 13-14 bargaining session. Classified staff includes non-teaching and non-administrative staff from janitors to computer programmers. Union leaders say that OUS isn’t debating important work-related topics because the National Labor Relations Act doesn’t require some issues to be discussed.

Eugene Celebration Parade photos.

The eighth time’s a charm? The UO’s faculty union, United Academics at the University of Oregon (UAUO), enters its eighth scheduled bargaining session of the summer Thursday, Aug. 29. “We’ve made a lot of progress in a lot of areas, but we’ve got a few sticking points, as far as salary, faculty-shared governance and more job security for non-tenure track faculty,” says Ron Bramhall, a senior business instructor on the UAUO bargaining team.

More than two million acres of public forests, a checkered history, and federal and state laws confusingly mixed with county funding means that the current O&C lands logging proposal can be hard to wrap your mind around. About 150 people came to the downtown Eugene Public Library Aug. 26 to try to understand the “DeFazio bill,” or as it is more properly known, the O&C Trust, Conservation and Jobs Act.

It was around 2 am when nature called for Stacie Brumley. The Safeway had been closed for an hour, but the public restroom at Junction City’s Laurel Park was a stone’s throw away. That’s where, on June 19, Junction City police cited Brumley, a homeless artist, for a curfew violation.

The trendy bottled water you’re drinking is often just tap water in disguise. In the case of a young company here in Eugene, it’s actually out-of-state tap water. Emerald Valley H2O is marketing an “eco-friendly” brand of bottled water that uses plastic bottles made from 100 percent recycled materials, with some of its water sourced from Southern California municipal water.

A new project is on the way to open a LGBTIQ community center in Lane County. The original Q, the nonprofit Queer Resource for Social Change, closed its doors in December 2009.

Since the community center closed in 2009, Q has been hosting an online community resource that highlights cultural events focusing on building community for LGBTIQ people (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning). Q has been using art as a way to create a safe space in the world for trans people since 1997.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent a notice of noncompliance to Cascade Pacific Pulp LLC on July 19 for a hazardous waste violation at its Halsey facility, specifically for storing waste without a permit. Comments on stormwater plans for Schnitzer Steel, BJB Milling & Lumber, Ideal Steel and Seneca Sawmill Company are due to DEQ by 5 pm Sept. 5. Visit goo.gl/ScwdH to see stormwater plans, and goo.gl/iMDQb to comment.

Although many of the animals that come through Greenhill Humane Society and 1st Avenue Shelter are expected to be adopted relatively soon after they have been attended to, some have a much more murky future. 

Emma is one of those cases.

“She was found in Junction City and brought to the 1st Avenue Shelter on May 28. She was extremely neglected and malnourished,” says Sasha Elliott, communications manager of Greenhill Humane Society. In a case like Emma’s, hand feeding was necessary, which helped her gain 20 pounds. 

A train disaster can stem from something as small as a leak — chlorine gas can be fatal when inhaled — or as massive as an ethanol or crude-oil fed fire. An environmental disaster can stem from something as simple as a train derailment or as complex as the massive amounts of fossil fuels and hazardous materials that are turning Oregon into an energy-industry gateway.

 Former Lane County administrator Liane Richardson was fired after an investigation stemming from changes she made to her pay, and now questions arise over the pay stubs of County Counsel Stephen Dingle, who has been intertwined with the Richardson controversy.

James Chastain’s tent sat by Ferry Street Bridge for a week. He pitched camp and others followed — three, then five, then 20. “It became a neighborhood,” he says. Homeless advocates say a neighborhood — or at least a safe place for the many homeless people in Lane County to sleep — is still needed.

Federal Judge Ann Aiken of Eugene has joined 86 other federal district court chief justices in a letter to Congress calling for an end to sequestration, the mandatory 10 percent federal budget cuts that have followed years of flat funding. The federal judiciary, facing budget cuts of $350 million in 2013, has lost more than 2,000 staff members, reducing personnel to 1999 levels at a time when workload has increased. In addition, furlough days due to sequestration are expected to total 8,600 by the end of this year.

• Giustina Land & Timber Co., 345-2301, plans to hire Western Helicopter Services Inc, (503) 538-9469, to aerial spray 125 acres near Crow, Norris and Coyote Creeks with Get Wise, Aminopyralid, Glyphosate, Imazapyr, Metsulfuron Methyl and/or Sulfometuron Methyl. See ODF notification 2013-781-00697 for more information.

Opportunity Village Eugene’s ribbon is snipped, and now it’s time for construction. Following the Eugene Celebration Parade Saturday, Aug. 24, residents and volunteers will head to the site at 111 N. Garfield and begin constructing its shelters. “When this succeeds, this can go nationwide,” future resident Mark Hubbell says.

At the ribbon cutting, organizers reported that in addition to the construction, they’re working on even more service-related plans for the village, including an educational program called “The Academy.”

Eugene’s bike traffic may move a little differently soon. Changes that could be put into the city’s code include a larger zone excluding bikes and skateboards on sidewalks downtown, allowing skateboards to travel in bike lanes and quiet electric-assist bikes allowed on off-street paths, where they’re now banned. The city is seeking input from Eugeneans to establish whether residents want the changes, which could make sidewalks and streets safer and more accessible.

Whither Civic Stadium? After a two-year moratorium, the site’s future is once more a live question, and Eugeneans might wonder what part the public can play in answering it — and whether they prefer a big box store or a soccer team.

According to Eugene 4J School Board Chairperson Mary Walston, the board is soliciting comments at its 7 pm Aug. 28 meeting at César E. Chávez Elementary School. The board welcomes both oral and written testimony, and the public comment period is early on the meeting’s agenda.

The Bureau of Land Management has issued a “finding of no significant impact” on its order to close the White Castle timber sale to public access, but the protesters currently occupying the trees in opposition to the planned logging project beg to differ. They say cutting the native trees hurts the ecosystem and doesn’t solve the root problems of lack of money for counties and a lack of jobs. A comment period on the closure ends Aug. 30.

Volunteer surveyors in Elliott State Forest recently discovered nesting behavior by the marbled murrelet, a sea bird protected under the Endangered Species Act, on one of three parcels of land being assessed for sale by the State Land Board.

It was the smack heard ’round the YouTube. On Sunday, Aug. 4, Eugene police officers were attempting to enforce a court order transferring custody of a 10-year-old child from his mother to his father at Monroe Park when an officer struck the child. 

Joann Ernst has had a turbulent career; but turbulent or not, she has proven she can stand her ground. Now, she’s entering the fray for the East Lane County Commissioner race to change the perception of civic engagement in the county. “I think Lane County has lost the trust of the people because they don’t seem to have a voice. I’d like to bring that voice back,” Ernst says. Kevin Matthews and Jose Ortal have also indicated they will file for the May 2014 primary.

Alley Valkyrie said from the beginning that closing the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza was unconstitutional, and a recent ruling in Eugene Municipal Court has proven her right, she says. The arguments in court centered on poop, which makes for giggles, but Valkyrie’s attorney, Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center, says it’s no laughing matter when someone’s free speech rights are being taken away.

“Whenever anybody’s constitutional rights are diminished, everybody’s rights are harmed,” Regan says.

Efforts in Oregon to protect small farmers and organic growers are coming from the ground up at the county and state level these days. An initiative to ban genetically modified (GM) crops in Lane County has been resubmitted to the county clerk, and small farmers came out ahead in the Oregon Legislature this session. 

Fill your stomach for the good cause on Saturday, Aug. 17: Dishcrawl introduces “Neighborfood,” an afternoon celebration of food, family and community in downtown Eugene. Dishcrawl will give a portion of the proceeds to Womenspace, a nonprofit organization providing support to women and children in situations of domestic abuse.