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News Briefs

“I feel very strongly that if we don’t stop GMOs it will be the end of humanity,” says Lizzy Cwynar. She had never organized a protest before, but her concerns over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) led her to organize Eugene’s part of the worldwide March Against Monsanto. Eugene police estimate that about 2,500 people participated in the May 25 event. At least two million people are said to have participated in marches nationwide.

UO’s decades-old urban farm program didn’t sprout overnight, but the university’s various farm projects are now growing fast. In addition to the 1.5 acre Urban Farm north of Franklin Boulevard, it added sites on Columbia and Moss Streets in 2012. The Service-Learning Program started a farm at Edison Elementary School in the Fairmount neighborhood.

Oregonians would rather protect water, forests, fish and wildlife on their federal forestlands than cut them down for money for the timber economy and local governments. That’s the gist of a recent bipartisan statewide poll of likely voters in western Oregon by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Eugene’s path toward a sustainable budget will probably be a bumpy road, filled with all the suspense and comedy of a summer blockbuster. Since the city service fee went down in flames on Election Day, Eugene’s budget process is going to get interesting. 

Sniffing out what you shouldn’t miss in the arts this week

Move, grow or stagnate. That’s the choice the bustling Lane County Farmers Market has been looking at for years. Its members vetoed a big July 2013 move to the Fifth Street Public Market, but they approved a couple of smaller experiments. When the Thursday market opens June 6, it will move from Amazon Park to Fifth Street Public Market. The Farmers Market is also negotiating to close one block of 8th Avenue during the Saturday market.

• Walton Hylomorphia plans to ground spray 175 acres near the Siuslaw River with Glyphosate, Triclopyr Ester, and Glyphosate Amine.

• ODOT spring spraying plan: the week of May 13, the Veneta section including 126 west of Eugene, Hwy. 36 and Territorial Highway; the week of May 20, the Florence section of Hwys. 126 West, 36 and 101. Spraying began at the beginning of May, call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 (Lane County area) at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. 

Oregon’s Sen. Jeff Merkley has joined the march against Monsanto, in the U.S. Senate anyway. While Eugeneans plan their May 25 rally against chemical giant Monsanto here in Lane County, Merkley has taken a stand against loopholes and secret provisions aiding the biotech company in Congress. He has introduced an amendment to the Senate farm bill that would override a provision that has become known as the Monsanto Protection Act.

“They confirmed that we were indeed unwillingly exposed to pesticides,” says Day Owen of Triangle Lake. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released the Public Health Assessment Report on the Highway 36 Exposure Investigation on May 9. The report is open for public comment until July 9 and the state is hosting a meeting on the issue on May 28.

Oregon DEQ followed up on its Feb .19 warning letter to Georgia-Pacific Chemicals (EW 3/14, goo.gl/cFGEq) regarding discharge of phenols pollution to waters of the state with a civil penalty of $3,600 on May 13. DEQ sent Premier RV Resorts LLC a warning letter on April 24 for violating the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) removal requirement in its Clean Water Act permit in March. The RV facility where this violation occurred is located east of I-5 near Exit 199.

Washington and Colorado may have legalized marijuana first, but Oregon’s marijuana policy reform advocates are striving to ensure that the Beaver State is a close third in bud states. At press time, activists were planning to file two legalization initiatives Wednesday, May 22.

Jaron Lanier is known as “the father of virtual reality.” Smithsonian Magazine calls him “the spy who came in from the cold 2.0” for his criticisms of the digital world that he helped create. Lanier is coming to Lane Community College May 23 and 24 to speak as part of the school’s “Reading Together” effort that creates cross-campus conversations over books in common.

East Lane Commissioner Faye Stewart may be facing a lot of opposition in the 2014 election and Kevin Matthews is the latest progressive to enter the fray. He joins former EWEB commissioner Joanne Ernst and Jose Ortal in indicating interest in Stewart’s largely rural commission seat.

When the Buddha was passing on his teachings more than 2,000 years ago, 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere wasn’t an issue. The Earth was a far cry from the present day environmental degradation and climate change that it now faces. But we reached 399.89 ppm on May 9, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and that’s a concern for the Dalai Lama. 

Treehuggers having a square dance in a barn to raise money to save Oregon’s wildlands may have seemed more like a spoof than an actual event when it started, but Cascadia Wildlands’ annual hoedown has held up for the long haul — the conservation group’s 10th “Hoedown for Cascadia’s Ancient Forests” is on Saturday, May 18, at a Cottage Grove horse arena.

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

A bill that would ban roping horses by the neck and legs and tripping them for entertainment passed out of the Oregon Senate with a vote of 22-6 and has been the subject of several recent House Judiciary Committee hearings. Horse tripping in Oregon has been documented in Jordan Valley and Burns, according to testimony, and proponents of SB 835 say that being chased and tripped terrifies and injures the horses. 

ODOT spring spraying is under way, but calling the 888 number below indicates the plan is not followed closely.

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

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

Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 (Lane County area) at 744-8080 or call 1-888-996-8080 for herbicide application information.  

The Whiteaker is known for its vibrant cultural scene, but some residents say that the nighttime noise level is making sleep difficult, and say it could be time to revise the Eugene noise ordinance to be decibel-based and less subjective. Under Eugene’s current noise code, a noise disturbance can be any sound that “annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities.”

There’s a “Monsanto protection act” in the Oregon Legislature, and opponents say that due to its vague language its repercussions could affect not only seed growers but also city and county governments managing vegetation. SB 633 passed out of the Oregon Senate May 1 on a 17-12 vote. Sen. Floyd Prozanski and Chris Edwards voted against it.

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.