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News Briefs

The “war on drugs” — particularly on marijuana — has already played a big role in Oregon politics this year, garnering national attention during the Oregon attorney general race. Despite that attention, Libertarian vice presidential candidate James P. Gray, former presiding judge of the Superior Court of Orange County, Calif., said during a visit to EW that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are rolling out any new ideas when it comes to the failed drug war.

Anti-pesticide activist Day Owen believes the forestry herbicides that drifted onto his organic farm and onto his skin from a nearby helicopter spray in October 2007 may have given him skin cancer.

In the historic Mabel Schoolhouse lies an all-but-forgotten organization of farmers and community, the Mohawk Valley Community Grange in Marcola. While the history of these community buildings is long, this grange is taking on a new role as one of the community’s oldest backbones. 

“The spirit of the grange is opening up the community,” Grangemaster Tom Baratta says. “We try to open the doors through volunteerism, planning community events, fundraising and renting out the facility.” 

The proponents of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline and export facility proposed for southern Oregon say it’s in the public interest to extract natural gas through fracking, pipe it through public and private lands and export it overseas. Conservation groups and landowners beg to differ. “Incredibly, they claim they need to increase fracking in the Rocky Mountain basin,” says Francis Eatherington of Cascadia Wildlands. 

Three Lane County Young Democrats, Andrew Becker, Steven Coatsworth and Celine Swenson-Harris, are embarking on a “Great American Adventure” Aug. 24 in a well-worn 1989 Honda Civic freshly painted with stars and stripes. The three are traveling cross-country to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is forging ahead with its plan to expand planting canola in the Willamette Valley, and canola, also known as rapeseed, opponents are fighting the weed-like plant fiercely. They say not only does canola risk the livelihoods of vegetable seed growers, but also canola is so easily dispersed that conventional (nonorganic) canola is often contaminated by genetically modified (GMO) crops. 

National Honeybee Week has local bee enthusiasts abuzz with activity, canvassing neighborhoods, celebrating bees and asking the city of Eugene to stop using pesticides in public parks and other spaces. “We want to educate and empower ourselves to protect the bees because our government is refusing to do so, and that’s at the federal, state and local levels,” Lisa Arkin of Beyond Toxics says.

Drive down Highway 99 through Goshen and you won’t see much: the Land o’ Goshen Tavern, some homes, some cattails and a couple mill sites. It’s a little unclear what the big deal about Goshen is and why some people from Lane County are pushing hard and fast to have the unincorporated town outside Eugene’s urban growth boundary (UGB) rezoned and revamped into an industrial park. 

Contracts show that Lane County paid thousands of dollars in 2011 to Wildlife Services, a federal agency that reports show killed almost 60,000 animals in Oregon over a 10-year period through trapping, snaring and poisons. It is unclear whether Lane County has signed a new contract with the agency in the new budget year, according to Commissioner Pete Sorenson.

Canola. It sounds so harmless. Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seed in Philomath says that the name comes from “Canadian oil,” and the moniker was devised after Canadian scientists took a plant called rapeseed and modified it to make it lower in erucic acid and thus a little more edible for animals and humans. Canola is causing a controversy among those who support local foods as well as spurring allegations about biofuels producers and suppliers such as Eugene’s SeQuential Biofuels.

People who are homeless need a legal place to sleep — and cities benefit from providing that space. That’s the premise of Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE), which is proposing a community similar to those in Portland and Seattle.

• Weyerhaeuser, 988-7502, is hiring Oregon Forest Management Services, 520-5941, to ground spray 81 acres near Ritchie Creek with Polaris SP, Forestry Garlon XRT, Capstone and/or Polaris AC. See ODF notice 2012-771-00610.

• Weyerhaeuser, 746-4600, plans to ground spray nine acres near Norris Creek with Polaris SP, Polaris AC, Accord XRT, Sulfomet XP, Metcel VMF, Sulfomet Extra, Transline, MSO and/or non-ionic surfactant. See ODF notice 2012-781-00575.

Logging on Oregon’s O&C lands has been a source of controversy for years, with some arguing that the trees should be cut to generate funding for Lane and other historically timber-based counties, and others saying the days of chopping down the ecosystem to pay for county services need to end.

Cougar Mountain Farm is holding its seventh annual farm benefit, the Tayberry Jam, Aug. 3-5, to help fund advancements toward the farm’s development of a sustainable living center to further empower what has become its very own sustainable living movement. 

• Seneca Jones, 461-6245, is hiring Western Helicopter, (503) 538-9469, to aerially apply Glyphosate, Imazapyr, Metsulfuron Methyl with additives Methylated Seed Oil, Syl-Tac and/or Sylgard 309 on 47 acres near Coyote Creek and the same chemicals on 67 and 116 acres near Camas Swale. See ODF notice 2012-781-00547.

• Weyerhaeuser, 746-2511, plans to ground spray 42 acres near Parsons Creek with a long list of chemicals. See ODF notice 2012-771-00593.

The “little blue school” has been empty for 10 years. The community of Noti, 16 miles west of Eugene in the foothills of the Coast Range, saw the historic building close down in June 2002 due to budget shortfalls. But this year, it’s opening back up, according to Leontine Winters Krohn, president of the Noti Community Center. The school’s inaugural fundraiser is a production of Cinderella by Ballet Fantastique accompanied by live ’60s music from singing duo Shelley and Cal and their band at 2:30 pm Saturday, Aug. 4.

Clearcuts, thinning, retention, regeneration … forestry jargon aplenty was flying on July 29 when nearly 30 people gathered to tour the Long Tom forest 20 miles west of Eugene, and to see some of these forest management terms actually applied within the same landscape.

Have some pasta and honor a soldier: The nonprofit Honor Flight of Oregon is putting on an “all-you-can-eat spaghetti feed” Sunday to raise money to send World War II veterans from Lane, Lincoln, Benton and Linn counties to see war memorials in Washington, D.C., before the soldiers pass on. In 2011, the average age of a WWII vet was 92. 

For about a century the Tour de France has showcased some the best scenery France has to offer as cyclists battle through small villages, pastures and mountains. This year Lane County is hosting its very own inaugural Tour de Lane Aug. 3-5 with rides kicking off from Richardson Park in Junction City. This non-competitive cycling festival will provide participants with a number of rides of varying lengths and difficulty.

Bunnies being dumped out of a trailer, a rabbit being flung through the air and rows of screaming children bearing down on a cluster of bunnies paralyzed with fear:  Red Barn Rabbit Rescue documented this and more at the “animal scramble” at the July 13-14 Cottage Grove Rodeo (see our blog post July 16). Animal advocates are seeking to put an end to this annual event that they say is cruel and irresponsible.

In the ongoing debate over whether people are smart enough to learn to use reusable bags, the Eugene City Council will continue exploring a ban on single-use plastic bags in grocery stores at a public hearing Sept. 17.

If this sounds familiar, Eugene postponed past discussions of a bag ban to see if a 2011 statewide ban would pass. It didn’t, and in the meantime individual cities including Portland and Corvallis have implemented local bans.

• Weyerhaeuser, 744-4600, plans to aerially spray at least three units in the Coast Range totaling at least 173 acres with some combination of Accord XRT II, Polaris AC, Metcel VMF, Escort XP, Sulfomet Extra, Oust Extra, Sulfomet, Oust XP and additives MSO and non-ionic surfactant. See ODF notice 2012-781-00524.

• Weyerhaeuser, 988-7502, plans to hack and squirt 31 acres with Imazapyr near Parsons Creek. See ODF notice 2012-771-00534.

Weyerhaeuser, 744-4600, plans to aerially spray at least nine acres near Lorane. See ODF notice 2012-781-00525. 

If you want to prepare a raccoon before cooking it, consult the 1970s edition of Joy of Cooking, which says “remove all fat, inside and out,” and then soak it in saltwater overnight in the refrigerator. But a more likely conundrum in Eugene these days might be: What if one bites you without being provoked?

Lane County has called in the USDA’s controversial Wildlife Services to trap a bear out of its Rattlesnake Road waste disposal site. But Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense questions why Lane County is spending the money to trap a bear when it’s letting criminals out of its jail. 

Oregon has an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 black bears according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and bears showing up around human habitation is not uncommon.