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News Briefs

While Eugene braces itself for possible coal trains and their choking dust, citizens of other states are already well aware of the high costs of coal to the environment and to human health. 

The Port of Coos Bay’s coal export proposal that would require open-car coal trains over a mile long chugging through Lane County may have hit a snag. It will cost millions of dollars to repair the Coos Bay Rail Link, the railroad track that goes from Eugene to Coos Bay, enough to carry the loads of coal.

Eugene’s environmental groups are not necessarily known for reaching out into the Latino community, but Beyond Toxics is looking to change that. The group is organizing a series of forums, panels and discussions on how toxic pollution affects the West Eugene community that runs April 11-13. Lisa Arkin of Beyond Toxics says events will include the academic and the experiential. “It will be a trip into environmental justice from all different angles,” Arkin says.

Fallen trees and branches are splattered all over Lane County thanks to the March snowstorm and rains, but more trees are on the way, via bicycle. Friends of Trees is planning on putting nearly 100 trees in the ground this Arbor Day, April 7.

The Friends of Trees event is a collaboration with the city of Eugene and Jefferson Westside neighbors as well as EWEB and Northwest Natural. After meeting at Jefferson Park, teams will be sent out to plant at the park and around the nearby neighborhood. There will also be some going into the ground near the Lane County Fairgrounds. 

Near Creswell, Gabrielson Logging, (541) 514-8353, has been hired by Rolland Richards, (541) 895-4470, to spray Garlon 4, Triclopyr Ester on 20 acres in Section 19 of Township 19 South, Range 03 West, in a site prep operation. See ODF notice 2012-781-00219.

The chemical atrazine can turn a boy frog into a girl frog. It’s a pesticide commonly used in forestry that’s been found in the urine of residents of Triangle Lake, a rural community in the Coast Range west of Eugene. Residents have been trying for years to put an end to the aerial sprays that they say drift on to the farms and homes, as well as manual pesticide applications that can affect drinking water. 

Perhaps one day the question posed by physicist Robert Socolow, “What would we do if we took climate change seriously?” will seem as absurd and archaic as “What would we do if we took the idea the planets revolved around the sun seriously?” For now Socolow, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University, has a lot of work to do.

Put your money where your local shelter is — because Lane County and the city of Eugene are not. They have been citing budget cuts and chopping funding to Lane County Animal Services (LCAS) and proposing instead an as-of-yet to be determined new way of dealing with the area’s homeless pets.

Has TV regressed in its portrayal of the working woman? With TV’s spring lineup kicking off, there may be hope for contemporary portrayals of working women on TV. So where do Murphy Brown, Roseanne and Murder She Wrote fit into this picture?

One result of LTD’s public opinion survey on the proposed EmX extension to West 11th Avenue was about as surprising to the bus agency as spring rain in Eugene. Other responses were more informative.

The least surprising result to LTD, according to Director of Planning and Development Tom Schwetz, was that Eugeneans are split about 50-50 on whether they support or oppose the bus rapid transit extension. “What we were interested in was why,” Schwetz told EW.

Next time you start to reach for a can of pesticide to get rid of ants or weeds, think of the children — and how Oregon’s public schools are managing their pests.

Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) Environmental Health Associate Aimee Code says that Integrated Pest Management (IPM) can actually be defined in many ways, but she likes to approach it by calling it an attempt to get rid of pests while using the bare minimum of pesticides.

“Hump smarter, save the snail darter,” Zygmunt Plater read off a package of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Endangered Species Condoms, which were given out to attendees of the UO’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in early March. 

The questionably witty rhyme got the packed audience laughing in the EMU ballroom on the afternoon of March 3 for the keynote speakers of the day. The subject at hand was a case near and dear to Plater, who is a faculty member at Boston College Law School. 

Eugene doesn’t have to let dirty coal trains come through town wafting lung-clogging dust in their wake, according to a coalition of environmental and environmental justice groups. Beyond Toxics, No Coal Eugene and the UO’s Climate Justice League have teamed up to craft a ballot measure that would buck federal and state law to stand up against Big Coal.

The proposed November ballot measure “creates a city ordinance that empowers the local authorities to stop coal trains from coming through Eugene,” says Zach Stark-MacMillan of No Coal Eugene. 

“We all live downstream,” says River Road resident Carleen Reilly. She’s worried that Lane County’s efforts to take control of the “urbanizable” land around Eugene and Springfield will result in increased air and water pollution. 

Reilly was among a number of residents who spoke about their concerns over the proposed changes to the Metro Plan at the March 13 joint meeting of the Lane County commissioners and the city councils and mayors of Eugene and Springfield. 

• We used “Cirque du Eugene” as a headline and in homage to Cirque du Soleil for our story March 8 on Kaleidoscope: Cirque-Curious, an event at Bounce Gymnastics March 10. We’ve since heard that a different event is actually called Circque de Eugene, and it’s put on for the second year in a row by Fusion Friendly, a group of avant garde bellydancers. Circque de Eugene will be at 8 pm Friday, March 30, at Cozmic Pizza, 199 W. 8th Ave. $5, all ages. Find Fusion Friendly on Facebook or email fusionfriendlyevents@gmail.com

They eat horses don’t they? Well, not so much in the U.S., but Hermiston, Ore., could become the location of a new horse slaughter plant that would export meat to countries such as France and Japan that see nothing wrong with eating Mr. Ed.

Local horse rescuer Darla Clark of Strawberry Mountain Mustangs outside of Roseburg says while the humane aspect of horse slaughter has gotten the most attention, environmental and economic aspects need to be considered too.

Lorane area: Fruit Growers Supply, (541) 345-0996, plans to hire Oregon Forest Management Services to ground spray using Foresters and Garlon XRT with MSO on 33 acres in Township 20S, Range 04W Section 7 in the Lorane area. Concerns include proximity to King Estate Winery, Lorane Elementary School and Hawley Creek, home to threatened turtles. See ODF notice 2012-781-00174.

Deer, raccoons and even pet dogs have suffered and died in traps set for predators in Oregon, and conservation and animal rights groups want that to change. According to Brooks Fahy, the executive director of Eugene-based Predator Defense, “Oregon is behind other states on a lot of issues, and the current regulations on trapping show very little concern for the non-consumptive use of wildlife.” 

Occupy Eugene (OE) is welcoming spring with a new print and online newsletter and more public events. An open house and volunteer fair will be from 2 to 4 pm Saturday, March 24, at OE’s headquarters, Occupy Eugene V (OEV) 1274 W. 7th. 

“We are excited to welcome the community to come and meet us and find out what we are up to and where we are headed,” says Larry Leverone of OE. “A dozen or more of our committees and working groups will be on hand with literature and newsletters.”

For years the rural residents of Triangle Lake have been trying to stop poisonous pesticide sprays from contaminating their houses, farms and bodies. After a study by Dana Barr of Emory University found pesticides in the urine of 44 people in the area, it seemed like the concerns and health issues of the Pitchfork Rebellion and other Triangle Lake groups would be at last be taken seriously. 

Portland and Eugene are nationally ranked as cycle-friendly towns, but there is more to boast about than the many urban bike lanes. Oregon is the only state in the nation with designated scenic bikeways. The two most recent additions start in Cottage Grove and Bend, bringing the state total to eight.

“We’re only looking for the best of the best bike rides in all of Oregon and these two made that cut,” says Alexandra Phillips, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department bicycle recreation coordinator. 

A southern Oregon community’s effort to protect forestland has become a race against the chainsaw. The Williams Community Forest Project (WCFP) is working to purchase a locally vital 320-acre tract of forestland where clearcutting has started, in order to preserve it as a “community forest.” 

The two Lane County commissioner races heading for the May primary have narrowed their fields. Conservative City Councilor Mike Clark dropped out of the North Eugene race against current Commissioner Rob Handy Feb. 28, and on March 1 political newcomer Kieran Walsh gave way in the contest for the South Eugene seat held by Pete Sorenson. 

Moving more than a thousand students to the intersection of three Eugene neighborhoods creates a lot of stakeholders. That’s why different organizations have joined together to form the Eugene Community Advisory Team (Eugene CAT) to examine the proposed Capstone project, which would bring 1,200 students into a downtown complex at 13th and Olive by fall 2014.

Weyerhaeuser (744-4684) plans ground and aerial spraying on at least 753 acres in areas including Mohawk River tributaries, Ritchie Creek on the McKenzie at Leaburg, Crow Creek, Farman Creek, Kelly Creek, Horton, Lorane, Michaels Creek and Owens Creek.