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For Southern Benton County resident Garrick Balsly, concern about his water supply and the health of his land started nearly five years ago when his widowed neighbor received a postcard in the mail.

Virtually no protections are in place to safeguard watersheds and streams — both sources of drinking water in Oregon — from being contaminated by herbicides, says Jason Gonzales of Oregon Wild. This is just one of the pressing issues that environmental protection bills in Oregon’s 2017 Legislative session aim to address. 

Walk into a Eugene dispensary to purchase one of their house-rolled joints and ask the clerk what brand of rolling paper they used. More likely than not, your joint will have been spun up using RAW brand rolling papers. 

An April 17 public hearing on a proposed 20-year transportation plan for Eugene drew a crowd of more than 50 citizens concerned about problems ranging from a dangerous highway interchange to carbon emissions. 

Getting into the marijuana business shouldn’t be just about making a quick buck, according to legendary punk rocker and entertainer Henry Rollins. He says getting into the legal weed economy should be instead about bucking a system of racial injustice.

The Black Flag and Rollins Band frontman is coming to Eugene as the keynote speaker for the fourth annual Oregon Marijuana Business Conference (OMBC) on April 28.

John Burns could feel the spray on his body from a helicopter applying a mixture of pesticides to a nearby clearcut. He describes the well-publicized October 2013 incident as nothing less than an attack on himself and his property. 

Landowners in Oregon like Burns, who have had their health, property or water supply damaged by pesticide spraying, are left with limited options to hold the sprayers accountable under state laws that protect agricultural and forestry industries over people.

To those who feared for their safety while passing those napping pit bulls on the sidewalks of downtown Eugene, fear no more: Dogs have been banned downtown.

The ordinance that many decry as an effort to force homeless people out of the area and that a lawyer argues raises “constitutional issues” over disparate treatment went into effect Monday, April 10. 

Despite the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and federal civil rights laws, American women earn on average approximately 80 cents on the dollar compared to men — the gap widens for African American women who earn 63 cents and Hispanic women who earn 54 cents, according to a U.S. Senate news release. 

Heron Mendez is nearly 70 years old. He thinks. He’s not sure. But what he does know is that he’s been boxing since he was 5 years old. And boxing is all that he knows.  

The Hult Center’s much-loved blackberry curtain says goodbye on April 8 in its last formal bow. After hanging in the Silva Concert Hall for 35 years, the hand-printed curtain, which depicts a cloudy Oregon sky over blackberry bushes, is due to be replaced because of wear and water damage.

In June 2007 Daniel McGowan was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for his role in two environmentally motivated arsons. The feds labeled him a terrorist for his part in the Earth Liberation Front’s eco-sabotage, and Judge Ann Aiken, who sentenced McGowan and his fellow participants in what the FBI called “Operation Backfire,” applied a “terrorism enhancement” to his sentence in a hearing at the federal courthouse in Eugene.  

From Highway 99, the Oregon State Hospital’s Junction City campus looks like a grounded Boeing C-17. Located on the border of the city limits, the gray building stands alone at the end of a newly constructed road in the center of a field. 

In an honest effort to address safety concerns and to spruce up downtown Eugene, a city center littered with empty buildings and unsightly student housing, Eugene City Council voted 6 to 2 to ban dogs from strolling along and occupying city blocks. The ban does not apply to dogs of the gentry with downtown addresses.

A large calendar sits on Bonny McCornack’s dinner table. She looks at it, expecting a long process ahead for submitting a ballot measure to the city of Eugene. McCornack says she’s not sure whether the ballot title — to be written by the city attorney — will need to be appealed, which could hold off this measure’s appearance on a ballot or even force it to appear on a low-voter-turnout election. 

In the coming months, all eleven of Douglas County’s public libraries will close due to severe county budget shortfalls brought on by the loss of federal timber revenue.

Beneath Eugene’s Washington Jefferson Bridge, a swath of park stretches from Sixth to First avenues. On a sunny March day, every pillar is occupied — some with tarps, blankets and shopping carts, and some with makeshift shelters constructed from clothing, towels and fabrics. Most people blanketed below these temporary refuges are asleep at 2 pm. 

According to the city of Eugene, roughly 3,000 people in the community have no home to return to on any given night, and many others are on the brink of becoming homeless.

Yet for the past four years, the city has poured money, time and energy into designing a new City Hall that has yet to come to fruition, while the unhoused continue spending their nights on the streets.  

Air quality concerns — after revelations about Portland’s glass factories — bee die-offs and longtime worries about the dangers of aerial sprays, are hopefully being addressed via bills introduced into Oregon’s Legislature this session. 

After nearly six months of discussion, Springfield will join dozens of cities nationwide, including Eugene, to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday of October. 

House Bill 2921 would repeal Oregon’s sanctuary state law and mandate that Oregon law enforcement agencies assist in federal immigration enforcement. The bill would also prohibit cities and counties from establishing sanctuary protections. 

But Rep. Mike Nearman, a Republican from Independence, who is one of the bill’s chief sponsors, says he doesn’t expect HB 2921 to receive a hearing, instead Nearing is working on a petition to make the repeal a ballot measure to put before the voters in 2018.

Indivisible Eugene is playing defense against the Trump administration. The local chapter of a grassroots effort of politically active individuals looks to pressure Oregon’s political representatives in Congress to continue their opposition against the new president. 

Late last year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency tried adding an obscure herbal leaf with narcotic effects called kratom to its list of banned substances. Public outcry in support of the mysterious painkiller, as well as a September 2016 letter penned by a small handful of U.S. senators — including Oregon’s Ron Wyden — convinced the DEA to back down for the time being.

Despite signs of spring in Oregon, the risk of frostbite is still prevalent with freezing nights and cold rain. It is still what Occupy Medical volunteers call “amputation season.” 

“It begins in December,” clinic manager Sue Sierralupe says. It only takes one night of exposure to get frostbite, she adds.

Rumors are flying in the immigrant community: What is going to happen to undocumented members of the Lane County community under Donald Trump’s presidency? In the Portland area, the Immigration and Customs Service (ICE) has stepped up raids and arrests since January.