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Sen. Floyd Prozanski will speak to the Cottage Grove Blackberry Pie Society at 7 pm Thursday, Jan. 15, at Hard Knocks Brewing, 1024 E. Main St. in Cottage Grove. 

Rep. Tina Kotek, speaker of the House in the Oregon Legislature, will speak at City Club of Eugene at noon Friday, Jan. 16, at the Downtown Athletic Club, 999 Willamette St. Her topic will be “An Opportunity Agenda for Oregonians,” including support for education, higher pay, equal pay and affordable housing. $5 for non-members. See cityclubofeugene.org.

In mid-November, Darla Clark began getting frantic calls about Dani, a young Tennessee Walker horse in Lane County who was so emaciated that her spine and ribs protruded through her muddy black hair. Clark, who runs Strawberry Mountain Rescue and Rehab, says people who called Lane County Animal Services about the horse were told an officer couldn’t make it out until after the holidays. 

Get ready to grow. Portland is focusing on infill to meet its growing population, but Eugene is looking to expand its city limits in the next few years. The sprawl is likely to happen despite the city’s commitment to make Eugene more bike and pedestrian friendly.

Five years of community input and technical analysis have led to Envision Eugene expansion plans that appear to be favored by the city administration and the majority on the council, including Mayor Kitty Piercy. 

Late last summer, the images captured of police responding to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, with red, laser-sighted assault rifles and hulking armored vehicles precipitated a congressional hearing to survey the federal programs that funnel surplus military equipment from the Defense Department to law enforcement departments around the country. 

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently followed up on the pre-enforcement notices it sent to Jeanne M. Burris and Michael & Rosemary Cress in November for illegal waste-tire storage at property owned by Burris at 29882 Kelso St. in Eugene (see EW 12/11, goo.gl/uGo453). DEQ sent Burris a civil penalty assessment in the amount of $15,041 on Dec. 31, and sent Michael Cress a civil penalty assessment in the amount of $19,755 the same day. Burris is the current owner of the property, while Michael Cress is a prior owner.

It may look like a Labradoodle, but the lagotto Romagnolo is actually an ancient dog breed, carefully selected and bred for its ability to sniff out truffles. Though rare, a handful of lagottos live in Eugene, and now they and other breeds have a chance to strut their stuff. For the first time ever, the Oregon Truffle Festival is holding The Joriad North American Truffle Dog Championship, a sporting event for dog lovers and truffle fans alike. 

 “In the most elemental form, the faculty has traded its voice in internal government and management for the union’s voice, and the union’s only legal role involves terms and conditions of employment for bargaining unit members,” reads a May 2012 memo written by the University of Oregon’s then-legal counsel Randy Geller, calling to abolish the UO’s Faculty Senate and advisory committees that are a part of the university’s “shared governance.” In shared governance, a university’s faculty has a say in how the school is run.

We hear the dramatically lower gas prices are good for local businesses. Transportation costs are down for everything that travels by car or truck, which improves profits now and maybe customers will benefit later. Car sales are up and more people are traveling. The downsides don’t get much attention. High fuel prices helped alternative transportation enterprises grow and kept our focus on locally produced goods. Will we see bike businesses and local farmers take a hit, and less support for cycling and pedestrians? We expect urgent care and ER rooms to get more business.

• The Eugene Police Commission will meet at 5:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 8, at EPD Headquarters, 300 Country Club Road, Kilcullen Community Room. On the agenda is a closed circuit television proposal.

Oregon’s salmon might be moving toward Alaska at a rate of about 30 kilometers (19 miles) a decade, according to a study in the January 2015 issue of Progress in Oceanography. “Marine life is being affected by changes in ocean conditions resulting from changes in climate and chemistry triggered by combustion of fossil fuels,” the study says.

This news comes as Oregon continues to debate the oil trains, coal export and liquified natural gas (LNG) pipeline and export facilities that are jockeying for position throughout the state.

According to our web hits and downloads, the most-read story in EW this year was a story about the other paper in town … The Register-Guard. More precisely, it was our story “Reporter Fired for Checking Email?” about the termination of popular reporter Serena Markstrom Nugent while she was out on pregnancy disability leave. 

That article not only was the most read on our website — it also generated a lot of national attention, with mentions on the journo news site Romenesko and a tweet by NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik. 

M Three Timber Company, 767-3785, plans pre-harvest hack and squirt, spraying Polaris AC on 31 acres near an unknown fish-bearing stream off of Lynx Hollow Road. See ODF notification 2014-781-08761 or call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions.

We understand why private investors are motivated to build student-housing complexes. College enrollment is predicted to grow and the projects pencil out as profitable even if they are not filled to capacity, particularly if tax breaks are involved. Once built and operating, they can be sold to other big-time investors to cover costs and pocket a few million bucks. But what we don’t understand is why they are designed to accommodate only single students for the life of the building, say 40 to 50 years.

Friends of Trees will be planting native trees and shrubs from 8:45 am to 1 pm Saturday, Jan. 3, near Beltline in the grassy field northwest of Elysium Avenue and Providence Street. Email jenniferk@friendsoftrees.org or call 632-3683 for more information. No preregistration required and gloves and tools will be provided. Weather is expected to be chilly and clear that day.

When Pastor Erin A. Martin first arrived at Wesley United Methodist in 2006 to fill a part-time staff role, she says the congregation was aging and in “self-preservation mode.”

“They were more worried about keeping the lights on and filling the pews and not necessarily looking outside of themselves,” Martin says. “What I’ve tried to do in my leadership is to help them understand that they’re not dead yet; God isn’t finished with us yet, and in many ways we’re coming back to life by serving those outside of ourselves.” 

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) may sound like a sci-fi TV show, but they’re actually the name of Oregon’s new science standards for public schools, passed earlier this year. Is Eugene School District 4J ready for them? Well, not yet. Not even close.

Late in the summer of 2013, Lane County closed a protest camp in the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza leading to one of many recent debates on the nature of free speech and whether a government agency can shut it down. 

In a Dec. 15 ruling on a motion to dismiss, Municipal Court Judge Karen Stenard writes that the closure in this instance was not unconstitutional under Oregon law. She writes there were “legitimate health and safety concerns.” Activists disputed those concerns at the time of the closure and in the months afterward.

Local group Predator Defense has devoted a large part of its 25-year existence to putting an end to Wildlife Services, a federal agency that traps and poisons predators. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows Wildlife Services killed more than 4 million animals in 2013. Recently Predator Defense’s documentary, Exposed: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife, which delves into the federal agency Wildlife Services, won high praise from noted primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall, who writes, “I hope it will be watched by millions.”

“We’ve been pretty busy these last couple days,” says Mindy Beer, who created Pay It Forward Cottage Grove a year ago with her daughter, Jennifer Neil. As Christmas approaches and the weather has turned colder, people have turned to Pay It Forward to give and receive everything from baby formula to refurbished bicycles.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent Lane County a warning letter last month for low pH levels in water pollution discharged from Short Mountain Landfill. Low pH means discharges are acidic, and low pH was observed in both initial and follow-up sampling. 

Where would Jesus eat? Many local restaurants will be closed Christmas Day. Among the businesses that will be open is Agate Alley Bistro & Bar at 1461 E. 19th Ave., but only from 5 to 10 pm so the staff can have Christmas morning off. If you are planning on dining out anywhere Christmas Day, we recommend calling ahead and leaving big tips. Going to the coast? We once showed up late and ravenous for a Christmas buffet at a fancy hotel near Depot Bay and found only scraps of salmon and halibut, but plenty of mystery meat, soggy broccoli and cold potatoes.

To some river-lovers it’s the scariest place in Eugene: a longtime homeless camp along the Willamette River strewn with soggy mattresses and moldy rugs, used needles, bike parts, food packaging, wet books, even an old TV set. Trash and worse from campers have been collecting for years between the railroad tracks and the river, and a cleanup project is about to begin now that the camp has been abandoned (see photos on our website). 

On Dec. 16 Lane County commissioners discussed whether to question federal law and pass an ordinance that challenges two controversial sections of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

The NDAA, a sweeping defense bill that sets the budget for the military, dates back to the post-9/11 period and is renewed every year by Congress. The controversial sections of the bill include provisions to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism. The current version of the $585 billion NDAA passed the Senate Dec. 12.

Viewed from the little parking lot off West 11th, As You Like It looks like any artsy boutique in town; a wall of windows covered with delicate black-lace curtains reveal warm wood floors and beams and display shelves sparkling with treasures. The space is a far cry from the windowless shops around Eugene, but make no mistake, this is a sex store, or rather an “eco-conscious, green, gender-inclusive sex toy shop.”