The Center for Public Integrity recently gave the state of Oregon a grade of “F” in its 2015 State Integrity Investigation, which is a “a comprehensive assessment of state government accountability and transparency done in partnership with Global Integrity.” Oregon also received an “F” on the public access to information component of its overall integrity grade, which is consistent with the “F” given to Oregon by the National Freedom of Information Coalition for lack of transparency.
• “Growing our Local Food Economy Part II” is the topic at City Club of Eugene noon Friday, Nov. 20, at the Downtown Athletic Club, 999 Willamette. This program looks at “exploring mixed-use land use for the food industry” and speakers include Jason Lafferty, Shawn Donnille, Terri Harding and Melissa Fery. One issue to be discussed is the city’s proposed expansion of the urban growth boundary to create industrial lands — which could be used for food processing facilities.
• Two local events dealing with sexual violence are planned. The first is “Learn, Listen, and Speak Out: A Community Response to Sexual Violence” from 7 to 9 pm Thursday, Nov. 12, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 1465 Coburg Road. Free. The second is a mental health conference, “Addressing Sexual Violence in Our Community: Roadmap to Prevention” from 8 am to 5 pm Friday, Nov. 13, at Valley River Inn, 1000 Valley River Way. Some scholarships available. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week was eventful for James Manning. As a candidate for Oregon state representative in House District 14, which covers West Eugene, Bethel and Junction City, he says he was excited to see the Eugene library levy pass, increasing hours of operation for the library in his home neighborhood of Bethel.
As a Eugene Water and Electric Board commissioner, Manning says he spent a lot of time last week talking with people about the $10 fee increase proposed by EWEB that would have charged more to low-energy users and less to high-energy users.
A reshuffling of the criteria for homelessness in Lane County has erased the eligibility of hundreds of people for the county’s central housing list, leaving many expectant homeless people on the list feeling crestfallen.
However, the new county criteria also lifts some of the most urgent, life-threatening cases to the top of the list, to more quickly serve them.
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley is feeling the burn — of climate change. But maybe he’s feeling the Bern, too. Merkley teamed up with presidential candidate and fellow Sen. Bernie Sanders on Nov. 4 to introduce new climate change legislation. The “Keep It In the Ground Act” would end all new federal leases for oil, gas or coal extraction on public lands and waters.
The scams are back. Local businesses are once again getting calls about Best of Eugene awards and offers to ship the awards, for a price. These offers from out of state are copyright violations at best and total scams at worst. One fellow who is soliciting fake awards says he works for Eugene Weekly. He’s calling the businesses he sees in our Best of Eugene issue and asking for credit card numbers. Of course we have never charged any business for the awards we give out. A variation on this scam involves websites where businesses can see the awards they are buying.
When Ali Emami steps outside his store on Willamette Street, he can look into the neighboring public plaza and see the statue of Ken Kesey. He says he remembers chatting with sculptor Pete Helzer in 2003 when Helzer was working on the bronze artwork officially known as “The Storyteller.”
Kesey is a part of Eugene’s unique culture, Emami says, and that’s something the city should be building on, not tearing down. When Emami was in high school in Iran, he says, he read Kesey’s books. Now, years later, he owns the two properties that border the iconic square that is a landmark to the famed Northwest author.
It’s halfway though fall term and Michael Schill has been UO president since July 1. He’s five months into his term as the fifth president (counting interim leaders, too) in five years, something that has led the Chronicle of Higher Education to call the Ducks’ leadership position a “revolving door.”
Schill met with members of EW’s editorial board Oct. 30 to talk about some of the UO’s current occupations.
Charles Ogletree has a vision for the Black Lives Matter movement, the youth of our country and even a vision for how to change the conditions of generational poverty featured on HBO’s The Wire. Ogletree, an activist and prominent Harvard law professor, will visit Eugene on Nov. 12 to give speeches on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Barbara’s Soaps is back at Saturday Market and will have its usual booth space at Holiday Market, according to owner Barbara Hascall and confirmed by Kimberley Cullen, Saturday Market’s general manager. Complaints about excessive aromas coming from the booth have apparently been resolved, though details about the mediation have not been disclosed. “To create a safe place that is conducive for effective mediation, it is standard procedure at the Center for Dialogue and Resolution to agree to confidentiality at the start of each session,” Cullen says.
• The documentary Exposed: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife will be shown at 6 pm Thursday, Nov. 5, at Bijou Art Cinemas, 492 E. 13th Ave., along with The Imperiled American Wolf. A discussion will follow with cinematographer Paul Garrett and Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense. See encirclefilms.org.
“Right now at this moment a coyote is strangling in a neck snare or a wolf is struggling in a leghold trap,” says Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense and one of the nonprofit’s founders. The predator advocacy group is celebrating 25 years of work to protect coyotes, wolves, cougars and other predators on Nov. 5 with movies and a Q&A at the Bijou Art Cinemas on 13th Avenue.
Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call 1-888-996-8080 for herbicide application information. Highways I-5, 36, 58 and 99 were recently sprayed. Most of Highway 36 was sprayed Oct. 20 and the area near Triangle Lake School was sprayed Oct. 23 when classes were not in session.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently fined Central Point-based LTM, Incorporated (doing business as Knife River Materials) $159,144 for polluting a tributary of the Middle Fork of the Coquille River with sediment; grading and stockpiling earthen material without a Clean Water Act permit; and placing wastes where they are likely to escape into waters of the state. LTM/Knife River’s violations stem from an excavation project on Oregon State Hwy. 42 under a contract with Oregon Department of Transportation.
A landslide of citizen protests led the Eugene City Council to vote to postpone a proposed plan to rezone major portions of the South Willamette neighborhood. Those citizens, the South Willamette Neighbors, have united in a badge-wearing, yard-sign bearing movement against the plan, saying the rezoning could ruin the “single-family home” feel of their 20-minute neighborhood.
Knowing a little science doesn’t hurt when you’re going into politics, says Julie Fahey, a human resources consultant who is running for Oregon state representative in House District 14, a position currently held by Val Hoyle. Fahey has a degree in chemistry, and she says having a background in math and science provides a good framework for politics.
Local and regional solar companies will like this. The nonprofit Environment Oregon (EO) is pushing Eugene and other cities to “prioritize solar energy” through a petition that can be found at environmentoregon.org (click on “Go solar, Oregon”). The group says Oregon gets less than 1 percent of its energy from solar, “but local governments can play a big roll in repowering our state with clean, renewable solar energy.” How?
• Transportation safety in Springfield is the focus of a meeting with Mayor Christine Lundberg at 11:30 am Thursday, Oct. 29, at the roundabout at Harlow Road and Hayden Bridge Way. Roundabouts and other issues will be discussed, such as the Safe Routes to School program and SmartTrips Springfield.
• The Eugene Budget Committee’s Citizen Sub-Committee will meet at 5:30 pm Thursday, Oct. 29, at the Eugene Public Library Bascom/Tykeson Room.
Two high school seniors from Eugene and Springfield have formed a coalition called the Willamette Valley Student Union, a group of high school students seeking to implement change in education, starting with standardized testing.
Emmy Lindsey, a senior from South Eugene High School, says the idea for the union formed last school year with the roll out of Smarter Balanced, a standardized test students took for the first time this April. Around 11 percent of students in Eugene School District 4J did not take the test.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting comments through 5 pm Tuesday, Oct. 27, on an application from Fern Ridge School District for Clean Water Act permitting of discharges of construction-related stormwater pollution at Elmira Elementary School. Visit goo.gl/Yp4iAK for info on commenting.
The clock may be ticking for the unique bit of open space in Eugene’s downtown that is Kesey Square. But Ali Emami, owner of the two buildings that have common walls with the plaza, says that when he heard rumors the public space might be sold and developed into apartments, he came before the Eugene City Council last week to again renew his offer to open up the walls of the buildings and make the space more inviting.
Civilian oversight of the police tends to be reactive not proactive, says Mark Gissiner, Eugene’s civilian police auditor. Yet a recent $755,000 jury verdict in the “Bowl of Dicks” retaliation case against the University of Oregon’s police department has not prompted change in the UO’s police oversight.