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“They confirmed that we were indeed unwillingly exposed to pesticides,” says Day Owen of Triangle Lake. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released the Public Health Assessment Report on the Highway 36 Exposure Investigation on May 9. The report is open for public comment until July 9 and the state is hosting a meeting on the issue on May 28.

Oregon DEQ followed up on its Feb .19 warning letter to Georgia-Pacific Chemicals (EW 3/14, goo.gl/cFGEq) regarding discharge of phenols pollution to waters of the state with a civil penalty of $3,600 on May 13. DEQ sent Premier RV Resorts LLC a warning letter on April 24 for violating the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) removal requirement in its Clean Water Act permit in March. The RV facility where this violation occurred is located east of I-5 near Exit 199.

Washington and Colorado may have legalized marijuana first, but Oregon’s marijuana policy reform advocates are striving to ensure that the Beaver State is a close third in bud states. At press time, activists were planning to file two legalization initiatives Wednesday, May 22.

Jaron Lanier is known as “the father of virtual reality.” Smithsonian Magazine calls him “the spy who came in from the cold 2.0” for his criticisms of the digital world that he helped create. Lanier is coming to Lane Community College May 23 and 24 to speak as part of the school’s “Reading Together” effort that creates cross-campus conversations over books in common.

Soubise Restaurant opened May 12 at 50 W. Broadway, the redeveloped Broadway Commerce Center downtown. Restaurateur Cory Stamp and chef Gabriel Gil previously ran the Rabbit Bistro with a French theme, but their new restaurant is expanding its menu to serve a “modern Northwestern cuisine” with local and seasonal ingredients. Portland architect Mark Annen designed the layout and bar, and the granite tabletops and terrazzo floors at Sousbise were part of the original historic building. Local art and handmade furniture are also featured in the design.

• The city of Eugene budget for FY 2014 is now available on the city’s website, Eugene-or.gov/budget. The city Budget Committee will meet and discuss the budget at 6 pm Thursday, May 23, at the downtown library, but no public input will be taken at this meeting. See the city website for feedback and schedule of public hearings.

East Lane Commissioner Faye Stewart may be facing a lot of opposition in the 2014 election and Kevin Matthews is the latest progressive to enter the fray. He joins former EWEB commissioner Joanne Ernst and Jose Ortal in indicating interest in Stewart’s largely rural commission seat.

It all seemed so easy to businessman Steven Chapman — an avid hunter, he wanted to influence the Oregon Legislature on its hunting bills. The deer and elk herds in Oregon are too small, Chapman said, and wanted to do something about it. It takes millions of dollars in California to influence legislation, according to Chapman, but only thousands in Oregon. 

At more than 400 pages, deciphering a city budget can be like trying to decode DNA. That’s why Eugene needs an independent auditor to examine it, figure out where and how much money the city could save and make it more sustainable, according to city councilors past and present and a former Eugene budget clerk.

When the Buddha was passing on his teachings more than 2,000 years ago, 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere wasn’t an issue. The Earth was a far cry from the present day environmental degradation and climate change that it now faces. But we reached 399.89 ppm on May 9, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and that’s a concern for the Dalai Lama. 

Treehuggers having a square dance in a barn to raise money to save Oregon’s wildlands may have seemed more like a spoof than an actual event when it started, but Cascadia Wildlands’ annual hoedown has held up for the long haul — the conservation group’s 10th “Hoedown for Cascadia’s Ancient Forests” is on Saturday, May 18, at a Cottage Grove horse arena.

The May Special Election is May 21. Here are our endorsements on selected local issues and contested races. 

A bill that would ban roping horses by the neck and legs and tripping them for entertainment passed out of the Oregon Senate with a vote of 22-6 and has been the subject of several recent House Judiciary Committee hearings. Horse tripping in Oregon has been documented in Jordan Valley and Burns, according to testimony, and proponents of SB 835 say that being chased and tripped terrifies and injures the horses. 

ODOT spring spraying is under way, but calling the 888 number below indicates the plan is not followed closely.

• The week of May 13, the Veneta section including Hwy. 126 west of Eugene, Highway 36 and Territorial Highway.

• The week of May 20, the Florence section of Hwys. 126 West, 36 and 101.

Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 (Lane County area) at 744-8080 or call 1-888-996-8080 for herbicide application information.  

The Whiteaker is known for its vibrant cultural scene, but some residents say that the nighttime noise level is making sleep difficult, and say it could be time to revise the Eugene noise ordinance to be decibel-based and less subjective. Under Eugene’s current noise code, a noise disturbance can be any sound that “annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities.”

There’s a “Monsanto protection act” in the Oregon Legislature, and opponents say that due to its vague language its repercussions could affect not only seed growers but also city and county governments managing vegetation. SB 633 passed out of the Oregon Senate May 1 on a 17-12 vote. Sen. Floyd Prozanski and Chris Edwards voted against it.

EWEB meeting rooms that have been open to community and nonprofit groups for years may no longer be available starting next October if EWEB goes through with leasing out the second floor of its North Building. EWEB spokesman Lance Robertson did not disclose who would be leasing the offices but it is “highly possible” that meeting rooms at EWEB will be part of the lease agreement. Dozens of groups use the meeting rooms and those that have booked rooms through the year have been notified. 

• Some 4J Board members are holding informal conversations on a variety of topics around town from 4 to 5 pm on Fridays. The next will be May 17 at the Arts & Technology Academy, 1659 W. 22nd Ave. Last week’s Activist Alert blurb had outdated information about the locations for the May 10 and May 17 meetings.

Whistleblowing former Lane County attorney Marc Kardell filed a lawsuit against the county on May 1, also naming County Administrator Liane Richardson and District Attorney Alex Gardner. Kardell says that he was fired in retaliation for questioning their actions. He says in his suit that the county is mismanaged, wastes funds and abuses authority.

The May Special Election is May 21. Here are our endorsements on selected local issues and contested races.

There’s a rumor circulating in Eugene that suggests the city could be vulnerable to city-services-fee-based litigation like the city of Des Moines, Iowa, which has been fighting lawsuits since 2004. Due to differences in the type of fee, state laws and locally based federal agencies, experts indicate that type of lawsuit wouldn’t be successful in Eugene.

ODOT spring spraying plan: 

• The week of May 6, two days on Hwy. 58 and two days on Hwy. 126 east of Eugene.

• The week of May 13, the Veneta section including Hwy. 126 west of Eugene, Hwy. 36 and Territorial Highway.

• The week of May 20, the Florence section of Hwy. 126 West, Hwy. 36 and Hwy. 101.

Spraying began a couple weeks ago, call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 (Lane County area) at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. 

Up the bike chart we go! Every year, the League of American Bicyclists releases a ranking of states’ friendliness to biking, and Oregon jumped from number five to number three in 2013. The rankings are released to give kudos for bike-ability strengths and provide suggestions for improvements, such as the need for better infrastructure.

The city of Eugene sent Doc’s Pad a notice of violation April 26 for failing to remove food grease from a catch basin that is clearly marked with a “No Dumping” placard. The grease was poured into the catch basin by a Doc’s Pad contractor (C & A Industrial Supplies, Inc., doing business as “Extreme Clean”) on the morning of April 16, and Doc’s Pad was contacted by the city the same morning and told to remove it.