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Orlando has a welcoming LGBTQIA community, but so does Eugene. 

Local John O’Malley made this point while addressing a small crowd and TV crews Sunday, June 12, outside The Wayward Lamb — a dedicated queer space and bar in downtown Eugene.

There’s no question that the crisis of the unhoused, the homeless, people on the street — however we want to designate those in need — has reached a critical moment in Eugene and Lane County.

And when it comes to the unhoused, kids and teens are the most vulnerable.

A Junction City biogas plant that’s already received millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies is now more than $325,000 behind on its property tax bill and is fighting Lane County in court over making good on what it owes.

JC-Biomethane opened its plant in 2013 with the promise it would generate electricity to power homes by burning off gases from food wastes. The plant is the first in Oregon to use wastes from businesses and restaurants to generate power, according to records and interviews.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) fined Junction City $1,000 last week for discharging elevated levels of ammonia to Flat Creek from its wastewater treatment plant in December, January, February and April. The city’s discharges take place pursuant to an expired Clean Water Act permit issued by DEQ in 2007.

• Between 4 and 6 pm on June 19, the Peace and Dignity Indigenous Runners will be stopping in Eugene at the Lane Community College Longhouse. “Peace and Dignity Journeys are spiritual runs that embody the prophecy of the Eagle and Condor,” according to information from local organizers.

John Belcher has a simple dream: to walk down his street to a neighborhood natural foods market and buy cheese.

Belcher, co-chair of the River Road Community organization, is working with members of the River Road neighborhood and building owner Lutfi Thabet to bring a much-needed grocery store to an area of Eugene with few options in terms of healthy, fresh produce.

Back in 2013, EW did a public records request to find out how much oil was rolling through Eugene on railroad tanker cars. The request was swiftly denied by Oregon’s Attorney General’s office citing a post 9/11 security exemption. After all, if terrorists were to find out how much explosive Bakken crude was rolling through town, what would they do with that knowledge?

Councilors George Brown, Greg Evans and Chris Pryor do not recall the Eugene City Council ever voting to move into the “construction documents and bid the project” phase for a new City Hall. 

Yet buried in a June 1 Register-Guard article “Lane County eyes bigger chunk of Eugene’s City Hall block for new courthouse” was a comment from city spokeswoman Jan Bohman: The City Hall “project team is currently working with the direction we received from (the City) Council on April 27, which is to complete construction documents and bid the project so that we have firm costs to present for their consideration in July.”

Oregon Department of Transportation is spraying roadsides. Call 503-986-3010 to talk with a vegetation management coordinator or call 1-888-996-8080 for recent herbicide application information. Hwys. 36, 101 and 126 were recently sprayed.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) fined Pacific Recycling, Inc. $12,374 last week for Clean Water Act violations at its Eugene metal recycling facility (located at 3300 Cross Street). Pacific Recycling has a history of environmental violations (and associated fines) at this facility (see goo.gl/kkGA0D), and this most recent fine is for failure to monitor its stormwater discharges during the first half of 2015.

Good Food Easy/Sweetwater Farm will be opening a farm stand at the Creswell Bakery at 182 S. 2nd Street in Creswell beginning 10 am to 2 pm Saturday, June 11, then ongoing each Saturday throughout the summer. Erica Trappe of Good Food Easy says, “We are a major supplier of produce to the bakery, so now customers will be able to purchase the same fresh local ingredients they enjoy on the bakery menu.”

Vaxxed: From Cover Up To Catastrophe will be playing at the David Minor Theater starting June 10. According to the movie’s description, “Vaxxed is an investigation into how the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the government agency charged with protecting the health of American citizens, concealed and destroyed data in their 2004 study that showed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

As summer nears, people start heading for wineries like King Estate to sit on the patio, drink wine and admire the view of the hills out Lorane Highway. 

However, out in Oakridge, some residents worry their views and summer days will be spoiled if a gravel mine, an investment of Ed King’s Crown Properties LLC, begins to bite into 46 acres of a hillside known locally as TV Butte on the edge of town.

Initiative Petition 28 is either a savior for Oregon schools or a doomsday tax that will ruin Oregon’s economy, depending on what you’ve read. As it turns out, it’s not so simple.

IP 28 is a proposed “gross receipts” tax — a tax on a corporation’s sales without deducting costs and expenses — on businesses making $25 million or more in Oregon sales. It would generate $3 billion per year, and the petition to get it on the ballot asks that the money be used for education, health care and senior services.

According to a 2015 article in Business Insider, the median sale price for a home in Silicon Valley is $1.05 million, and you’d have to make $212,800 a year just to afford the mortgage. Nationwide, technology has been a double-sided coin for communities, but here in the “Silicon Shire” we haven’t yet seen those kinds of astronomical leaps in the cost of living. 

“I’m quite comfortable now talking about menstruation,” journalist and author Jonathan Eig tells EW. Eig is the author of New York Times bestseller The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution, and he came to Eugene May 25 as the keynote speaker for Planned Parenthood of Southwest Oregon’s annual gala.

Oregon Department of Transportation is spraying roadsides. Call (503) 986-3010 to talk with a vegetation management coordinator or call 1-888-996-8080 for recent herbicide application information. Hwys. 36, 101 and 126 were recently sprayed.

 • Reality Kitchen, a nonprofit bakery that employs young adults with learning disabilities, is holding its inaugural “Dough Raiser” 3 pm Sunday, June 5, at Rye restaurant, 444 E. 3rd Ave. Reality Kitchen founder Jim Evangelista says the fundraiser will include a raffle and live music, as well as free hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine. For more info, call 541-337-1323 or email realitykitchen@gmail.com.

Earlier this year, Gov. Kate Brown sat down with Bethel School District Superintendent Colt Gill and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: She asked him to join the effort to raise Oregon’s flagging graduation rate — one of the lowest in the country at 74 percent — by becoming Oregon’s first education innovation officer.

In May 2013, when Lane County was attempting to pass a jail levy — a tax to increase the number of open beds at the Lane County Jail — the focus was on incarceration. Criminals were being released due to a lack of capacity, proponents said.

At the University of Oregon, if a student is sexually assaulted and tells her or his instructor, then the professor or graduate teaching fellow must report what happened, whether or not the student wants it reported. This is required reporting, also known as mandatory reporting. Reports go to the UO’s Title IX coordinator.

It’s come to light since last week’s Pollution Update that in addition to the warning letter the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently sent to the Springfield Target Store (store number 612, located at Gateway Mall) for hazardous waste law violations, the Springfield Target was one of four Oregon Target stores that were assessed a penalty of $6,850 by DEQ on May 13 for failing to obtain authorization for “underground injection control” (UIC) systems.

 • The city of Eugene received an application for a 10-year property tax exemption under the Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) Program and it is taking public comments on the proposal. According to the city, “The Olive Lofts in Eugene is a proposed 5-story, 36-unit housing with ground floor commercial space at 844 Olive Street.

About 50 Lane County residents made the trek north the weekend of May 13-15 to join thousands more activists in 350.org’s Break Free Pacific Northwest weekend of action against the Shell and Tesoro refineries and the climate change-causing fossil fuel industry. Another 50 or so of the 2,000 protesters were arrested.