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In Afghanistan

• 2,329 U.S. troops killed (2,320 last month)

• 19,798 U.S. troops wounded in action (19,765)

• 1,510 U.S. contractors killed (1,510)

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $724.7 billion cost of war ($718.6 billion)

• $299.6 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($297.1 million)

 

In Iraq

• 4,423 U.S. troops killed, 31,941 wounded

• 1,607 U.S. contractors killed (1,605)

• 138,882 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (137,533)

Kick, push, kick, push; clunk, clunk, clunk. With the official opening of WJ Skatepark + Urban Plaza June 21, those are the noises that Eugeneans will be hearing a lot more of. And that is music to the ears of Jeremy Conant, the marketing director for Tactics, a Eugene-based skate, snow and surf shop, located just blocks from the new skatepark.

Jerry Henderson and his wife, Junaida, rent out the first floor of their taupe cedar-sided south hills home to people passing through town. For $60 per night, travelers stay in a private “suite” with a bedroom, bathroom and family room and access to decks that skirt along ferns and wrap around the trunks of 100-foot-tall fir trees. They have rented their extra space to 190 people since May 2010. Jerry Henderson says they have reported all of their Airbnb earnings, which total at least $11,000, to the IRS. 

Soon after news broke of the Eugene Celebration being canceled last week, individuals and community groups came up with big plans to have a celebration without Kesey Enterprises, the private group that has run the EC and parade for years. The parade might still happen. Brendan Relaford of Kesey Enterprises says that a meeting was held with “various stakeholders” Monday, June 9, and “we are going to make a decision in the next day or two.” An email query was also sent out to organizations that have participated in the parade in the last two years.

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, 99 and 126 were sprayed recently. 

Seneca Jones Timber Company, 461-6245, plans to hire Washburn Contract Services, 503-831-1593, to spray about 5 miles of roadsides near Coyote Creek with 2,4-D, glyphosate, metsulfuron methyl and/or triclopyr with additives MSO and Syl-Tac. See ODF notice 2014-781-00563, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions. 

It’s been a good month for gray wolves so far: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife documented new wolf pups in southern Oregon, and just across the border, the California Fish and Game Commission just voted to protect gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act. The pups were fathered by Oregon’s famous OR-7 and are the first pups to be born in the Oregon Cascades since the 1940s.

Eugeneans looking for help with odd jobs or more can now turn to residents of Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE), a self-governing community of about 30 people trying to transition from homelessness to stability. Two weeks ago, “villager” Al Hutt launched a website searchable by task being sought or villager’s skill or need.

“Sometimes when people come in here they have immediate needs like a toothache or maybe they need shoes. And they can’t get going until it’s met,” Hutt says.

Sea stars are known for their ability to regenerate limbs, but a vicious disease now sweeping the Oregon coastline is causing sea stars to rot and disintegrate much more quickly than their powers of regeneration can handle. If the die-off continues and we lose Oregon’s iconic orange and purple sea stars, local extinctions could cause long-term trouble for other marine animals. 

“The way the rate has accelerated, I don’t think most sea stars along the Oregon coast are long for this world,” says Bruce Menge, a marine ecologist with Oregon State University. 

Holy Cow is permanently closing its campus location in the EMU on the UO campus as of June 30. “Deconstruction is in full swing and we cannot afford to keep it open after business went down 50 percent due to construction,” says Kathee Lavine of Holy Cow in an email. “We are open on Willamette and our catering and products are available as always.” Lavine adds, “It is perhaps fitting that we are going out with the OUS system, both of us ending our involvement with the UO on June 30.

• The Eugene Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meets at 5:30 pm Thursday, June 12, at the Atrium Building, 99 W. 10th Ave. On the agenda is the Franklin Boulevard update, Better Eugene-Springfield Transit, priority bike lanes, Master Plan revisions and other business.

• The Eugene Police Commission meets at 5:30 pm Thursday, June 12, at EPD headquarters, 300 Country Club Rd. Kilcullen Room. Public comments will be taken, and on the agenda is a discussion of emerging technologies.

Kevin Sullivan

 et al.

The Common Core approacheth: Starting with the 2014-2015 school year, Oregon public schools will do away with the old OAKS (Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) testing and usher in the Smarter Balanced Assessment, a new standardized test that evaluates student performance by Common Core standards. But with its ties to corporations and its rushed implementation in Oregon, Smarter Balanced is not winning over everyone.

Eugene City Councilor Greg Evans has introduced a downtown smoking ban for the City Council’s discussion. He says the ban is aimed at making downtown more desirable for business and recreation.

 “In downtown areas across the country you have cadres of folks who congregate not necessarily because they’re there to do the right thing, but because they’re there to hang out and do things that are illegal,” Evans says.

A ban on smoking downtown would decrease aggressive behavior and illegal activities such as drug use and dealing, Evans says.

ODOT is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Hwys. I-5, 58, 99, 101, 105, 126 and Territorial were sprayed recently. 

• Weyerhaeuser Company, 744-4684, plans to hire Mountainside Spray, 756-1193, to spray 2700 feet of roadsides near Hawley Creek with glyphosate, methylated seed oil and/or triclopyr. See ODF notice 2014-771-00460, call Marvin Vetter at 726-3588 with questions. 

It’s rafting season on Oregon’s rivers, and the last thing water enthusiasts want to see is a dark smear of effluent in the river as they drift by. Travis Williams saw just that — a dark patch of pollutants in the Willamette River — as he paddled past the outflow for Cascade Pacific Pulp in Halsey, south of Corvallis, in May.

As hiking and, for horse lovers, trail-riding season begins, Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah (FBPMP) has improved trails at the Howard Buford Recreation Area for humans and habitat. FBPMP has finished work on the north trail network in the park, including parts of trails 3, 4, 7 and 17. The group added materials to the trails in order to withstand use from horses and hikers, and redirected some trails. 

The West Eugene EmX expansion is moving forward, despite vocal opposition and efforts to derail it. With this in mind, the nonprofit Better Eugene-Springfield Transit (BEST)  is holding a public forum to “share diverse views on why transit is, or isn’t important to our community” from 5:30 to 7:30 pm Tuesday, June 10, at the LCC Downtown Center, Room 105.

Nancy Chi Cantalupo of Georgetown Law School will speak on “Encouraging Innovation to Prevent and Intervene in Campus Sexual Violence” at 6 pm Thursday, June 5, at the UO Law School, Room 142. Free and open to the public.

Keegan Keppner sits in a green plastic lawn chair with “Whoville” scrawled on it in Sharpie, the O written as a peace sign and surrounded by hearts and asterisks as if it was decorated by an adoring fan. Keegan’s knees are jammed up in his black sweatshirt and he shifts around to evade the chilliness of the spring evening. Cars roar past the temporary encampment on 8th and Mill. 

Oregon is “the hub, for whatever reason, of the for-profit fire industry,” writes journalist and South Eugene High School grad McKenzie Funk in his book Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming (Penguin Press, 2014, $27.95). Funk writes not simply of how we are preparing for a warmer planet, but rather he focuses on those who see the melt, drought and deluge of climate change as a market opportunity. Funk will speak at 6 pm Thursday, June 5, at the Eugene Public Library, free. 

On May 27 the Eugene Police Department brought the City Council a proposal to close Kesey Square between 11 pm and 6 am, a move that some say is targeting the homeless population. Kesey Square, aka Broadway Plaza, is a city-deemed performance space that sits on the corner of Broadway and Willamette, home to the bronze statue of Ken Kesey. The City Council has not scheduled a vote.

Civil Liberties Defense Center attorney Lauren Regan says the proposal to close the public square is repugnant in the face of the human rights image touted by the city of Eugene.

The current fight against GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in Lane County is one small battle in a larger war, according to Thomas Linzey, the executive director of the legal nonprofit group the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

Marbled murrelets have been observed in the East Hakki timber sale in the Elliott State Forest, according to the Coast Range Forest Watch, a group of citizen scientists that regularly surveys for the threatened sea birds that fly many miles in from the ocean to nest in the Elliott.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality sent International Paper a warning letter on May 16 following a line break at International Paper’s Springfield facility, which resulted in discharge of treated process water into Irving Slough. According to DEQ’s letter, the discharge violated Oregon environmental law, and this violation is classified as “serious.” DEQ determined that the violation was beyond International Paper’s reasonable control, and therefore chose not to assess a penalty.

The Oregon Legislature last summer approved $3.75 million in seed funding for the South Willamette Valley Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network. RAIN’s goal is economic development for our region, which is slowly making the transition from a dependence on natural resources to a knowledge-based economy. RAIN is intended to help researchers at UO and OSU spin off private companies, provide mentors and create workspaces for tech start-ups.