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Toxic tar sands oil has not been in the news lately in the Northwest, but a blockade against the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that would carry the crude from Canada to the Gulf Coast of the U.S. has drawn Eugene-based activists down to Texas to oppose the pipeline’s construction. Ben Jones, a member of the Cascadia Forest Defenders who is in east Texas with the Tar Sands Blockade, calls the Keystone XL is one of the largest and most destructive infrastructure projects in the world.

Good news for the downtown lunch crowd. Noisette Pastry Kitchen opened Oct. 4 in the former Broadway Market space at the corner of Broadway and Charnelton downtown. We hear the eatery had such a successful opening weekend they “ran out of everything” and had to close early Sunday. Owner is Tobi Sovak, a former pastry chef at King Estate in Lorane and Marché restaurant in Eugene. The new restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and light dinners. Phone number is 654-5257. Find customer comments on Noisette’s Facebook page.

• The annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be at 2 pm Sunday, Oct. 14, at Alton Baker Park. Registration begins at 1 pm. See http://wkly.ws/1d8 for more information or to donate.

In Afghanistan

• 2,128 U.S. troops killed* (2,109)

• 17,684 U.S. troops wounded in action (17,568)

• 1,263 U.S. contractors killed (1,173)

• 12,793 civilians killed (12,793)

• $573.4 billion cost of war ($566.8 billion)

• $169.3 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($167.4 million)

 

In Iraq

The foreclosure crisis has created a buzz nationwide, but another consequence of the subprime mortgage crisis is getting some attention from Oregon’s Sen. Jeff Merkley: underwater mortgages.

Robert Kuttner, economist and co-founder of The American Prospect, says the magazine was founded “deliberately to be a strong liberal voice,” and he adds, “I think the role of magazine like ours is to put forward ideas, to put forward a perspective on the election but to do so consistent with accuracy.”

Well water that students were drinking at Triangle Lake Charter School, located outside of Eugene, contained the pesticide imazapyr, according to a sample sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for testing in April 2011. Now a study by the USDA in the spring of 2012 of 22 Oregon rural schools using wells shows that one other Eugene-area school and two Corvallis-area schools had pesticides in their water. The Triangle Lake school was also tested and had imazapyr in the water again.

The Cascade mountains of the Willamette National Forest are a popular summer tour for people from all over the state and beyond, well known for great hiking and biking trails in particular — but along Hwy 126, the small town of Blue River is getting less traffic stopping in than it should, says a man who’s trying to change that. 

Transforming Goshen, a small, unincorporated town south of Eugene off I-5 and Hwy 58, was designated as a specific goal for 2012 by the Lane County Board of Commissioners in this year’s State of the County Address, and now Goshen has been declared a “Regionally Significant Industrial Area” (RSI) by the Oregon Economic Revitalization and Review Council. 

You might have noticed there’ve been a lot of really big, kind of scary, brown spiders running around lately. It’s not your arachnophobia making you paranoid; late summer into fall is mating season for the arachnids. 

• A new Organizing for America (OFA) field office for Oregon opened Sept. 30 at 115 W. 6th Ave. Eugene. “The office will allow supporters to come together with their friends and neighbors to discuss the critical issues at stake in this election and work together to reelect President Obama and other Democrats,” reads a statement from the national OFA offices.  Call 525-9387 for information on voter outreach and canvassing. 

Lane County’s parks suffer from off-season vandalism, and homeless people who are currently prohibited from sleeping in their RVs or campers in Eugene need a legal place to sleep. The Lane County Parks Advisory Committee, the Homeless Coalition and St. Vincent de Paul think they might have found a way to reduce both problems.

Beginning around Thanksgiving, or by the holidays at the latest, the Lane County Parks Division will experiment with using homeless people who own RVs or campers as hosts in parks with hookups for power, water and septic systems.

The fight over transporting coal is heating up not only in Eugene, which faces the possibility of coal trains coming through town, but in Washington, D.C., as well. “The Republicans were in full election mode,” Congressman Peter DeFazio says of the recent House vote on the “Stop the War on Coal” bill. 

Will the next controversial public health issue in Oregon please stand up? Oh wait, it just did. On Sept. 12, the Portland City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to authorize the Portland Water Bureau to fluoridate the city’s water supply in order to “reduce tooth decay and promote good oral health.” The move effectively resurfaces the fluoridation issue in Oregon, where, according to the Oregon Dental Association, only about 20 percent of residents drink fluoridated water. 

Each year, the Civil Liberties Defense Center’s Harvest Feast benefit highlights civil liberties issues related to food production, like pesticide sprays and genetically modified organisms. This year’s theme, “Fiesta en el Jardin,” honors the work that CLDC and its partners have done for immigrant communities in Oregon.

CDLC’s Oct. 5 Harvest Feast at Mount Pisgah features a five-course organic Latin dinner, wine, sangria and Ninkasi beer, plus music from Sol de los Andes. 

Saving the Amazon sounds like a project for South America, not south Eugene, but local conservationists and land use advocates have long been fighting proposed development in the headwaters of Amazon Creek in Eugene’s south hills. They say the creek is Eugene’s primary watershed, covering about 60 percent of the city’s area. This week Southeast Neighbors announced that an independent land use hearings official in Eugene has rejected a proposal to construct the 75-lot Deerbrook PUD (planned unit development) in the sensitive Amazon headwaters.

Svitlana Kravchenko literally wrote the book on human rights and the environment. The widely lauded UO law professor died of a heart attack in February of this year at the age of 62, but she will be both honored and remembered this week as two UO law journals and the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide join to present “New Directions for Human Rights and the Environment: A Symposium Inspired by Svitlana Kravchenko,” to be held free and open to the public Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28-29, at the Knight Law Center, 1515 Agate St. in Eugene.

Construction has begun on the Nobel Peace Park in Alton Baker Park and the project is being coordinated by Paddock Construction.

• Climate expert and author Bob Doppelt will be speaking from 7 to 9 pm Thursday, Sept. 27, at Tsunami Books, 2585 Willamette St. His free talk will be based on his new book, From Me to We: The Five Transformational Commitments Required to Rescue the Planet, Your Organization, and Your Life.

Attorneys for a mentally ill homeless man say Lane County refuses to turn over documents related to a case against the county that alleges officials violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and violated Mark Andrew Kemp’s constitutional rights.

Gumby is back, he’s in Lane County and he’s green. The clay animation character was always green in color, but after more than a decade of quiet living outside Cottage Grove, Gumby’s only authorized impersonator — Michael West when he’s not in his Gumby suit — wants to bring Gumby back out and embrace the environmental movement.

The Eugene Peace Team will join the international Culture of Peace Initiative to observe the 2012 U.N. International Day of Peace Sept. 21 with a series of events.

From 7 to 8:30 am Friday at the Eugene Hilton will be an interfaith community breakfast with Anita Weiss, Ph.D., speaking on “Understanding Women’s Rights in Islam.” Cost is $5-$25.

• ODOT plans to do herbicide spot and structure (guardrail) spraying along Highway 36 for noxious weeds from Sept. 24 through Oct. 5. They do not plan to do any spraying in the section from milepost 24 to 32.2 at Amy Road in the Beyond Toxics Adopt-A-Weed program.

• Giustina, 245-2301, is hiring Washburn Contract Services, (503) 831-1593 to do roadside and other spraying on many miles near the Long Tom River, Owens Creek, Jones Creek and Swartz Creek. See ODF notice 2012-781-00659.

Big changes are coming with the implementation of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and some local midwives are worried that low-income clients from the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) will be lost in the shuffle. OHP services in Lane County have historically been provided through Lane Independent Practice Association and LaneCare, but beginning Nov. 1, those services will be provided by Trillium, Lane County’s new coordinated care organization (CCO).