In a curious case of human logic, public opinion is growing in favor of better gun control regulations, but gun sales are up, and the businesses that sell firearms won’t talk. Cabela’s, Bi-Mart, Walmart and S&M Gun Shop didn’t respond before press time, while Eugene shooting range and gun retail store Baron’s Den refused to comment. The reluctance to respond to repeated phone calls could be an indicator of how uncomfortable firearm distributors nationwide have become in the wake of shootings in Clackamas and Newtown, Conn., among others.
Conrad Barney says you never have it all while being homeless. “It almost seems like places have two out of three things that you need,” he says. “We have an ample supply of material; we have water and clothing and blankets because our community cares.” Barney commenced a hunger strike Dec. 11, he says, because the city’s camping ban makes something that’s important in rainy cold Eugene, shelter, difficult to attain.
Idle No More is a campaign for indigenous rights, sovereignty and environmental justice that began in Canada in part as a response to Canada’s omnibus bill C-45 that is seen as taking away treaty rights. Though neglected in mainstream U.S. media coverage, the campaign has generated rallies and flashmobs across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Flashmobs were held in Portland’s Pioneer Square Mall on Dec. 23 and Eugene’s Valley River Center Mall on Dec. 29.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently sent Shell Oil Products Company a warning letter for failing to have the wastewater system at its Halsey facility, near I-5 and Highway 228, supervised by a certified operator. DEQ considers this a serious violation of the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act permit for this facility expired on June 30, 2011.
• Church Women United of Lane County will meet at 9 am Friday, Jan. 4, at Ebbert United Methodist Church, 532 C St. in Springfield, and again at 7 am Tuesday, Jan. 8, at Brails, 1689 Willamette St. in Eugene. See cwulanecounty.org
• The State of the County Address will be at 10 am Monday, Jan. 7, at Harris Hall, 125 E. 8th Ave. in Eugene. Eugene’s 2013 State of the City Address will be at 5:30 pm Wednesday, Jan. 9, in the lobby of the Hult Center. Donations of canned food for FOOD for Lane County will be collected at the door.
Greenhouse gas emissions are still increasing: Yearly increases were 2.7 percent in the 1990s, 3.5 percent between 2000 and 2007, and 5.6 percent between 2009 and 2010. But nothing effective is being done to reduce them. There are multiple reasons for that:
In July, federal agency Wildlife Services set a bear trap at Lane County Waste Management’s Rattlesnake Road facility without consulting Patti Hansen, manager of the facility. Hansen says that the bear trap was set while she was on vacation and that she had the trap removed before any bears were trapped and killed.
Private citizens, members of Cottage Grove’s Forest Web and former Lane County commissioner Jerry Rust are concerned the decisions about Oregon’s public forests, and specifically the O&C forests that have been used to generate cash for counties, are being made in secret. Rust and Cristina Hubbard of Forest Web held a press conference and delivered letters to Gov. Kitzhaber’s office on Dec. 18 asking him to open his O&C “timber panel” up for citizen participation.
On the evening of Nov. 23, a 17-year-old African-American girl was beaten and left for dead near the Springfield Fred Meyer. Now family members say they need the public’s help to catch the perpetrator.
“Some people have a mentality of not wanting to talk to the police, but this is somebody’s life,” says Jeremiah Farish, the girl’s brother. “She could have died — if the lady didn’t find her, she could have died.” He urges anyone with knowledge of the attack to call the Springfield Police Department Tip Line at 726-3721.
Nine more local facilities’ industrial stormwater pollution control plans are up for public comment this week. These plans are for facilities that have applied for Clean Water Act permit coverage under the new industrial stormwater permit issued by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and that took effect July 1. Comments are due by 5 pm on Jan. 3.
Frequent travelers on Willamette Street between 24th and 32nd avenues know that the corridor isn’t Eugene’s finest for travel, and with the November passage of the pavement preservation bond measure, there’s funding to repave and possibly reconfigure the stretch in the next five years.
We hear the Eugene Airport is super busy over the holidays with more than 1,800 people departing the day after Christmas, up about 17 percent over last year. Cathryn Stephens, deputy airport director, predicts Dec. 27 and 30 will also be big days for arrivals and departures. She says the more typical departure rate is about 1,100 a day.
• Occupy Medical is seeking monetary donations to make it through the long, wet winter. OM tells us “We are doing what we can to treat and prevent the spread of diseases like pertussis, HIV, hepatitis, diphtheria and pneumonia. Your support saves lives.” St. Vincent de Paul was providing financial assistance, but the funds ran dry in December. Checks can be made out to Occupy Medical and mailed to the Tamarack Center, 3575 Donald St., Suite 230, Eugene 97405. The group’s nonprofit status is pending.
The recent tragic Sandy Hook school shooting has called attention not only to gun control, but also to how the U.S. deals with young people who are behaviorally or mentally challenged. One controversial method that some Eugene 4J schools are using to deal with students in its behavioral programs is to put them in seclusion rooms.
Congressman Peter DeFazio, whose own hometown of Springfield made national headlines in 1998 with the deadly Thurston High School shootings, says this week that Congress “will need to address a number of critical issues next year and this [mass shootings] should be a top priority.”
A former county attorney has filed an intent to sue Lane County for wrongful termination, retaliation for the exercise of First Amendment rights for speaking out on matters of public concern and for whistleblowing. A tort claim notice letter that was hand-delivered to County Counsel (and District Attorney) Alex Gardner Oct. 29 says that Marc Kardell was fired after he raised concerns about misuse of county funds and the actions of County Administrator Liane Richardson that were causing “a multitude of problems” within the county.
Smile: You’re on camera all over Eugene these days. Do a Google search for “Eugene webcam” and you’ll find cameras filming public spaces from the UO to the Owen Rose Garden. A recent revelation that Lane Transit District (LTD) had looked into not just videoing but also audio recording individual conversations on Eugene-area buses has local defenders of civil liberties concerned.
When the Supreme Court announced Dec. 7 that it would hear challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 in the spring, gay rights advocates across the country rejoiced. Savage Love columnist Dan Savage, who just got married in Washington, would probably enjoy seeing his Oregon friends get wed as well. But rulings favorable to marriage equality won’t immediately affect Oregonians; a 2006 amendment to Oregon’s Constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
Anybody want to buy a weekly newspaper? Not this rag, of course, but The Jefferson Review and the Scio News are currently on the block cheap in order to “avoid imminent closure,” according to a notice from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. Cash only and the deadline for inquiries is Friday, Dec. 21. Call the owner at 971-3217. Contrary to conventional wisdom, print publications still have a lot of life left in them and not all are shrinking to oblivion.
• Springfield City Club will focus on key community health indicator data collected by health care experts and discuss community health priorities at 11:45 am Thursday, Dec. 20, at Willamalane Center, 250 S. 32nd St.
Everyone should have a place to spend the holiday season, and an initiative from Mayor Kitty Piercy is going to try to make that happen. In an attempt to help the homeless, Piercy has the goal of raising $40,000 to assist 40 families in need. The program, called “A Home for the Holidays,” will strive to give these 40 families housing. St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County has joined forces with Piercy in an effort to accomplish this feat, and Oregon Community Credit Union has already come up with $20,000 toward the goal.
Worse than coal in your Christmas stocking is coal in your water. A recent accident at a coal terminal in Vancouver, B.C., calls attention to the impacts that coal exports have on oceans and waterways around the ports. A large bulk carrier of coal collided with one of the coal trestles at the Westshore Terminals port in Canada on Dec. 7, spilling several tons of coal into the ocean. This is in addition to a coal carrier that ran aground in November, and another that recently docked with a large crack in its hull.