A decision on the future of Eugene’s Multiple-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) program has been delayed by the Eugene City Council until Jan. 26, since Councilor Claire Syrett could not make the Dec. 8 meeting. MUPTE has come under heavy criticism by citizens and some council members for giving big tax breaks to out-of-state developers for housing projects that might have been built even without the subsidies. The latest council action regarding MUPTE will focus on creating a review process.
Alice Doyle of Log House Plants in Cottage Grove has been working for the past five years with Dutch and American horticultural researchers to refine and market a “Ketchup ’n’ Fries” grafted plant that grows potatoes underground and tomatoes above ground. Potatoes and tomatoes are related, and the first such graft was recorded in the early 1900s by Luther Burbank. The local Territorial Seed Company will have a national exclusive to sell mail-order plants and “I’m sure they‘ll see quite a bit of action,” Doyle says.
• The Human Rights Commission Homelessness Work Groupmeets at noon Thursday, Dec. 18, at the Atrium Building, 99 W. 10th Ave. On the agenda is the Homeless Bill of Rights and a forum on child homelessness. Call 682-5177 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we go to press, the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) and the UO have announced a tentative agreement after an overnight mediation session Dec. 10 in which the UO agreed to create a seven-member committee to oversee a Graduate Student Assistance Fund that allows graduate students to take sick or parental leave, according to a statement from the GTFF.
Late last month, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium estimated that nationally, only 33 percent of 11th grade students who took the math portion of the Smarter Balanced field test last spring, which Oregon students will take in 2015, were considered proficient or advanced, with the remaining 67 percent needing additional support to meet the standards. And for students with disabilities, the future is even murkier when it comes to addressing their particular needs.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently sent Jeanne M. Burris a pre-enforcement notice for illegal waste tire storage at property owned by Burris at 29882 Kelso St. in Eugene. This notice follows up on a warning letter that DEQ sent to Burris for the same violation in July of last year (see EW 8/8/13, goo.gl/8za9J3). The 2013 warning letter gave Burris until Jan. 15, 2014 to address the problem, but it appears that Burris has failed to do so.
Tiny Tavern in the Whiteaker was shut down by Lane County health inspectors Dec. 5 for health code violations, according to the Eugene Brewery District website. The bar at 394 Blair Blvd. scored 67 points out of 100 and “according to regulations, any score of 70 or less will require the business to close its doors until corrections and a re-inspection can be made,” says the website. Jeff Malos owns the building and is rumored to be looking to sell it. Back in our Sept. 25 Biz Beat, we wrote about the bar closing when manager Jeff Peck left to open Old Nick’s Pub.
• Beyond Toxics is planning its annual winter event, this year called “Cozy Up With Beyond Toxics,” from 5 to 7:30 pm Thursday, Dec. 11, at 1192 Lawrence St. A video premier will be part of the festivities. See beyondtoxics.org.
• The Eugene Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee will meet at 5:30 pm Thursday, Dec. 11, at the Atrium Building Sloat Conference Room, 99 West 10th Ave. Contact Lee Shoemaker at 682-5471 or email email@example.com.
Marcie Stout says if she knew then what she knows now, she would have stood in the lobby at Sacred Heart Medical Center screaming that December night until they admitted her brother, Darwin Stout, even if it meant she too would wind up on a psychiatric hold.
To UO landscape architecture student Gwynne Mhuireach, the seemingly clear air in Eugene is vibrantly alive. “There are all sizes of particles floating around,” the doctoral student says. “The heavier ones tend to stay more locally dispersed, and the lighter ones tend to be more long distance — there are some particles we’ve been getting from Japan.”
Registered nurse Matthew Calzia works 12-hour shifts in the ICU at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend, where he cares for critically ill patients. Calzia says that due to staffing shortages over the past few years, he and his fellow nurses have consistently worked at a frantic pace and skipped breaks in order to provide patients with the care they need.
In September, following up on rumors that a private jet had been donated to the University of Oregon, EW made a public records request for “non-monetary gifts/donations made to the UO, the UO Athletic Department and the UO Foundation valued over $10,000 from Jan. 1, 2013 through Aug. 2014.”
• The Metropolitan Policy Committee meets 11:30 am to 1:30 pm Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Eugene Public Library. On the agenda is the Oregon Transportation Forum legislative priorities. Contact is Paul Thompson, 682-4405.
• A town hall on the VA Roseburg Healthcare System will be from 5:30 to 7:30 pm Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Elks Lodge, 2470 W. 11th Ave. Veterans, their families and other stakeholders are invited to an open dialog on VA health care issues locally and statewide.
The Dexter Lake Club closed Nov. 17 and the land and building are for sale for $279,000, according to the nightclub and café’s Facebook page and website. The club was featured in Animal House in 1977 and has been in operation along Highway 58 since 1949. The business has changed hands nearly a dozen times, most recently in 2011 when Greg and Shannon Stewart took over the roadhouse from Michael McCann. Hundreds of local musicians have performed there over the years.
The search is on. Earlier this month, the Eugene 4J School Board hired a professional executive search firm to find a replacement for outgoing 4J Superintendent Sheldon Berman. Board Chairman Jim Torrey says the board hopes to finalize a candidate by the end of March 2015. He says the board is working with the firm to prioritize candidates from the Pacific Northwest “first and foremost,” and the next step is getting input from stakeholders and the community.
Travel to Washington, D.C. and venture into the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol Building, and you will see Oregon represented by historical luminaries John McLoughlin and Jason Lee. For those who are unaware of who those men were, McLoughlin was a fur trader who helped immigrants along the Oregon Trail, and Lee was one of the first Methodist missionaries to travel across the United States along the Oregon Trail.
The Eugene City Council this week gave advocates for preserving the headwaters of Amazon Creek something to be thankful for over the holidays. The council agreed Nov. 24 to acquire two lots of property in the Martin Street area to add to the Ridgeline Trail system. The Be Noble Foundation will acquire a contiguous third lot. The three lots, totaling about 26 acres, contain two main branches of the Amazon Creek headwaters as well as lush habitat for both plant and animal wildlife.
The leafy green is good for salads, good for stir-fry and, as the Eugene Avant Gardeners believe, good for building community.
Kale is a rising star in the food world, and to celebrate this cool weather crop the Avant Gardeners are organizing the first annual Kale Fest Dec. 5-7, devoted to promoting local food, gardening and kale.
“It’s using food to create community,” says Plaedo Wellman, co-organizer of Kale Fest and a member of the Avant Gardeners, a sustainable gardening group.
A month after its Eugene debut, the car-sharing company car2go is still operating its 50 smart cars smoothly in the Eugene-Springfield area, unlike Uber, the ride-sharing service, which was fined $2,000 by the city of Eugene Nov. 17. The difference lies in their respective business models and how they reach out to new cities.
• Black Friday, Nov. 28, will bring a protest outside Walmart on West 11th Ave. beginning around noon. Organizers say the Walton family that owns the mega-chain is the richest family in the country, yet they pay the majority of their employees less than $25,000 a year and manipulate employee hours so many don’t qualify for benefits. Sponsored by Raging Grannies, UFCW, ESSN and others. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 736-9041.
On the evening of Nov. 17, a group gathered at Lane Independent Living Alliance (LILA) in downtown Eugene for a panel of six people, who identify as trans*, sharing stories and answering questions, which included everything from dating to experiences with Eugene’s healthcare system. Trans* is a term that refers to trans and gender non-conforming people. It encompasses all identities within the gender spectrum.
Ryan, who sleeps in a tent at the new Whoville homeless protest camp north of the U.S. Courthouse, says that he and his fellow campers are “managing” through the recent freezing nights. “It was cold last night,” Ryan says, declining to give his last name for fear of repercussions. “It was really cold last night. We could always use more blankets.”
For years rural residents along Highway 36 near Triangle Lake in Oregon’s Coast Range have been asking, even demanding, that someone look into the chemicals drifting from airplanes and onto their farms, and into their homes and drinking water. They’ve complained of the health effects on themselves and their children. They’ve had their own urine tested for the herbicides atrazine and 2,4-D.