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We expect July to deliver a month of warm soil in the garden. There is a certain sensual pleasure gotten from dragging fingers through moist soil when weeding or planting. Bare hands, no gloves. As sensual pleasures go, this is both beneficial and acceptable in public.

Some Oregon Country Fair mischief is part of innocent tradition, some practices are heavily frowned upon and others warrant police intervention.

Unwelcomed activity at the Fair is deterred conventionally, with law enforcement, and creatively, with a volunteer security team numbering in the hundreds.

Crashing branches, trees snapped in half, debris-littered roads — the ice storm that swept across Lane County in February left the streets a twiggy mess that took weeks, even months, to address. 

Just when the pollen haze clears out and right before the smoke from Central Oregon forest fires rolls in, the southern Willamette Valley is inundated with a different kind of summer haze: a fleet of Vanagons, Subarus and buses (VW and LTD) converging just west of Eugene in Veneta for the annual Oregon Country Fair.

Fiscal year 2014 went out with a bang in Eugene July 1 and took park bathrooms, irrigation, trash service and jobs with it. Restrooms at three parks — Hendricks, Sheldon and Sladden — will close and neighborhood parks will see less watering and garbage pick-up, as $300,000 in reductions to park maintenance set in.

Eugene’s City Council approved the cuts June 9 as part of a balancing act to fill a $1.9 million deficit in the city’s general fund.

With banners reading “Buy the Elliott State Forest, Expect Resistance” and “Stop this ecocide,” protesters organized by Earth First! and Cascadia Forest Defenders descended upon Seneca Sustainable Energy on the morning of July 7 to call attention to what they say is the company’s pollution in a low-income area and clearcut logging in the Elliott State Forest.

California’s budding population of invasive common watersnake could make it up to Oregon due to similar climate and suitable habitat in the Willamette Valley, according to a recent study at University of California, Davis, that projected possible areas of infestation. 

• Freres Timber Inc., (503) 859-2111, plans to hire Western Helicopter Services, Inc., (503) 538-9469, to aerially spray 69 acres near upper Lake Creek with glyphosate, imazapyr and additives. See ODF notice 2014-781-00704, call Robin L. Biesecker at 935-2283 with questions.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent Delaware-incorporated Jordan Cove Energy Project L.P. a warning letter in late June for excavating residual sludge waste (generated by the Weyerhaeuser mill that used to be at this site) and incorporating that waste into berms associated with the Jordan Cove project (located on Coos Bay). DEQ’s letter requests that Jordan Cove Energy Project submit a permit application for its activities by July 31.

 Marijuana legalization in Oregon is likely to be on the November ballot (we will know for sure Aug. 2 when election officials verify valid initiatives) and we’re already hearing concerns about kids eating THC-laced cookies and candy, along with being exposed to even more messages that pot is OK. Well, we like to think that legalizing and regulating pot will pump millions into education, including programs that teach kids about the dangers of drug use while their brains are still forming.

Most contractors in Lane County are happy to provide would-be customers with their license number from the Construction Contractors Board (CCB), and many contractors even include it on their business cards. But that information might be out of date or just wrong. If you hire a contractor who is unlicensed and things go wrong, it can get very expensive. See our 2008 cover story “Cutting Corners” in our archives at wkly.ws/1s9. You can check the CCB website and see the status of contractors, but now it’s even easier.

In an urban growth boundary expansion, the city of Springfield is studying location of a 362-acre industrial zone on Seavey Loop. This plan threatens farms, businesses, residences, property values, species, public recreation, sustainable development and a way of life at the gateway to Mount Pisgah. 

• The Pastors for Peace Friendship Caravan to Cuba will stop in Corvallis for a fundraiser at noon Thursday, July 10, at Westminister House, 101 N.W. 23rd St. The caravan will stop overnight Friday, July 11, in Eugene and a potluck and presentation about challenging the embargo of Cuba will run 6 to 8:30 pm Friday at the Latin American Solidarity Committee (LASC) office at 458 Blair Blvd. Call 485-8633 or email lasc@efn.org.

At a recent panel discussion, local politicians and service provider representatives addressed the pressing need for community services for the mentally ill. Unfortunately, the Legislature chose to direct human service funding to institutional care rather than community-based programs. The soon to be completed State Mental Hospital between Eugene and Junction City is the result of that funding priority decision. 

Old-growth Western hemlock, Douglas fir and Alaska cedar blanket all slopes of the Browder Ridge near the junction of Hwy. 126 and Hwy. 20. You can hike this trail from west to east, east to west or arrange a shuttle. In my opinion, this hike is best done from the eastern trailhead at Gate Creek. 

Unlike previous efforts, Mike Last feels The Stagger and Sway’s latest release, Fun and Games, is a rock ‘n’ roll record — a sound the quartet has moved toward since adding Brian Schierenbeck on lead guitar. 

“We love Eugene,” says Ashley Edwards, vocalist and songwriter for Durango, Colorado-based Hello Dollface. “The vibrancy, the grit, the consciousness, the food.”

Eugene’s craft beer scene is out of this world, and Eugene’s biggest brewery, Ninkasi Brewing Company, is ready to make that figurative statement literal. On July 15, the Civilian Space eXploration Team (CSXT) will launch its second rocket into space, carrying 16 strains of brewer’s yeast as part of its cargo.

I consider myself a fairly transparent person, but there’s something I’ve been reluctant to share: I would not be upset or disappointed if the albiceleste (the Argentine team — nicknamed after the white and sky-blue stripes of their flag and jerseys) wins the World Cup. I was passionately supporting other teams but they’ve all been eliminated. 

Take to the streets of downtown Eugene to enjoy a variety of classic venues each with its own innovative take on a summer drink. 

A product of the EW Advertising Dept.

A TRAVESTY AND A WASTE

The direction our public officials are taking is the worst mistake made since the 1970s Urban Renewal Renovation of downtown Eugene.

The unfortunate direction on the table will outweigh the 40-year scars of urban renewal. 

• Wasting the existing City Hall building, discarding at least $40 million of equity, spending $11 million to replace it with a smaller version. Total: $51 million.

• Leasing space at $1.2 million a year for 10 years ($12 million) to support developers. Total: $63 million.

I am a straight female who was a dominatrix for a while — and out of all the jobs I’ve had, I loved it the most. Working as a secretary — one with a master’s in writing — wasn’t that hard to beat, I guess. But professional dommes aren’t immune to workplace romances, and I fell in love with a client. Long story short, we are still together after a year and a half, after I closed my practice and sold (most of) my toys because he didn’t want to be with a woman who was still practicing this kind of physical intimacy with others.

Shanna Trumbly was sitting in a cave roasting hotdogs when she saw the hummingbird. The Eugene artist was visiting Yachats with her family and, while on a hike, they had taken shelter from the rain. 

“Out of the corner of my eye, I see this little bzzz,” she says, fluttering her hands. “There are no flowers around or anything. It was just like rock walls and the ocean … It was so bizarre because it wasn’t even a place where a hummingbird would be hanging out.”