Earth: Too big to fail. That’s the theme of this year’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) Feb. 28 through March 3 at the University of Oregon. But perhaps we should be asking the question: Are we failing the Earth? The beginning of the modern environmental movement is often dated to Rachel Carson’s 1962 Silent Spring, but from the more radical Deep Green Resistance to the attorneys from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, some are starting to question whether the planet is any better off than it was in the ’60s and ask conservationists to do things differently.
“We are screwed in all kinds of senses if we keep doing what we’re doing and don’t change course,” says Thomas Linzey, executive director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). Linzey, an attorney, says that he had to be persuaded to come give a keynote talk at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) because “we don’t see lawyers as change agents.” He adds, “I let them know up front that my talk would be based on why environmental law has failed.”
The opening chapter of The Missing Italian Girl plays out like a scene from a Merchant Ivory film; the year is 1897, the city is Paris and three shrouded figures dodge the ghoulish cast of gas lamps near the Gare de l’Est as they bring a special (and posthumous) delivery to one of the city’s dumping waters, the Basin de La Villette.
Rep. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, is pushing for House Bill 2756, which would force school districts to get rid of free-standing, self-contained units — seclusion cells — but would not change Oregon laws that regulate non free-standing seclusion rooms.
Passionate lectures were strewn throughout the UO campus in February, and they weren’t solely from professors in classrooms. Panels and workshops were held at the Social Justice, Real Justice Conference, with speakers discussing everything from the history of racism in Eugene to activism in changing foreign policy (see story last week). Emotions were flying particularly high in the Alumni Center and the law building — as high as the drones being discussed hover over distant lands.
Eugene-based Beyond Toxics wants the city’s public parks and public lands to go pesticide free, but the group says it’s still having trouble finding out just what toxins are being sprayed in the city and what public money is being spent on them. A public records request to the city of Eugene for the information was met with a fee estimate of more than $7,000.
• Roseburg Resources Company 935-2507, plans to ground spray glyphosate, imazapyr, triclopyr amine and/or triclopyr ester on noxious weeds on its forest lands in Townships 18S 06W, 18S 08W and 19S 06W, a countywide notification. See ODF notice 2013-781-00163.
• Weyerhaeuser Company Springfield Operations 988-7502 plans to backpack spray any of several chemicals listed on 97 acres near Parsons and/or McGowan and several other creeks and/or tributaries. See ODF
Thanks to what a local land use attorney calls “poorly written” land use code in Lane County, there’s no end in sight for the gravel mining of Parvin Butte. The 600-foot butte continues to be quarried by Lost Creek Rock Products (LCRP); the Dexter and Lost Creek neighbors who protest the mining have lost some ground in a recent Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) decision. LUBA decided Feb. 6 that LCRP does not need to undergo a site review in its mining operation at Parvin Butte.
Fritz, an Australian shepherd mix and the beloved pet of John Beere and Cindy Corder, died on Jan. 20 while out for a walk at the Salmon River Fish Hatchery near Otis, Ore. The dog was strangled by an 8-inch conibear trap set to kill river otters that had been eating rainbow trout out of the hatchery’s ponds.
As winter turns to spring, the McKenzie River flows toward Eugene with impressive force. While powerful, the river is not invincible — in fact, snow-fed rivers with slow drainage systems like the McKenzie are more susceptible to the effects of climate change than other kinds of river systems, according to a new study out of OSU in Corvallis.
Oregon DEQ followed up its Dec. 13 pre-enforcement notice to Norpac Foods, Inc., (EW 12/27) with a civil penalty in the amount of $9,600 on Jan. 31. Norpac over-applied food processing wastewater to a field near Scio, resulting in illegal discharges to a ditch that drains to the North Santiam River.
We hear Divine Cupcake, the dessert restaurant, is cutting its retail store and cart sales but will continue to do catering and have its carts at events around the county. The retail shop at 11th and Chambers, across from Ring of Fire, will have its final day from 10 am to 8 pm Tuesday, March 5, on its third anniversary date, according to owner Thaddeus Moore. As usual on its anniversary, the store will be giving away free cupcakes, but this time selling off equipment and furnishings as well.
• City Club of Eugene will meet at noon Friday, March 1, at the new LCC Downtown Center on the topic of “Prison, Compassion and Peace,” with speakers Steven Shankman, the Rev. Tom English, Connie Bennett and Mark Beudert. This is the first in a series on the link between art and public policy.
• Friends of Trees is organizing tree planting events around the valley this winter. The next planting date is March 2. See friendsoftrees.org for details or to donate.
Growing up in small-town Portola Valley, Calif., Allen Hancock had time to spend with nature. “My fourth-grade teacher took us to a meadow and pond near the school,” he recalls. “A couple years later, I watched as bulldozers arrived. It broke my heart.” Always an avid cyclist, he biked eight miles to high school in Redwood City.
Everyone knows Salem is the official site of the Hot Air Society, and currently all 90 members, both chambers, meet at the state Capitol building. However, Eugene has its own version, called HASSLES, the Hot Air Society of South Lane, Eugene and Springfield.
Monday, March 4, at the UO’s Matthew Knight Arena is going to be a fizzy, indie-pop playground in three acts: Alt-rock-pop kings Passion Pit, indie-pop darlings Matt & Kim and Swedish DJ pop duo Icona Pop — too bad it’s a school night.
There is a common misconception about conscious hip hop. “I don’t give a fuck, you can call us conscious, but rappers hit the stage spitting fucking nonsense,” Aaron Harris raps on the latest Eastern Sunz EP, Filthy Hippie Music, a sly retort on being labeled as environmental hip-hop artists.
While backward-gazing classical music institutions slip further and further into cultural irrelevance — see, for example, the Eugene Symphony’s season schedule, containing a total of two works by living composers — those who cherish the future of classical music can look to fountains of innovation such as the University of Oregon.