• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

EW! A Blog.

August 6, 2013 06:56 PM

The county has issued a statement to employees, a media statement and now a video, but really hasn't said anything of substance on the firing of Liane Richardson, citing legal concerns. The results of the investigation have not been released. The employee statement that was emailed out this morning warns county workers not to talk to the media. 

Interestingly enough, though only one whistleblower has been mentioned in letters and documents EW has seen, Board Chair Sid Leiken says in the video statement below, "We've seen a lot of brave employees come forward, and I want to say thank you to all of them."

We're hoping the county didn't spend any money on the video — remember when Richardson hired former TV anchor Rick Dancer to make videos for $50,000 after the commissioners voted against spending money on an award-winning videeo series?

Statement from Sid Leiken, Chair of the Lane County Board of Commissioners from Lane County Government on Vimeo.

August 5, 2013 05:24 PM

It's been all over Facebook, newspapers and TV stations have picked it up. Eugene is the number one hippie city  (and Madison, Wisc., Missoula, Mont., and others on the list all made the news in their respective states.) 

Thanks real estate blog Estately. You made a cool list, and everyone got excited. Seattle-based Estately, a real estate brokerage company, sure knows how to market and get headlines.

How was this grand number one position chosen? Estately says, "To determine this we used a formula based on marijuana availability and legality, number of stores selling hemp, local counter-culture icons, tie-dye availability, hippie festivals, progressive government, intensity of Occupy protests, and a Facebook poll. In the end, we determined these places are the 17 Best U.S. Cities for Hippies…"

Pot, sure, especially if you count medical marijuana. Hemp well, Saturday Market and Sweet Potato Pie to name two. Occupy, Ken Kesey, Oregon Country Fair … progressive city government? Looking at the city, what do people think? How are the mayor and City Council on issues such as homelessness, police misconduct, parks and small, local business support? And since it doesn't say "progressive city government" but just government, let's factor the Lane County Commission in, too. Thoughts?

August 5, 2013 05:57 PM

Adieu, Crown Vic, we hardly knew ye. Fewer of those familiar headlights will pull Eugeaneans over in coming years; EPD will now purchase Ford Interceptor SUVs. Check out the Interceptors along with three others that the cops considered Tuesday, Aug. 6, at EPD headquarters.

More info from EPD's press release:

	Eugene Police Department
Unveils New SUV Patrol Sedans

SUMMARY:  As a result of Ford no longer manufacturing the Crown Victoria sedan, EPD
has spent two years testing patrol vehicles currently on the market. We will now
display each of the four tested vehicles to the media and show the differences
between each vehicle.


What:   Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Caprice, Ford Interceptor Sedan, and the Ford SUV.
When:   TUESDAY, August 6, at 10:00 a.m.
Where:  Eugene Police Department Public Parking Lot
300 Country Club Road, Eugene, OR 97401
Who:    Sergeant Angie San Miguel will present the vehicles, and patrol officers
will be on-hand to explain and demonstrate the differences and allow media to ride
in the vehicles.

After two years of testing and research, Eugene Police Department will be purchasing
new fuel-efficient patrol cars that are expected to save 35 percent on fuel compared
to the older Crown Victoria models that are being discontinued by the manufacturer. 
The new model, the Ford Interceptor SUV, was tested along with five other vehicle
models and scored highest on operational and fuel efficiency.###

August 5, 2013 11:32 PM

There is an executive session scheduled tomorrow (8/6) and judging from the notification email and the timing, it has to do with the Liane Richardson pay scandal. The county tells EW that not not only is it not clear what exact time the session is scheduled for, it's also not clear if there will be a public announcement following the executive session, which media can attend but not report on. 

Presumably this session marks the end of the "outside investigation" into alterations into the pay Richarson was taking home on top of her more than $150,000 base salary. 

There will be an Occupy-related but not sanctioned protest tomorrow starting around 6:05 am.

This is an opportunity to show displeasure with her [Richardson's ] work, both in this meeting's subject and in her blatant, insulting, and false accusations of SLEEPS protesters, as well as infringement of their First Amendments Rights.

In addition, many many of our houseless have been and will continue to be ousted from scarce spots for hidden sleeping. There is literally nowhere to go, and it's time to bring this back into the Commisioners', City Council's, and the public's attention.

Energy is building for protest of both Liane's actions and the ongoing evictions of Eugene's homeless — Let's fill the plaza (leaving a path for ingress and egress) with free speech protest tents, signs, and potluck breakfast beginning at 6:05 a.m. (it's unnecessary to re-challenge the curfew at this point) and throughout the morning.

Old ladies/grandmas (and their impostors) are encouraged to bring their knitting. It would be cool to have some morning music, too!

The meeting starts at 9 am, has public comments, the consent calanedar, and Legislative issues — including ones that affect Native tribes and their lands, then public works and some discussion of rezoning forest land to ag. 

You can watch the meeting, but not the protest or executive session here

August 5, 2013 07:32 PM

The heavy haul is back. The equipment weighs 644,000 pounds, is 225 feet long, 21 feet wide and 24 feet tall. It's already barged up the Columbia River and now sits at Washington's Port of Wilma, waiting to roll through the forests of Idaho. According to a press release from the Idaho Transportation Department, the massive load is set to move at 10 pm tonight. And according Wild Idaho Rising Tide, that move will be met with enthusiastic opposition. 

The megaload of tar sands equipment is  from Oregon's Omega Morgan. Like apparently all tar sands equipment, the load is massive. Opponents object to the loads not only based on their use in toxic climate-change inducing tar sands mining, but also because their sheer size affects communities and ecosystems along the backroads the shipper intends to take. Local residents, activists, tribes and others fought the Imperial Oil modules and won in 2011, and the megaloads look to be heading for another showdown. 

The Idaho Department of Transportation has announced it is letting the megaloads roll — despite the Forest Service's objections and a federal court ruling that says that  “…the court finds that the federal defendants have jurisdiction to review ITD’s approval of the mega-loads over Highway12.” The Forest Service wants to consult with the Nez Perce tribe and the tribe has already made clear its objections to the loads and what Nez Perce Tribal Executive Chairman Silas C. Whitman calls Omega Morgan's "audacity."

The tribe says that the loads "can adversely affect the tribe’s treaty-reserved resources, tribal commerce, government function, cultural resources and tribal landmarks." And Whitman says in the press release that:

Actions beyond mere words may be necessary, in order to have the Nez Perce Tribe’s voice heard. If Omega Morgan proceeds with defying the Forest Service, the Nez Perce Tribe will not interfere with its members’ constitutional rights to lawfully assemble in opposition to the immediate threat of the transport of these two megaloads (today).

Nez Perce National Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell writes Omega Morgan CEO John McCalla,"The Forest Service does not consent, approve or otherwise authorize Omega Morgan to transport the subject over legal loads on US Highway 12 between MP 74 and 174."

Brazell's letter continues:

I found your letter troubling in many ways. First, the letter gives the false impression that your company and my staff have been having “extended interaction.” This overstates the nature of our interaction which includes only a single two-hour meeting held May 15th in Grangeville, Idaho. I have had numerous conversations with your consultant Mark Rey, but the end result of those conversations was that the Forest Service had concerns and did not support the transport of over legal loads meeting certain criteria until further review and consultation can occur.

According to a recent Lewiston Tribune article, Mark Rey,  former undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (and longtime foe of environmentalists) is working for Omega Morgan. 

Photo credit: Brett Haverstick, Friends of the Clearwater

August 2, 2013 03:27 PM

One of a series of videos from Dr. Pam Wible of Eugene.

August 1, 2013 12:05 PM

A lawsuit filed against Greenhill Humane Society by former employee Heidy Hollister has been dismissed. The case was officially dismissed on July 25.

“All disputes between the parties have been resolved,” said Scott Meyer, the attorney who represented Greenhill in the lawsuit.

Hollister declined to comment, and Jaclyn Semple, the assistant director of Greenhill, could not be reached for comment. “The parties mutually agreed that all details will be kept confidential,” Meyer said.

The $700,000 suit against Greenhill stated Hollister was the subject of “unwarranted criticism and reprimands” and her contract terminated after she complained “that many of the animals were injured, sick and diseased and defendant [Greenhill] did not provide them with adequate or any medication or hygienic care to relieve their pain and suffering,” according to a Nov. 14 EWarticle.

Hollister’s employment from the First Avenue Shelter, which is run by Greenhill, was terminated shortly after she raised concerns about the treatment of some animals and unnecessary use of euthanasia. The shelter was formerly Lane County Animal Services shelter, which had been going successfully no-kill. Animal advocates, especially No Kill Lane County, have criticized Greenhill for not continuing LCAS’s policies.

“Greenhill continues to provide the highest quality care to all animals at its' shelters, including high quality veterinary care.  We are very proud of our dedicated staff, tireless volunteers and exemplary veterinary professionals who work every day to maintain our high standards,” Meyer said.

The lawsuit was filed Nov. 9, 2012, and a stipulated dismissal of the case was submitted on July 12.

July 29, 2013 12:23 PM

Time lapse photos and some good music and it's like you've gone to Disney World's Country Bear Jamboree.

According to Petapixel, the man who made the film is Glenn Naylor, "a Park Ranger and photography enthusiast who lives and works in Alberta, CA."

Naylor writes on his YouTube post, "Remember bears are not cuddly and friendly, they are wild animals that should be treated with caution and respect. Always carry bear spray when in bear country and know what to do should you encounter a bear. Check out wildsmart.ca."

He adds, "Many thanks to Ewan Dobson for letting us use his incredible music!"

July 26, 2013 05:31 PM

I think I happily listened to  Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" three times before I thought, "Umm wait, what are those lyrics saying?"  The mainstream media was already all over the "rape-y" lyrics, and Thicke's interesting defense — "Even very good girls have … a little bad side to them. You just have to know how to pull it out of them," he says. As for the naked women in the video? That's his wife's fault he says, "Then I showed it to my wife and all her girlfriends and they said, ‘You have to put this out.  This is so sexy and so cool.’”

Luckily there is an awesome parody of "Blurred Lines" by Mod Carousel, a Seattle based boylesque troupe.

 

The troupe says on their YouTube page: "It's our opinion that most attempts to show female objectification in the media by swapping the genders serve more to ridicule the male body than to highlight the extent to which women get objectified and do everyone a disservice. We made this video specifically to show a spectrum of sexuality as well as present both women and men in a positive light, one where objectifying men is more than alright and where women can be strong and sexy without negative repercussions." 

Update 

DOH! Our music and arts editor Alex Notman has already blogged this. Sorry, distracted by Lane County scandals. Well, you can't have too many chances to watch a good video. 

I believe this link is to the more controversial nude version that YouTube took down. It also supplies the lyrics.

July 25, 2013 03:44 PM

We've been reporting the dire news about bees thanks to pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids. Willamette Week however has a perkier, more cheerful bee story this week in their Best of edition. Check out the video for Best Beekeeper, Brian Lacy, owner of Live Honeybees. I feel that I now know more about what bees are saying to me.

 

Best of Portland 2013: BEST BEEKEEPER from wweek.vimeo on Vimeo.

July 25, 2013 11:53 PM

In reponse to EW's questions about County Counsel Stephen Dingle and the Liane Richardson investigation, as well as to a recent story in the R-G, Dingle has issued a statement. 

Statement from County Counsel Steve Dingle: Clarifying Story About Investigation in July 25, 2013 Eugene Register-Guard

EUGENE, Ore— Lane County Counsel Stephen Dingle released the following statement today to clarify a recent story filed in the Eugene Register Guard:

A July 25, 2013 article in the Eugene Register-Guard reported that I was conducting an investigation into recent allegations involving the Lane County Administrator.  I will not be conducting this investigation.

On behalf of the Lane County Board of Commissioners I have retained an independent investigator to investigate the recent allegations involving the County Administrator. In order to protect and safeguard the rights of any complaining witness and the rights of any employee that is the subject of a complaint, it is inappropriate to comment further. In addition, it would be equally inappropriate to disclose facts specific to any investigation before the investigation is completed, potentially compromising the investigation itself or calling into question the integrity of the investigation once completed.

The Statement of Work for the Independent Investigator in this matter reads as follows:

Professionally, ethically and using best practices for investigations and complying with all applicable collective bargaining agreements, investigate allegations contained in a letter dated July 19, 2013 against the Lane County Administrator. Professionally, ethically and using best practices for investigations determine if any Lane County policies, procedures, or work rules were violated. Investigate recent complaints of retaliation applying the same rules. Prepare written report using the format provided by the County and deliver the report electronically to all five Lane County Commissioners no later than August 2, 2013. At all times during your investigation you will be acting as the legal agent of the Lane County Counsel.

An individual must provide the investigator with information necessary to conduct the investigation, such as relevant documents, emails, applicable policies, potential witness names and phone numbers and other logistical support. An independent investigator cannot simply travel to “Lane County” and begin “an investigation.” An independent contractor must be working at the direction of a Lane County employee, in this instance for the reasons stated above, I am that employee.

I was asked to coordinate the investigation by the Lane County Board of Commissioners because other than Ms. Richardson, I am the only other direct employee of the Lane County Board of Commissioners. Any other Manager or Supervisor in Lane County would be subordinate to Ms. Richardson on the Lane County organizational chart, and therefore inappropriate to manage an investigation involving Ms. Richardson—their superior.

In order to assure a fair and complete investigation in this matter I do not  anticipate releasing any additional information on this matter until the next time the Lane County Board of Commissioners meets.

July 25, 2013 03:55 PM

July 25, 2013 03:13 PM

GLOOM from skot coatsworth on Vimeo. GLOOM is Eugene musician Brit Thomas Brody. Videographer Skot Coatsworth of Portland is the brother of Steve Coatsworth of Eugene.