photographs by Trask Bedortha.
EWEB Commissioner Rich Cunningham plans to resign from the position he has held for the past three years, effective March 9, according to EWEB today (Feb. 9). He was not intending to run for re-election in the May primary.
Cunningham, who represents Wards 6 and 7, says he and his family are moving to a home in Ward 8, which is currently represented by Commissioner Joann Ernst.
The remaining four commissioners are expected to appoint a replacement to serve out the remaining months of Cunningham’s term, which ends Dec. 31.
Eugene's new boutique hotel, Inn at the Fifth, will be open for business Monday, Feb. 6, after numerous delays. The opening Monday is by invitation only, but a public open house and community celebration is being planned for March 2.
The inn is the first new hotel to open in Eugene in 28 years, according to a press release. It has 70 rooms.
UO senior instructor Pam Birrell spoke to an Opal Network Forum Jan. 31. Look for more on this topic at Hugh Massengill's youtube channel called "HughLondon."
In Eugene, it's always a big week for food: Eugene Handbuilt, Blue Dog Mead and Indie Pop Soda are teaming up tonight talk about the importance of local food. As a bonus, Eugene Handbuilt is introducing Cookie Bites, a new product infused with lavendar, rose and rosemary. Blue Dog will have its debut honey wine, "The Original Liquid Sin," and Indie Pop's sodas will be available for sampling. This is happening TONIGHT, Feb. 2, 6-8pm at The Davis, 94 W. Broadway. And it's free. Check out our story on Indie Pop from our summer 2011 Chow here Also coming up on Tuesday, Feb. 7, is the Civil Liberties Defense Center's Brewer's Dinner, which features local brews from Ninkasi Brewing paired with cuisine by local chef and farmer Ashley Hawkins from Horton Road Organics. Proceeds from the dinner benefit the Civil Liberties Defense Center. Read about their recent successful work against excessive force here and get the full menu and information here
Conservation groups have been criticizing Congressman Peter DeFazio for his forest trust plan (see press release below) and DeFazio has responded. See the full story in tomorrow's EW.
Oregon Wild and their allies continue to defend the status quo at the expense of our forests and rural communities. While they believe they are “winning” the battle by through endless litigation and appeals, they’re wrong. What is Oregon Wild actually advocating for? If the Northwest Forest Plan was fully implemented most of the remaining old growth in Western Oregon would be on the chopping block. Or should the timber industry prevail in pending litigation to fully implement the O&C Act, we could see harvest levels twice as high as WOPR again liquidating the remaining old growth.
I opposed the Northwest Forest Plan in 1994 because it wouldn’t deliver promised levels of timber to local mills and it lacked protections for old growth. The bipartisan, sustainable timber management plan I envision includes historic conservation victories. For the first time old growth timber would be protected legislatively. The plan would protect the iconic Rogue River wilderness and Devil’s Staircase. Yes, the plan would involve harvesting timber; but it is focused on younger stands and harvests in a sustainable way to maintain forest health and protect the most sensitive areas.
As I have explained to Oregon Wild previously, the Republicans are in the majority in the House and negotiations are not concluded. Once we have reached some agreement to move forward, we will be able to provide more detailed text. At that point, I would like to have public hearings, markup, and observe regular legislative procedure through the subcommittee, full committee and full House.
And today's press release from Oregon Wild:
New Plan Would Solve County Payments Impasse
Local, state, and national groups unveil plan to replace federal subsidies without resorting to clear-cutting public lands
Eugene, Ore—As Oregon county governments receive their last checks from federal taxpayers under the expired county payments program, a coalition of six local, state, and national conservation organizations today unveiled a balanced, three-pronged strategy to solve the looming county funding crunch. With uncertainty around Congress extending this important program, the groups are promoting a shared responsibility approach, where county governments, the State of Oregon, and the federal government would each take responsibility for resolving a portion of the problem.
This common-sense proposal stands in stark contrast to a vague plan being developed by Reps. Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader, and the House Republican leadership. They propose re-linking county funding to clear-cutting on public lands, and weakened endangered species and clean water protections. The Shared Responsibility plan would restore county funding through:
• Administrative savings secured through the transfer of Bureau of Land Management forestlands to the U.S. Forest Service.
• A modest increase in the Oregon State Forest Products Harvest Tax given the windfall from increases in log prices and booming exports shipped to China.
• A small increase in local government property tax rates from existing but presently unused taxing authority.
• Increased ecological restoration that will create jobs while restoring forests and watersheds.
“The DeFazio bill is the wrong approach. We can’t clear-cut our way to prosperity,” observed Steve Pedery, Conservation Director of Oregon Wild. “There is a world of difference between the sustainable, restoration-based forest management that Oregonians support and this proposal re-linking county funding to clear-cutting and weakened environmental safeguards on our public lands.”
“This proposal will split the baby. It is based on failed policies of the past, that counties can log their way out of the problem,” said Randi Spivak, VP Government Affairs, Geos Institute. “Instead of effectively giving away public forests, there are better solutions that share the responsibility and are fair to national taxpayers, benefit the counties, clean water, salmon and wildlife.”
For decades, counties with O&C lands received funding based on the amount of timber harvested from these federal public lands. The epidemic of logging in the 1970s and 1980s inflated county budgets but also polluted thousands of miles of Oregon’s rivers and severely damaged fish and wildlife habitat. Strong public opposition finally brought an end to rampant clear-cutting in the 1990s – and the money going to counties from timber sales shrank. Congress cushioned the fall by instituting Secure Rural Schools legislation, first passed in 2000, to help transition the counties away from dependence on federal timber receipts. These county payments expired this January.
County governments have known that the expiration of payments from federal taxpayers was coming. Still, due to political opposition to tax increases and poor planning on the part of some county governments, many counties face insolvency in the coming year. Curry County in southwest Oregon faces the grimmest scenario in part because its residents pay the lowest property tax in the state. As the Shared Responsibility plan points out, if Curry and the other O&C counties were to pay their fair share (1/3) to replace county payments, proportionally the taxes on a median home in Curry County would have to rise $1.33/week—less than a cup of coffee.
The Shared Responsibility plan outlines three funding sources for the $110 million that the 18 O&C Counties have asked for. The proposal recognizes the need for county, state, and federal governments to provide stable county funding and a diversified economy without sacrificing the important financial and quality-of-life benefits that western Oregon forests provide. Current and former county commissioners have also expressed concern over re-linking county budgets to clear-cut logging on public lands. While not endorsers of the Shared Responsibility plan, here is what some of them had to say.
Pete Sorenson, long-time Lane County Commissioner: “Clean drinking water, fish and wildlife, and the natural amenities of our forests bring jobs and investment to Oregon. Grand plans for linking our funding to unsustainable logging only provide false hope to Lane and other counties.”
Peg Reagan, former Curry County commissioner and director of the Conservation Leaders Network: “With a slow housing market and limited demand for domestic timber, there is just no way that increased logging can match what counties were receiving from Secure Rural Schools payments. We need a balanced solution to help counties avoid bankruptcy – we can’t ask our forests to make the only sacrifice.”
Facts and Figures:
• Curry County could make up its fair share (1/3) of lost Secure Rural Schools payments with a minor increase in property taxes comparable to an increase of $1.33 a week for a median priced home. Even at this increased rate, Curry County taxpayers would still pay approximately half of the Multnomah County property tax rate.
• Josephine County’s property tax rate is 54% below the state wide average.
If western Oregon BLM lands were held in private ownership, they would generate only $8 million in estimated annual tax revenue compared to the $110 million the counties are asking for.
• Transferring 2.6 million acres of BLM forestlands to the Forest Service will generate a savings of $113.3 million. In western Oregon, BLM spends 4.3 times more to manage an acre of land than the FS.
Click any image to view the complete Beats Antique gallery. All photos by Rob Sydor.
State Rep. Terry Beyer of Springfield announced today (Jan. 31) her decision not to seek re-election to House District 12. She says she supports former Springfield Mayor John Lively to fill the seat.
Did you miss the Ninja March against banks last week? Never fear, Ustream is here.
The kazoos start around minute 34, there's also a game of Red Rover and some chanting of ommmm. Eugene Daily News tried to cover the march, but apparently got distracted by pizza and missed most of it.
The Vagilutionaries have been marching against Citizen's United. And FYI it is legal in Eugene to be topless.
We the People-Eugene announced today (Thursday) that weather has caused the relocation of Friday's Occupy the Courts rally from the U.S. Courthouse to the First Christian Church, 1166 Oak St.
The event marks the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision which has generated a flood of corporate political spending. Speakers include Paul Cienguegos (at about 3 pm), and many other speakers working on local grassroots citizen initiatives, musicians, performers and wrapping up with an open mic.
A mock trial of “Mr. Big & the Supremes” will begin with the arraignment of the defendants at noon. Gordon Lafer will speak on “Unions & Citizens United at 2:10 pm, followed by Karly Loveling’s music at 12:30, Roy Keene on “Who Owns Lane County” at 12:40 and a speaker from Occupy Eugene at 12:40.
Day Own of the Pitchfork Rebellion will speak at 1:10, Pam Driscoll of Friends of Parvin Butte will speak at 1:20. John Davidson will speak on “Corporations and the Constitution” at 1:30 and Occupy Eugene will do street theater at 1:45.
Defendants will be indicted at 2 pm and Julian Harrison will speak on Occupy Wall Street at 2:05, followed by Sabrina Siegel, Paul Cienfuegos, Stan Taylor, David Rogers (music), Frost (Park Street Theater), the sentencing of the defendants, and an open mic.
The schedule is subject to change. Call 937-3034 for updates.
Lane County Commissioner Rob Handy’s re-election campaign kick-off is from 5 to 7 pm tonight, Jan. 17 at the historic Willakenzie Grange Hall, 3055 Willakenzie Road, two blocks east off Coburg Road. He will be running against Pat Farr and Mike Clark, so far, in the May 8 primary. Under county rules in nonpartisan races, if one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the votes in the primary, he or she will go on the November ballot unopposed. If no candidate gets 50-plus percent of the votes, the top two will run against each other in November.
Handy’s campaign website is www.robhandy.com and he can be reached at email@example.com
Sports reporters have long been blasted for pursuing homerism that roots for the home team rather than journalism. So it's interesting to look at the alternative realities of a Register-Guard v. Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel Rose Bowl match up.
Here's the game-ending spike that the "reporters" largely covered by watching on TV like everyone else:
Here's the R-G coverage by Rob Moseley:
"the Badgers were unable to spike the ball in time to stop the clock, after using their timeouts much earlier in the half than they would have liked....The Badgers tried in vain to stop the clock but couldn't, as the replay review confirmed."
"UW hurried to the line of scrimmage and Wilson spiked the ball with a second left but the referee ruled time expired. A video review upheld the call and the game was over....
'I knew there was two seconds left on the clock,' Wilson said. 'As soon as the referee blew the whistle, I snapped it and spiked it. I didn't think there was any way that two full seconds ran off the clock there.'
"Bielema vexed by a few of officials' calls," Potrykus reports in a second story quoting the Wisconsin coach.
The Wisconsin paper reports that in the first half:
"UW lost 13 seconds on its final possession of the first half and thus lost an opportunity to try for a go-ahead score."
In the second half, the paper quotes the Wisconsin coach:
"Basically what happened was, I know his foot touched the line," Bielema said. "It gets down to an issue of where the ball is. I was trying to get a read from my sideline official if we could review forward momentum. He didn't understand the question where I was at, and that's why they charged me a timeout."
But the Wisconsin paper's columnist Michael Hunt blames the coach for the loss:
"But for Wisconsin to blow a second consecutive Rose Bowl in basically the same freakish way it dropped two games in a 2011 season that now seems completely wasted in the aftermath of the 45-38 loss to Oregon, that is hard to forgive or forget.
Bad things don't happen to talented teams like UW on sheer randomness. They happen because of a lack of preparation and poor coaching decisions."
Meanwhile, RG columnist George Schroeder ignores all this and revels in victory with the man who paid for it all:
"It's very, very special," said the biggest fan and benefactor, Nike founder Phil Knight.