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July 8, 2016 09:58 AM

The shootings of Philano Castile and Alton Sterling have us reeling. The killing of black men by police offices continues, despite the outage about Freddy Gray, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice. The shootings of police officers last night in Dallas were another shock. People post the videos and memes on Facebook and ask "What can I do?" 

What can we do Eugene/Springfield? How can we change this? The shootings may be in cities far away, but we all know racism happens here, police shootings happen here. Write us your thoughts letters@eugeneweekly.com. 

And for those of you who want to recognize what happened with others who feel the same, there is a memorial today. 

This message was posted by the UO Black Student Union letting people know about a vigil Friday July 8 for the families and communities of Baton Rouge and Minneapolis:

In light of recent police shootings, particularly those of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, we, the Black Student Union, along with the Black Women of Achievement, are holding a memorial tomorrow. We will meet in the amphitheater promptly at 1:45 pm for a moment of silence and prayer. Following, we will march to 13th and Agate to stand in solidarity along the corners, before planting stakes in the Hamilton Hall Lawn. We will give everyone a black bow to wear, hold photos, and plant stakes to represent the countless lives lost under the hands of police officers. If you can, please wear a black shirt.

Please join us to recognize and honor the black lives lost in these tragedies. We also ask that you pass this message on to others who may want to attend. Thank you and we hope to see you tomorrow.

The Eugene-Springfield NAACP adds that, "We at the Eugene/Springfield NAACP stand in solidarity with the families and communities involved," and "Folks are also welcome to leave flowers at the Mims memorial located at 330 High Street."

The Mims Houses commemorate "two of the oldest structures and black-owned properties in Eugene."

July 5, 2016 05:51 PM

Mahmud Hafiz travelogue writer and a senior journalist from Bangladesh dropped by EW’s offices recently to talk journalism and the Bangla, aka Bengali, language. Hafiz, a contributing editor to the news portal Bangla News 24 came to Eugene for his son’s graduation from the University of Oregon. He will be writing a travelogue about his experiences.

Hafiz says Bangla News 24 and its editor-in-chief Alamgir Hossain pioneered online journalism in Bangladesh and the news site is updated from all over the country. The site is partially available in English.

In addition to discussing journalism, Hafiz came to speak to EWabout Bangla, a language he says, “for which people died.” According to Hafiz, UNESCO declared Feb. 21 as World Language Day “remembering our sacrifice.”

Hafiz explained that when India was divided into India and Pakistan, it was originally divided into East and West Pakistan, united by the Muslim religion but divided by the land mass of India itself. In West Pakistan (now Pakistan) Urdu was spoken but the language of East Pakistan was Bangla.

The Bengali Language Movement arose when the government of West Pakistan attempted to impose Urdu as the state language. On February 21, 1952, five students and political activists were killed during protests near the campus of the University of Dhaka. Hafiz said that each year on that date in Dhaka there is a procession of people wearing black shirts carrying wreaths to commemorate the sacrifice.

Bangla is the official language of what is now Bangladesh and according to Hafiz has more than 300 million speakers around the globe ranging from Bangladesh to India to New York City.

While in Eugene Hafiz presentedEW with an impressionistic painting of a street in Bangladesh. EW will post links to Hafiz’s travelogues when they are available in English.

Journalist Mahmud Hafiz presents EW Editor Camilla Mortensen with a painting from Bangladesh

July 1, 2016 06:50 PM

According to a Register-Guard headline today, your car and its airbags have a hitherto-unknown superpower.

Rapture.

A "50 Percent Chance of  Dangerous Air Bag Rapture" to be precise.  What can we say? Jesus, take the wheel.

h/t retired editor EW Ted Taylor

June 29, 2016 11:48 AM

The Lane County Board of Commissioners’ June 28 discussion of giving themselves the authority to block some local ballot measures has EW floored. Did it get forgotten by four of the five commissioners that Oregon citizens have a right to the initiative process that is protected in the state Constitution?

The RG broke the story this morning, and according to the daily, "Under the unusual proposal, the commissioners would gain the authority to preemptively block any countywide ballot measure that they deem not to be 'of county concern,' before it goes to voters or the courts," and the "board voted 4-1 to have county staff start drafting an ordinance on the issue."

The RG quotes Commish Jay Bozievich as saying, "he would like the county’s proposed ordinance to apply to measures that haven’t yet qualified for the ballot — which would include the Community Rights measures. That could be considered a retroactive change to local election law."

It's not clear in the language what is "county concern" and if county concerns might ally more strongly with corportate interests, such as the timber industry, over community groups concerned with pesticide sprays or GMOS.

Commish Faye Stewart Stewart "said he doesn’t understand the purpose of championing local measures that won’t survive a legal challenge."

The county must have a crystal ball, as it seeks to prevent ballot measures the commission thinks won't stand a legal challenge … before they actually go through the legal system. 

The RG reports that Pete Sorenson was the lone dissenting voice on having staff draft language for an ordinance. 

Sorenson tells EW while no actual vote was taken, the "dominant flavor" was to move ahead with an ordinance. He says were the commission to move ahead he has two questions he would like answered. First, "Is there a problem?" He says he doesn't think Lane County has had a lot of problematic local measures. 

Second, Sorenson says there is already a system in place for dealing with ballot measures that are passed by citizen votes but might have portions of them that are unlawful or beyond the scope, and that process throws out nonlegal portions of measures. He calls the proposed ordinance a "solution in search of a problem."

The ordinance could "suppress rights people currently enjoy," he says, and to change rules on a process that is already under way, such as the Community Rights initiative is "frowned upon."

Sorenson says if the proposed ordinance goes forward there would be a public meeting.

You can watch a video of the meeting here.

Here is the proposed languge, which you can find on the commission agenda under:

COUNTY COUNSEL

A. Announcements

B. DISCUSSION/ Potential Changes to Lane County Initiative and Referendum Process. (Stephen Dingle, County Counsel) 

The language reads:

Whereas, initiative and referendum powers are reserved to the people of the State of Oregon, and are further reserved to the legal voters of home rule counties regarding matters of county concern, by the Oregon Constitution;

Whereas, ORS 250.155 recognizes the reserved right of home rule counties to establish the procedures for exercising county initiative and referendum powers;

Whereas, a charter amendment or ordinance that is not a matter of county concern will be declared invalid after passage upon challenge;

Whereas, Lane County believes that conducting elections for and funding expensive litigation to defend initiative measures that will be declared invalid after passage wastes valuable and limited resources of Lane County taxpayers.

June 22, 2016 05:38 PM

A former Lane County resident was treated to drug dealing Eugene-style this week. We're not going to give her name — in case her wannabe drug hook up reads this blog — but "C" moved the Lubbock, Texas a couple years ago and retained her 541 area code number. 

We're going to guess the man who wants to be her "homie" was off by a digit late the other night when he texted C. 

The exchange started with a 2 am text: "Malcolm?" and C, sleepy and on Ambien thought it was in response to her quest to buy a horse trailer that has led to texts from unknown numbers wrote back.

"Interested buyer in Lubbock," she typed into her phone.

The response? "This is Aaron. I have much loot to throw at you."

Still, addled with insomnia, C said she would text back in the morning.

She woke up, realized what had happened and posted the exchange on Facebook, noting, "Pretty sure I accidentally told a Eugene drug dealer I was an interested buyer last night."

Rather than follow up on the exchange, she left it there. But Aaron was not to be deterred — after all he does have "unlimited everything" and wifi. 

"How you doin big homie?"

C is still horse trailer shopping and probably a little more careful about telling folks she's an "interested buyer." 

 

June 22, 2016 11:01 AM

Someobody lost a piglet and Oregon State Police, responding to a report that it was a dog running along I-5, say, "There were no identifying collars, tags, or information on the pig to assist in notifying the owner" of the piglet.  That's right, a pig with no ID. 

Here's to hoping the little piggie goes, "Wah wah wah all the way home."

On June 21, 2016 at approximately 10:15 pm, OSP received the report of a dog running southbound in the northbound median of Interstate near MP 191 south of Eugene (between Franklin and Glenwood).

Troopers arrived in the area and discovered the animal reported was not a dog but a piglet. The female piglet is approximately 30 to 40 pounds in size and white with black spots. It is estimated she is approximately 3 to 5 weeks old. There were no identifying collars, tags, or information on the pig to assist in notifying the owner. The pig was taken into custody and transported to the 1st Avenue Animal Shelter in Eugene.

The owner is asked to call the OSP Springfield Area Command at 541-726-2536 or the 1st Ave Shelter (Greenhill Humane Society) at 541-844-1606.

June 14, 2016 12:22 PM

Mark Baker, longtime reporter, "Living Here" columnist and member of the Baker family, appears to have parted ways with The Register-Guard.

The daily paper is owned and primarily run by the Baker family, and Mark Baker is is the youngest grandchild of Alton F. Baker Sr., The Register-Guard's publisher from 1927 to 1961, according to an RG newstory about Baker's hiring as East Region reporter in 2002.

Several sources notified EW of Baker's departure but not the details of the split. As of June 14, Baker's name no longer appears listed on the RG's online masthead and his "Living Here" column is no longer on the online dropdown news menu where it previously appeared. 

EW has reached out to Mark Baker for comment, as well as to Wendy Baker, the RG's director of Human Resources, but has not received a reply from Mark Baker. When asked if she could confirm whether Mark is employed or affiliated with the paper, Wendy Baker responded, "No, thank you."

Mark Baker has made no statements on the issue an his Facebook or Twitter accounts as of the posting of this blog. Baker's "Living Here" columns appeared frequently on the paper's front page. His Facebook profile still lists him as a senior writer at the RG.

June 3, 2016 02:16 PM

Hood River News is reporting a multi-car oil train derailment at the town of Mosier near the Columbia River. Flames and smoke are visbile. Mosier School and 60-70 homes are under evacuation. I-84 has been shut down both directions. The Oregonian is also posting updates.

Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue tweeted out this photo.

Reports say it is a Union Pacific train involving 11 cars filled with oil, with several burning. The train was carrying Bakken crude from North Dakota. It's unclear if any oil has spilled into the river.

Environmentalists have long predicted the possible disastrous effects of an oil train derailment near the Columbia River.

Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign Director Lena Moffitt released the following statement:

“The Sierra Club’s thoughts and prayers are with the train’s crew, their families, and the families of the communities affected by this disaster. “History has repeatedly shown just how deadly and dangerous oil train crashes can be. Simply put, transporting oil by rail -- or by any method -- is a disaster waiting to happen. The safety and wellbeing of our communities must be put ahead of profits for Big Oil.”

Sen. Ron Wyden has also issued a statement:

“It’s clear with this crash – as it has been for years – that more must be done to protect our communities from trains carrying explosive hazardous fuels. That’s why I’ve repeatedly called for more resources and notification for first responders, and why I’m continuing to push for my bill to move unsafe cars off the tracks and away from communities.”

Update: According to the latest press release from the Oregon Department of Transportation, 14 cars were involved, booms have been placed in the Columbia to contain the sheen of oil that can be seen in the river, no people or structures were harmed. 

The press release links to a Union Pacific website giving updates. It says the DOT-111 railcars had been upgraded to the higher CPC 1232 standard. 

Think-tank Sightline Institute says that higher standard is no safer than the older railcars.

May 27, 2016 04:38 PM

Eugene Weekly — an award-winning alternative newspaper in the beautiful Pacific Northwest — seeks a 30 hour-per-week calendar editor with a news reporter’s sensibility to edit EW’s “What’s Happening” calendar. Our calendar fills Lane County in on the area’s vibrant arts, music, political, entertainment and everything-in-between scene. 

EW is looking for a person who can handle the doldrums of data entry (the bulk of the job) but is hoping to move up to a career in news reporting and feature writing.

The calendar editor should be excited to highlight both highbrow and grassroots events in the community in short, fun blurbs each week in addition to the data entry.

The ideal candidate will be highly interested in news reporting, organized, detail-oriented, determined and versatile as well as have infinite amounts of patience.

Copyediting skills a plus. Must not be married to the Oxford comma. The position starts as soon as it is filled.

We’re a feisty office with a fierce dedication to covering community issues with an alternative flare. 

This opportunity comes with a $15 an hour salary, excellent non-financial perks (mainly free food and endless coffee).

The job starts at 30 hours a week but will become a full-time position with benefits. Send resume, cover letter and clips by June 10 to editor@eugeneweekly.com as an MS word or a .pdf attachment by June 10. Web links are also accepted. EW is an equal opportunity employer. 

May 18, 2016 10:42 AM

In the May 17 Oregon primary election, local county commissioner Faye Stewart was trounced by perennial candidate Mark Callahan in the Republican race to challenge incumbent Democrat Ron Wyden in the fall. Callahan has run for president, switched parties, running as a Pacific Greena and a Dem, and generally been more of a sideshow than a strong candidate.

Ouch.

We have to wonder if Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah-Gate back in 2014 gave Callahan enough of name recognition push to get that 37 percent of the vote in the four-way race. Stewart got 19 percent.

During a 2014 endorsement interview, Callahan spotted Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Nigel Jaquiss writing "blah, blah, blah" in his notebook as fellow candidate Jo Rae Perkins talked abut climate change . (Perkins just lost to nuke-loving wingnut Art Robinson in the Repub primary to face Peter DeFazio. We are losing count of how many times Robinson has run against DeFaz.)

Highlights: Callahan losing it over blah, blah, blah, then saying climate change is myth. "Where are you on the Easter Bunny?" Jaquiss asks. 

What's not funny is realizing that, even if we think Callahan doesn't have a chance in the fall, Oregon Republicans voted for a climate change denier.

May 17, 2016 07:21 PM

Required reporting: If a student is sexually assaulted and tells her or his professor, then under University of Oregon rules the professor must report what happened, whether or not the student wants it reported.

For some, required reporting is the best way to handle discrimination and harassment. Others, such as UO psychology professor Jennifer Freyd, say mandatory reporting can cause more harm than good.

The University of Oregon Faulty Senate votes May 18 on a required reporting policy that is causing contention on campus among those who work on the issue of sexual violence. According to the proposed motion, “sexual harassment and other forms of prohibited discrimination are prohibited by law and the University has a duty to do its utmost to protect its students and employees from discriminatory harassment, and most particularly from sexual assault.”

Freyd, who is nationally known for her research on institutional betrayal, has this to say:

“This is a human rights issue and I have faith that in time we will all understand it that way. For me I fight this locally and nationally. It may take awhile but I think with effort this movement will succeed — as human rights movements tend to do eventually — and in the meantime I will not make bargains that sell my integrity for political expediency.

I ask myself:

Is my duty to the institution? or to my students?
Is my duty to appease those in power? or to the core mission of knowledge production and dissemination?

Do I succumb to illegitimate threats of power-over that attempt to coerce a vote? or do I model integrity or process?

Am I an agent of the system? or an individual with an educated mind and a commitment to truth and justice?

I don't find these very hard questions to answer. I will do what I believe is right on this matter even if I'm the only one in the room doing so (but I would sure love support) and even though I know I may very likely trade being popular, politic or comfortable.”

In its rationale for the policy, University Committee on Sexual and Gender Based Violence says that while not all the supporters agree “its terms are mandated by federal law,” the committee majority “accepts that it is clearly permitted and, indeed, contemplated by federal law.”

UO professor and University Committee on Sexual and Gender Based Violence co-chair Carole Stabile spoke before the Faculty Senate on May 11. She said the mandatory reporting policy that came out under former UO president Gottfredson was unclear. And that under the revised policy, survivors have options, such as disclosing to confidential reporters such as counselors.

Gottfredson was UO president at the time of the UO basketball rape allegations and the school was heavily criticized for how it handled that case.

The committee writes that it “rejects the view that this policy is designed institutional risk management reasons and believes that it is a reasonable response both to OCR [U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights] guidance as well as the needs of the university community.”

With regard to the concerns raised by Freyd and others, the committee states that it “recognizes that there are serious arguments raised in opposition to this policy, especially with regard to its potential for discouraging some survivors of sexual violence from seeking confidential assistance.”

It continues, “However, the committee believes, given the substantial resources recently deployed in support of survivors of sexual violence, and the reasonable protections instituted by the university so that survivors continue to control the process of healing and resolution, that it is imperative that such survivors avail themselves of these resources.”

Required reporters go to the Title IX Coordinator or to the Office of Crisis Intervention and Sexual Violence Support Services with their information. Former UO student and rape survivor Laura Hanson says when she went to Penny Daugherty, the Title IX coordinator, she was told not to report her assualt to the police because it was a "he-said she-said" situation.

Sexual assault survivor and activist Brenda Tracy who has worked with OSU to improve its sexual assault policies says she is coming to Eugene to testify against required reporting before the Senate at the May 18 meeting, which is from 3:30 - 5:30 pm in 156 Straub Hall. 

May 16, 2016 05:04 PM

Voters in Portland over the weekend might have been stymied by a beer fest. Go home Portlandia, you're drunk.

Activist Alley Valkyrie, formerly of Eugene, snapped this photo in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square, posted on social media and commented, "Two days before ballots are due, and the downtown ballot box was blocked by a beer fest. Democracy in action, folks …"

According to the square's website, it was Widmer Hefe Day on May 15.

Lane County residents can find their ballot dropsites here. Ballots can no longer be mailed and are due by 8 pm May 17.

May 12, 2016 11:37 AM

The race for EWEB Wards 6&7 just got a little strange and ugly with this attack mailing against Sonya Carlson.

Carlson is running against Gary Malone in the position. EW reached out to Carlson and Malone for comment.

Malone at first responded: "Sans commentaires, Ne pas oublier de voter." (No comments, Don't forget to vote).

He did not explain why his response was in French.

Carlson has issued a statement:

"The Eugene Chamber of Commerce, the Register-Guard, the Eugene Weekly and dozens of elected officials and other community members across the political spectrum have publicly endorsed my campaign for EWEB. I am proud of the broad range of support I have garnered. Yesterday, I was informed that my opponent turned to negative campaigning. It is unfortunate, but I am confident that voters will see the hit piece for what it is. My husband and I purchased our home in a working class neighborhood in Santa Clara almost seven years ago. I graduated from Lewis and Clark College in 2005 and had been in the workforce for nearly a decade before I decided to return to school to pursue my masters degree in business administration. As a mother, it was a difficult decision to make, as we would be living on one income. Likewise, choosing to run for EWEB was not a decision I took lightly, but I have been honored and humbled by the encouragement I have received. "

Later on Friday. May 13, Malone said he did have comments after all, writing:

"I do have comments. The flyer did come from my campaign. I apologize to Sonya Carlson and anyone else who may have been offended and would ask for their forgiveness. The intent was to educate the voter. I am saddened to say one more piece was mailed that I tried to stop that reflects the same style. I have taken steps to ensure this type of campaigning will not happen in the future."

May 10, 2016 11:03 AM

Oregon Native American history and culture feels a bit under siege is Lane County this week

Over on the Lane Community College Campus on Wedesday, May 11, advocates for teaching Chinuk Wawa are organzing and asking to be heard by the LCC Board of Education. They will be meeting 6:30 pm in Building 3, Room 216 on the main campus and speaking during the 20 minute public comment session. 

Chinuk language advocates will meet prior to the board meeting at 5:25pm in Building 5 Room 126 for a meal, songs, and prayer, according to a Facebook event. More information is below, and you can also sign on to a petition at Change.org.

In the fall, Lane Community College's administration effectively canceled the Chinuk Wawa language program at the school, placing it on an indefinite "hiatus". While the American Indian Languages Committee at LCC has continued advocating for this invaluable and one of a kind program, the administration has been silent. So, some of us are seeking to be heard by LCC's Board of Education. 

Would you please join us in support of Chinuk Wawa at LCC?! Please help us pack the board room and request a reversal of the administration's decision and a commitment to the continuation of Chinuk Wawa at our community college!! The LCC Board of Education meets on May 11th at 6:30pm in Building 3, Room 216. Their meetings begin with 20 minutes for public comments so if you'd like to speak in support of the program please do!

Update: The LCC board voted 5-1 to reinstate Chinuk Wawa.

Another issue facing local Tribal members and land use and environmental advocates is the proposed TV Butte gravel mine, called the Old Hazeldell Quarry by the developers. 

EW columnist and Indigenous rights activist Kayla Godowa Tufti, a desecent of Charlie Tufti, known for discovering Waldo Lake, has been advocating against the mine, pointing to historical records she says shows possible Native graves in the area.

There is a hearing tonight, May 10, about the mine with the Planning Commissio  at 5:30 pm  in the Goodson Room at 3040 N. Delta Hwy., Eugene.

In a Facebook event opposing the mine, which is associated with Ed King of King Estate Winery, organizers write:

Lane County Planning Commission will be hearing rebuttal to the proposed mining project in Oakridge, Oregon. It is critical that people turn out to oppose this mining project which threatens indigenous cultural resources, the regional ecology, and the health and wellbeing of rural residents.

Last night I attended the initial meeting where the mining company attempted to convince the commission to change the zoning of TV Butte from forest to mining. In doing so the presenters ignored or dismissed concerns about increased fire risk, particulate pollution, and water contamination or depletion.

They also assaulted and called the police on the lineal descendant of Charlie Tufti when she raised concerns about the impact this proposed mine would have on cultural resources and native graves. There are many reasons to oppose this plan. Please share this widely and please come to the meeting and voice your support for the people of Oakridge. Goodson Room 3050 N. Delta Highway Eugene Oregon