Downtown Eugene's filling up. Empty storefronts are giving way to bars, restaurants and stores. What else does it need? We vote on more food cars for Kesey Square …
Mayor Kitty Piercy upon hearing the trespass citations would keep people from being able to attend City Council meetings (see today's story about the recent free speech arrests) tells EW:
"You should know that it's important to me for that all our community members can come to a City Council meeting. While I respect the county's rights to make decisions regarding visitors to the county building, it's not okay with me for them to determine who may attend or speak at a council meeting. I have asked staff to work with the county to ensure that no one is blocked from our council meetings by the county."
Most awesome story of the week from the San Francisco Bay Guardian:
A Marin activist named Jonathan Frieman, who runs a small nonprofit corporation (the JoMiJo Foundation) was driving in the carpool lane on highway 101 in Marin when he was stopped by a cop and given a $478 ticket. Ah, but Frieman insists he wasn't driving alone; beside him in the car were the articles of incorporation and other relevant corporate paperwork for his foundation — and in the United States, corporations are considered people. In fact, the California Vehicle Code refers to “natural persons or corporations.”
So Frieman is challening his ticket in traffic court, and is willing to spend his own money to appeal the case as far as he can. He wants to force the courts to decide: If a corporation is a person, then it gets to ride with a driver in the carpool lane, and his ticket has to be dismissed. If it's not a person, then maybe it can't make political contributions.In fact, if a corporation isn't a person, a whole lot of evil stuff might come to an end.
The story says Friedman's traffic court hearing was today.
And then there's domestic violence, Portlandia style from KOIN in Portland:
A man is facing assault charges, accused of choking his girlfriend using his dreadlocks in Southeast Portland.
Domestic violence is awful and never funny; I hope the woman is OK. And I have to wonder: How did this not happen in Eugene?
SLEEPS (Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep) is challenging the curfew at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaze tonight. Here is the live stream via Ustream. About 75-80 people appeared to be there around 11 pm at "Reclaim the Plaza: A Free Speech Celebration."
It's not yet clear what's happening on the UO campus this morning (beyond a rally scheduled for 11;30 am in regard to shake up in the diversity office) but UO emergency alerts are warning students to stay away from the Health Center and the latest alert says Agate is closed between 13th and 15the avenues. Another alert told students and faculty that there are intermittended power outages across campus. The Daily Emerald is reporting that "A University police spokesman said that explosions were heard near the Walton Complex. Smoke was reported to be coming from around the maintenance tunnels."
Updates to come.
Update: KVAL is on the scene (we don't come out til Thursday, by which time this will be old news, but exlosions are bread and butter for the TV folks): "Employees told KVAL News that they believe it was because of a pipe leak of some kind inside the building."
Update: The R-G writes, "The explosions and smoke are 'likely' a result of a malfunction in a maintenance tunnel near the health center and the Walton residence hall complex, UO police spokesman Kelly McIver said."
Update: The Daily Emerald is reporting it appears to be a transformer that blew. Accounts differ as to what parts of campus might have lost power in addition to some of the residence halls. The Em has some nice photos of firefighters and smoke.
And just in time for the first week of classes: No power in the dorms. Here's the latest update from the UO.
Power outage at University of Oregon impacts on-campus residents
Work will continue around the clock to restore power to campus
Eugene, Ore. (Jan. 7, 2013) -- A power failure occurred today across the southwest section of the University of Oregon campus, the result of a series of malfunctions that were reported from the underground tunnels that deliver utility services through the 295-acre campus.
No one was injured in the incident, which resulted in visible smoke above ground and inside the University Health Center. The Health Center was evacuated and a two-block section of Agate Street – from 13th to 15th avenues – was closed for approximately two hours.
Campus Operations is working as quickly as possible to restore electricity to all affected buildings and repairs have already brought power back to many. However, several buildings are still without power, including many UO Housing residence and dining halls, including Carson Hall, Hamilton Hall, Bean Hall, Living Learning Center, Earl Hall and Walton Hall.
As a residential campus, more than 4,000 students live on campus and their safety is a top priority, said Michael Griffel, director of University Housing.
“Heat, fire systems and lighting are necessary for a safe living environment," he said. "As such, we are planning to provide lighting assistance and additional campus safety officer presence this evening for approximately 3,000 students impacted by this outage.”
The location of the power transmission feeder failure was inspected by Eugene Fire Department and UO Campus Operations officials who described the failure as an overheating issue that caused the electrical circuits to ignite and melt.
Students, faculty and staff were notified via emergency notification channels about the incident and updates continue during the restoration of power. Latest information is posted at alerts.uoregon.edu.
“We are working as quickly as possible to safely restore all power to affected areas of campus,” said George Hecht, associate vice president for Campus Operations. “Getting power back to the affected buildings, especially residence halls and research facilities, is a top priority to alleviate issues.”
Additional student programming is planned on campus, including a BCS Championship Game watch party and activities at the Student Recreation Center and Erb Memorial Union.
One minute you're hearing former Eugenean Mat Kearney sing "Breath In, Breath Out" on Grey's Anatomy or it's "Nothing Left to Lose" while you're driving down Highway 58 (avoiding that ammo someone spilled this morning) and the next you're like, "Oh, shit, is that a song about Chip Kelly?"
"Chip don't go, don't go, don't you go to Philly, Cleveland or Buffalo. They don't have half the heart or the jerseys."
Every good starship captain ought to have a Twitter feed. If you still can't get your body beamed to other planets at least you can send 140 characters from space.
William Shatner (aka Captain James T. Kirk, aka @williamshatner) tweeted to Chris Hadfield, of the Canadian Space Agency "Are you tweeting from space?" Hadfield is the International Space Station's Flight Engineer for Expedition 34, so he is indeed tweeting from space.
In fine Trekkie form, he responded: "Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we're detecting signs of life on the surface."
Most of the journalists I know do sit around talking about the news. But we don't sit around talking like the news, even the NPR folks, which is too bad because I would love it if everyone walked around talking like All Things Considered or Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.
The Idle No More movement that has swept across Canada is taking root in Oregon as well, with a flashmob Dec. 23 at Portland's Pioneer Place mall and another round dance flashmob planned for 5 pm Dec. 29 at Eugene's Valley River Center. A Facebook page organizing the VRC flashmob says singers will begin at 5 pm in the middle of the mall and says for participants to gather round, dance and support when the singing begins and to part ways when it ends.
Idle No More is a campaign for indigenous rights, sovereignty and environmental justice that began in Canada in part as a response to Canada's omnibus bill C-45 that "amends the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Canada Labour Code" according to Indian Country Today. The bill passed the Canadian Senate on Dec. 14. The Idle No More movement however is more than just that legislation, according to the INM website. The Idle No More manifesto says, in part:
The state of Canada has become one of the wealthiest countries in the world by using the land and resources. Canadian mining, logging, oil and fishing companies are the most powerful in the world due to land and resources. Some of the poorest First Nations communities (such as Attawapiskat) have mines or other developments on their land but do not get a share of the profit. The taking of resources has left many lands and waters poisoned – the animals and plants are dying in many areas in Canada. We cannot live without the land and water. We have laws older than this colonial government about how to live with the land.
Among the environmental concerns brought up by the new legislation are the tar sands, fossil fuel pipelines and other mining.
In addition to the rallies and flashmobs that have brought attention to the movement, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence began a hunger strike on Dec. 11, drinking only fish broth and medicinal tea. She has announced she will not eat until there is a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a representative of the queen of England to address the broken relationship with indigenous peoples and treaty rights.
Democracy Now featured an interview with Idle No More Spokeswoman Pamela Palmater Dec. 26.
Payback for DDT? Eagles cleaning up what the stork dropped in some sort of avian circle of life? This video (going viral in 3-2-1 already there) of a golden eagle baby snatching is going to horrify parents and make the rest of us giggle … and duck every time a bird of prey swoops overhead.
Has anyone tried to warn us of the impending giant fucking eagle menace? Is this merely the first warning shot? We must be vigilant, or else the giant fucking eagles of the world will make off with all of our children. BUT ONLY IF WE LET THEM.
The slow-motion portion set to music is really what makes the video
Some YouTube commenters are calling this a fake, but this is not the first time eagles have attacked small children or full grown humans for that matter. But it is perhaps the first time it was set to the theme music from Chariots of Fire.
Fakery confirmed, darn it.
If you missed punk rock Massachusetts-Irish band Dropkick Murphys at the McDonald Theatre last month then you missed the live performance of what is my favorite Christmas song this year: "The Season's Upon Us."
The Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza was ordered closed Dec. 11 by Lane County Administrator Liane Richardson after Occupy Eugene offshoot, Eugene SLEEPS (Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep), which has been campaigning for safe places for the homeless to sleep, staged a protest there. Eugene SLEEPS is asking people to write letters in response to statements from Richardson that indicate her belief the homeless protesters created a need for the plaza to be "disinfected." In a recent press release, SLEEPS said: "Ms. Richardson grossly misled the public with her untrue allegations that SLEEPS campers had destroyed the lobby desk and bathrooms so that she could justify shutting down the plaza to protests."
SLEEPS is asking that Richardson apologize and the Free Speech Plaza reopened:
Ms. Richardson has stooped to a new low in perpetuating stereotypes and hate mongering toward the unhoused. Her allegations that SLEEPS damaged the lobby and bathrooms of the County Building and pooped in the planters are ridiculous and insulting and have been contradicted by county employees and SLEEPS date and time stamped photos.
These comments represent a phobic response to those who are unhoused, and the closure of the plaza has violated their (and everyone else in Lane County) constitutional right to gather and address their grievances at this landmark protest site.
Richardson made the statement about feces in planters to a gathering of protesters and news media on Dec. 13. The R-G reports "The plaza’s surface did not appear to have been fouled or littered during the demonstration earlier this week."
Eugene activist Alley Valkyrie was among those who returned to the plaza after the closure and elected to be arrested to assert her First Amendment rights. According to SLEEPS, Valkyrie has twice sucessfully challenged the city in free speech and rights issues related to the unhoused. The group thanked Eugene police for their professionalism.
The emails from Richardson are below. For more information on Eugene SLEEPS go to http://eugenesleeps.org
Tuesday Dec. 11
Commissioners, I wanted to let you know what we are doing with the Free Speech Plaza and the campers who are present.EPD officers are sharing with the campers our Administrative rules, which prohibit camping or camping-like activities in the plaza, as well as the expectation that speech activities will not occur between 11pm and 6am. They are informing the campers and others present that they are in violation of our rules regarding the use of that area. The area has rules for usage so that all people are free to use the plaza, and to ensure the health and safety of all of our residents and guests. We are hoping that by informing the campers of these rules, they will voluntarily comply with our requests to cease and desist from prohibited behavior. We are in close contact with Eugene staff as well as our own staff, who have reported damage to the Volunteer booth downstairs, theft from and damage to our restrooms, and complaints from visitors to the courthouse and PSB that they do not feel safe. The sanitary conditions of the restrooms are of great concern, as we do not have the staff to keep up with the mess that is being created. I have begun the process of temporarily closing the plaza if health and safety concerns remain after these contacts and requests for voluntary compliance. I will keep you updated.
Wednesday, Dec. 12
At this time, all campers are gone from the Plaza. We have one individual sitting there with a sign saying he won’t eat until there is housing for the homeless, but otherwise the Plaza is empty. We will be barricading off the lower area until we can get a cleanup crew in to clean and disinfect the area; most likely through the end of this week and possibly into the weekend.
The Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza has long been home to, well, free speech. But the R-G is reporting that Lane County Administrator Liane Richardson has signed an order putting the kibosh on free speech at the plaza for now in response to a protest.
Eugene SLEEPS, an offshoot of Occupy Eugene, set up tents in the plaza Dec. 10 after the Eugene City Council did not move on modifying the city's camping ban. SLEEPS, which stands for Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep, has been advocating to have the camping ban lifted before winter weather sets in. In 2008 a homeless veteran, Major Thomas Egan, froze to death on the street in Eugene during a cold spell.
The Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza is on indefinite closure, the R-G reports and it says:
There are rules about using the plaza in regard to health and safety,” county spokeswoman Jennifer Inman said. “This is really about the issue of camping, rather than the free-speech aspect” of the protest.
Back in September the R-G reported that Richardson was advocating to ban smoking in the plaza, which in addition to being a frequent protest site, is also a popular weekend hangout during Saturday Market.
If Lane County starts calling for a ban on drum circles, then we'll know it really has it in for the Free Speech Plaza.