Notice the air isn't as clear and beautiful as you might like for Labor Day weekend? This just in from LRAPA: Labor Day weekend air quality affected by Deception Complex wildfire smoke The Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) would like to advise residents and visitors in Lane County to be aware of air quality concerns throughout this weekend. Labor Day weekend air quality is looking to range from “Moderate/Yellow” to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (USG)/Orange” in Oakridge/Westfir. Eugene/Springfield is looking at ranges from “Good/Green” to “Moderate/Yellow.”
The Deception Complex fire in Oakridge has grown to 2,196 acres as of Sunday, August 31, 2014. Cooler area temperatures and light precipitation is improving conditions slightly. Smoke levels were significantly lower in the Oakridge area Saturday than earlier in the week. The wind is forecasted to push from the Northwest to the North for the next couple days. This will help keep smoke levels down in the immediate Oakridge area. However, if the winds change or conditions do not improve and worsen from the “USG” levels, LRAPA advises that residents stay indoors and limit outside activities.
The City of Oakridge and Lane County Government has set up a smoke relief room at the Willamette Activity Center (47674 School St.), Room 10. The room is open Saturday-Monday this weekend from 9 AM – 5 PM. People are welcome to turn on air conditioning and escape from the smoke. People feeling health impacts from the smoke should contact their doctors or health care providers.
More information on smoke related health impacts can be found here, at the United States Environmental Protection Agency website brochure: http://www.epa.gov/airnow/smoke/Smoke2003final.pdf
nformation on the Deception Creek Fire can be found at the Willamette National Forest website and twitter, @willametteNF or the Incident Information System: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4093/
For more information, please call Jo Niehaus, LRAPA’s public affairs manager at 541-736-1056 ext 217. # # #
Too stoned to read EW's recent marijuana coverage? (Or simply an "inexperienced consumer? Sorry, pot legalization is no laughing matter but there's something about weed that just gives us the giggles). Eugene Cannabis TV, which is sort of the Grateful Dead meets Between Two Ferns, is here to get you updated on the world of weed. Episode 541 includes a reading of an EW article covering our Stirring the Pot forum that clears up some misconceptions about upcoming marijuana legalization measures.
"I'm bringing booty back /Go ahead and tell the skinny bitches that./Nah, I'm just playing, I know you think you're fat. /But I'm here to tell you every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top."
Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass," which playfully and danceably calls for women to love their bodies, especially with some junk in the trunk, is now officially stuck in my head.
Moving now to country, Maddie and Tae don't quite flip the gender stereotypes about women in country but do have a little fun with it. There's a nice discussion of what's going on with gender sterotypes in videos that try to flip them over at Slate.
"I hate how this bikini top chafes/Do I really have to wear it all day? … It's driving me redneck crazy. Being a girl in a country song, how in the world did it go so wrong?/ Like all we’re good for is looking good for you and your friends on the weekend, nothing more.”
Looks like (crossing fingers) Lane County might be getting a little more sunshine on its governance. The county announced today that like the city of Eugene it will have a computer terminal with access for the media and the public to an email group made up of the County Commission, administrator and other publice officials, it will also open its front office to the public and make meetings rooms available at no cost during business hours.
Commissioner Pete Sorenson has been quietly making requests for the county to open its meeting rooms back up and to be more forthcoming about public records requests. New County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky told EW earlier this summer that the county was seeking to “foster an environment of openness and transparency” and is looking into improving access to public records.
The full press release is below.
County to Increase Public Access to Emails, Meeting Spaces at No Cost
Contact: Assistant Lane County Public Information Officer Trevor Steele: 541-954-0065
Today, Lane County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky announced several changes to improve public access to certain County emails and meeting rooms. The changes include a new computer terminal for members of the public and media to review, at no cost, certain emails received and sent by Lane County Commissioners and the County Administrator. Additionally, several meeting rooms in the Public Services Building may now be used for community meetings at no cost during regular business hours. Finally, the front office for the County Commissioners, Administrator and other Lane County offices is now open to the public Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
“These are important steps to bring our organization closer to our community,” said Mokrohisky. “We are making every effort to be open, transparent and engaging in our actions. These new improvements make it easier for our residents to access public information and to use public spaces.”
The County’s new public email terminal is similar to the model previously established by the City of Eugene for access to certain emails of Eugene public officials. The new County terminal will allow free access to an email group that lists all County Commissioners, the County Administrator and other public officials. The email group, firstname.lastname@example.org, can be found on the Board of County Commissioners web page on the County’s website at www.lanecounty.org. The community can access the new terminal at the front counter of the County Commissioners and Administrator offices on the second floor of the Public Services Building at 125 East 8th Avenue in Eugene. The public records request process for emails and other items that do not appear in the public email terminal will continue to be available.
Harris Hall and two other meeting rooms in the Public Services Building will now be available for community use at no cost during regular business hours when not otherwise reserved for Lane County or City of Eugene business meetings. Meeting organizers wishing to use the space outside of regular business hours will continue to pay a $150 fee. Residents interested in requesting use of Harris Hall should send an email to: LaneCountyHarrisHall@co.lane.or.us. Other meeting rooms in the Public Services Building, including the Relief Nursery space and the meeting room at the back of the café, will be available free of charge during regular business hours. The meeting room behind the café is being renamed the “Community Conference Room.” All of the spaces are subject to availability and must be scheduled in advance. Those interested in reserving the Community Conference Room should send a request email to: LaneCountyCommunityConfRoom@co.lane.or.us. Those interested in reserving the Relief Nursery meeting room should send a request email to: LaneCountyReliefNursery@co.lane.or.us.
The County Administration front office, including County Commissioners, County Administrator, Human Resources, County Counsel, and Community and Economic Development, is now open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The front counter hours had been restricted due to staffing constraints, however, a recent reorganization has created efficiencies that allow the County to provide improved customer service to the community without additional cost to taxpayers.
Rob English, who makes custom cycles here in Eugene as English Cycles, was injured riding in the Tour of Aufderheide last weekend and is still in the hospital with broken bones and other injuries according to a GiveForward page that was created to fundraise for him and his wife Misha Dunlap English as he recovers. You can read about Rob English's work in a recent EW Bikes issue. To contribute, go to the GiveForward page.
From the proper use of it's verus its to the Oxford comma debate, Weird Al Yankovic's parody of "Blurred Lines" makes the grammar geek in me ever so happy. I really liked Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" the first time I heard it, then I actually paid attention to the lyrics. Weird Al's version however I can sing along with (and yes, you can end a sentence with a preposition).
Lane County has sent out its agenda for July 8, and for followers of the paid sick leave debate, there's an interesting item under the County Counsel's section, which calls for exempting county workers from Eugene's paid sick leave proposal.
B. FIRST READING AND SETTING THE SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/ORDINANCE 14-04/ In the Matter of Exempting Lane County Government from Any City of Eugene Resolution, Ordinance, Rule, or Regulation That Mandates, Regulates, Orders, or Requires Any Terms or Conditions of Employment for Lane County Commissioners, Directors, Managers, Employees (Including Full-Time, Part-Time, Seasonal, Temporary, Represented and Non-Represented) Or Agents of Lane County. (Steve Dingle, County Counsel) (estimated 5 minutes)
The proposed ordinance mentions Eugene's sick leave policy specifically:
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners is aware that the City of Eugene has proposed to adopt an ordinance purporting to mandate that employers with employees that work within the city limits provide certain sick leave benefits and has not exempted other public entities; and
Although Eugene City Council doesn't have a work session scheduled until 7:30 pm Monday, July 21, the ordinance also calls the issue an "emergency" saying:
An emergency is hereby declared to exist and this ordinance, being enacted by the Board in the exercise of its police power for the purpose of meeting such emergency and for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety, takes effect immediately.
This doesn't come as too much of a surprise as conservative members of the Lane County Commission have already criticized the sick leave proposal.
The county does have sick time for its employees, based on months of services.
For the full county ordinance and materials go here:
Too late for this week's calendar but here's the info on a lecture put on by We Resist:
Solidarity July: "Solidarity with People of Color: Identifying and Disrupting Racism" We Resist, Sunday July 6th, 4pm, Growers Market, 454 Willamette St. FREE.
About the Workshop
This is the first in a series of workshops called SOLIDARITY JULY which will include workshops on racism, ableism, transphobia, and sexism. WE RESIST presents "Standing in Solidarity Against Racism"- a lecture style workshop designed for white folks who want to learn more about racism and better anti-racism practices in today's cultural climate. There will be time for a question and answer period.
This is a workshop for white people who want to actively work towards standing in solidarity with folks of color. We will discuss both the historical background of racism in the United States as well as ways to practice anti-racism as a white person in today's world. The workshop will provide an opportunity to connect with other allies to build a community of accountability, discuss questions and concerns, and practice the skills of being an effective tool in the struggle to dismantle racism. Facilitation, Audience and Peer Education
This workshop is being facilitated by a white person and is geared towards white identified folks who interested in continuing their anti-racism education and solidarity work with folks of color. Because this is a workshop about racism facilitated by a white person, We Resist wants to acknowledge that there are inherent limitations to the knowledge being presented. Additionally, We Resist wants to acknowledge that we are a young organization that has yet to do significant outreach towards communities of color in the area. Despite these facts, we believe in thoughtful, intentional, peer education on anti-oppression issues, and that white folks should be actively discussing and educating other white folks on anti-racism issues. Learn more about WE RESIST at facebook.com/weallresist
On June 20 the male members of the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that for-profit companies (aka Hobby Lobby) that are "closely held" are not required to provide birth control coverage for their employees if doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote a scathing 35-page dissent that has gone viral. (Really, a SCOTUS decision going viral is kind of cool).
Ginsberg writes of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell: "In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs."
A Song a Day singer-songwriter Jonathan Mann, has put some of the words of Ginsberg's fiery dissent to music. It's strangely catchy.
"The court I fear/has ventured into a minefield of slut-shaming geezers and religious extremism/One thing's clear — the fight isn't over/We have to stand together for what we know is right …"
According to John Clune, the attorney for the young woman in the UO basketball player rape investigation, the UO has found the men involved, Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin, responsible and has suspended them from the school. They cannot be on campus for four years or as long as his client is a student there — but not to exceed ten years.
Clune calls the decision a relief for his client.
EW has contacted the UO for the results of the investigation. More in this week’s issue.
Here is the UO's statement from spokeswoman Julie Brown:
“As in all cases of sexual misconduct, we provide information to the complainant and the accused about the results of our administrative proceedings. It appears that the information released by Mr. Clune is accurate. As has been said before, each young man had previously been given their full release and permission to contact any school. Any inquiries related to transfers should be directed to the individual.
In all reports of any misconduct including sexual harassment, intimidation or violence, the university works to protect and support the students involved. Student safety is our top priority. The UO is working with the campus community and an expert panel to review our prevention and response practices.”
Lane County says the official results are in. Commissioner Faye Stewart avoided a runoff by 9 votes and Bozievich avoided it by 18. Still think your vote doesn't make a difference? Clearly races are determined by small margins. EW is wondering if any of the challengers are planning write-in campaigns for the fall — Dawn Lesley and Kevin Matthews were pretty darn close.
For Immediate Release 6/19/2014
Results Released for the East and West Lane County Commissioner Seat Recounts
Contact: Lane County Public Information Officer Anne Marie Levis: 541-915-4659
Neither Faye Stewart nor Jay Bozievich will face runoff elections this fall, according to the certified recount results released by Lane County Elections today. Stewart and Bozievich had 9 and 18 votes respectively above the 50 percent plus one margin required to prevent a runoff. Stewart gained two additional votes from write ins in the recount and Dawn Leslie gained one vote from a vote previously counted as an undervote.
West Lane County Commissioner
East Lane County Commissioner
According to Oregon statute, an automatic recount is required if the number of votes cast for a candidate differs from a majority of votes cast for the office by one-fifth of one percent or less. Both the East and West Lane County Commissioner elections fell within this margin, triggering the automatic recount. The recount took approximately two days—one day for each district—and, in accordance with Oregon statute, was conducted by hand. Complete election results are available on the Lane County Elections website at: http://wkly.ws/1s2
"On Monday, cancer took the life of medical cannabis activist Jim Greig. Jim had suffered from ankylosing spondylitis, a severe form of arthritis, since the '80s. He was confined to a wheelchair and was bedridden 80 percent of the time. He began using medical cannabis in 1995 and became a tireless advocate shortly after."
Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, has written a lengthy eulogy to Greig in her Huffington Post column today. Greig lived in Eugene and is credited with helping elect Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in 2012. According to The Oregonian, Rosenblum issued a statement on Greig's passing, calling him "a passionate and kind person who truly benefited from the ability to have safe and legal access to medical marijuana to treat his condition. I will miss him."
Greig appeared frequently in EW, both as a source and as an opinion writer. We will update this blog with any information on a memorial.
This just in from Kesey Enterprises: the Eugene Celebration Parade will go on!
Eugene Celebration Parade and Evening Concert set for August 23, 2014*
After overwhelming public input and encouragement, Kesey Enterprises is pleased to announce that the 2014 Eugene Celebration Parade will take place on August 23 at 11:00 am. This event is made possible through generous support from Lane Community College, the City of Eugene, and an all volunteer steering committee.
In addition, that evening, the Eugene Celebration, Lane Community College, the City of Eugene and Kesey Enterprises will be presenting a $5.00 concert at the Cuthbert Amphitheater which will feature the Eugene Celebration parade awards as well as performances by Hell’s Belles, Zepparella and Foreverland.
The Eugene Celebration Parade details including entry and volunteer applications as well as the Cuthbert show and artist information will be made available on June 23 at www.eugenecelebration.com and www.thecuthbert.com
Now the questions are: Where will the Slug Queen coronation take place (we vote there's an appearance by the "raining" queen and her retinue at the Cuthbert) and will there be an "alternative" Eugene Celebration?