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August 10, 2015 01:29 PM

The shooting of a veteran with PTSD, Brian Babb, by the Eugene Police Department comes before the review board today. Check out the detailed story in the R-G on the issue.

Babb's family continues to speak out about the shooting. Here is the press release from the Babb family:

The family of Captain Brian Babb will be hosting a press conference/rally Wednesday August 12 in the Wayne Morse Free-Speech Plaza at noon. In calling for this rally Brian’s sister Stephanie Babb states, “police brutality in this country has become an epidemic.”

In a show of solidarity around the issue of mental health and police responses, Eric Richardson, President of the Lane County branch of the NAACP will be joining the rally. A statement will be read by a family member from Brian's counselor Becky Higgins. The family will be addressing recent media coverage and the tragic events that they say have brought the injustice of police brutality into focus.

According to Brian’s sister Ronda McGowan, “Veterans are not criminals; they are deserving of our help and support, but are receiving bullets and death at the hands of law enforcement.” Organizers believe that the inclusion of the NAACP speaks to the common thread of police conduct and the systemic problems they have, when it comes to people of color and veterans.

August 4, 2015 12:16 PM

Washington-based Haggen bought 146 Albertons and Vons locations in Arizona, California, Nevada, Washington and Oregon earlier this year — you might have noticed your local Albertsons has changed its name and color scheme. More recently, social media posts and newspaper stories have blasted the company for laying off hundreds of workers, in particular the developmentally disabled.

The Santa Barbara Independent is reporting that a 60-year-old developmentally disabled man named William Morris, who had worked as a courtesy clerk for over three years at Haggen, is suing the chain on behalf of himself and “all California-based developmentally disabled courtesy clerks that Haggen has laid off since the beginning of this year.”

The Independent reports that “Since taking over and rebranding a number of Vons, Pavilions, Albertsons and Safeway stores in Southern California in 2014, Haggen promised job security to existing employees and that “nothing would change” for them, states the complaint. However, Morris’s attorneys argue, the corporation unfairly terminated developmentally disabled courtesy clerks when they “engaged in a pattern and practice of discrimination against developmentally disabled employees by disproportionately terminating them from Haggen employment.”

EWasked Haggen’s Oregon public relations firm if it too was laying off workers, including the developmentally disabled.

Lee Weinstein and Deborah Tomecek Pleva of Weinstein PR responded with a statement (included in full below) that says “we must manage labor to the needs of the business in compliance with the terms and conditions of our collective bargaining agreements” and that there are different business issue in the Pacific Northwest Region versus the Pacific Southwest where the issues with the layoff of developmentally disabled employees have arisen.

The statement continues, “In some stores in the Pacific Northwest, hours have been adjusted to accommodate the natural seasonal summer slowdown. Hours vary from store to store and we will continue to adjust our staffing based on the needs of the business. We look forward to adding hours back as sales return in the upcoming back-to-school and holiday seasons.”


With respect to the layoffs in our Pacific Southwest (PSW) Region, and potential impacts in the Eugene area, we must manage labor to the needs of the business in compliance with the terms and conditions of our collective bargaining agreements. We abide by the terms of the agreements. 

In the Pacific Southwest Region, where we have a much different set of business issues than in our home region in the Northwest, it was necessary to eliminate the Clerks Helper positions entirely. Although these business decisions in the PSW region were necessary, we care for all of our former associates there who were impacted.  We have already helped many of these associates there find other jobs through individual support and by reaching out to and working with concerned leaders and organizations in the community. We will continue to do so.

In some stores in the Pacific Northwest, hours have been adjusted to accommodate the natural seasonal summer slowdown. Hours vary from store to store and we will continue to adjust our staffing based on the needs of the business. We look forward to adding hours back as sales return in the upcoming back-to-school and holiday seasons.

Our commitment to local farmers and food producers, as well as community organizations, is something that we're prepared to sustain for the long haul. We're proud of what we do, and we love to explain to new customers who we are: long-time Washington grocers with a passion for great food, as well as a deep commitment to supporting our local farmers, food producers, nonprofits and schools that really matter to our customers. That genuine, personal connection is at the heart of everything we’re doing.

For Earth Day, Haggen donated $6,417 to Crater Lake National Park.

August 4, 2015 09:52 AM

 The student who filed a Title IX lawsuit against the University of Oregon in regard to her allegations of gang rape against three UO basketball players has filed a stipulation dismissing the case against the UO today "persuant to a settlement agreement," according to an email from one of her attorneys, John Clune of Colorado.

Earlier this week Clune announced the student had dropped the suit against basketball coach Dana Altman.

Clune supplied this statement from the student in regard to today's announcement.

 I am so glad to have this case behind me today and to be able to focus on my studies. I am very grateful for the outpouring of support that I have received from students, faculty, and other organizations. The response from the UO community has been remarkable and I know that the increased awareness around these issues on our campus can only serve to help us. I would be remiss to not specifically thank the Dean of Students Office and my therapist from the UCTC [the UO's University Counseling and Testing Center] and other UCTC personnel for their continued assistance throughout this experience. Without those services, it would have been very difficult to stay in school here during these events and for that I am very grateful.

If there is a monetary settlement the amount has not been announced. UO prof. Bill Harbaugh's watchdog blog UO Matters speculates the cases against the UO and Altman are being settled for a "rumoured $1 million."

According to a redacted version of the settlement, with Jane Doe's name protected, the UO will pay the student $800,000, four years of tuition, housing and student fees, and, most importantly for future students, it agrees to "pursue a policy change requiring all transfer applicants to report any disciplinary history at their current or prior schools, and if they report any disciplinary history, require they sign a FERPA release to allow the university to access their disciplinary records."

One of the issues in the case was the fact that one of the basketball players, Bradon Austin, had been accused of sexual assault at his previous college. A sympathetic May 29 CBS sports piece examines his desire to play at another school. 

The UO also issued a statement from incoming President Michael Schill that begins,"In approving this settlement, it is my hope that we focus our attention and considerable expertise on making our campus one on which all students will feel secure in the knowledge that they will be free from sexual violence."  

Earlier this year the UO faced critcism for countersuing the alleged rape survivor, as well as for accessing her counseling records without permission. The UO also accessed without permission the counseling records of another student, Laura Hansonwho filed a lawsuit against the UO alleging it had mishandled her sexual assault case.


Full disclosure: One of the attorneys involved in the case is Jennifer Middleton of Johnson, Johnson and Schaller. EW co-owner Art Johnson is one of the Johnsons in that firm.

July 14, 2015 10:10 AM

This just in from Oregon State University: Seaweed that tastes like bacon. 

According to an OSU press release

Oregon State University researchers have patented a new strain of a succulent red marine algae called dulse that grows extraordinarily quickly, is packed full of protein and has an unusual trait when it is cooked.

This seaweed tastes like bacon.

Dulse ( Palmaria sp.) grows in the wild along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. It is harvested and usually sold for up to $90 a pound in dried form as a cooking ingredient or nutritional supplement. But researcher Chris Langdon and colleagues at OSU’s have created and patented a new strain of dulse – one he has been growing for the past 15 years.

 The seaweed was originally developed as a "superfood" for abalone shellfish, according to Langdon. "His strain, which looks like translucent red lettuce, is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants – and it contains up to 16 percent protein in dry weight," OSU says.

The press release (which for some reason compares bacon-flavored seaweed to discovering a unicorn) goes on to say that Langdon’s change in perspective about what dulse could be useful for was triggered by a visit by Chuck Toombs, a faculty member in OSU’s College of Business.

Toombs "stopped by Langdon’s office because he was looking for potential projects for his business students. He saw the dulse growing in bubbling containers outside of Langdon’s office and the proverbial light went on. 'Dulse is a super-food, with twice the nutritional value of kale,' Toombs said. 'And OSU had developed this variety that can be farmed, with the potential for a new industry for Oregon.'"

The press release goes on to say it sees the vegan market as a "niche" for dulse and that "Several Portland-area chefs are now testing dulse as a fresh product and many believe it has significant potential in both its raw form and as a food ingredient."

For the full, detailed, press release and a link to an article in Oregon Agricultural Progress, go here.

July 9, 2015 12:15 PM

Are you a rock-stacker? Or are you a rock-stack knocker?

The opinion piece, "Stop the Rock-Stacking" on the High Country News website is getting a lot of opinions. Some people get really worked up on the subject of what I like to call "hippie cairns."

This is not the first time the debate has arisen — Adventure Journal had a 2013 poll on the issues (with most responses falling in the non-knocking category).

(Non-random trail-marking cairn at Round-the-Mountain-Shorthorn Trail Junction, via OregonHikers.org)

HCN author Robyn Martin writes, "Let's end this invasive practice. Fight the urge to stack rocks and make your mark. Consider deconstructing them when you find them, unless they're marking a critical trail junction."

So Lane County, where do you fall on rock-stacking?

For the full anti-stacking piece, click the image below.

July 1, 2015 05:35 PM

This just in from the Eugene Police:

Four Juveniles Charged in Civic Stadium Fire

Today, Eugene Police Arson investigators received a tip in the case, leading to the identification of four male juveniles who were involved in the fire at historic Civic Stadium on Monday, June 29. The incident was not fireworks-related.

The juveniles, all from Eugene,  range in age from 10 to 12, and will be charged in the case. More information about their specific charges will be available tomorrow.

The names of the youths will not be released due to their juvenile status.

Eugene Police Arson detectives worked closely with Oregon State Police, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Eugene-Springfield Fire Marshal, and Lane County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, on the investigation and appreciates their assistance.

Civic Stadium is still a crime scene, as the investigation continues.

Photo credit Hillary Johnson

June 23, 2015 12:05 PM

Members of the group Honor the Treaty of 1864 saddled up their horses in Chiloquin, Oregon and have been riding their mounts over the Cascades to the state Capitol in Salem. They plan to arrive in Salem Wednesday, June 24 and rally on the issues of tribal water rights, the Klamath Basin Water Agreements, Senate Bill 133 and a proposed LNG pipeline.

S. 133 in the U.S. Senate is the Klamath Basin Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act of 2015.

According to Honor the Treaty of 1864: "The group ride stands for the right for the voice of the Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin people to be heard. While tribal politicians often publicize their agenda it is rare that the tribal people have an opportunity to have their voice heard.”

Tribal member Garin Riddle says in press statement  that “the ride shows the lengths we are willing to endure to exercise our right to be fully heard and understood. We the people are against fracking pipelines, we are against Senate Bill 133, and we are against any negotiations relinquishing our treaty rights."

Members of Honor the Treaty of 1864 have been calling attention to disagreements over the way tribal representatives are negotiating Klamath Basin water agreements.

According to a press release: Quinten Bettles the ride organizer said:

“The riders are carrying with them an Oregon State flag that was obtained by Priscilla Bettles from former Oregon Governor Tom Mcall and given to Marine Cecil J. Bettles when he shipped out to Vietnam. As Cecil was leaving Vietnam he met Marine Ray Fryberg who just arrived in Vietnam. Ray Fryberg brought this flag home and gave the state flag to Marine Quinten J. Bettles whom passed the flag once again. This flag was passed to a 7th Generation Marine named Cecil K. Bettles whom carried the colors throughout his tour in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. Marine Cecil K. Bettles brought the flag home once again and this is the flag that is being carried to the State Capitol. This Oregon State flag was carried with honor at peril of life and limb by United States Marines who are also Tribal people.

Riders plan to present the flag to Governor Kate Brown and ask her ‘Will you Honor the treaty of 1864’?”

Supporters are welcome to join in Salem or along the route. To offer support or join the rally, contact Eric Cooper 541-591-0975 or Quinten Bettles 541-591-0952.

More information at facebook.com/treatyof1864

Photos courtesy the Bettles family.

June 23, 2015 01:43 PM

The weather might be heading for the triple digits this weekend. Some people will head for the river, others for the coast, and some of us will head to Philomath (just outside Corvallis) for three days of watching riders ask large hooved mammals to prance like equine ballet dancers one day, then run balls-to-the-wall over ditches, logs and oddly shaped immobile obstacles the next. It's time for the 18th annual Inavale Farm Horse Trials.

The event runs over three days, starting Friday, June 26 with dressage. That would be what Stephen Colbert famously (among dressage riders anyway) called "competitive horse prancing." In eventing the goal is to get the lowest score in dressage possible and not accrue any more points. 

(Trying to demonstrate some stretch at the trot during dressage)

After that more subjective portion of the event wraps up, the horse trials moves on to cross-country day on Saturday June 27. This is the most spectator-friendly day (and the hottest in the forecast) with horses galloping at speed over logs, brush, ditches, water and more. Horse watchers can (carefully and out of the way of 1,000 lbs of horses running at 20 mph) wander out on to the course to watch up close.  Horses can get points added if the rider goes too fast or too slow. Twenty points are added if the horse refuses a fence and the score increases with each refusal. There will also be some stadium, aka show jumping that day.

(Big jump over a small cross country fence)

The majority of the show jumping will be on Sunday — as Inavale explains, this is the part of the weekend that involves "exact riding" over obstables that fall down and incur "jumping faults" — four per knockdown or if the horse refuses the fences. Lower levels eventers but some of the competing eventers, as riders in horse trials are called, will also do some cross country on Sunday, so if you come watch on the day the weather is cooler, you can still see some of the faster, bolder action.

The winners finish on the lowest score.

The event is free to watch, roughly 8 am - 5 pm June 26-28 at 31786 Horse Farm Lane, Philomath, Oregon.

June 19, 2015 10:05 AM

Going viral in a political-geek sort of way is a video compilation of Oregon state legislators reading mean emails from constituents. In the vein of Jimmy Kimmel's "Celebrities Read Mean Tweets" your elected representatives read the nasty emails they've been getting. 

Local electeds Val Hoyle and Chris Edwards appear half way through the video and read their correspondence complete with curses, mispellings and typos. Rep. Tobias Read kind of gets the best one — "Your a democrat and a Libt*," But the pure misogyny aimed at Hoyle is not bad either.

June 10, 2015 02:04 PM

As EW worked on its latest story on the issue of rape on the University of Oregon campus, HBO's Vice contacted us for permission to use our cover image from last year's story on sexual assault, created by our own Trask Bedortha. If you watch the intro sequence you will see EW up there with Time Magazine

HBO's preview doesn't show the cover but it gives you the gist of this important issue that is not going away. 

The EW story, Rape U, delves into several sexual assault cases on the University of Oregon campus and what is — or is not — being done; Vice mentions the UO only in passing.

Our May 28 story, "Dragged Through the Mud," shows the UO still has far to go, and reveals the UO has not once, but at least twice taken a student's mental health counseling records.

The Oregonian picked up that aspect of the story, and today Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed into law a bill that would prevent the release of those records in the future

June 1, 2015 02:59 PM

Friday was bloody for some smaller papers in Oregon last week.

EW hears through the grapevine that Lee Enterprises, owner of the Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald cut City Editor Theresa Novak and Arts Editor Sarah Payne from staff at the Gazette-Times May 29.

Also laid off were Albany Democrat-Herald's sports editor Les Gehrett and two staffers at the Lebanon Express, according to a tip EW recieved. 

Lee also owns Coos Bay's The World, where it recently hired a new publisher.

Earlier in May, Lee reported lower ad revenue but higher digital and subscription revenue. Website Motley Fool reported in 2014 that Lee "has been in downsizing mode since its bankruptcy filing in late 2011."

Lee owns a number of small papers across the country and is located in 50 markets in 22 states, according to a May 7 investor briefing.

In 2012 Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway bought $85 million of loans from Goldman Sachs and 4 percent stake in the company, according to the Wall Street Journal. That gave hope to many that investors would start supporting newspapers.

EW was hearing speculation that Lee plans to merge the G-T and D-H but Jeff Precourt, publisher of the Mid-Valley Media Group, which includes the Democrat-Herald and Gazette-Times, tells us that the D-H and G-T "have been owned by the same parent company, Lee Enterprises, for years. The papers have not merged during that time and there are no plans to do so." He continues, "Regardles of any staffing changes, we remain committed to serving our readers in the Mid-Valley."

So, what's going to happen to Oregon's much-needed daily papers? The R-G's weekend apologia from Tony Baker that kicked off with "When did change become a dirty word?" doesn't fill us with confidence as the paper brings N. Christian Anderson in from The Oregonian, but the need for daily local news isn't going away.

Towns need newsgatherers and watchdogs. Support your local papers.

May 1, 2015 02:19 PM

More horses affected, one with the "'neurotropic' form of the virus that is far more likely to cause serious, sometimes permanent neurological damage," according to OSU. See the update at the end of this post.


According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon State University's Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital, a horse in Marion County has been diagnosed with the neurologic form of EHV-1, equine herpes virus, "a naturally occurring virus that can cause serious illness in horses when activated."

Thus far there is no indication the virus has spread. Horses from the same property as the sick horse traveled to an event at the Oregon Horse Center in Eugene and OSU recommends horses that attended the event have their temperatures monitored. According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture press release:

One Marion county horse has been hospitalized after testing positive for the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1). The horse, which has been treated at Oregon State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s Large Animal Hospital, began showing acute neurologic signs on April 28 and was immediately referred to OSU. The positive EHV-1 diagnosis was made April 29. All horses at the Marion County property have been quarantined.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture reports there is no indication at this time that the virus has spread to other horses beyond those being quarantined. Preliminary epidemiological investigations are underway. In all, there are 20 horses at the Marion County stable. The stable owner and all horse owners have been very cooperative and supportive of the disease control actions taken.

The investigation shows that horses from the affected property have attended recent events held at the Linn County Fairgrounds in Albany on April 16-19, and the Oregon Horse Center in Eugene on April 25-26. While the risk to these horses appears to be low at this time, concerned horse owners are advised to contact their veterinarian.

The OSU vet hospital also issued a press release on the issue with facts on EHV-1. OSU says that this is not the mutated form of the virus but it can still have "serious consequences." OSU suggests checking out the American Association of Equine Practitioners for more information. 

No other horses that attended these events have shown clinical signs of EHV-1. Owners of horses that attended these events are encouraged to monitor their horses for any signs of respiratory or neurologic disease. EHV-1 is not transmissible to people.

“This is not the neurotropic or mutated form of the virus, which can really cause problems,” said John Schlipf, a large animal internal medicine specialist with the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. “This form of EHV-1 can still have serious consequences.”

Schlipf said that clinical signs of the neurologic form of EHV-1 often begin with the hind limbs and include:

Uncoordinated, stumbling movements;

An unusual gait;

A weak tail tone;

Difficulty urinating, and dribbling of urine;

Nasal discharge, frequently accompanied by a fever.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture recommends horses that attended the Albany or Eugene events avoid contact with other horses and have their temperatures monitored twice daily. Temperatures over 101.5 degrees may indicate illness.

Horses with signs listed above should be isolated from other animals, and owners should contact their veterinarians immediately. EHV-1 can also affect alpacas and llamas, Schlipf said.

EHV-1 can cause abortions in animals, thus pregnant mares should not co-mingle with horses returning from those shows.

“Horse owners should be aware that although EHV-1 is not transmissible to humans, people can spread the virus on their hands and clothing if in contact with an infected horse,” Schlipf said.

Update from the Oregon Department of Agriculture:

Equine Herpes Virus now detected in four Oregon horses

Four Oregon horses have now tested positive for Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) with two of the horses showing neurological symptoms, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture. It was confirmed last week that a Marion County horse had tested positive for EHV-1 and had developed neurological symptoms. The second horse that developed neurological symptoms resided at a stable in Polk County with about 40 other horses and was taken to the Large Animal Hospital at Oregon State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine over the weekend. The Polk County stable has been placed under quarantine and the remaining horses are being monitored by the stable manager and a veterinarian.

In addition to the Polk County stable, two Marion County farms remain under quarantine due to exposure to EHV-1. The infected horses and other horses exposed at the quarantined facilities attended an Oregon High School Equestrian Team (OHSET) meet at the Linn County Fairgrounds on April 16-19. ODA is currently investigating the potential of any additional exposures at this time. In addition, ODA is working to notify owners of horses that have been potentially exposed and has notified Oregon equine veterinarians.

EHV-1 is not transmissible to people. The virus is naturally occurring and widespread in the equine population. It is a common virus and may lie dormant for long periods of time and then re-activate during a period of stress, which can result in clinical disease. EHV-1 can cause respiratory disease, abortions in pregnant mares, neurologic disease, and in severe cases, death. The most common way for EHV-1 to spread is by direct horse-to-horse contact. The virus can also spread through contaminated equipment, clothing, and hands. Symptoms include fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy, and the inability to rise. While there is no cure, the symptoms of the disease may be treatable.

As a reminder, State Veterinarian Dr. Brad LeaMaster advises horse owners to practice strict biosecurity measures and hygiene if they travel to shows and competitions with their animals. Concerned owners should contact their veterinarian if they have questions.

OSU has also weighed in on the latest cases:

More horses found with Equine Herpes Virus, including most serious form

05/05/2015 CORVALLIS, Ore. – Three more cases have been found in Oregon of horses infected with Equine Herpes Virus 1, or EHV-1, and one animal has the most serious “neurotropic” form of the virus that is far more likely to cause serious, sometimes permanent neurological damage.

An initial case of EHV-1 reported last week, and also being treated in isolation at OSU, only had the more common wild strain of the virus. That horse did show neurologic symptoms, although animals with that strain of EHV-1 more often have a disease that causes respiratory infection or abortion in pregnant mares.

Two more cases have been identified of horses with the wild strain, that are not showing signs of neurologic disease, and they are being treated at their home stables in Polk County. Both forms of EHV-1 are highly contagious to horses, but not transmissible to people.

However, a fourth case has been confirmed with the neurotropic form of EHV-1, veterinary experts say, which increases the seriousness of the current outbreak, and makes it increasingly important that horse owners in Oregon practice strong biosecurity management of their animals.

“About 80 percent of the horses who develop neurologic problems from EHV-1 have the neurotropic form of the virus,” said John Schlipf, a large animal internal medicine specialist with the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. “It’s a significantly more serious concern. The disease can be fatal, or it can cause lasting neurologic damage that leaves the animal with a permanently reduced level of function.”

The most recent case was brought to OSU’s Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital from the Salem area. Both cases are being treated in isolation, and all OSU veterinary teaching hospital facilities are open for business as usual.

The initial case last week was in a horse housed in Marion County that had recently attended events at the Linn County Fairgrounds in Albany on April 16-19. Prior to the development of clinical signs in the initial case and institution of the quarantine, horses housed with the initial case had attended an event at the Oregon Horse Center in Eugene on April 25-26. The newest case was not at the Linn County event, Schlipf said, but had been in contact with other horses that attended.

Since there’s a 10-14 day incubation period for this virus, Schlipf said, it is possible that more horses will be found to be infected. Owners of horses that may be at risk are encouraged to monitor their animals closely for a fever and any signs of respiratory or neurologic disease.

More information about the virus and biosecurity recommendations is available online at http://bit.ly/1GNttiS

Early clinical signs of the neurologic form of EHV-1 often begin with the hind limbs and include: Uncoordinated, stumbling movements; An unusual gait; A weak tail tone; Difficulty urinating, and dribbling of urine; Nasal discharge, frequently accompanied by a fever.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture recommends that horses that attended the Albany or Eugene events avoid contact with other horses and have their temperatures monitored twice daily. Temperatures over 101.5 degrees may indicate illness.

Horses with these signs should be isolated from other animals, and owners should contact their veterinarians immediately. EHV-1 can also affect alpacas and llamas, Schlipf said. “We must reiterate the need for horse owners to practice biosecurity,”

Schlipf said. “People handling horses should wash their hands and clothing to reduce spread of a virus. Animals should not share tack, and horses that have traveled or mingled with other animals should be segregated. “All of these steps can help, and are especially important right now. It may be a while yet before we are out of the woods with this outbreak.”

April 28, 2015 04:39 PM

As concerned Eugeneans are rushing to try to help the people of Nepal, it's hard to know what to do. Donating money is usually a sure bet, but how do you know what's a scam? The Better Business Bureau has sent out a list of what to look for (see below) and Charity Navigator does a nice job helping people to evaluate charities. 

Here in Eugene, one of our sister cities is Kathmandu and the the city of Eugene website was directing people to local organization Kathmandue Relief. However, there has been some confusion about the organization and the state of Oregon has asked the city take down the link because the organization's 501c3 status that makes donations tax deductible was not current. 

Dennis Ramsey of Kathmandu Relief has responded to this and says the confusion is the result of an error he is in the process of rectifying.

Here is the email from the Oregon DOJ to the complaintant:

Just wanted to let you know that we have been in touch with the City of Eugene; they have officially disassociated with Mr. Ramsey’s fundraising efforts and removed the link to his website. We informed the city that Mr. Ramsey was using the EIN associated with an inactive nonprofit organization which currently does not hold 501(c)(3) status, under the name of an organization that closed in 1995.

We have contacted Mr. Ramsey and asked him to inform any donors to date that their donations are not tax-deductible. He hasn’t responded to us yet but I anticipate that will happen in short order. I also expect changes to the website are forthcoming, but that remains to be seen.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Do you have any questions for me?

Kate Medema

Public Affairs Coordinator Charitable Activities Section

Oregon Department of Justice


A lack of 501c3 status means that donations are not tax-deductible; it does not mean an organization cannot fundraise.

EW contacted Kathmandu Relief for clarification of its status and the status of donations and Ramsey responded:

Yes there was some confusion in our haste to get the site up and running so that we could provide immediate relief to Kathmandu. I was contacted, finally, by the Oregon DoJ today by email. It seems they have been talking to others but not me, and this could have been resolved in short order if they had simply done so. I've pasted below the email reply I sent to the DoJ just a few minutes ago.

We are trying to do good for the people of Kathmandu. This isn't any sort of scam or dishonest effort. I made the mistake of assuming that the Eugene Sister City Foundation (ESCF) had received their IRS determination letter for reinstatement of their 501c3 status, which had lapsed. All four of Eugene's Sister City orgs have been assisting Ki-Won Rhew, former President of the Chinju Committee, to deal with the mountain of paperwork. Since it has been about two years since we filed this process, I had wrongly assumed he had received the determination letter that would allow us to again use the ESCF EIN# in our fundraising efforts. It was a simple mistake, but has potentially serious consequences if not corrected. As you will see, I've corrected the mistake. We have a scheduled quarterly meeting of the Chairs of all four of Eugene's Sister Cities this Thursday. We meet regularly to try to build the umbrella org, ESCF, into a functional organization that can advance the causes of all of our sister city relationships.

Tips from the Better Busines Bureau:


WA Officials Team Up to Warn Consumers on Donating Wisely

Lake Oswego, Ore. — April 27, 2015 — As the death toll climbs in Nepal following the massive earthquake over the weekend, Better Business Bureau along with Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Attorney General Bob Ferguson are urging Washingtonians to be on guard for charity scams targeting donors.

“Anytime there’s a natural disaster, scammers will try to take advantage of people’s generosity,” said Tyler Andrew, CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “When donating to charities, go with ones that are experienced at working with disaster victims.”

“Whenever tragedy occurs, whether it’s the earthquake in Nepal or last year’s landslide in Oso, many people instinctively want to help the victims,” Wyman said. “In times like these, there always seems to be rip-off artists who try to take advantage of others’ generosity. If people want to help the victims in Nepal, they should donate to charities they know and trust. Nobody wants to see this tragedy resulting in donations winding up in a scam artist’s pocket.”

“All of us in Washington and around the country have deep sympathy for the victims and their loved ones at this tragic time,” Ferguson said. “As you look to provide assistance to help those in need, be sure to exercise caution so your hard-earned dollars go to trusted charities, not to scam-artists.”

Consumer protection officials warn of fake charities that may look and sound legitimate online or even hijack the names of well-known organizations. Scammers will often pose as official charity agents and call potential donors, pressuring them to make a donation over the phone.

BBB, the Secretary of State and the Attorney General’s Office sympathize with the victims and their loved ones of the Nepal earthquake. All three organizations urge donors to give wisely.

  1. Steer clear of high-pressure demands. Take time to research charities and avoid emotional appeals that don’t explain how the charity will help victims. Contact potential charities directly.
  2. Use trustworthy charities. Be sure the charity is equipped and has the resources necessary to help with disaster relief. Review whether a charity meets all 20 standards of accountability at Give.org, a website run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Also visit the Secretary State’s Information for Donors page.
  3. Avoid cash donations. Write checks or pay by credit card to charities directly. Scammers will try to convince their victims to wire money or use prepaid debit cards to make a donations. Never give personal information or money to a telephone or email solicitor.
  4. Double-check. Watch for “pop-up” charities with unverifiable background and contact information. Unscrupulous organizations may try to trip up donors by using names that sound similar to reputable charities.
  5. Block social media pleas. Be wary of requests from fake victims or memorial social media accounts. Remember to verify the organization first before giving a penny.

For more tips on giving wisely, check the Secretary of State’s website or call 1-800-332-4483. Victims of a charity scam can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office and report it to BBB.

April 18, 2015 12:24 PM

D2 the dog was killed by a beaver trap on Friday, April 17 while on a walk at Hileman Landing County Park off River Road. The women who have owned and loved D2 for the past year want people to know that there could still be traps out there.

Mo Strader and Vonnie Willard also want the owner of the trap — which they believe was placed illegally on public land — to know what he has done, remove any other traps and let the public know when the area is safe.

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, beaver may be trapped on private land without a permit because they are considered “predatory animals,” however on public lands, trapping and killing beaver is only allowed in certain areas in some counties in order to protect Coho salmon. Trapping season ended March 15, according to ODFW documents.

Strader says the trap that killed D2 was on the public side of a fence that separates the Hileman and what appears to be the land of a local farmer. 

Strader volunteers with Northwest Dog Project and has several other dogs, three of them former foster dogs, like D2. D2 — named for the Star Wars robot R2D2  — was turned over to a rescue by her former family and soon became part of Strader and Willard’s pack.

Strader was house painting and having the floors redone because after fostering several litters of puppies, “It was time.” So Willard took the pack of six to Hileman to wear them out for an hour or so. Strader says they walk the dogs there at least five days a week and have been going to the park, which is popular with dog walkers, for at least three years.

Not far from the trail, Strader says, is a creek and a pond where they have seen beaver activity this year and last year. Returning from a three-mile walk, D2 ran up a little hill and across the pond.

Willard writes in a Facebook post that “as I was coming down the trail about a 1/2 mile from the parking lot I noticed she bounded across a pond that she has done probably a hundred times. All I heard was a yelp.”

Strader says the trap, which appears to be a conibear trap, killed D2 almost instantaneously. Unable to release the dog from the trap, Strader says several men helped Willard carry the dog and the trap back to the car where they were able to get it off D2’s neck.

Conibear traps at 9 inches or less are legal in Oregon in dry land. According to Trap Free Oregon they are banned on land in other states in order to prevent animals such as dogs from being caught in them. Trap Free Oregon offers instructions on how to release a dog from such a trap. Groups such as Predator Defense and Trap Free Oregon have long tried to call attention to the dangers of trapping and change Oregon's laws.

Strader says they have talked to Todd Bowen at Lane County Parks and Officer Bernard Perkins from Lane County Animal Services and the county is in contact with ODFW about the trap and D2's death.

“We do know the trap was placed illegally,” Strader says. She says there were no signs warning of trapping, though she and Willard have now placed their own signs for other dog walkers or those with children near the park gate and near the pond.

Since posting the story of D2’s death on Facebook, Strader says she is “beyond amazed” at the support. “It’s awful to have to see your dog like that and have to find a way to get a trap off her head,” she says.

“I’d like him see a picture,” she says of the person who set the trap that killed D2.

“We want the person to come forward and clarify these traps are gone,” she says, “That’s the most important thing — to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

A picture of D2 and the trap that killed her is below. 


The trap that killed D2 was placed near this tree, which had signs of beaver activity, Strader says.

D2 the dog and the trap that killed her.