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July 6, 2013 11:38 AM

Oil trains are coming through Oregon and the Northwest, as we recently reported. Columbia Riverkeeper has expressed concerns about what could go wrong if a train carrying thousands of gallons of oil derailed.

Today the Wall Street Journal and other news sources report that portions of a train of 73-oil-filled cars derailed in Lac-Megantic in Quebec Canada.

There was an explosion, 1,000 people were evacuated and there are others still missing. The crude oil was heading for Maine.

The Associated Press says a large swathe of the town was destroyed. The AP also reports oil has spilled into a nearby river.

July 2, 2013 09:46 AM

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who has been on the run from American authorities for whistleblowing "evidence of a global surveillance regime conducted by US and UK intelligence agencies" is the source of much speculation on where he will head to next as he sits in "limbo inside the international airport transit lounge at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, where he has been ensconced out of public view for nine days."

The B0livian embassy reported that President Evo Morales traveled to Russia to "participate in the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries," and Bolivia is on the list of countries where Wikileaks has applied for asylum for Snowden. The New York Times reports that "President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, visiting Russia, said that while he had not yet received an application from Mr. Snowden and would not use his plane to ferry Mr. Snowden home with him, he held out the possibility that Venezuela might ultimately agree to shelter Mr. Snowden." 

Morales has said he would consider sheltering Snowden and that" Bolivia was there to shield the denounced" leaving open the possibility that Snowden could travel to Bolivia on Morales' plane.

June 27, 2013 05:22 PM

This just in from the Oregon Department of Ag: ODA is temporarily restricting the use of 18 pesticides containing dinotefuran while it investigates the death of thousands of bees near Portland this month. Dinotefuran is a neonicontinoid, a class of pesticides that have been linked to honeybee die-offs.

Here's a list of consumer products that contain neonicontinoids via Beyond Toxics. For more on honeybees and neonics and local efforts to save the bees go to Beyond Toxics's website.

In the wake of large bee kills, ODA takes steps in an abundance of caution

ODA restricts use of certain dinotefuran pesticides

June 27, 2013... The Oregon Department of Agriculture is restricting the use of 18 pesticide products containing the active ingredient dinotefuran while it continues the investigation of a large kill of bumblebees in Wilsonville and Hillsboro this month. By adopting a temporary rule, ODA is taking action, in an abundance of caution, to avoid the potential of similar large bee kills this summer due to specific pesticide applications.

“I have directed the agency to take this step in an effort to minimize any potential for additional incidents involving bee deaths connected to pesticide products with this active ingredient until such time as our investigation is completed and we have more information,” says ODA Director Katy Coba. “Conclusions from the investigation will help us and our partners evaluate whether additional steps need to be considered.”

The ODA restriction focuses on ornamental, turf, and agricultural pesticide products that are used by both professional applicators and homeowners. Products with the active ingredient dinotefuran registered in Oregon for other uses, such as flea and tick control on pets or home ant and roach control, are not affected by the restriction. ODA’s concern is focused on those uses that may impact pollinators.

By statute, ODA has legal authority to establish limitations and procedures deemed necessary and proper for the protection of bees and other pollinating insects. The temporary rule, which goes into effect immediately, will be enforced for 180 days, by which time ODA is expected to complete its pesticide use investigations of the Wilsonville and Hillsboro incidents. Those investigations will determine if the pesticide applications were in violation of state and federal pesticide regulations, and will assist ODA in addressing any potential future actions.

ODA’s Pesticide Program has established a website with more information on the dinotefuran restriction, including a list of specific products affected as well as instructions for those who may have purchased these products. Go to <http://oregon.gov/ODA/PEST/Pages/Pollinator.aspx>.

June 27, 2013 03:42 PM

"Alternative spirtuality was taught to kindergarteners in Oregon."

F-bomb is bleeped, sort of.

June 26, 2013 04:24 PM

As we wrote about in last week's EW, forest scientist Norm Johnson, upon finding out that the Cascadia Forest Defenders were protesting the White Castle Project, came and talked about the loggin with the tree sitters. Here is CFD's video.


June 26, 2013 12:15 PM

I'm not that into kids, but I'd hang out with this cute little girl on America's Got Talent.

She's singing her own song "Zombi Skin," and she has also written the words to "Lullabye Crash."  Her facial expression when Howard Stern says "I can't wait to hear your sweet music" is priceless. Parenting done right.

June 25, 2013 09:57 AM

Oregon State University has just announced that it is establishing an open-source policy "requiring faculty members to make their scholarly articles available for free through the digital repository ScholarsArchive@OSU."

This will allow the public more access to all the rsearch coming out of OSU, or as the school puts it, “Now a farmer in Oregon can look up a paper written by someone in the College of Agricultural Sciences. And someone starting up a science-focused company can look at work done in the College of Science.”

OSU says that it is "the first university, public or private, in the Pacific Northwest to adopt a university-wide open access policy, and one of the first land grant universities in the nation to do so."

Will the UO follow suit?

According to the press release, OSU has been working on the open source issue for  a while, but calls for open access to research nationally increased after the January suicide of internet activist Aaron Swarz, who was facing "thirteen charges including wire fraud and computer fraud after he downloaded 4.8 million scientific and literary papers from the subscription service JSTOR via MIT's open campus network and MIT's JSTOR subscription."



By: Theresa Hogue, 541-737-0786; theresa.hogue@oregonstate.edu   

Source: Michael Boock, 541-737-9155; Michael.boock@oregonstate.edu

This release is available at: http://bit.ly/11EXJMG

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has officially adopted an open access policy requiring faculty members to make their scholarly articles available for free through the digital repository ScholarsArchive@OSU.

The policy applies to all future scholarly articles authored or co-authored by faculty members at OSU.

OSU is the first university, public or private, in the Pacific Northwest to adopt a university-wide open access policy, and one of the first land grant universities in the nation to do so. About 58 percent of eligible OSU-produced scholarly articles are already placed in ScholarsArchive@OSU. Faculty members may obtain waivers from the policy at their discretion.

The OSU Faculty Senate unanimously approved the motion to establish the policy at its June 13 meeting. The policy was passed eight years after the faculty senate originally passed a resolution in support of open access. OSU also was one of the first American universities to sign onto the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, which is an international statement in support of open access.

OSU Provost and Vice President Sabah Randhawa has been a long-time supporter of open access on campus.

"As a land grant and a comprehensive research university with international impact, OSU is committed to disseminate its research and scholarship as widely as possible,” Randhawa said. “The policy enables our faculty to make its creative work more accessible to a wider audience, including other scientists and educators, the public, and policy-makers – and in a more timely manner."

Michael Boock, head of the OSU Center for Digital Scholarship and Services, has been working for several years on issues related to open access at OSU. Along with Shan Sutton, associate university librarian for research and scholarly communication, Rich Carter in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty Senate library committee chair Marit Bovberg and a number of other OSU employees dedicated to open access, Boock has been pushing for the university to broadly embrace open access as a practice that seamlessly merges with the land grant mission.

“As a land grant institution, we feel it’s important to have our work available to the citizens of the state, and the world,” Boock said, “For much of our research at a land-, sea-, space-, and sun grant institution, the people who will ultimately read it and benefit from it are practitioners and decision-makers, or in some cases, school teachers and students.”

Another reason for the push to adopt open access is the escalating cost of maintaining subscriptions to major academic journals. OSU and other colleges and universities are being priced out of purchasing annual subscriptions to important and prestigious journals because of budgetary concerns. That means access to the top work in many fields is hidden behind a paywall, Carter said, which is what originally propelled him to start advocating for open access at OSU.

“We know that open access policies are going to allow the public to have more ready access to research being done at OSU,” Carter said. “Now a farmer in Oregon can look up a paper written by someone in the College of Agricultural Sciences. And someone starting up a science-focused company can look at work done in the College of Science.”

Sutton said there are ongoing, discernible shifts in the world of scholarly journals as more publishers recognize that open access is here to stay. That means that most journals are allowing work to be made available via repositories like ScholarsArchive@OSU, although often that version may be embargoed for months or years after publication in the journal. More faculty members are also requesting an addendum to their publishing contracts with journals, allowing them to make their work available via open access.

But OSU supporters of open access also recognize that publication is essential to tenure. The fact that some noteworthy journals still staunchly refuse to allow open access to their articles is why waivers are in place for OSU faculty members.

“The intention of the policy is we want faculty to continue to publish wherever they want to do so,” Carter said. The policy is not intended to prevent or discourage a faculty member from attempting publication in certain journals, he added, but to consider open access as another facet of being a land grant faculty member.

“This policy wasn’t passed in a vacuum,” Sutton said. “The universities that employ scholars and the granting agencies that fund much of their research are increasingly embracing open access as a common value to ensure research findings across disciplines are more widely accessible to the public and global research community. Academic libraries like OSU Libraries are key contributors to this movement in managing institutional repositories, advocating for publishers to adopt reasonable open access positions, and assisting faculty with issues such as publication agreement addenda.”

"The timing of this policy's passage couldn't be better," said Faye Chadwell, Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian at OSU. "OSU's policy has situated us to respond proactively to mandates from funding agencies to make sponsored research available to the public. With this new policy and workflows in place, as well as a robust institutional repository, OSU can be part of a solution like SHARE (a potential network of digital repositories from around the country)."

OSU has a long history of supporting open access to faculty-produced research. OSU library faculty were the first university librarians in the nation to pass an open access policy for their own work, and several OSU colleges, including the College of Earth, Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences and College of Forestry, have open access policies as well. Since 2006, graduate students have been required to deposit a copy of their thesis or dissertation into the university’s open-access repository, ScholarsArchive@OSU.

Webometrics recently ranked the ScholarsArchive@OSU digital repository seventh among U.S. single institution open access repositories. The Webometrics ranking is produced by the Cybermetrics Lab of the Spanish National Research Council located in Madrid and is based on indicators such as the number, visibility and impact of repository holdings.

June 24, 2013 01:23 PM

The Oregonian's new media company Oregon Media Group (OMG, its acronym is OMG) is hiring. The second thing listed after "a sold understanding of news writing, journalistic ethics and story structure …" is "mastery of social media and digital interaction." That comes before the ability to work on deadline (which comes in at number four. 

This listing comes only days after The O is reported to have laid off 95 staffers, including 45 from the newsroom. Willamette Week reports that Scott Learn, the enviroment reporter who has been heavily covering the coal controversy, and Eric Mortenson on the forest and ag beat are among the layoffs. Sports reporters, community reporters and arts journalists are among those axed. WW has been listing the layoffs as names come in on its blog. 

Music critic Ryan White, who was among the layoffs last week, pointed out on Twitter that the paper is already advertising for a new music critic.

On the postive side, the website name "MyDigitalO," which has led to speculation on just how one achieves a "digital O" has been axed.

Media pundits say this layoff and hiring strategy is in keeping with other Advance papers that lay off more expensive experienced journalists for new, cheaper and younger ones. The ad makes clear what its focus is: 

"While we value experience, talent is the pivotal factor, and we are proactive about professional development, whether you are a 10-year veteran or just starting your journalistic career. One way or the other, you will report on a variety of topics, including maintaining live blogs, tweeting, shooting video and otherwise engaging audiences across multiple platforms."

One of the jobs listed is for "advertorial."

Here's the job listing.

June 21, 2013 04:52 PM

The Oregonian has announced it's changing its delivery schedule for its print additions, laying off employees — among the layoffs are environment reporters Scott Learn and Eric Mortenson, (no relation to me,) Willamette Week reports). WW also reports that The O has decided NOT to call its online version TheDigitalO after all. Nope that's not a joke, nor is the fact that editors are now apparently being called "managing producers."

The O is owned by Advance, which has been roundly criticized for its attempt to go to a three-day-a-week print schedule in New Orleans. 

Former Oregonian reporter and current Oregon Emerald publisher (who moved that college daily to an online focus and a reduced print schedule) Ryan Frank raised $3,500 for a bar tab for The O's staff at Higgins, a bar across the street from the paper, Romenesko reports. Donations can be made at oregonianfund.com. After tonight Franks says the money will go to supporting families of those laid off.

Willamette Week is updating the layoffs on its blog.

Let's all support our local papers (and yes, that means the R-G, too) and make sure this doesn't happen in Eugene. We need good, local news coverage!

June 20, 2013 04:22 PM

Somebody (or bodies) destroyed Roundup Ready sugar beets in southern Oregon. No communiqué yet that EW knows of has claimed responsibility. 

The news came out when the FBI put out a press release (and on a side note, since when is pro-pesticide group Oregonians for Food and Shelter a "community group"? Check out its board of directors). From worries about the health effects of genetical modification (GM) and pesticide use, to fears over superweeds, famers, foodies and other folks have a host of concerns over GM crops like wheat, alfalfa and sugar beets.  

FBI Asks for Help in Identifying Suspects in Genetically Engineered Crop Destruction 

Community Group Offers up to $10,000

Reward FBI Portland

June 20, 2013 Beth Anne Steele

(503) 460-8099

Over the course of two nights in early June, an unknown person or group of people did significant damage to two plots of land used to grow genetically engineered sugar beets in Jackson County, Oregon. The plots are on private farmland leased and managed by Syngenta.

Sometime during the night of June 8, 2013, the person/people destroyed about 1,000 sugar beet plants on one property. During the night of June 11, 2013, the person/people destroyed about 5,500 plants on another property. The financial losses are significant, but the actual estimates will not be released at this time due to the needs of the investigation. The FBI considers this crime to be economic sabotage and a violation of federal law involving damage to commercial agricultural enterprises.

The group Oregonians for Food and Shelter (http://ofsonline.org) is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the person and people involved. OFS will evaluate any reward claims and will make the final decision on dispersal of funds.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at (541) 773-2942 during normal business hours or the FBI in Portland at (503) 224-4181 24 hours a day. Tips may also be e-mailed into Portland@ic.fbi.gov.

The statement from Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba was interestingly put, in that she acknowledges that biotech such as GMO seeds (in the wake of the recent GMO wheat issue) is problematic for many:  “To my knowledge, this is the first time someone has deliberately taken the cowardly step of uprooting high value plants growing in our state. Regardless of how one feels about biotechnology, there is no justification for committing these crimes and it is not the kind of behavior we expect to see in Oregon agriculture." 

June 7, 2013 01:29 PM

Joseph Calbreath, now formerly of KMTR, speaks out on the recent sale of the TV station to Fisher Communications, calling the layoffs a "blood bath."  Fisher, which will be owned by another company later this year, will own or be affiliated with three of the area's four TV stations — KVAL, FOX and now KMTR. Fox is locally owned but has a "news share" with KVAL. Any thoughts on how that might affect local news coverage? 

KEZI is the lone station that won't be in some way affiliated with Sinclair Broadcast Group of Maryland if the Federal Communictions Commission approves the sale of Fisher this fall. Prominent anchors Matt Templeman and Renee McCullough were among the layoffs, the R-G reports. And Calbreath, who has signed no agreements not to speak about the sale because he was already set to retire, weighed in on the loss of 50 employees on his Facebook page.

Status Update

By Joseph Calbreath

Hi Everyone, Some of you probably have been reading about what has been going on at my former employer KMTR. Little did I know a couple of months ago when I picked the date of my retirement that it would coincided with the transfer of ownership that would result in 31 of my friends loosing their jobs in a blood bath type fashion. Obviously I will not be going back to do any filling in as was planned before the purge. Since I was never an employee of Fisher Broadcasting and am no longer interested in working in the TV News business, I can speak freely. If you have read the stories in the newspaper you read that no-one is able to comment on what just happened to them. It is a normal ploy by companies to hold severance packages and threat of negative reviews to future employers to keep people being fired to keep quiet. Many who has been let go from a big company for no reason based on their work has seen this.

Anyway I have some thoughts about what is happening that I thought I would share. First off, when I started in this business this sale would be illegal. No company could own two broadcast TV stations in the same market. In fact it was very restrictive to own any combination of news organizations including print, radio, TV or cable. The lobbyist in Washington have done a good job of changing the laws over the last 30 years and now almost anything goes. The FCC is a joke in my opinion. They go berserk if you slip and say a four letter word by accident or have a wardrobe malfunction, but could care less if big communications companies eliminate any competition in their attempt to dominate the information we receive. As of today, Fisher controls three of the four news programs broadcasted in our market. Later this year an even bigger company Sinclare will own them. Sinclare (spelling?)owner are very similar to the owners of FOX news in my opinion, which is not very fair and balanced no matter what they say . The only other voice we will have is KEZI the ABC affiliate. They also are the last locally own TV station in our area, but for how long?

Business wise, it probably makes good sense to eliminate people who are familiar and popular as quick as possible. Matt and Renee are liked and respected in this area and are familiar identifiable faces everywhere they go. How many years have the anchors on the other channels been here? How recognizable are they in the community? Most of our other anchors have been on the air longer than the other stations as well. Getting rid of these popular familiar faces will reduce the competition Also bringing in new people that nobody knows is much cheeper. After all these companies only care about their bottom lines. This move will help reduce the salaries at all the stations. It's the same thing that busting a union up does at other companies. Unions usually bring everyones salary up even those who aren't in the union.

Anyway get ready to see a lot of new faces two weeks from last Monday when everyone but the morning crew are gone. Since this page is in my name and has nothing to do with my former employer, I will start changing the information I share here. I now for the first time in 30 year can have an opinion about things. I plan on sharing more information about myself and what I am up to. I still would like to be a resource for people who have questions about things that I know about. I have been asked it I would still be putting out a weather forecast. I plan on still looking at the weather each day but have no plans on publishing what I think. If anyone has any opinions about this please let me know. Thank you all for letting me vent a bit. It defiantly has ease my frustration of what my friends are going through. I never watched local news because I got everything I needed to know about what was going on in our community at work each day. I still won't watch local news but will continue to read the newspaper and get my news one day later than before.

Update: Mark Metzger of Fox says that:

KLSR and KEVU are owned by Patricia Smullin who is a long-time resident of Medford, Oregon. Her company was established in 1932 and is the longest, continuous independent broadcast group in the west and one of two oldest in the country. Her father was a Broadcast Pioneer that founded the very first VHF TV station in Oregon and first radio station in Grants Pass.  Patricia has owned our stations for 20+ years.  She is very involved with the University of Oregon and is a graduate of Oregon State.  We are not owned by an out-of-state broadcasting company.  Many of us have been at FOX over 20 years.  I do not think you can get much more local than being at a company who brought TV to our state.  We are 100% "Oregon" and proud of it! 

EW has asked Metzger to clarify the news coverage arrangement between Fox and KVAL.

Update two:

Metzger says:

We formed a "News Share" partnership with KVAL back in late 1991. Except for a short hiatus, it has been in existence ever since. We partnered with them in order to have our "own" news, as well as offer the community a local news at an earlier time, 10PM. It was cost prohibitive for us to get into the news business back then, so we commissioned KVAL to do it for us. I believe we were one of the first markets in the country to do this, now they are quite commonplace. Over time, we both realized it was a win-win situation for the community, for KVAL and for us, so we decided to continue the arrangement versus doing a news on our own.

The KMTR-KVAL merger does shed new light on this arrangement and we will continue to have discussions with KVAL on how this will all pan out. Obviously, we are now in a unique transition and I will research on how other markets are handling this. TV stations in the same market are buying TV stations in the same market all over the country right now. Some of the public might think it is unique to just us here in Eugene, but it is not. We will see more and more of this over the next couple years. It is pretty much the same thing Radio went through about 15 years ago.

June 7, 2013 04:45 PM

If you haven't heard of Luv A Bull Pitbull Rescue or its other half, Luv A Little, then you haven't been looking at enough puppy and cute dog pictures on Petfinder

Rapper Macklemore apparently HAS been checking out cute pups on Instagram and has been Instagramming them as well. He gave shouts out to @luvabullpittys on Instagram on his website recently. 

And how can you not want cute puppies like this?

Eli and his adoptable puppy siblings can be seen on Luv A Bull's Facebook page or on Petfinder.

(And remember to spay and neuter  your pets so cute puppies like Eli or their pregnant mommies don't wind up a high kill shelters needing rescue by the nice folks at Luv A Bull and other groups.)

For more on Luv A Bull, check out this video:

June 4, 2013 04:25 PM

If you are a fan of grammar and have an odd sense of humor, then you're a fan of The Oatmeal.

This song has nothing to do with grammar, but it will get stuck in your head. 

Warning: NSFW and rife with cartoon violence and other inappropiate depictions.


May 29, 2013 04:00 PM

A genetically engineered (GE) variety of glyphosate-resistant wheat linked to Monsanto was found growing in an Oregon wheat field. The U.S. Department of Agrigculture announced today that it launched a "formal investigation after being notified by an Oregon State University scientist that initial tests of wheat samples from an Oregon farm indicated the possible presence of GE glyphosate-resistant wheat plants."

The USDA says that "there are no GE wheat varieties approved for sale or in commercial production in the United States or elsewhere at this time."

According to Agripulse.com:

Michael Firko, Acting Deputy Administrator of APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services, said USDA scientists verified results that the discovered plants were resistant to the commonly used weed killer glyphosate. Firko says USDA is “very serious” about the this investigation, which seeks to uncover “the extent of this and how it happened.” It is also confirmed that the glyphosate-resistant plants are the same variety as a wheat strain, or “event,” field tested by Monsanto. Firko said the company had requested to field test GE wheat from 1998-2005, but no other field tests have occurred since 2005. USDA confirmed that field tests did occur in Oregon, but did not say whether the field in question is the same as or near a former field test site.

According to a factsheet on the issue supplied by the USDA:

An Oregon farmer noticed some volunteers, or plants that had germinated and developed in a place where they were not intentionally planted, in his wheat field, were resistant to glyphosate and sent the samples to the OSU scientist. She received the samples on April 30, 2013, and conducted tests on the samples. Based on her preliminary tests, the samples she received tested positive for the glyphosate trait and the farmer was informed of the testing results.

The USDA dispatched investigators onsite to investigate how this situation occurred and collect additional samples from the farm. The agency says that APHIS made the public announcement about this detection as soon as USDA laboratories had absolute confi rmation regarding the GE wheat. 

The USDAY said it does not want "speculate on the the market reaction" to the possible worldwide impact of finding the Monsanto GE wheat in the field. 

* Update

Japan has announced it has suspended imports of Oregon wheat.