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January 29, 2014 05:22 PM

The Eugene City Council voted 6-2 today to allow the Whoville camp for the unhoused at the corner of Broadway and Hilyard to remain for another 30 days. 

Homeless advocate Alley Valkyrie of the Nightingale Public Advocacy Collective attended the meeting and took a rather puzzling photo of Councilor George Poling.

Valkyrie posted the picture to her Facebook page and writes:

This was no coincidence, no slip of the finger, so to speak. Councilor Poling, the only councilor who openly and regularly expresses bigoted and prejudiced views towards the homeless, held his finger up in this position at an audience full of homeless advocates for a significant portion of the discussion about Whoville. I saw his finger up for at least 15 minutes, and at one point he moved his hand to scratch his face and then deliberately put his finger up again.

City Council meetings can be watched live or via Metro TV here.

Update: 

According to Jan Bohman, community relations director for the city of Eugene, Councilor Poling "often rests his head on his hand" in this particular position, and he can be seen earlier in the webcast of the meeting during the discussion of the Amazon Headwaters with his hand and finger in the same position, she says. She calls EW "irresponsible" for posting Valkyrie's photo.

January 24, 2014 04:21 PM

The West Wing fans rejoice (and Obama haters, go ahead, crack a smile this is fun): With a hat tip to both President Andrew Jackson's 1837 1,400 pound block of cheese and to The West Wing episode in which interest groups who didn't normally get White House access got heard, on Jan. 29, "White House officials will take to social media for a day long 'open house' to answer questions from everyday Americans."

According to the White House Blog, "dozens of White House officials will take to social media for a day long 'open house' to answers questions from everyday Americans in real-time on Twitter,FacebookTumblrInstagram and via Google+ Hangout."

The White House announced this plan with a video starring Bradley Whiford  (Josh Lyman) and Joshua Malina (Will Bailey). I was always a Sam Seaborn fan, but Josh had his boyish charm, back then.

 

January 23, 2014 05:39 PM

The Eugene Human Rights Commission has weighed in on the city's plan to shut down and fence off the Whoville homeless camp, according to an email circulating on Facebook pages that call for aiding the unhoused of Eugene.

January 22, 2014

Dear Mayor, CIty Councilors, and City Manager,

The Eugene Human Rights Commission (HRC) is very concerned with the health and safety of the 40 to 50 residents of Whoville at Broadway and Hilyard. We understand at EPD plans to close the protest camp down and disperse its residents. Among Whoville's residents are people who are disabled, some in wheel chairs, as well as people who suffer from severe mental health issues and substance abuse problems. Such people are often not readily accommodated by shelter services even when beds are available. It is not clear where the residents will go if the camp is shut down.

The HRC unanimously recommends that the following immediate action be taken: Rescind current plans to close Whoville and allow those who presently reside there to remain. This could be done in a number of ways, including a mayoral declaration of a housing emergency that would allow people to stay at Whoville legally. We believe the Whoville residents should be permitted to remain until adequate and accessible alternatives are available.

We also recommend that the City expand the number of operating Rest Stops to at least four. On sis already open. However, specific reasons cited at our HRC meeting by the unhoused and their advocates regarding the City-approved Northwest Expressway site make it unviable as a second site. We believe three additional Rest Stop sites should be established including the site at 8th and Mill favored by advocates for the homeless before closure of the Whoville location is considered. Inclusion of such advocates in the selection of additional sites may expedite the selection process.

From a human rights perspective, a perspective mandated by Eugene's revised Human Rights Ordinance and to which the HRC is highly committed, the recommended actions fall short of fulfilling the human right to housing. However these actions are important steps toward recognizing the basic human right of every person to life, health, and personal security.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew Thomson, Chair

Chris Nunes, Vice Chair

Eugene Human Rights Commission

The HRC is recuiting for four new members to serve on the commission, the application period ends March 28.

January 22, 2014 12:01 PM

A little musical primer on coal trains in the Pacific Northwest and grassroots effort to stop them performed by Counterfeit Cash.

January 20, 2014 06:17 PM

Celebrations of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in Springfield and Eugene had big turnouts today, but it looks like you can't celebrate MLK without a racist-type or two showing up. A bagpipe-playing kilt-wearing couple serenaded Springfield while wielding a sign saying "'Diversity' is a code word for white genocide." 

EW has heard allegations that this is the same man who hung the banner over I-5 in Springfield in September 2013 that read "Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white" and that the man in question intends to run for mayor. Anyone know if those allegations are true?

Photo credit: Dana Jo Cook

January 16, 2014 02:27 PM

"New Jersey … only the strong survive." I read that on a T-shirt once. (I think it was the same batch of state shirts that also included "Idaho? No, You da ho.") Bruce Springsteen and the Sopranos have made Jersey famous. Bridge-blocking Gov. Chris Christie makes it infamous.

January 16, 2014 04:43 PM

This in from Rep. Peter DeFazio's office today:

 

DeFazio Encourages President Obama to Adopt GMO Labeling Standards

Washington, DC – Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) joined members of Congress and more than 200 businesses and organizations today to support a letter sent to President Obama. The letter encourages the President to fulfill his 2007 pledge to require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adopt a national mandatory GMO labeling system.

Signatories of the letter include Oregon Tilth, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Amy’s Kitchen, Annie’s Homegrown, Inc., Applegate, Stonyfield Farm, Nature’s Path Foods, the Center for Food Safety, Just Label It, and Environmental Working Group.

Rep. DeFazio has long supported a standard that would empower consumers to know what’s in the food they eat. In April 2013, he and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, legislation that would require the FDA to clearly label genetically engineered (GE) foods. Rep. DeFazio’s House bill has 50 co-sponsors.

While the FDA requires the labeling of more than 3,000 ingredients, additives and processes, the agency has resisted labels for genetically modified food.

“It’s time the FDA’s policies reflect 21st century food technologies. After all, twenty years ago they didn’t have corn that could produce its own insecticide,” DeFazio said. “Plain and simple, this is about consumer rights. People should have the ability to make an informed choice about what they feed their family and we know it’s not an impossible request of food manufacturers, because they already label GMOs in more than sixty countries. Food manufacturers can and should offer that same standard right here in the U.S.”

You can find a link to the letter to President Obama here.

January 8, 2014 04:48 PM

Before there was Edward Snowden, there was a group of burglars who broke into the FBI's offices, exposed the agency's spying under J. Edgar Hoover and led the exposure of COINTELPRO. They were never caught. In case you missed The New York Times story, Retro Report made a video about the break in, which took place the night Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier had their epic boxing match.

A Heist that Changed History from Retro Report on Vimeo.

December 27, 2013 04:55 PM

If you haven't already seen it making the rounds on Facebook, then check out this collection of news bloopers that makes me grateful EW is a print publication and that I don't have to interview handsy primates.

December 19, 2013 05:39 PM

From billboards in Oregon airports to Christmas carols, Oregon Wild is going all out with its campaign to save Oregon's public forests. Looks like the Oregon group is giving the Center for Biological Diversity a run for its money in terms of clever media play. Can Oregon Wild beat the Endangered Species condoms? How about something more gender-inclusive like anti-clearcut dental dams or old-growth vibrators? (Don't procreate! Recreate!).

December 17, 2013 03:24 PM

The Whos down in Whoville got a Christmast tree from EPD! It's nice to see some Christmas cheer coming from the Eugene police! If you can't see the video below, check it out on Facebook.

 
December 17, 2013 05:19 PM

The Obamacare rap spoof of Snoop Dog (Snoop Lion?)'s "Drop it like it's hot" is weirdly fascinating.

“So don’t stand and diddle. My healthcare’s the ‘shizzle.’ It’s chock full of top notch healthcare ‘provizzles.’"

 

But even weirder was Karl Rove's response on Fox. According to Politico, Rove said:

“I worry about something that seems aim to glorification of the commander-in-chief, the president of the United States as opposed to simply advocating young people go out and sign up for this entitlement program,” Rove said Thursday on Fox News’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.” Rove continued, “This disturbingly gets too close to the line. I think it, in fact, crosses it.” “Could you imagine if such a thing had been run by George Bush or Bill Clinton or Bush 41 or Reagan?” Rove asked. “‘I have two terms, I’m really cool, I’m really hip.’ How much public outcry there could have been?”

December 16, 2013 12:18 PM

These days the fact that climate change is happening is a given (and yeah, we say "climate" change becaue when you say "global warming" people tend to point to a cold snap and say, how is THAT global warming?  Because, climate change.) But can you explain how the global warming/climate change phenomenon works?

No worries, this cartoon will do it for you in under a minute.

'

 

For those of us with a slightly longer attention span, here's the five-minute version:

December 12, 2013 01:41 PM

"Hey, man. Don't steal her purse (that's how you talk in Eugene, where everyone's a hippie)," says former Eugene bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler on the Small Screen site as he tells the story wearing a Red Agave T-shirt. Morgenthaler has a show on the site called The Morgenthaler Method, born out of his longtime blog