• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

EW! A Blog.

July 31, 2017 04:55 PM

With temperatures predicted to rise above the 100 degree mark this week, Eugene Weekly asked the the city of Eugene and Lane County if they will be opening cooling centers to provide relief, particularly for those who don't have a way to get cool or are homeless.

Eugene's places to get cool are below, and Lane County tells EW they will send information on staying cool from Public Health in the morning.  Lane County has supplied a list of cooling centers across the county from Junction City to Cottage Grove here.

Beat the Heat at City Facilities

As temperatures rise this week, the City of Eugene invites individuals to cool off in air conditioned libraries, community centers, swimming pools and parks.

All three Eugene Public Library locations are air conditioned.

The current hours of operation are:

• The Downtown Library, 100 West 10th Ave., is open 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., M-Th, and 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. F-Su  

ª The Bethel Branch Library, 1990 Echo Hollow Rd., and Sheldon Branch Library, 1566 Coburg Rd., are open 12 p.m - 8 p.m. Tues, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. M,W,Th,F & Sa; closed Sundays.

 Lap swim and rec swim times over the weekend are as follows:

• Amazon Pool:

    Lap Swim: Monday-Friday 5:30-9 a.m. and 10:50 a.m.-6:15 p.m.; Saturday 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 2-5 p.m.; Sunday 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 2-5 p.m. Rec Swim: Daily 2-5 p.m., Monday and Wednesday 6:30-8:30 p.m. 

    Parent/Child Swim: Daily 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Monday-Thursday 5:30-6:30 p.m. 

• Echo Hollow Pool:

    Lap Swim: Monday-Friday 5:30-8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

    Rec Swim: Monday-Friday 1:15-3:15 p.m. and 7-8:30 p.m.; Sunday 1:15-3 p.m.

• Sheldon Pool:

    Lap Swim: Monday-Friday 5:30-6:30 a.m., 7-8 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 5:15-6:30 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

    Rec Swim: Monday-Friday 1:30-3:30 p.m.; Monday and Wednesday, 7:35-8:30 p.m.; Friday 7:30-8:30 p.m.; Saturday 12-2 p.m.

• The City operates five community centers Monday through Friday that are air conditioned.

The hours of operation and locations of those centers are:

    Amazon Center, 2700 Hilyard St., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., M-F

    Campbell Center, 155 High St. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., M-F

    Hilyard Center, 2580 Hilyard St., 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., M-F

    Petersen Barn Center, 870 Berntzen Rd., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., M-F

    River House Center, 301 No. Adams St., Noon-4 p.m., M-F

• Spray play areas in City parks are a cooling resource, as well. Spray play areas are located in the following parks:

    Fairmount

    Oakmont

    Skinner Butte

    RiverPlay Playground

Washington

Update: Willamalane in Springfield has posted its list of places to cool off as well. 

For the public’s safety and well-being, Willamalane has also designated both the Bob Keefer Center and Willamalane Adult Activity Center as cooling centers.

   Bob Keefer Center, located at 250 S. 32nd St., features a large lobby area for people to sit and relax while they cool off. The center is open from    6 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday – Friday; 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday; and 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday.

    Willamalane Adult Activity Center also has a large lobby area with ample seating accommodations and cooling air conditioning. The Adult         Activity Center, located at 215 W. C St., is open on 8 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday – Thursday; 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Friday; and 9 a.m. – noon on Saturday.

In addition to the cooling centers, Willamalane’s two pools provide additional options to beat the heat, while enjoying a refreshing swim, or a fun day with the family

    Splash! at Lively Park, Splash! offers Waterpark swims, which includes a wave pool, water slide, family activity pool, hot tub, lap pool and kiddie pool on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. – 8 p.m., and Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Additional hours in the mornings and evenings are available for lap swimming and water exercise. Splash! is located at 6100 Thurston Road in Springfield.

    Willamalane Park Swim Center is also a great place to cool off and fit in some exercise. The Swim Center features an eight-lane, 25-yard lap pool, an accessible deep-water pool with diving boards and a shallow wheelchair accessible play and exercise pool with a waterslide. For exercise, the Swim Center is open 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Monday – Thursday; 5:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Friday; and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. For recreation swims, hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. The Swim Center is located at 1276 G Street in Springfield.

For more information, go to willamalane.org.

July 28, 2017 12:02 PM

 Markalo Parkalo

The 36th annual SLUG (Society for the Legitimization of the Ubiquitous Gastropod) queen coronation is coming up Aug. 11 and if you've always wanted to be a raining SLUG queen of Eugene, now is your chance! Applications are due Aug. 4.

The SLUG queen Facebook page describes the positon as: "campy Eugene tradition; The SLUG Queen rules the Land of Lane with compassion and slime for all. Politically savvy, wickedly witty or garishly garbed--the SLUG queen has her pulse on the needs and desires of her fiefdom. As Eugene's good will ambassador, the SLUG Queen presides over parades, supports local charities, businesses and art, and throws an annual ball--of course you are invited darlings!"

Competition information is below (ignore the reference to the Festival of Eugene, which no longer exists) and you can find the application here:

IMPORTANT COMPETITION INFORMATION

•The selection of the 2017 Queen is entirely at the whim of the assembled old S.L.UG. Queens and celebrity judges.

•Judging is made in three categories: Costume, Talent Act and The Question. Your “talent” act will be limited to three minutes. Really! It will! First Lady in Waiting Kim will contact you to go over any sound/technical needs you may have.

•Contestants must be 21 or older, but there are no other restrictions of any kind with regard to sex, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, race, disability, creed, species, etc. The S.L.U.G. Queen embodies the spirit of diversity.

•Contestants must enter in the spirit of fun and may be tastefully tacky, but not gross and disgusting.

•Bear in mind that this is a family event, therefore overt, strong references to sex, drug or alcohol use and other “adult” themes are inappropriate and will disqualify you. Local politics and rock & roll are fair game, though.

•Contestants should understand the duties of the S.L.U.G. Queen. Being the most flexible creatures on Earth, we SLUGS are making up our own fun as we go along, supporting and collaborating with each other as we re-envision the “Rain” of a S.L.U.G. Queen in our fair Realm. We don’t have an official relationship with the Festival of Eugene folks, but they seem open to collaborations and appearances. The Queen is also expected to make herself available for events of royal merit throughout the year of her reign and to participate in the organization of the 2017 coronation, to pass on her wealth of experience and stash of slime.

•Bribing the judges is acceptable before and during the competition, First Lady In Waiting Kim can provide you with a list of Queenly email addresses if you would like to pursue bribery in advance of the competition.

•Being crowned S.L.UG. Queen escalates one into the public realm and requires appearances before people of all ages; appropriate attitude is required.

•Do not hesitate to contact First Lady in Waiting Kim with any questions you may have. Call her at 541-521-7125 or email firstladykim@cottageevents.com.

July 26, 2017 12:52 PM

At a July 26 Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing, the Forest Service under the Trump administration endorsed wilderness protection for the Devil’s Staircase and the Wild Rogue in Sen. Ron Wyden’s Oregon Wildlands Act, S. 1548.

In his statement to the committee, Glenn Casamassa, associate deputy chief of the National Forest System, U.S. Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture, says:

“The proposed Devil’s Staircase Wilderness provides an outstanding representation of the Oregon Coast Range and would enhance the National Wilderness Preservation System. There is an existing road within the proposed boundary of this wilderness that would require decommissioning by heavy equipment prior to designation as wilderness or allowance for use of mechanized equipment for this purpose after the enactment. USDA supports the designation of the proposed Devil’s Staircase Wilderness.”

And of the Rogue, he states, “Section 301 of the bill would designate 56,100 acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and by the Forest Service as an addition to the Wild Rogue Wilderness. USDA supports this addition of wilderness on National Forest System.”

Andy Stahl of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (FSEEE) points out that the BLM’s prior pro-Devils Staircase position appears to remain unchanged.

In a July 13 statement on the bill, Wyden said, 

“When it comes to recreation opportunities in some of the world’s most uniquely beautiful places, Oregon has it all. It’s time for Congress to listen to the voices of Oregonians from every part of our state who have spoken in favor of protecting these unmatched natural treasures for years to come.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley, who introduced the bill with Wyden, added, “These Oregon jewels deserve to be protected for future generations of Oregonians and Americans,” Merkley said. “With this bill, we will not only preserve some of Oregon’s unique and most special places, we will also boost local economies and help cement Oregon’s well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s greatest recreation destinations.”

You can read Casamassa’s full statement here.

July 25, 2017 05:35 PM

If you’re nervous about traveling by bike around Eugene, the city is hosting an event that will allow you to navigate some streets without worrying about cars. Now in its seventh year, Sunday Streets will be held 10:30 am to 4 pm Sunday, July 30, with an after party in the Park Blocks from 4 until 8 pm. Also part of Sunday Streets is a nod to the old Eugene Celebration parade. The EUG Parade is at 10:30 am. 

People will have the opportunity to walk, bike, roller skate and try different fitness classes for free in an outdoor environment free of cars.

Sunday Streets coordinator Emily Farthing says the city began holding one event per year and now hosts two.

“In future years, look for more. It is a big event, so it does take a lot of volunteers and people power to put it on so that’s one of the reasons it’s only twice a year now,” Farthing says.

Though Eugene has several bike lanes and paths, feeling safe from cars is still a concern, especially for people who are new to cycling. In EW’s “Bike Dreams,” it was reported that Eugene ranks 12 nationally for people who bike to work, but the number of people who bike to work in the city is only 6.8 percent.

One of the goals of Sunday Streets is to help make Eugene more bike friendly. “This is an event that is out of transportation options because our goal is to provide resources to people like free helmets and bike maps and things like bike test rides in an open space for people to get around and feel comfortable walking or biking,” Farthing says.

For starters, if you’re new to biking getting a helmet is an important first step, Farthing says. Secondly, pick up a bike map and plan out your trip before you hit the streets. “If you’re nervous about going on a busier streets, just try riding the bike path, and that’s good any time of day,” she says. Farthing suggests small steps like gradually riding of the bike path onto streets. “I would even say switching one daily trip or weekly trip that you might take to the store — like route something that you do on a regular basis to see how many miles it is.”

A bigger step for making Eugene more bike-friendly is on the horizon with the adoption of the Eugene 2035 Transportation System Plan by Eugene City Council on June 26. The TSP calls for improvements to bicycle lanes and paths to follow the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, which highlights the importance of accessibility to safe bikeways and pedestrian paths because it serves as the only way the elderly, poor and young people commute.

Sunday Streets will kick-off with an all-human powered parade. “We have a lot of entries that are totally bike powered and we’re talking major floats constructed on bicycles so that should be quite the show,” Farthing says.

More than 75 vendors are expected in the downtown core and in and around Kesey Square.

“I think that you’re seeing … that kind of synchronicity of like a perfect beautiful storm of downtown revitalization, downtown programming, great downtown businesses and then the desire for that celebration vibe of years past like the parade, like the late night live music, and I think this event is going to capture all of that,” Farthing says.

Sunday Streets begins at 10:30 am on July 30 and events go until 8 pm. Several miles of streets will shut down from Monroe Park to the downtown Park Blocks. The event is free. https://www.eugene-or.gov/2741/Sunday-Streets-2017 .

July 21, 2017 11:52 AM

A 44-year-old Eugene man charged with threatening to kill worshippers at a Eugene mosque last spring escaped prison time when a judge approved a plea deal in court on Friday, July 21 that gave him 36 months’ probation.

Chad Everett Russell could have faced a year in prison for second-degree intimidation and a $6,000 fine for each of the charges he pleaded guilty to.

His release drew sharp criticism from his victims. “We’re just really concerned because it seems like there are two systems of justice that are being practiced — one against people of color and one against white individuals in this state,” said Zakir Khan, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Russell appeared for his sentencing hearing in Lane County Circuit Court and accepted a deal dismissing two counts of menacing. He pleaded guilty to two counts of intimidation in the second degree and harassment. Russell walked into the Eugene Islamic Center on May 8 and threatened to kill its worshipers, according to Eugene police. On May 9, he was seen urinating in Monroe park and reorded in a video becoming aggressive and making threats against people in the parks in front of children. 

Prosecutor David Mintz recapped Russell’s actions in May. “He threated to blow his (the victim’s) head off,” Mintz said of Russell’s actions in Monroe Park. Mintz added that this has “affected the entire Islamic Community and caused great fear and concern."

At the hearing, Aaron Martin, a victim of Russell’s threats, said the “charges did not fit the crime.”

“Every day my kids ask me, ‘what happened to that guy?’ What am I supposed to tell them?” Martin said. “Today is a sad day. I fear for my life, and I fear for my kids’ lives.”

Khan also said he was displeased with the plea agreement. “I’ve talked to many victims. Many of the women fear for their lives.”

Russell’s attorney, Allison Knight, told the court that Russell has “a very significant history of head trauma” from serving in the military. In 2014, she said, Russell was hit by a car and lost consciousness for a significant period of time. A physician’s evaluation of Russell found he has “ongoing and permanent brain damage,” and the damage to his frontal cortex affects his impulse control as well as his ability to make judgments and control his anger management, according to his attorney.

Russell, who served 74 days in jail before his release, is prohibited from contacting the victims or visiting the mosque and is not allowed to possess weapons or consume alcohol. A gun was found in his home and he had a knife when he was arrested May 9.

Alex Reasoner, a member of the Eugene Islamic Center, said the DA didn’t notify members of the mosque about the deal until Thursday, July 20. “We did not have an opportunity to create a statement; we did not have an opportunity to speak to the community members; the community member who was listed as a victim was notified last night and was not able to get off work today, so he couldn’t attend this himself,” Reasoner said. “So he couldn’t speak in his own defense.”

“On behalf of the council on American Islamic Relations Oregon as well as the Eugene Islamic Community, we’re greatly displeased by the verdict in this case,” Khan said.

“What we needed today was a DA who was willing to, one, be courageous in the face of this case and not just plead this case out but take it to trial like he told us he would. And, second, like he told the Muslim community that he would make an example out of this individual so the rest of the state could see that these types of hate crimes are unacceptable.”

Eugene Weekly first reported that the FBI was working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the EPD on this case. Kevin Sonoff, a spoeksman for the U.S. Attorney, said after the hearing that his office had no comment about ongoing investigations. Mintz had no comment after the hearing.

July 10, 2017 12:53 PM

In a press release (see below) the city of Springfield has announced that it is “taking steps to address a shortage of affordable housing by making it easier to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs).” ADUs are also known as secondary dwelling unites, granny flats and mother-in-laws.

To that affect, the the Springfield City Council passed a resolution to reduce the costs involved by “temporarily waiving the transportation, stormwater and local wastewater system development charges on newly permitted accessory dwelling units.”

Springfield defines ADUs as “secondary dwellings included on a property with an existing, larger home. An ADU can be either attached to the existing dwelling, for example a basement or attic space converted into an apartment, or a detached structure such as a backyard cottage.”

 The temporary waiver started on July 1, and continues for two years until June 30, 2019. “This waiver will reduce construction costs for a typical ADU in Springfield by an estimated $5,000 to $6,000.”

The full press release is below.

 

Springfield Temporarily Waives System Development Charges for Accessory Dwelling Units

The City of Springfield is taking steps to address a shortage of affordable housing by making it easier to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The Springfield City Council passed a resolution to reduce the costs involved by temporarily waiving the transportation, stormwater, and local wastewater system development charges (SDCs) on newly permitted accessory dwelling units. The temporary waiver started on July 1, 2017 and continues for a two-year period through June 30, 2019. This waiver will reduce construction costs for a typical ADU in Springfield by an estimated $5,000 to $6,000.

ADUs are secondary dwellings included on a property with an existing, larger home. An ADU can be either attached to the existing dwelling, for example a basement or attic space converted into an apartment, or a detached structure such as a backyard cottage. Note that SDCs imposed by the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission and Willamalane Park and Recreation District are still in effect.

The City sees several benefits of having more ADUs in Springfield, primarily to increase the supply of small rental units for which the vacancy rate is lowest. Additional ADUs will also increase the number and type of affordable housing units without consuming the limited supply of undeveloped land. Residents that build ADUs on their properties can benefit by having an extra source of income in the form of rent, allowing for multiple generations to live in close proximity, and providing housing for on-site assistance or caregivers to help people live independently on their property. Economic development will also be bolstered by generating work for local builders and contractors.

The supply of housing in Springfield is limited at all levels, with rental vacancy rates at less than 1 percent. Housing costs in Springfield are increasing faster than household incomes. Last year, the Springfield City Council directed staff to evaluate housing needs and to build on strategies to both increase the supply of housing and the accessibility of affordable housing throughout the housing continuum.

There are several design standards and required permits to construct an ADU. Those interested in learning more can visit www.springfield-or.gov, or contact the Development and Public Works Department, 541.726.3753.

The City is also considering amendments to the development code that would make it easier and potentially less expensive for homeowners to add an ADU to their property. The Planning Commission will hold a work session on July 18 to discuss this, which community members are welcome to attend. The work session begins at 6 p.m. in the Jesse Maine Room at Springfield City Hall, 225 Fifth Street.

July 6, 2017 10:39 AM

Apparently someone gets a kick out of Eugene Weekly.

In all seriousness, on the evening of July 5, someone kicked in EW’s employee door, scattering the glass more than 10 feet into the building.

According the Eugene Police Department, at 7:44 pm on July 5, a man who was riding his bike on West 12th “heard glass breaking and rode in that direction. He saw a man pulling his leg from Eugene Weekly’s broken glass door. The man became aggressive toward the bicyclist, who was trying to take his picture. So the bicyclist backed away.”

The witness was able to get a photo.

EWand the Eugene police would appreciate help in identifying the subject. The case 17-11100.  To report a crime call 541-682-5111. To leave a tip, please call 541-682-8888.

You can also call Eugene Weekly at 541-484-0519.

Here is EPD’s description. “The suspect is a white male adult, with a thin build, short blonde straight hair, and a scruffy beard. He was last seen wearing a black and gray jacket, tan pants, brown shoes and a black backpack.”

EW very much appreciates the witness who reported the crime and EPD’s prompt and courteous help in responding to the situation. 

EW's employee entrance.

Full photo of the suspect

July 5, 2017 05:17 PM

On Wednesday, July 5, a few hundred people gathered at the steps of the Federal Courthouse in Eugene to listen to Rep. Peter DeFazio and sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. Constituents who came to support Oregon’s U.S. representatives’ opposition to the current Senate health care bill held signs supporting Planned Parenthood and universal health care.

Before the rally a dozen people laid on the ground with cardboard tombstones reading “coverage denied, denied and died and 23 million reasons.”

Ralliers with cardboard tombstones call attention to health care.

Steve Lehman with Indivisible Eugene said the organization was there to rally with their members of Congress and was part of the “tombstone visual.” “We just want to make sure people know this is not over, people will die if this is repealed and that we need to get the message out,” Lehman says. “We would like to actually see improvements to health care. So at a minimum, stop the repeal, keep what we have and then look at a way to improve upon what we had instead of making it worse.”

Sen. Wyden began by thanking the crowd for showing up. “Friends, there is one reason Mitchell McConnell had to pull his horrible health bill from the senate last week — all of you and your allies made him do it. You showed that political change isn’t trickle down — its bottom up.”

Wyden lambasted Trump and the proposed Senate health care plan.

“Donald Trump, you may be able to bankrupt a casino but you aren’t going to bankrupt the American health care system,” he said.

Wyden also added “Two-thirds of the patients in nursing homes have their care paid for by Medicaid. This bill has a double age tax. If you’re between 55 and 64 you have to pay five times as much as a young person and you get fewer tax credits.”

Sen. Merkley began by saying he was inspired by the signs in the crowd and said Trump has broken all of his promises about affordable health care.

“How about we make a promise that we can keep — like universal totally affordable quality health care just by the fact that you are an American citizen — how about that,” Merkley said.

 He continued, “FDR said the test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much but whether we do enough for those who have little. Well, this is my question is it progress to throw 22 million off of health care? Is it progress that just in a single year, 15 million Americans would lose health care? That’s why we are fighting to stop this Trump care bill.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley

Rep. Peter DeFazio spoke to Eugene Weekly after the rally. He says that it is “absolutely” time for a single-payer health care system in the U.S.

“The Republicans are saying we’re in a crisis because some people, some counties there’s no health care plans offered. Well, if we had a national exchange plan sponsored by the government not for profit with good benefits, everyone in America would have that option, and I believe that would pave the way to an agreement that single payer is the best least expensive way to go,” DeFazio said.

Linda Pond said she attended the rally as a mother, nurse and a woman. “The current health care plan that’s on the table is not the appropriate health care plan for the American people. It leaves way too many people out, it will totally decimate women’s health care as we know today,” she said.

“Single-payer health care is the way to go. Insurance companies have to get out of the picture.”  

June 29, 2017 04:16 PM

City Wide MEChA is hosting its Begins With Us graduation the group will honor its students’ academic progress, community service and community engagement, and accomplishments. Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) says, “They will be honoring community members and connecting city officials and organizations to offer resources to the community as a whole.”

The event is 5:30 pm Thursday, June 29, at the Bob Keefer Center for Sports and Recreation (formerly Willamalane Center) 250 South 32nd Street, Springfield and features a dinner, award ceremony, community speakers and community conversation.

CALC says, “An additional goal is to connect the community with city officials, educators, public figures, community organizers, attorneys and many others. All are welcome.”

 Donations are needed to help cover event expenses and can be made at the event or dropped off at the CALC office, 458 Blair Blvd. in Eugene.

 For more information and/or to RSVP, contact Johanis Tadeo at johanistadeo509@gmail.com or call CALC at 541-485-1755.

June 26, 2017 03:04 PM

On Monday, the White House sent out calculation about the Affordable Health Care Act in its daily newsletter — a newsletter that isn’t always published on a daily basis.

As President Trump rallies hard against Obamacare in his tweets, today’s email made the following claim: “When Obamacare was signed into law, CBO estimated that 23 million people would be covered in Obama’s exchanges by 2017. They were off by more than 100%. Only 10.3 million people are covered by Obamacare.”

If using the newsletter’s statistics to calculate the percentages of uninsured Americans, the 2017 estimate is off by 56 percent, not 100 percent. 10.3 million is 44 percent of 23 million making the estimate off by 56 percent.

However, not only do the White House percentages not add up, its estimates of people who have gained access to health care coverage are also inaccurate. According to Politifact, 20 million people have gained access to health insurance under the ACA after estimates released by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The current Senate health care bill was reviewed by the Congressional Budget Office on Monday, and the office estimates that the bill would raise the number of uninsured people to 22 million by 2026.

“By 2026, an estimated 49 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under the current law,” according to the Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate release.  

June 21, 2017 02:40 PM

 

The beauty and warmth of Eugene’s spring into summer days comes with a few drawbacks. Mosquitos, sweat and for many, allergies. For Melanie Wayne, a nurse practitioner at Oregon Allergy Associates this means a lot of patients to treat.

Wayne says that if you think your allergies are worse this year than in the past, it may just be psychological. “Our numbers always get high but this year we had such cool weather longer that it may have lured people in false sense of security. So, when it did warm up the pollen came in really fast and hard.”

The grass farms surrounding Eugene are to blame for the allergy trap the city has become. Both grass seed and hay farming release tons of allergens this time of year. Recent pollen counts conducted by the Oregon Allergy Associates show grass pollen at the caliber of “very high” in Eugene which is the highest possible rating. “Some of the highest pollen counts anywhere,” Wayne says.

According to Wayne, when it inevitably rains in Eugene it does decrease overall pollen counts. However, it can cause the grass pollen to break apart into tiny fragments which get deeper into your lungs and trigger a more intense mucus reaction.

Photo by Brooke Novak, Creative Commons license

“Symptoms from these allergies include itching, sneezing, swollen eyes, particularly concerning though is asthma symptoms,” Wayne says.

If you have pollen allergies you could get a reaction when eating a type of food. “Pollen allergies and food allergies are both driven by the allergic antibody IgE. Interestingly, there is a condition called oral allergy syndrome where people with certain pollen allergies can get oral or throat itching with certain food proteins, it's not technically a dangerous food allergy, but it can be quite uncomfortable. However, if the food is cooked, it attenuated the protein and is not reactive,” Wayne says.

If you have allergies, treatments can be obtained in multiple ways. There’s the over the counter pills and nasal spray, but Wayne recommends getting a desensitization shot or tablet from your doctor. 

June 15, 2017 04:59 PM

Several Eugene area human rights and social justice groups have teamed up to form Human Rights Work, and the coalition is asking the city of Eugene to be part of the hiring process for the new Eugene police chief to replace retiring Chief Pete Kerns.

Erin Grady, an organizer with the Civil Liberties Defense Center, says the group “put out a call to social justice organizations and concerned citizens in the city who want to come together to form a coalition to be part of this process.”

Together, Human Rights Work has sent a letter to Mayor Lucy Vinis, City Manager John Ruiz and the Eugene City Council requesting for the hiring process to be transparent and inclusive.

Ibrahim Coulibaly, chairman of legal redress with Eugene Springfield NAACP says Human Rights Work wants to be part of the hiring process as early as possible.

“We really want a police chief that will be aware of minorities and also willing to commit that his or her officers will be trained properly when dealing with minorities, people with disabilities, the homeless and people who are marginalized in our society.”

The letter is below.Eugene Weekly will be following this story.

Dear Mayor Lucy Vinis, City Council of Eugene, and City Manager Jon Ruiz,

We, Human Rights Work, are a coalition of Human Rights and Social Justice groups that have come together to bring our voices, opinions and concerns to the process of hiring a new police chief for the City of Eugene. We are requesting a meeting with the City Manager to discuss our values, concerns and how we can be a part of this process. We are made up of Eugene groups and organizations that represent and advocate for a better, more equitable life in this town for all its inhabitants. Specifically, we represent groups that are traditionally under-represented in city decisions, and that are on the receiving end of racism, sexism, cissexism, classism, homophobia and other kinds of oppression. We realize that the decisions and management of the Eugene Police Department are decisions that affect the safety and well being of our communities, as well as the expenditure of our tax dollar resources, and we want to be a part of this hiring process.

We believe in a police force that maintains public safety, respects people’s rights, supports people’s health, helps facilitate the rehabilitation of those who need it and fortify peoples’ ties to the community. We want a police force that minimizes harm, prioritizes de-escalation, works with community groups, arrests sparingly and moves to end policies and tactics that result in racially disproportionate outcomes. We want an EPD that respects the city’s Inclusivity Ordinance and the potential extension of it. We have seen ways that the EPD meets these needs for our community and ways that it needs to improve in order to accommodate the diversity of humans who live here.

The City Manager has said that this will be a transparent process, and we hope to know more specifics of what that will look like. We are asking to be a part of this process as early as possible. Specifically, we would like to be 1) involved in the hiring of a national recruiter and in the recruitment process, including providing review and contributions to the job description and list of qualifications desired. 2) We would like our values to be included in forming criteria for reviewing applications. 3) We also want to have a seat (or several seats) at the table in order to assess potential candidates and make a choice, including attending interviews, attending discussions of candidates and observing the decision making process.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

NAACP

Centro Latino Americano

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)

Friends of Sanctuary

Civil Liberties Defense Center

TransPonder

Occupy Medical

350 Eugene

Trauma Healing Project

Eugene Springfield Solidarity Network

CALC

United Front

June 15, 2017 10:55 AM

Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich as a teenager pleaded guilty to molesting a 6-year-old girl. The information came out in a recent Oregonian story and controversy has ensued as the OSU team heads to the NCAA College World Series.

Heimlich will not be going with the team or playing the rest of this year, according to a statement by OSU President Ed Ray, who also explains why Heimlich was accepted to the school and the school supports his continuing attendance as a student. The full statement is below.

ESPN reports that Heimlich was not taken in Major League Baseball's draft after the revelations about his past.

Brenda Tracy, who was raped by two OSU football players in 1998 and has gone on to be victims’ advocate and activist told CBS sports, “It's painful and hurtful … a school can be so proactive and so good and do so many good things and drop the ball like this."

 

 

To the Oregon State University community,

I am writing regarding recent media coverage of events involving a member of the Oregon State baseball team Luke Heimlich.

The tragedy of sexual assault in our society is both horrific and heartbreaking. I have heard from many individuals who personally – or through loved ones – have experienced the distress of sexual assault. There is no closure. Survivors live with that horror the rest of their lives, but hopefully they can heal and recover. This story has triggered a great deal of sorrow and pain in other victims of sexual assault and among their loved ones. In the midst of all of this, my heart goes out to the young girl in this matter, who was the victim of wrongdoing.

I have taken time this week to think through these complex issues and to give Luke the time and space he needed to determine how he wished to proceed. I believe he made the right initial decision for himself and for the team last Friday when he recused himself from pitching for the team in the NCAA Super Regional.

Yesterday, Luke decided that he would no longer represent the university this year as a member of the baseball team. As such, he will not participate in the NCAA College World Series nor travel with the OSU baseball team to Omaha. I concur with this decision as to do otherwise would certainly serve as a disruption and distraction to the team due to the significant public scrutiny that this matter has attracted. As well, I am mindful of the need for providing safety for all concerned that otherwise might be at risk during times of heightened emotions.

If Luke wishes to do so, I support him continuing his education at Oregon State and rejoining the baseball team next season.

At Oregon State University, we are in the business of transforming lives and creating opportunity for each student. I have always believed that education is a path to a more meaningful, responsible and productive life for everyone. I believe that every individual should have the opportunity to get an education. Therefore, I have long supported the guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Education to allow individuals to register for college admission without revealing a prior criminal record, except in specific circumstances.

The position that OSU has taken on criminal records in regards to admissions is consistent with the U.S. Department of Education Fair Chance Higher Education Pledge signed by universities and organizations nationally, such as Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, the University of California System, the University of Washington, Google, Starbucks, Xerox and many more. In September 2016 alone, there were 61 higher education signatories to this pledge representing 172 individual campuses serving more than 1.8 million students. Certainly, individual universities have their own specific registration requirements in troublesome cases where public safety considerations may be involved. Clearly, OSU is not an outlier in its admissions policies.

For purposes of employment or volunteer work with OSU, background checks are required for anyone – including students – seeking critical or security-sensitive positions – such as working with minors. Separately, OSU also receives reports through the Oregon State Police (OSP) in Salem of registered sex offenders (RSOs) who attend our university. Upon being notified by OSP, Oregon State’s departments of Human Resources, Student Affairs and Public Safety share that information on a need-to-know basis with those OSU managers who meet with the student and otherwise take actions to mitigate any community risks that might result from an RSO attending the university. For example, RSOs cannot live in OSU residence halls on campus, and are prohibited from working with or having unsupervised contact with juveniles. We also require students with criminal backgrounds to reveal this history if it involves crimes that would limit where a student would be allowed to study such as within a College of Education school counseling degree or teacher preparation programs. Students in these kinds of programs are specifically background checked by other public agencies before having certain types of access with minors off campus.

While at OSU, Luke has been in good academic standing, his participation as a student-athlete has been positive, and his presence on the team has been in compliance with existing OSU policies.

Moving forward, I will discuss with university colleagues a review of our policies. This review should consider the possibility that some offenses and situations are so serious that we should no longer let such a student represent the university in athletic competition and other high-profile activities sponsored by the university by virtue of their offense. Such individuals could still enroll as a student in the university with appropriate risk mitigation. Any potential change in existing admission criteria will be implemented for students entering the university beginning in fall 2018.

The safety and security of OSU’s students will always be our paramount concern, and we will continue to review our policies to ensure that they are aligned with the best interests of the OSU community.

Sincerely,

Ed Ray

President

June 12, 2017 11:05 AM

PUBLIC TRUST

Only a dozen residents attended the May 22 Department of Environmental Quality Meeting regarding groundwater contamination of the Trainsong and River Road neighborhoods. This clearly is a message of either poor public notification or the apathy of residents whose private water wells have been tainted for 25 years. 

Since 1990, DEQ has been investigating groundwater and soil contamination from the Union Pacific Railroad rail yard in the Trainsong and River Road neighborhoods. DEQ's plan is to monitor 15 test water wells for five years and to manage risks to site workers through on site controls and deed restrictions.

The Public Trust Doctrine, in existence since the Roman Empire, states governments have a sovereign duty to protect the assets of the public. The natural resource contamination of groundwater and soils by Union Pacific Railroad violates this trust, and the DEQ has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the trust from substantial impairment and restore these assets to their original state.

The natural resources of Eugene are part of the reason we live here, and they should be protected for present and future generations. From herbicidal aerial spraying to polluting industrial practices, residents have a responsibility to demand protection of air, groundwater, soils, shores, waterways and watersheds.

Contact DEQ at Hanson.don@deq.state.or.us before June 15 to submit questions and comments.

 Jim Neu

Eugene