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August 12, 2015 04:45 PM

Rodeo is a sore point with many animal lovers, and for myself, I can't watch calf roping. But those who love to watch bull riding — one of the few animal sports where the non-human animal tends to win, a lot — will tell you that the bulls are well-cared for atheletes. 

This press releasse about Mick E Mouse just … well … let me just cut to the chase on why this is a "press release of the day."

To sum up: After a trip to Texas A&M and to a vet specialist diagnosed him with lypmphona, top bucking bull Mick E Mouse had to be put down (and that is sad). As Marlene Henry, the owner of the champion bull, puts it: "I don’t care if he was No. 1 in the PBR books, but he was to me. He can go to the rainbow bridges and be fat and sassy."

There is just something about bulls and rainbow bridges that makes me laugh a little.


PBR mourns loss of World Champion Bull contender Mick E Mouse 

PUEBLO, Colo. – PBR stock contractor Marlene Henry informed the PBR [Professional Bull Riders, not the beer] this afternoon [Aug. 11] that Mick E Mouse was put down today because of unforeseen medical complications.

Mick E Mouse suffered a slight fracture in his lower back during the event in Billings, Montana, earlier this year when he slipped as Nathan Schaper attempted to ride him during the 15/15 Bucking Battle. He was treated at Texas A&M for the injury and returned to his home – stock contractor Kevin Loudamy’s ranch in Brownsboro, Texas – to recover during the summer.

Henry expected Mick E Mouse to return to the Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) last weekend in Biloxi, Mississippi, but irregularities in his behavior in July led Henry and Loudamy to seek an additional opinion about his condition from renowned veterinarian Dr. Gary Warner. During the examination, Dr. Warner discovered that the athlete had developed a lesion on his back.

“We suspect that Mick E had a lymphoma lesion within his lumbar spine that caused an inability to properly be able to use his rear limbs.” Dr. Warner explained. “We tried to treat him, but he wasn’t responding so it was time to make that decision. It was a great loss for the sport. I really loved that old bull.”

It was not an easy decision for Henry, but she wanted to ensure that her prized bovine athlete would not be suffering anymore.

“Mick E is no longer in pain,” Henry said. “I will say it has not been all bad. It has been the greatest ride ever. I don’t care if he was No. 1 in the PBR books, but he was to me. He can go to the rainbow bridges and be fat and sassy.”

2015 was the 7-year-old bovine athlete’s fourth season on the BFTS where he remained unridden in 34 outs. He gathered 40 outs over his entire career without a single bull rider conquering him, leading him to the possibility of reaching or even surpassing a PBR record set by Bushwacker back in 2013 of 42 consecutive BFTS buckoffs.

The 2015 PBR World Champion Bull contender managed to buck off riders such as 2013 PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney, 2014 PBR Rookie of the Year J.W. Harris, 2008 PBR World Champion Guilherme Marchi and current No. 3 rider in the PBR world standings Matt Triplett. He also posted the top bull score of the 2015 BFTS season with 47 points out of 50 in Anaheim, California, against Harris.

According to probullstats.com, Mick E Mouse has acquired an average bull score of 44.76 points. The rider who was closest to hitting the 8-second mark atop this unridden bovine was Harris during the 2014 BFTS event in Thackerville, Oklahoma, but Mick E Mouse successfully tossed him in 7.47 seconds.

“Mick E Mouse was an extraordinary animal athlete with an incredible story behind his rise to fame.” said PBR CEO Sean Gleason. “He was one of those special bulls with the raw talent and a never quit attitude that made him virtually impossible to ride. It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to a remarkable bucking bull and the entire PBR organization is grieving with Ms. Henry and Mr. Loudamy as they have to deal with the loss.”

August 11, 2015 07:33 PM

Before Fred Taylor became one of the owners of Eugene Weekly, he was the managing editor and later the executive editor of the Wall Street Journal.

Earlier, as a reporter, he wrote many of the long, front-page features that made the WSJ famous, and his thoughts on writing news stories and the use of photography are quoted again and again in books and articles.

Over the years EW staff has reaped the benefits of his influence on this scrappy paper and its mission to make the world a better place. This week we mourn his  passing Aug. 10 at his home in North Bend.


August 10, 2015 02:29 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 01:00 PM

The city of Sutherlin is after your giant joints.

In early July, the tiny southern Oregon town of Sutherlin made the rounds on social media when a quirky gift shop, Magic Mushrooms Oregon Gifts, debuted a 27-foot sculpture of a joint to adorn the shop’s roof. The joint is visible from I-5 and blows real smoke from a smoke machine inside the shop. Now, the city of Sutherlin has decided to bring it down for code violations, despite the multiple mushrooms scultures already prominently displayed on the shop's roof.

In a letter obtained by EW from city of Sutherlin employee Vicki Luther to Magic Mushrooms Oregon Gifts owners Linda and Harry Pinsent, the city notifies the Pinsents that “the type of sign recently placed at the subject location is considered a roof sign,” and “a roof sign is not listed as a permitted sign in the C-3 zoning district [Section 3.7.260] and is not listed as one of the exempt signs.”

The letter goes on, “Therefore, the recent roof sign placed atop the commercial building is not a permitted sign in the C-3 zone of the Development Code and has to be removed from the property within 30 days of the date of this letter [July 21].”

After receiving the letter, Harry Pinsent says he was "not too happy, that's for sure." He says he feels the letter "goes against freedom of speech. It's art, and the city is saying it's a sign. It's not a sign, and there's no wording on it."

Pinsent says he put the joint on top of his shop to celebrate recreational marijuana legalization on July 1. He says despite having had several other sculptures on top of his building for 15 years, the city has never requested that he remove them.

A change.org petition is circulating online to save the giant joint from removal, because “they are only targeting this one particular sculpture for breaking code … The fact they aren’t enforcing the code on other businesses, or even on the 10-foot tall mushroom sculptures that have topped the Oregon Gifts shop for approximately 15 years, shows that this is an attack based on political views of the council members, and not the code itself.”

The petition currently has 848 supporters, 152 signatures away from its goal of 1,000. Check out the petition here.

August 4, 2015 01:16 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 01:00 PM

The Oregon Center for Public Policy has a new analysis of poverty levels in Oregon broken down by race. Click on the graph for a link to the story.

August 4, 2015 10:52 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.

August 3, 2015 01:01 PM

Thirteen activists were the only thing stopping Royal Dutch Shell's MSV Fennica icebreaker, in Portland for repairs before sailing back to the Arctic to assist in drilling for oil. Suspended and tethered to one another while hanging from the iconic St. Johns Bridge as part of a Greenpeace aerial blockade of the Willamette River, the Greenpeace activists were accompanied by “kayaktavists,” who started a 24-hour watch in the adjacent Cathedral Park.

Greenpeace-organized activists took the bridge around 3 am, July 29, suspending themselves from the bridge about 100 feet up to stop the Fennica from departing the nearby Vigor Industrial ship repair yard.

Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard says that the “climbers” had enough food and supplies to last them for days; however, the climbers wouldn't make it more than two days before authorities ended the standoff by slowly herding the kayaktavists, using threats of a mass arrest as well as trying to hook kayaks with gaffs away from beneath the bridge before going to remove the climbers so the ship could pass without killing or maiming anyone.

The kayaktavists and climbers did get a boost from Portland Rising Tide member Jonah Majure, who locked his neck to the nearby Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge with a U-lock — forcing authorities to cut him loose before the bridge could raise and allow the Fennica's passage to the St. Johns Bridge.

Majure stands accused of criminal trespass, according to the Oregonian.

A group of protesters, with myself in tow, drove to the railroad bridge to provide assistance but were thwarted by the Portland Police Bureau, who had cut off the bridge's access points. I decided to go on my own and headed back to the road leading away from the bridge, but a Burlington Northern rail police truck appeared and threatened to arrest myself and 31-year-old Portland Rising Tide and Iraq Veterans Against the War member Ary Lavallee.

Lavallee, who moved to Portland from Boston, had also driven from Cathedral Park to the rail bridge.

Lavallee drove his truck in reverse away from the narrow road leading to the bridge as I ran behind his truck to keep away from the rail police truck as it advanced and gave orders over a loudspeaker. I assumed Lavallee was there for similar reasons, so he offered to get me out of there. I jumped in and we fled the immediate area. Lavallee was on the river at times and was also helping the kayaktavists in a support role.

The authorities, which counted the Coast Guard as well as several different flavors of Portland area law enforcement agencies along with the Oregon State police, were acting “very aggressively” and were “corralling, pushing and threatening people” in their attempts to clear the Willamette, says 49-year-old self-described Earth protector and community-supported organizer Carlo Voli, who came down from Washington to offer his assistance.

A Multnomah County Sheriff's boat ran over a kayaker, creating quite a stir as the video made rounds through the news and social media.

Portland vs. Shell organizer Antonio Zamora says he was detained twice by the Coast Guard, and the second time he was charged with “a federal misdemeanor.”

“The Coast Guard and Oregon State Police were brutal and broke laws today for the Shell boat Fennica,” writes kayaktavist Gregory Sotir.

A number of people on the Willamette were detained but not arrested or cited. “The Coast Guard came up next to me, requested I move back. I did not. They requested again, and I did not. Then they pulled me up into their boat,” says Chris Kutruff. “They were completely professional, and I wasn't injured in any way.”

Kutruff was released a short time later. “I couldn't be more proud of Portland,” says Kutruff, a 27-year-old who grew up in Southern California.

Connor DeVane was in a double kayak with a friend, and they were on the water standing against the Fennica. He says a private security boat escorting the Fennica collided with them. “We took on water and capsized,” DeVane says.

The kayaktavists' safety boat pulled up alongside and tried to use a bilge pump to get the kayak back into action, but the Coast Guard came and “detained the girl in the safety boat” and a Multnomah County Sheriff boat pulled up “and asked us to climb into the boat. They were extremely friendly,” DeVane says. But DeVane, a 23-year-old from New Orleans, also says that “the fight's not over.”

“It was beautiful to watch,” Voli says regarding the combined efforts of everyone involved in the protest against the Fennica. “It was just incredibly inspiring to watch so many kayaktavists out on the water really throwing down and not caring about the consequences or legal implications.”

July 29, 2015 12:00 PM

The University of Oregon is jumping into the earthquake fray. What earthquake fray, you ask?

On a recent trip to the Oregon coast, a certain EW reporter found herself mentally planning evacuation routes and nervously eyeing the coastline, imagining tidal waves of unrealistic proportions crashing down on her.

Although I've been reporting on the Cascadia Subduction Zone mega-earthquake and subsequent tsunami since 2011, The New Yorkerstory "The Really Big One" has everyone and their dog nervously chittering about the unholy doom predicted to rain down on the Pacific Northwest. 

Seriously, folks, we've got talking head physicist Michio Kaku telling Fox News that he'd "think twice" about living in the Pacific Northwest if he had children. Emergency preparedness kits are selling like hotcakes in Seattle. People are quibbling over the meaning of "toast."

Kathryn Schulz, the author of the New Yorker story, wrote a follow-up this week, "How to Stay Safe When the Big One Comes," in an attempt to provide some actionable information to her panicked readers.

And now, the UO is hosting its own info session to discuss earthquake hazards in the Pacific Northwest. The panel includes UO geologists Rebecca Dorsey and Douglas Toomey, as well as Oregon State University researcher Chris Goldfinger, who was prominently featured in Schulz's story.

It's sure to be a rollicking good time with science, risk mitigation and hopefully only a little bit of panic. Head over to Room 156 of Straub Hall, 1451 Onyx St., 7-9 pm next Thursday, Aug. 6. Admission is free.

July 23, 2015 01:52 PM

New York Times story this week casts doubts on Republican claims that more logging reduces wildfire risk. Proposed legislation could actually exacerbate fire danger. Click on the art to link to the story.

July 23, 2015 01:29 PM

Portlandia takes on a serious medical condition normally associated with aging, but also affects even some young adults you might know.

July 21, 2015 11:17 AM

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July 21, 2015 12:38 PM

OK, all you lovers of wild things, here's an opportunity to show some creativity. Check out this Oregon Zoo video.

July 17, 2015 11:38 AM

Army vet and local UO student Shawn McMurtrey is carrying on a project he started as a student in an environmenatl justice class at UO taught by Shane Hall. He's gathering signatures for a petition to stop the attempt by Nestle to buy water rights at Cascade Locks on the Columbia River Gorge watershed. Click on the map to link to the petition.