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EW! A Blog.

January 4, 2013 11:55 AM

Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE) and Community Supported Shelters will assemble two conestoga huts at 2 pm Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, 3925 Hilyard St. in Eugene. Two houseless people who have been chosen to use the first Conestoga Huts will participate in their assembly.


The city of Eugene recently approved the simple, waterproof 6’ X 10’ conestoga huts as part of St. Vincent de Paul’s Car Camping Program.  Episcopal Church has volunteered to be the first host site for two huts.


Speakers at the event will include Dan Bryant, OVE Board chairman and Pastor of First Christian Church; Michael Carrigan, OVE Steering Committee member and community organizer for Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) and a representative from the church.


People interested in helping construct the shelters or contributing cash or materials are invited to the event. Or checks can be sent made out to St. Vincent de Paul, designated for OVE and mailed to CALC, 458 Blair Blvd., Eugene 97402. Include an address so receipts can be mailed back. Phone number for more information is 606-3480 and the website is www.conestogahuts.org


Materials (new or used) needed include 1-inch cedar or Douglas fir planks, pressure-treated posts, 2X4s and 2X6s, 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch plywood, doors and hardware, pier blocks, etc.

January 3, 2013 04:48 PM

The latest update, sent from Safe Legally Entitled Places to Sleep (SLEEPS) at 2:38 pm:

SLEEPS pitches tents at the Trude Kaufman House today to highlight the fact that the city has allowed the historic home, donated to provide services to low income seniors, to lie dormant while 1500 unhoused people are out in the freezing weather.  The Kaufman home was operated as a senior center until December 2010 and lain dormant since, eating up it’s trust fund while it does nothing to serve the community.

The abandoned Trude Kaufman Senior Center is located at 10th and Jefferson in Eugene.

The closing of the Community Gardens, the failure to use the Kaufman house are all signs of the lack of the will on the part of the City to provide for those who are most vulnerable.

December 28, 2012 03:03 PM

SLEEPS press release:

GSA and DHS intend to prosecute SLEEPS protestors who remain after 11:00 PM tonight
On December 10 charges against Emily Semple were dismissed by the federal government "in the interest of justice".  In July Semple had defied an order, which she considered unlawful, to stop protesting and depart the Federal Plaza at 7th and Pearl.  Today GSA and DHS have put Semple and other protestors on notice that anyone staying to protest after 11PM tonight will be arrested.....for the same charges that the government recently dismissed "in the interest of justice".
What has changed about "justice" in the last two weeks?
SLEEPS was advised this morning that anyone remaining to protest after 11PM at the Federal Plaza this evening will be charged with trespass and arrested.  SLEEPS, through its affiliate OCCUPY and two individual protestors, currently have filed a complaint with GSA over an earlier ouster of the groups.  Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center filed an Injunction and an emergency Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) over the first eviction.  On Friday Judge Ann Aiken denied the emergency TRO.  The government is required to file a response to the Injunction by January 2 with a response from plaintiffs due January 16.
Judge Aiken's stated reason for denying the emergency TRO while awaiting appropriate filings on the longer Injunction was that there is no "emergency" as there are sufficient other places for protestors to protest.  SLEEPS asks, where?
SLEEPS protestors have now been denied the right to protest 8 times in the past few weeks: three times at the Lane County owned Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza; once at City Hall’s parking lot (City Hall is chain link fenced in and Free Speech Plaza is on the property housing the Mayor and Council offices and meeting space); twice at Federal Plaza; once at the New Wayne Morse Federal Courthouse and once at the city owned Community Gardens.  Historically, City Hall, the Federal Plaza and Free Speech Plaza have been "the" sites for free speech, the traditional public forums of Eugene.  Alll have weathered overnight protests.  Why is SLEEPS being denied the right to protest?  Is it because all of the protestors remaining 24/7 are unhoused people?  Are they being discriminated against on the basis of socio-economic prejudices?  Why is JUST THIS GROUP required to get a permit while others are allowed to protest without being instructed to get one?
The mere requirement of a permit is unconstitutional.  The County and Federal Governments require that a permit be filed 48 hours in advance in order to protest against the government.  Even when permitted, they require that protestors leave at either 5PM or 11PM and protest only on weekdays, depending on the site.  Article I Section 8 of the Oregon Constitution specifically forbids the government to “restrict” or “restrain” free speech.  Saying protest hours are restricted to before a certain time is a clear “restriction” and thus unconstitutional. The idea of filing two days in advance to ask the government for permission to protest against it is such an flagrant restraint it hardly bears further discussion.
This level of free speech obstruction is frightening. 
Another serious question concerns Department of Homeland Services (DHS) and Eugene Police Deparmtnet (EPD).  They are both aware that a judge appeared to be about to rule against GSA on the Semple case.  Since the government, sensing defeat, dismissed the charges against Semple "in the interest of justice", DHS had declined making further arrests of SLEEPS protestors who have remained in defiance of GSA's policies for the same charges as the Semple case.  Our understanding is that to do otherwise would be to knowingly obey an unlawful order.  Why is DHS now willing to risk obeying what they think is an unlawful order?  Why has EPD been willing to issue orders that the courts have indicated may be unlawful?
Why have Eugene's three traditional protest sites, City Hall, Free Speech Plaza and the Federal Plaza all been shut down to SLEEPS?  Who will they shut down next?
The right to protest is fundamental to a democracy.  As JFK once noted, once you take away a people’s right to protest, all that is left is revolution.  The unhoused in this community continue to be denied shelter, continue to be prosecuted on ludicrous charges such as "theft of services" for plugging in a cell phone or "criminal trespass 2" for leaning against a building while standing on a public sidewalk.  They have many good reasons to protest. As JFK said, quashing protests leaves few options to those with grievances.  The conduct of the federal, county and city officials should be of concern to all citizens.
December 28, 2012 06:44 PM


SLEEPS was notified at 5:30 tonight [Dec. 28] that the Government Services Agency (GSA) has determined that instead of blocking SLEEPS First Amendment rights tonight at 11 as previously planned, they are giving twenty four hours notice and will not evict until  11 pm Saturday December 29.

SLEEPS is planning a Saturday night 10:30 pm  candlelight vigil for all those who are unhoused and unable to sleep safely in Eugene in Lane County due to the "anti-camping" regulations which are really "anti-sleeping" regulatioins and in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

Stay tuned for more complete information regarding legal basis, flip-flop of government on what constitutes the "interest of justice" as well as more information on Saturday's vigil and the probable arrest of Emily Semple.

December 27, 2012 11:49 AM

Most of the journalists I know do sit around talking about the news. But we don't sit around talking like the news, even the NPR folks, which is too bad because I would love it if everyone walked around talking like All Things Considered or Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.

December 26, 2012 06:04 PM

The Idle No More movement that has swept across Canada is taking root in Oregon as well, with a flashmob Dec. 23 at Portland's Pioneer Place mall and another round dance flashmob planned for 5 pm Dec. 29 at Eugene's Valley River Center. A Facebook page organizing the VRC flashmob says singers will begin at 5 pm in the middle of the mall and says for participants to gather round, dance and support when the singing begins and to part ways when it ends. 

Idle No More is a campaign for indigenous rights, sovereignty and environmental justice that began in Canada in part as a response to Canada's omnibus bill C-45 that "amends the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Canada Labour Code" according to Indian Country Today. The bill passed the Canadian Senate on Dec. 14. The Idle No More movement however is more than just that legislation, according to the INM website. The Idle No More manifesto says, in part:

The state of Canada has become one of the wealthiest countries in the world by using the land and resources. Canadian mining, logging, oil and fishing companies are the most powerful in the world due to land and resources. Some of the poorest First Nations communities (such as Attawapiskat) have mines or other developments on their land but do not get a share of the profit. The taking of resources has left many lands and waters poisoned – the animals and plants are dying in many areas in Canada. We cannot live without the land and water. We have laws older than this colonial government about how to live with the land.

Among the environmental concerns brought up by the new legislation are the tar sands, fossil fuel pipelines and other mining.

In addition to the rallies and flashmobs that have brought attention to the movement, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence began a hunger strike on Dec. 11, drinking only fish broth and medicinal tea. She has announced she will not eat until there is a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a representative of the queen of England to address the broken relationship with indigenous peoples and treaty rights.

Democracy Now featured an interview with Idle No More Spokeswoman Pamela Palmater Dec. 26. 

December 19, 2012 12:21 AM

Payback for DDT? Eagles cleaning up what the stork dropped in some sort of avian circle of life? This video (going viral in 3-2-1 already there) of a golden eagle baby snatching is going to horrify parents and make the rest of us giggle … and duck every time a bird of prey swoops overhead.

Deadspin put it quite nicely:

Has anyone tried to warn us of the impending giant fucking eagle menace? Is this merely the first warning shot? We must be vigilant, or else the giant fucking eagles of the world will make off with all of our children. BUT ONLY IF WE LET THEM.

 The slow-motion portion set to music is really what makes the video


Some YouTube commenters are calling this a fake, but this is not the first time eagles have attacked small children or full grown humans for that matter. But it is perhaps the first time it was set to the theme music from Chariots of Fire. 


Fakery confirmed, darn it.


December 19, 2012 11:20 AM

December 18, 2012 03:21 PM

Below is a joint statement from a collection of U.N. experts on the rights of migrants worldwide. The word "states" refers primarily to nation states.

On a day like today, we unite our voices to recognize the invaluable contributions that millions of migrants across the world make daily to create better living conditions for everyone. Even though participating in our societies, the other side of the story is that simply for being migrants, millions are victims of discrimination, xenophobia and a myriad of violations against their human rights. It is because of this that today, on International Migrants Day, we reaffirm that human rights are rights for all persons. In this sense, a real commitment by States regarding the human rights of migrants requires the full recognition of migrants as rights holders. Human rights are derived from human dignity and not from national origin or migratory status.


In the current context, we reiterate our concern regarding the tendency of some states to criminalize irregular migration. Crossing a border without the required documentation or overstaying a visa is not per se a crime, but rather at most, an administrative offence.


Measures that criminalize irregular migration include the enactment of laws that penalize migrants in an irregular situation and persons that assist migrants; the use of excessive and disproportionate force during migration control operations; the detention of migrants in an irregular situation; deportations without procedural guarantees; and also xenophobic statements in which authorities and the media encourage the stigmatization of migrants. In addition to being contrary to human rights and increasing the vulnerability of migrants, these measures have not been proven effective in deterring irregular migration.


In this sense, we express our deep concern for the increasing use of detention of migrants by some states. This situation is of even greater concern because detention is often applied to children. Respect for the right to liberty and security of person implies that liberty is the rule and detention, the exception. States have the obligation to establish a presumption in favor of liberty in domestic law. The automatic, mandatory or punitive use of migrant detention not only violates migrants' right to liberty, but also affects others of their human rights. The exceptionality of administrative detention of migrants also applies to asylum seekers, refugees, stateless persons and other persons in need of international protection. We call on States to gradually abolish the administrative detention of migrants and establish alternative measures to detention, applying a human rights based approach.


By celebrating International Migrants Day, we reaffirm that the protection of the human rights of migrants requires the adoption of various measures by states. In this context, we call on states to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, as well as other international and regional human rights treaties. In parallel to ratifying these instruments, States should guarantee that their policies, laws and practices on migration conform to their international human rights obligations.”


This joint statement has been subscribed on Dec. 18, 2012, on International Migrants Day by François Crépeau, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants; Abdelhamid El Jamri, chair of the U.N. Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW); Felipe Gonzalez, Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS); Maya Sahli Fadel, Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) of the African Union (AU).

December 17, 2012 05:27 PM

If you missed punk rock Massachusetts-Irish band Dropkick Murphys at the McDonald Theatre last month then you missed the live performance of what is my favorite Christmas song this year: "The Season's Upon Us."

December 14, 2012 06:01 PM

The Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza was ordered closed Dec. 11 by Lane County Administrator Liane Richardson after  Occupy Eugene offshoot, Eugene SLEEPS (Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep), which has been campaigning for safe places for the homeless to sleep, staged a protest there. Eugene SLEEPS is asking people to write letters in response to statements from Richardson  that indicate her belief the homeless protesters created a need for the plaza to be  "disinfected." In a recent press release, SLEEPS said: "Ms. Richardson grossly misled the public with her untrue allegations that SLEEPS campers had destroyed the lobby desk and bathrooms so that she could justify shutting down the plaza to protests."

SLEEPS is asking that Richardson apologize and the Free Speech Plaza reopened:

Ms. Richardson has stooped to a new low in perpetuating stereotypes and hate mongering toward the unhoused. Her allegations that SLEEPS damaged the lobby and bathrooms of the County Building and pooped in the planters are ridiculous and insulting and have been contradicted by county employees and SLEEPS date and time stamped photos.

These comments represent a phobic response to those who are unhoused, and the closure of the plaza has violated their (and everyone else in Lane County) constitutional right to gather and address their grievances at this landmark protest site.

Richardson made the statement about feces in planters to a gathering of protesters and news media on Dec. 13. The R-G reports "The plaza’s surface did not appear to have been fouled or littered during the demonstration earlier this week."

Eugene activist Alley Valkyrie was among those who returned to the plaza after the closure and elected to be arrested to assert her First Amendment rights. According to SLEEPS, Valkyrie has twice sucessfully challenged the city in free speech and rights issues related to the unhoused.  The group thanked Eugene police for their professionalism.

The emails from Richardson are below. For more information on Eugene SLEEPS go to http://eugenesleeps.org


Tuesday Dec. 11

Commissioners, I wanted to let you know what we are doing with the Free Speech Plaza and the campers who are present.EPD officers are sharing with the campers our Administrative rules, which prohibit camping or camping-like activities in the plaza, as well as the expectation that speech activities will not occur between 11pm and 6am.  They are informing the campers and others present that they are in violation of our rules regarding the use of that area.  The area has rules for usage so that all people are free to use the plaza, and to ensure the health and safety of all of our residents and guests.   We are hoping that by informing the campers of these rules, they will voluntarily comply with our requests to cease and desist from prohibited behavior.   We are in close contact with Eugene staff as well as our own staff, who have reported damage to the Volunteer booth downstairs, theft from and damage to our restrooms, and complaints from visitors to the courthouse and PSB that they do not feel safe.  The sanitary conditions of the restrooms are of great concern, as we do not have the staff to keep up with the mess that is being created.   I have begun the process of temporarily closing the plaza if health and safety concerns remain after these contacts and requests for voluntary compliance.  I will keep you updated.


Wednesday, Dec. 12


At this time, all campers are gone from the Plaza.  We have one individual sitting there with a sign saying he won’t eat until there is housing for the homeless, but otherwise the Plaza is empty.  We will be barricading off the lower area until we can get a cleanup crew in to clean and disinfect the area; most likely through the end of this week and possibly into the weekend.


December 13, 2012 03:44 PM

The Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep (SLEEPS) folks are challenging the closure of free speech plaza — a fence is now closing off the free speech plaza to prevent more protesting. (Would you like some paprika to sprinkle on that irony?) At least one protester has been cited. Here is the latest SLEEPS press release we've received; we'll be updating if we hear more:

12:30 pm Thursday, Dec. 13:

SLEEPS will return to FREE SPEECH PLAZA at 1PM today, Thursday, to challenge the unconstitutional closing of the plaza in response to the SLEEPS protest there December 10-12.  County Administrator Liann Richardson ordered the plaza closed Tuesday Dec. 11 at 11 PM citing that it was for the purpose of public safety, closing it to everyone in the public.   "This is preposterous.  The county is denying every single Eugenian access to this protest site, a blatant affront of every single individual's First Amendment Rights.  Suggesting that because unhoused people have been in the area that there is a "biohazard" is the most atrocious stereotypical hatemongering possible," said one of the protestors.  
Hippies and others hang out in this area all the time.  Across the street Saturday market has potties and food sales every weekend.   Have we ever seen those areas closed down as a public safety issue?  The unhoused at Free Speech Plaza used public toilets, cooked no food and both maintained and left the space immaculate as numerous television and print media photos and videos document.
"It is clear that the county will use any excuse to keep those who are unhoused from being able to have their voices herd.  I feel like I'm back in the sixties when people who are black were blocked from public spaces and denied their civil rights.  Hopefully EDP will not allow themselves to be used as a tool in the preposterous closing of Free Speech Plaza on public safety issue.  It is obvious this is a disengenious attempt to deny us our first amendment rights, said another protestor." 

4:01 pm Thursday, Dec. 13:

Here's a press release from EPD:

A group of about 50 people moved illegally into the closed Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza, 125 E. 8th Avenue. The plaza had been closed by the Lane County Administrator on December 11, 2012 at 11 p.m. and was still closed for cleaning.
Today, the group that was trespassing was advised by the county administrator that if they did not leave the closed area, they would be subject to arrest. Time was provided for those who wished to leave. All but one person voluntarily left. Cited in lieu of custody and released at around 2:15 p.m.  was Alley Valkyrie, age 30, of Eugene. She has been charged with Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree.
Over the past few days, the City of Eugene has been proactively reaching out to organizers of this group, to help them safely engage in constitutionally-protected free speech while also enforcing laws, protecting the safety and freedom of others, and minimizing community disruption and the impact to public resources.
December 12, 2012 12:17 PM

Cottage Theatre will be hosting open auditions for their musical adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel, The Secret Garden, at 1pm Saturday, Jan. 12, and and callbacks will be at 6 pm Sunday, Jan. 13. Auditions will be held at the theatre (700 Village Dr., Cottage Grove)

The theatre is looking for large cast: two children (ages 10-14), two teens/young adults (one male, one female) and 15-20 adults (all ages and genders). Bring your singing voice, director Peg Major is looking for a stellar adult chorus to play a large part in the production, which will run for four weekends from April 12 to May 5, 2013.

Actors are expected to prepare a short song from any musical for the auditions. Accompanist provided. For more information, visit www.cottagetheatre.com or call 541-942-8001.