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December 8, 2017 04:28 PM

After allegations came out that Bethany Sherman of OG Analytical is involved with white supremacist groups, Sherman told several news outlets that she was stepping down from her CEO position at the company and said she would sell the business. But sources inside the company say she instead fired all the employees and may not be resigning at all.

An ex-employee of OG Analytical who wishes to remain anonymous for her own safety says she and the entire staff were fired on Wednesday, Dec. 6 after a confrontation at the office. “We all met,” the source says. “It sounded like she was going to step down, she sent out a text that she was going to resign.”

But when Sherman arrived at the office to sign over operations to another employee, the ex-employee says “She was screaming emotionally out of control, I was talking firmly that she had put us all in danger and buried herself with what she sent to The Oregonian.” This account was corroborated in an Oregonianinterview with Rodger Voelker of OG Analytical.

That recent Oregonianarticle quoted Sherman saying, “I admit, I am proud that I am white, and I'm not ashamed of my heritage,” though she says she’s not a part of any neo-Nazi organization. Her beliefs were made public after a Eugene Antifa and Rose City Antifa article was published tying Sherman and her partner to messages in a Discord chat group and to two Twitter accounts that espouse white nationalist beliefs.

Before these allegations came out, Sherman was seen by many in the cannabis community as a woman leader, but her personal beliefs did not match the façade, according to the ex-employee. “I mean she was showcasing as a feminist, but she’s not, she’s mad about the feminist movement.”

The ex-employee at OG Analytical says she was surprised by Sherman’s white supremacist views coming out, but now says she looks back and sees some signs. She says she is considering filing complaints about some of Sherman’s work practices with Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI).

The source says she’s afraid for her life after the confrontation on Wednesday. “They’re radicals, you can’t put anything past these guys,” she says. “I’m literally looking for an AR [-15] pointed at my head when I’m walking around.”
“I’m sure there’s more of her in our community than we’re aware of,” the ex-employee says. ““I’m just not feeling like I can trust anybody.”

Sherman did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

In response to the Sherman debacle, Christina Ketchum of GreenSea Distribution has pulled together a statement of nondiscrimination by Eugene and Portland area cannabis businesses to “ address the recent news our local cannabis industry has been presented with.”

December 7, 2017 03:19 PM

Eugene Weeklyis getting reports the local cannabis store Eugene OG has been been getting harrassing phone calls, messages and Google reviews based on the assumption Eugene OG is linked to OG Analytical. One of OG Analytical's owners, Bethany Sherman, has annouced she is resigning and selling the company after a web report by several antifa groups, including Rose City Antifa and Eugene Antifa, exposed Sherman as having white supremacist views.

Eugene OG tells EW in a statement that "Eugene OG is in no way affiliated with or shares ownership with the testing lab 'OG Analytical,' despite the similarity of our names."

A quick glance at Eugene OG's Google listing shows the store has a growing number of people asking questions such as "Why does this business support Nazis"" And "Why does the owner hate people of color."

Eugene OG has tried to clarify it is not affiliated with OG Analytical and questions then ask why the company is selling products tested by OG Analytical. 

OG Analytical is one of only three labs listed on the Oregon Health Authority website that are based in Eugene. As of this time, it does not appear other cannabis businesses in the area are being queried online via Google reviews if they are affiliated with OG Analytical. According to The Oregonian, when the employeees of OG Analytical found out about Sherman's views they "angrily confronted her."

December 6, 2017 03:03 PM

Following an explosive anonymous report by Eugene Antifa, Rose City Antifa and PNW Antifacist Workers' Collective exposing Bethany Sherman of Eugene-based OG Analytical and her husband Matthew Combs as alleged white supremacists, Sherman said in a statement to The Oregonian that she is stepping down and selling the company.  

 

In the article, “Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Blackhat: The Nazis in Your Neighborhood,” the anonymous antifa writers say they got access to logs from an app called Discord, commonly used by gamers, but apparently also used by neo-Nazis.

 

Using those logs, as well as photos and research on Twitter and social media, the antifa groups lay out a damning case with their allegations against Combs and Sherman. “Combs acts not only as an organizer for American Patriots Brigade, but he serves as a primary organizing leader for the individuals and groups participating in the server. He aims to bring white nationalists together in the region with the goal of establishing a whites only homeland in the Pacific Northwest,” they write.

 

The group shows a tweet from “Mrs. Blackhat” from an account they tie to Sherman, in which she says things like, “Jimmy I love how you always take the high ground no matter how much shit these libtards sling.”

 

The Jimmy in question is Springfield-based white supremacist Jimmy Marr, who tweets as @genocidejimmy.

 

In a Twitter chat, the "Blackhat" article shows an image of, she praises a love swastika sticker Marr created from a diversity emblem and offers to change the wording so “It doesn’t say stupid shit like we are all one race.”

 

The article has photos that the writers say are of Combs sieg heiling with Marr in front of his house, which is adorned with signs reading “The Holocaust is Hokum.”

 

Eugene Weekly contacted Sherman after seeing the “Blackhat” story. While she did not deny the allegations, she did threaten legal action if EW wrote about the story.

 

 

She writes:

“Thanks for reaching out. I'm incredibly shocked and appalled by all of this. I would love to meet with you to discuss, but this is a very sensitive matter; I've retained legal counsel and am waiting to receive advice back from my lawyer about how to handle communications around this event. We're taking this matter very seriously in a legal regard, and I have to ask and advise you and the Eugene Weekly to refrain from publishing any information about this article or anything else regarding me, my family, or my company until we've addressed the matter internally. As I'm sure you're aware, this article and any further attention to it puts me, my family, and my company at risk of financial loss.” 

 

While she denied being a “neo-Nazi” to The Oregonian, the statement she issued speaks as to where Sherman stands on white supremacy.

 

I find it extremely disconcerting that it is admired and revered to have "Gay Pride," "Black Pride," "Asian Pride," or pride in any other cultural heritage, but if you have "White Pride," it automatically makes you a Nazi, and you are ostracized, attacked, and lynched by your community. I admit, I am proud that I am white, and I'm not ashamed of my heritage. And I admit that I have been so conditioned to feel shame about this pride that I discreetly sought community where I could. 

 

The full statement is here, and Sherman also details the good she says she has done in the community and denies discrimination. “Neither myself, nor my company has in any way acted in a discriminatory fashion against anyone for their race, religion, politics, gender identity, sexual orientation, social class, disability or other,” she says.

 

EW, which has written in the past about Sherman and OG Analytical, has reached out to Sherman for further comment on the allegations as well as to Rose City Antifa, which sent the paper the story.

 

In the bio of the Twitter account the writers link to Sherman, they say Sherman describes herself as “"#nationalist mommy. Our children deserve to be raised in a wholesome environment free of oppression against whites.”

December 4, 2017 02:20 PM

With humor, love and a deep well of obscenity, the Kinsey Sicks’ Things You Shouldn’t Say blows the roof off the house. These performers combine gorgeous harmonies with wit and shtick and silliness, and something more, too — with story, revealing history and biography, of themselves, the group and the long, painful struggle for gay rights.

Sure, they’re funny, and of course they’re talented. But in this show they challenge us to a new understanding. It’s time to witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational Dragapella Quartet.

There are so many things you shouldn’t say that Kinsey Sicks talk about openly and with great gusto; it’s delicious, and when they shared moments personal — and universal —it was especially poignant to hear at Oregon Contemporary Theatre, in Eugene, Oregon, on World AIDS Day.

The Kinsey Sicks bring the past to the present. This hatred? Bigotry? We’ve been here before.

The troupe offers solace, commitment, leading the charge to put the “rage” in outrageous — they welcome all to the flock of weirdos and delinquents, a ragtag group of freaks that this cis ally is honored to join. They’re made-up with pastels and boas and painted eyebrows, and because they’ve lived through vile hatred, and they’re still smiling, still creating, still loving, they’re each more “man” than most straight men will ever be.

I walked away from the performance with a new sense of humanness, an inclusion that’s made possible when we let down our guards. Aristotle notes that humor weakens defenses. We could all learn a thing or two from the Sicks — and their founders, and their communities.

Thank goodness, the Kinsey Sicks are here to stay.

The Kinsey Sicks played Nov. 30 – Dec. 2, at Oregon Contemporary Theatre.

December 1, 2017 05:38 PM

A proposed logging project could affect thousands of acres of land that Friends of the Douglas-Fir National Monument is trying to protect. The public can comment on the project until Dec. 4.

The logging project, called the Hwy 46 Project, seeks to trim, thin and burn select forest areas in the Breitenbush Watershed, approximately 6 miles northeast of Detroit, Oregon. In addition to improving stand growth, the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) says the project aims to reduce hazardous fuels and restore sugar pine population, as well as produce forest products for the local economy.

“Restoration thinning does provide logs and jobs in the forests and the mills,” David Stone, president of Friends of the Douglas-Fir National Monument says. “We aren’t opposed to the timber industry making money and thinning projects allow that to happen. As long as the purpose of the thinning is to set the forest back on path to becoming a natural forest.”

The group has not yet officially proposed the national monument, but says it fears the logging will homogenize the forest, open more avenues for invasive species and create swathes of damaged land. “Natural forests are all intact,” Stone says. “When you clear cut you create these patches of damaged tree stands. And when you get endangered species in a forest they don’t do well when their habitat is all cut up into patches.”

Three potential paths are outlined in the DEIS. Alternative one is to do nothing, letting the forest sort itself out. The DEIS provides projections for the impact not intervening in the forest will have. Alternative two — which the DEIS supports — includes allowing commercial logging of fire regenerated areas.

“Alternative two doesn’t allow the forest to be what it wants to be,” Stone says. “We want the protection of stream buffers. If they do re-planting, they need to vary the species … natural forests don’t grow one species, all in a line, all the same age.”

Alternative three, which the Friends conditionally support, allows for the logging of 2,652 acres of land — exempting “virgin natural forests” from logging — compared to the proposed plan, which calls for treating 3,515 acres in total.

“Friends of Douglas-fir National Monument is supportive of scientifically sound, ecological restoration thinning of plantations, where thinning will accelerate the return of a more diverse, natural forest,” Friends of the Douglas-Fir National Monument wrote in an alert. “However, we are adamantly opposed to any logging in virgin natural forests.”

Anyone interested in participating has until Dec. 4 to comment on the process at cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=47109

November 22, 2017 12:02 PM

Last weekend was the first time a protest directly affected me. Driving back into the city from a school field trip, we encountered a traffic jam. I assumed it was rush hour traffic and didn’t worry. However, after 15 minutes had gone by and we had moved mere inches, a feeling of restlessness swept over the bus.

We were, according to our maps, 5 minutes away from our drop-off point. We looked out the windows, and I saw more people than I have ever seen at one time. Hundreds of thousands of people had filled the city to demand the release of eight former Catalan government officials. This was the first pro-independence protest I had seen since the declaration of independence on Oct. 27 and proved that the Catalan independence movement was still going strong.

Some estimated that 1,000 cars had driven into Barcelona that day. Combined with two main streets closing, this had created a huge traffic jam throughout the whole city. 

Despite the strikes and protests, the city is still very busy and touristy areas are filled with people. A few city-wide general strikes have been called, and these can briefly interrupt daily life, but I’m always impressed that most things can go on as normal.

The movement is huge and the desire for independence is strong, but the commitment to being peaceful is even more powerful. It is interesting to compare this movement, the top political drama in Spain, with some of the political debates in the U.S.. In my Spanish class the other day, my teacher brought up the debate over gun control in the U.S. In her opinion, the independence movement would be a lot more dangerous if everyone was allowed to have guns.

I still get most of my news from teachers and the people in my program. Occasionally, I will get notifications from my U.S. CNN app, but only when something really big happens. There is not a lot of coverage of the protests or the minor events in the U.S. news outlets I follow. This is too bad, because what is happening is really a big deal and more people should know what is happening.

The Spanish government has denied the Catalan people their voice and their right to democracy. Even if I believe that Catalan independence is not the right solution, those who are pro-independence deserve the right to express their opinions and vote on issues that are important to them.

At the beginning of the semester, I though the protests would only last until the vote on Oct. 1, and after that things would die down and the protests would fade away. However, the pro-independence movement has been very resilient and people keep pushing for their rights. I am impressed with their determination and it appears that the political unrest will last for the rest of the semester. Although it is hard to predict what will happen, I am confident the Catalan pride will remain strong.

Harper Johnson is graduate of South Eugene High School and former EW summer intern. She is on a study abroad program in Barcelona through Arcadia University and taking classes at Pompeu Fabra University.  

November 16, 2017 02:54 PM

A distinguished University of Oregon human physiology instructor was sentenced to a year of probation and anger management courses after pleading guilty to multiple charges stemming a road rage car crash.

Jon Runyeon, 45, was driving north down Hilyard Street toward 11th Avenue in July 2017 when another car cut him off and he crashed into it, causing a “fender bender,” he told Judge Wayne Allen Wednesday at Eugene Municipal Court.

Runyeon told Allen he then backed up his car and drove it forward again into the other car, “tapping” it for a second time before driving away without saying a word to the other driver.

“It was an awful moment,” Runyeon said in court Wednesday. “All I can say is it was uncharacteristic, and I’m ashamed about it.”

Shortly after the hit-and-run, police came to Runyeon’s home asking for more information about the incident, and from then on Runyeon cooperated with police, his lawyer said in court.

Runyeon, who according to UO’s website is the director of undergraduate advising, the director of the human anatomy laboratory, and an instructor in the school’s human physiology department, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to hit-and-run and criminal mischief charges.

Allen sentenced Runyeon to a year of probation on each of his charges, eight days of road crew service, two Saturdays of anger management classes and a $500 fine. Allen said in court it was unfortunate to see Runyeon in the courtroom in this situation given his prominent role at UO and in the community.

“I’ve been here for a while and I just don’t see these types of things very often,” Allen said.

Runyeon agreed with Allen that taking anger management classes as part of his sentence “seems reasonable.”

According to UO’s website, Runyeon is known by his students as a “rock star of anatomy education.” He currently teaches Human Anatomy I and a few other lecture and laboratory courses at UO, while overseeing the cadaver dissection program and serving as one of the human physiology department’s main undergraduate advisors.

In 2016, Runeyon received one of UO’s distinguished teaching awards, the Ersted Award for Specialized Pedagogy, which “recognizes faculty members early in their careers who have demonstrated exceptional abilities to induce students to reason and who have expertise in a particular area of teaching.”

When contacted Thursday morning, UO spokesman Tobin Klinger said he was not aware of Runyeon’s case and would look into it, but that any potential disciplinary action taken against Runyeon would not be shared publicly due to UO’s faculty record policy. He later said via text, “He is still employed. That’s really all I’d have to say.”

An article about Runyeon on UO’s website reads, “Jon’s student evaluations are filled with words such as ‘amazing; awesome; best ever; passionate; exceptional; respectful; and caring. He is tireless in his dedication to student growth and is a true mentor and guide to his students.”

November 15, 2017 05:57 PM

Oregon Bach Festival’s former artistic director Matthew Halls denied in a statement issued Wednesday, Nov. 15, that he had ever before now seen the charges of sexual discrimination lodged against him in documents released to Eugene Weekly this week by the University of Oregon.

"I am reading about these complaints for the first time now,” Halls wrote in the statement, which was released by Portland lawyer Charese Rohny. “At no stage did anybody from the University of Oregon or the Oregon Bach Festival leadership present me — or my attorney — with these documents.”

Halls went on to say he values diversity and to apologize to “anyone who felt I valued one gender over another.”

In an online story published Tuesday, Nov. 14, EW described a sex discrimination complaint filed by an unnamed OBF participant after the festival last summer. The woman musician complained that Halls slighted her and other female musicians by not paying them as much attention in rehearsals as he gave to male musicians.

The document does not show that Halls was ever presented with the complaint, but notes that OBF Executive Director Janelle McCoy sent an email to a university official on Aug. 16 that Halls’ contract with the festival would not be renewed. He was fired on Aug. 24.

Halls’ entire statement is below.

I am reading about these complaints for the first time now. At no stage did anybody from the University of Oregon or the Oregon Bach Festival leadership present me — or my attorney — with these documents. I was not given any opportunity to respond to these complaints before my contract was terminated. At no time did UO leadership talk to me about any impropriety on my part or suggest any changes in my teaching methods or treatment of musicians.

As a life-long musician and performer, I have always valued diversity among those I work with because it greatly enriches the quality of our work. Until now, I was unaware of any concerns about my treatment of the OBF musicians when I was Artistic Director. I apologise to anyone who felt that I favoured one gender over another. I do not in any way intend to favour a particular gender and I wish I had been given an opportunity to address these concerns while I was still employed.

November 14, 2017 06:27 PM

Sen. Ron Wyden has requested a meeting with University of Oregon President Michael Schill following Schill’s response to the senator’s letter requesting specific practices and university guidelines pertaining to sexual assault on campus.

On Nov. 3, Wyden sent Schill a letter asking five questions about procedures relating to sexual conduct violations and whether the university followed its own policies when it was notified that basketball player Kavell Bigby-Williams was under criminal investigation for alleged forcible rape.

The letter followed an investigative article in Sports Illustrated that delved into the Bigby-Williams case.

 “I love my alma mater and want to get this fixed as soon as possible — a goal that of course means I would meet with President Schill,” Wyden says in an email to Eugene Weekly. “That meeting would benefit immensely from including Brenda Tracy, a nationally recognized Oregon voice on the topic of sexual assault.”

Hank Stern with Wyden’s office tells EW in an email, “Sen. Wyden looks forward to meeting with the university president about the school following its own procedures that balance the achievable need to protect student privacy with the essential goal of keeping campuses safe for all students.”

Stern continues, “It’s clear from the university’s answers to the questions Wyden raised that more work remains to improve campus safety, including establishing and abiding by clear and consistent processes when allegations of sexual misconduct arise.

“Wyden believes it’s critical to engage in a national conversation on these issues and work with colleges, athletic departments, policymakers and nationally respected advocates like Brenda Tracy to further the cause of promoting campus safety.”

Earlier this month, EW asked Wyden what he thinks needs to happen in order to ensure student safety on campus.

“There’s got to be a zero-tolerance policy,” Wyden said.

EW interviewed Tobin Klinger, UO’s Senior Director of Public Affairs Communications, on Nov. 9 about the Sports Illustrated story that called into question the university’s own response to following its policies regarding Title IX.

“The victim or the alleged victim in this situation made it abundantly clear that she did not wish for anything to move forward,” Klinger said. “So the university then, based on its policy and practices, assesses that, and then says, ‘Is there an ongoing threat to campus that we need to take into consideration that would override her ability to assert what she wants to have happen?’”

In this case was there was no ongoing threat “that was perceived in any way, shape or form,” Klinger said. “And the allegation that is out there is that we should have gone further.”

Klinger said the story reflected “Monday morning quarterbacking.”

The author of the SI story is former EW intern and current UO student Kenny Jacoby.

EW asked Klinger if the university considered evidence outside of the university as part of an ongoing threat, specifically the police report from Wyoming.

“No, because the police report from Wyoming set in motion what brought us to the point that it was assessed, and when you’re looking at an ongoing threat, you’re looking at whether or not there is a direct risk to the campus based on the information you have,” Klinger said. “And there was nothing in the police report or brought in external to the police report that would indicate that there was an ongoing threat.”

In Schill’s response to Wyden, he wrote: “Our staff responds to more than 450 disclosures a year and we welcome the opportunity to share information with policy makers. I will not claim that we are perfect, but I think you would be proud of our efforts.”

Schill also says, “In fact, the UO has been a leader in developing prevention programs and student-centric reporting obligations for faculty and staff.”

As the Sports Illustrated story points out, the UO made headlines with the way it handled rape allegations against three basketball players in 2014. The school later settled with the victim for $800,000, four years’ paid tuition and a promise of changes in how the school assesses transfer students. 

In 2015, a sexual violence survey conducted by the UO Department of Psychology found that 27 percent of women on campus reported “any attempted or completed sexual contact without consent.”

November 12, 2017 05:48 PM

Last week The Washington Post featured Eugene as a travel destination. It mentioned a lot of lovely parts about living here: things like Ballet Fantastique, Izakaya Meiji, King Estate, Blair Alley Vintage Arcade and many more. Portland alt weekly Willamette Week. however, took umbrage with the praise.

We admit, the WaPodescribed Eugene as "diverse," which at least in the context of ethnicity, is pretty laughable (see EW writer Meerah Powell's take on the idea here).

And sure, it’s also a little strange to feature Eugene (or really anywhere in the Willamette Valley) as a travel destination during the rainy season.

But nevertheless, the article is in keeping with an increasingly positive tone about Eugene in national media. Perhaps our little city is on the come-up?

WW freelance writer Shannon Armour snarks, "Despite taking an odd and borderline insulting tone by kicking off her piece with the word 'Eugeneladia' (not a thing) and took a bit of a jab at the attire of pretty much all Eugenians, she seemed to have maybe enjoyed her time in the college town and it's a pretty decent summary of everything that you'd want to do in Eugene if you happen to find yourself there for a Ducks game or a Birkenstock and tie-dye convention."

What’s-a-matter Portland? Afraid the bloom’s coming off the Rose City?

November 6, 2017 06:53 PM

While the Tuesday, Nov. 7 election has grabbed most of the voter-related attention nationally and locally, an upcoming election for the GreenLane Sustainable Business Network board of directors has caused a furor among the green-oriented businesses in town.

GreenLane is a nonprofit “membership organization providing education, resources, networking and marketing ideas for Lane County businesses committed to sustainable business practices,” according to its website. Its monthly lunch hour meetings feature networking and educational opportunities.

The members who are running to be on the organization’s board of directors were introducd at GreenLane's Oct. 4 meeting, according to board member Robin Forster. According to GreenLane's website, the candidates are Judy Lamb of Northwest Exposures Photography, Casey Roscoe of Seneca Sawmills and Theresa Brand of the Lane Transit District (LTD). The election is Wednesday, Nov. 8.

Roscoe, the granddaughter of Seneca founder Aaron Jones, together with the company she represents, is at the center of the controversy.

Roscoe, who has worked to improve Seneca's reputation in the local community, says that Seneca joined GreenLane in 2016. According to Shawn Donille, vice president of Mountain Rose Herbs, the furor over the board started two weeks ago. Donille says he had no objection to Seneca joining the green business group, because “Maybe they could learn something.” But, he says, “Seneca is in no position to set policy for a local sustainable business work group.” The board of directors sets GreenLane policy he says.

As a result, Donille says Mountain Rose is leaving the organization.

He adds, “If you don’t draw the line with Seneca, what next?” citing cattle ranching, mining and local controversial land developers the McDougal brothers as other environmentally problematic businesses.

Donille says he was told that there was nothing in the bylaws that would prevent Seneca from being on the board.

In a statement from the board, emailed to GreenLane members, the board writes, “Based on GreenLane's bylaws, the Board cannot refuse to seat a candidate who is fully qualified. Individual members can vote to approve or deny a candidate to the Board, but the Board itself cannot block a candidate in good standing’s quest to join.”

The board continues, “GreenLane has faced controversial issues in the past, and we’ve always faced them with transparency, honesty and open dialogue.”

Of Mountain Rose’s departure, the board states, “We followed up with Mountain Rose Herbs to hear their concerns, explain our position, and tried to find some common ground. Unfortunately, we were not able to find that common ground. Mountain Rose Herbs has announced that it will withdraw from GreenLane and actively encourage others to follow.”

EW has reached out to GreenLane directly for comment. They responded via email saying: "As you know, and have read, GreenLane is an inclusive business networking group. We welcome all business and nonprofits that are interested in suitability [sic]. We don’t judge, nor do we certify who is, or isn’t’ a sustainable business. As I’m sure you know sustainability, it’s a journey, and we are all at different places in that journey."

The board continues, "As a Board, we were very surprised at method and technique used to bring this issue up."

Donille says, “In all honesty, I don’t want to be on an organization that is supposed to teach about sustainable initiatives if Seneca, one of the area’s most-polluting industries, is setting policies."

Seneca’s biomass burning plant in west Eugene caused controversy when it was built and began burning woody biomass to generate energy.

Donille also points to Seneca’s controversial logging operations. “Google ‘Kathy Jones, Seneca, Elliott,’” he says. “She wants to buy it just to clearcut it.”

Donille is referring to a 2014 statement that Seneca co-owner Kathy Jones made to The Oregonian about the Elliott State Forest in which she “said her company didn’t bid on the land because her mill needs lumber but because she and her two sisters refused to be bullied by ‘eco-radical’ environmental groups and believed no other timber companies made an offer.” Jones called the bid “very much a personal decision.”

Threatened marbled murrelet sea birds had been found within two miles of the public land.

Donille says he thinks that Seneca would use an election to the GreenLane board as a "marketing coup in future puff pieces." He points out that Seneca has not pursued sustainable forestry certifications.

Casey Roscoe, granddaughter of Seneca founder Aaron Jones, says that as a member of 10-member board, her vote would not be a ruling factor, it would be a one in 10 vote.

She says, “If it’s about sustainability, then I belong. If it’s about community, then I belong.” But she says if the election is about being part of a “clique” then “It’s possible I won’t ever fit in, but that doesn’t mean I don’t belong."

Roscoe says a core Seneca value is sustainability, and the company has a long history of giving back to the community. She cites the Seneca House of The Veteran’s Housing Project, the donation of dimension wood for the Kalapuya High School’s Bethel Barn, donating wood for St. Vincent dePaul’s project for homeless teens and more.

Mountain Rose is not the only group to say it plans to withdraw from GreenLane over the board election or take a position on the issue.

The Pacific Green Party of Lane County issued a statement saying the group “considers the description of Seneca as a ‘green’ company questionable. We hope that the members of GreenLane Sustainable Business Network will choose to maintain their commitment to sustainability.”

Josh Laughin of Cascadia Wildlands, a GreenLane member group, sent a message to the board saying, “I have always been skeptical of Seneca’s membership in GreenLane. I don’t believe that a company that clearcuts forests and sprays herbicides for a living has any place on the member roster.”

He writes that he sees Seneca’s role in GreenLane "as yet another way to greenwash their company image in the local community while they clearcut and spray their vast private forest holdings in western Oregon as well as log older forests on our public lands.”

Laughlin accompanied his message with a photo he says he took of a Seneca clearcut  while he was checking a BLM timber sale near Azalea a few years ago, adding, “This is how Seneca manages its forests, and I don’t believe this is what GreenLane stands for.”

Laughlin concludes by saying if Seneca become a board member, “Please remove Cascadia Wildlands from the membership roster and our logo from the website.”

Lisa Arkin of Beyond Toxics says her group was one of the first environmental nonprofits to join GreenLane. Beyond Toxics sent a statement to GreenLane saying:

“We do not support greenwashing GreenLane by adding board members who do not represent truly sustainable businesses. There are plenty of businesses doing the right thing to protect Oregon's environment and the health of the people. Seneca has repeatedly shown that they are not one of these companies.”

Roscoe says when she speaks in the community as a representative of Seneca, people are very supportive of the company.

In addition to the board election, the luncheon topic for GreenLane’s Nov. 8 meeting is fair trade businesses. According to a Facebook event, there will be a demonstration outside the meeting, starting at 11:30 am. 

November 6, 2017 02:58 PM

In recent days, the political situation in Barcelona has been rapidly changing. On Oct. 22, in my morning class, my professor told us that the president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, was scheduled to finally declare Catalonian independence. A few hours later, in my afternoon class, the professor reported that, instead, Puigdemont had declared he would leave the decision up to Parliament. Eventually, Parliament voted and declared independence.

The situation changes quickly, but not without warning. My professors have started to link political events to the class subjects, and my economics professor told us that by looking at the Spanish stock market you can predict what is going to happen politically. Often, the stock market is influenced by information not yet accessible to the general public and on the morning of Oct. 22 the stock market was doing well, implying that Catalonia would not be declared independent that day.

In my Sport and Culture class, the professor has addressed the role of soccer team FC Barcelona in the Catalan independence movement. On Oct. 1, the day of the original referendum vote, FCB played its game behind closed doors and released a statement condemning the violence against voting citizens. FCB has a huge global audience and is able to introduce people all around the world to the issues that are stirring in Catalonia.

People are not afraid to share their opinion and many walk around with either the Catalan flag or the Spanish flag, hang them from their balconies, and even attach them to their cars. Recently, the majority of protesters I have seen have been opposed to independence. These people walk or drive around with the Spanish flag, honking and occasionally yelling. The huge demonstrations occur near government buildings or in popular plazas, but are easy to avoid.

Also, many people are pushing for unity and not picking a side in the Spain vs. Catalonia struggle but hoping for Spain, Catalonia and the European Union to work out their issues. I understand where the deep-rooted Catalan pride and the strong will for independence come from, but I do not think independence is a good solution to the problems many Catalan people have. I think there needs to be discourse between Spain and Catalonia, and that neither side is handling the situation well. I hope these parties can come together and unify.

The U.S. State Department has sent the same message many times to American citizens in Spain, urging us to stay away from demonstrations and providing sources for further information. The director of my program has been very helpful, sending us thorough emails explaining what is happening and where. No classes have been cancelled, and recently things have been quite normal — although throughout my two and a half months in Barcelona, “normal” has come to include an uncertainty about the state of political affairs and constant surprises. 

Harper Johnson is graduate of South Eugene High School and former EW summer intern. She is on a study abroad program in Barcelona through Arcadia University and taking classes at Pompeu Fabra University.  

November 3, 2017 02:20 PM

It may be a few days after Halloween, but climate activists and concerned citizens sure think the proposed Pacific Connector Pipeline and Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal is a trick and not a treat. Dozens of protesters, many wearing red as encouraged by protest organizers from 350 Eugene, showed up at the Nov. 3 Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) meeting in Eugene to raise concerns about the energy project that won’t seem to die.

 

In the works since 2010, the Pacific Connector Pipeline and Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal, would create a 229 mile pipeline from rural Klamath County to Coos Bay. The pipeline and terminal, which are owned by the Canadian company Veresen, would move fracked natural gas from America’s interior to export markets abroad.

 

The EQC is an oversight board appointed by the governor to direct the work of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Activists are targeting DEQ because the agency will be responsible for issuing water and air pollution permits for the project.

 

Roseburg resident Francis Eatherington, a former conservation director for Cascadia Wildlands and part-owner of property in the path of the pipeline, says the pipeline makes no sense for the people of Oregon. She points out that the company has proposed to use eminent domain to force landowners to allow the pipeline to cross their lands.

 

“It’s incredible that we’re giving America’s gas away to China,” Eatherington says. “Because it’s getting exported it will make our natural gas prices go up, and the profits will go to a Canadian company.”

 

Eatherington called out Sen. Jeff Merkley for failing to oppose the project. She says, “Sen. Merkley has a ‘Keep It in the Ground Campaign’ and he can’t even support our greenhouse gas goals here in Oregon by coming out against these projects.”

 

Paul Howard, a Eugene resident, says he’s opposing the Jordan Cove project because the export terminal, “would be the single most polluting facility in the state” in terms of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emission. He says that Oregon should follow the example of Washington and California and deny permits for coastal pipelines and export terminals.

 

“We don’t need additional fossil fuel infrastructure,” Howard says. “We are weaning ourselves off petroleum as a primary fuel source and moving to wind and solar as an economic necessity, let alone the climate change impacts.”

 

Multiple Coos Bay fisherman also raised concerns over the impact additional dredging for gas tankers would cause to the fishery many rely on for business in Coos Bay.

 

Mirinda Hart of Myrtle Creek, a member of the Round Valley Tribe in Northern California, says that resistance to the project has been and will continue to come from water protectors inspired by Standing Rock. Hart, who helped out in the Standing Rock camps, says “it is the ultimate goal and common thread of the resistance that we hope to not get to that point and that the project will be denied again.”

 

“But if we have to mobilize, people will come," Hart said.

 

Rowena Jackson, a member of the Klamath Tribes who lives in Eugene, attended and read a poem in protest of the proposed terminal:

 

"I am Water from Klamath and Crater Lake"

 

Make no mistake

Forever, I refuse to Negotiate

Make no mistake

Forever, I refuse to Relinquish

It is a given to protect, and love our fish

 

For all my relations and next generations

I don't accept Nestle bottled water, in consultations

 

Make no mistake

It was the government's fault, to over allocate

Water is life, corporations excavate

My elders fought hard, near and far, (look Up)

Inter-generational trauma, I nurture my scar

 

Make no mistake

I am water, from Klamath and Crater Lake

I will protect, our Senior water rights

I embrace tribal sacred sites

 

Since time immemorial

Keep it to one burial

RIP my ancestors,

Heads up oppressors and even investors

 

NGO's are everywhere

Headlines here and headlines there

Against the oil & gas pipelines

Klamath Senior Water Rights

Since Time Immemorial and on the sidelines

I am bringing awareness and addressing the highlights

 

Since 1864,

we are still at war

Making calls on water, Just look at the websites

Ancestors are with me as I roll up my sleeves

Stakeholders "hurry! relinquish your water, rights"

Negotiate now! greedy like thief's

 

IN Wells Fargo I divest

Because mother earth and her veins are stressed

 

Canadian Company, Pacific Connector gas pipeline

From bloodline to coastline, it's time to resign!

Pardon me while I  file as an INTERVENOR

I will always oppose you, to keep this land cleaner.

 

It was a headache to intervene

I jumped thru FERCS hoops and in between

Electronic submission accepted

In hopes we are not rejected

 

I hold legal power to appeal

If FERC can’t keep it real

 

Strike 3

I repeat No LNG

 

This is my home

Like the Lava Beds catacomb

 

So I pray for the people

We overcome all this evil.

United we stand

As I raise my hand

 

 

 

October 27, 2017 11:21 AM

The Cascadia Forest Defenders provided a press release with additional information following the collapse of their protest on Wednesday morning (EW Oct. 26, “The Forest for the Trees”). Read their press release below.

 

Non-Violent Protesters Assaulted While Being Cut from their Blockade by Loggers Sub Contracted by Seneca Jones Timber.

Mckenzie Bridge, OR– Just after dawn on Wednesday morning, Cascadia Forest Defenders (CFD), who were occupying and supporting a road blockade preventing access to the Goose timber sale, were woken to the sounds of loggers disassembling their blockade. A line was cut, risking the life of a protester in the trees and the 2 vehicles which were anchoring a platform in a tree with a person on it, were towed away by workers’ trucks. One man physically assaulted two protesters; once with an open-handed swat to the face, and once by grabbing a different protester by the neck and throwing him to the ground. No law enforcement was present.

4 men were present during the dangerous forced disassembly of the blockade and the two assaults. They are thought to be subcontracted by the company Seneca Jones to cut the Goose timber sale, which has been the focal point of a forest defense campaign and tree sit since May. The loggers who did this have so far been identified as follows: Joe Johnson, resident of Evergreen CO drove a white and green truck with California plates (CA 09130D2) to tow the anchor vehicles out of the road. An unnamed older man driving a truck with Nevada plates (NV 3L13905) assaulted two protesters during the attack on the blockade. Sonny Wendle, from Kamiah, ID and another unnamed worker (thought to be the owner of the CA truck) looked on.

“This is a very disturbing turn of events, and something that we have not seen before from workers during a non-violent protest on public land,” says Matthew Hawks, a Cascadia Forest Defender for the past decade. “Usually workers will allow law enforcement to do their jobs and extract protesters safely, instead of taking matters into their own hands and extracting them with no regard for their civil rights, civil liberties or safety.” The majority of the incident was videotaped by Cascadia Forest Defenders, footage in which you can clearly see that the workers were told, multiple times, that cutting lines and dismantling the anchor could risk the life of the person in the tree. In the video they acknowledge that they know this fact, and continue to do so anyway.

This incident comes right on the tails of a different assault on a different protester, which happened Monday on an abandoned logging road below the blockade. It involved someone brandishing a gun and threats to the protester’s life. “We have to speak out about these attacks. They are happening in the woods, with few or no witnesses, away from the presence of law enforcement. We want to see some accountability,” says Eric, another member of CFD. He goes onto say, “As an organization we are saddened that this violence has come from workers. We never meant to protest loggers themselves, instead take issue with timber companies such as Seneca Jones profiting off the cut of old growth trees on public land. We want people to know that we support workers going to their jobs and providing for their families. We know it is not them behind this type of environmental destruction.”

Members of CFD and their supporters can’t help but draw parallels to Charlottesville and the increase of bullying and violence towards protesters under the Trump administration. “We stand behind our First Amendment rights, and will continue to non-violently speak out for what we believe is right,” says Hawks.

The non-violent protesters sustained minor injuries, they are filing police reports and pressing charges today. Reports will be made to OSHA and the requisite insurance companies. They were saddened to find that after the blockade was torn down, the trees in Goose which have housed their tree sit platforms for the past 6 months were cut down as well.