• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

EW! A Blog.

February 3, 2016 04:41 PM

Occupy Eugene does not endorse the 2E Broadway proposal to put a building on Kesey Square, quite the opposite.

You wouldn’t know this, however, from reading the proposal from the 2E Broadway development team, headed by Rowell Brokaw Architects (the same firm who got the contract for City Hall after a “deeply flawed” process. The proposal was turned in at the request of City Manager Jon Ruiz, who put out a request for RFEIs (request for expressions of interests) from interested parties for the future of Kesey Square. The deadline for RFEIs was Jan. 15.

The 2E Broadway proposal specifically states:

"We’ve met with folks from Occupy and even they start getting excited about the project once they understand it."

 

 

 

Occupy as in Occupy Eugene, the local group that is part of the national activist movement fighting social and economic inequality. EW received a press release from Occupy Eugene Jan. 5, titled: "Occupy Eugene Urges City Keep Kesey Square Public."

The press release goes on to say:

“Occupy Eugene is urging concerned residents of Eugene make their voices heard. Call the city at (541) 682-5010, and ask the council to postpone the decision about selling off Kesey Square to developers. In addition, ask for a more open decision process involving the public. Finally, ask the council to preserve and protect Kesey Square as public space, accessible to all. They can also be contacted at:mayorcouncilandcitymanager@ci.eugene.or.us”

The Occupy press release continues:

“All communities need a public space to flourish. In downtown Eugene, today, Kesey Square is that place. Occupy Eugene calls on the council to demonstrate the leadership, vision and courage it takes to make our community a great and vibrant one. Kesey Square must remain in public ownership. This press release is from the Communications Committee of Occupy Eugene that has been empowered to speak on behalf of the larger Occupy Eugene body.”

EW contacted Occupy Eugene to verify that the group had not changed it stance, to verify that is was not, in fact, endorsing the 2E Broadway proposal.

Occupy Eugene member Art Bollman says he was upset to hear that the proposal made the claim that Occupy Eugene was enthusiastic about the project to put a building on Kesey Square, or what the 2E Broadway proposal likens to a “pit,” when Occupy Eugene’s stance is the opposite.

“Occupy is concerned about public space,” Bollman tells EW. “The whole idea of protecting public space downtown is important to us for first amendment rights to protest and to have cultural gatherings.”

Bollman says some Occupy members went to a presentation in early fall 2015 that the developers for 2E Broadway hosted, but Occupy Eugene was never “excited” about it.

“It was obvious from the presentation that they had already put thousands of dollars into it,” Bollman says. “Some people wonder if that’s an informal go ahead from the city manager.”

Bollman continued, saying of the City Council, the Mayor Kitty Piercy and City Manager Jon Ruiz: “It feels like they’ve been slowly getting rid of public space.”

Rowell Brokaw Architects and others on the development team have not responded to several requests for comment.

Above: From the 2E Broadway Proposal

To read all the proposals for Kesey Square, which the City Council will consider in February, go here.

 

February 3, 2016 12:31 PM

The state of Oregon landed a failing grade in valuing public education, according to the Network for Public Education's 50 state report card, released Feb. 2. 

The Network for Public Education, a national advocacy group in support of public education, rated each state based on six distinct criteria. Oregon received separate grades for each of the six categories, and then those grades were averaged together to come up with Oregon's D grade.

From the report:

State policies and laws enacted since the beginning of the No Child Left Behind Act have taken a toll on our public schools. Prior to NCLB, nearly every state would have earned a grade of "A" in the criteria, No High Stakes Testing. This year, only 5 states earned a grade of "A." Grades in the criteria Chance for Success are lower than they would have been a decade ago, due to rising numbers of students living in poverty and increased racial isolation in schools. And when it comes to school finance, our national grade is a dismal "D."

Oregon scored Ds in the following categories: the professionalization of teaching, school finance, spending taxpayer resources wisely and chance for success. The state received Cs in the categories of resistance to privatization and no high-stakes testing.
 
No state received an overall score higher than a C. Oregon was one of 30 states to receive an overall D grade. Eight states scored Fs. 
 
"It is our hope as advocates for public education that this report will rally parents, educators and other concerned citizens to strengthen their commitment to public schools," the report says.
 
February 2, 2016 02:26 PM

Elizabeth Warren has an op-ed in The New York Times this week about how administrations affect federal agency rules, set priorities and take executive actions independent of Congress. Scary stuff if a right-winger ends up in the White House again.

February 2, 2016 04:16 PM

New video is out by House Democrats as the short session of the Oregon Legislature begins this week.

February 2, 2016 06:07 PM

In the search for a missing teenage girl who fell into the water at Cape Kiwanda last weekend, two local fire and rescue workers got into trouble when their personal watercraft capsized in the surf. A Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter rescued them in this video shot by a State Police officer's body camera. The search for the 17-year-old, Megan Owens of Marysville, Washington,  continues.

February 1, 2016 12:51 PM

A Masterwork for the New Century:

La Compagnie Hervé Koubi at WhiteBird Dance

 

A remarkable piece of movement, a triumph, really, Hervé Koubi’s Ce que le jour doit a la nuit, or in English, ‘What the day owes the night’ pulls together threads stretching into the past, the present and the future.

            With a seemingly effortless hand, Koubi weaves together an inexplicably organic, yet richly structured effort, one that satisfies the head and the heart in equal measures.

            Featuring twelve male dancers, all from Algiers, the 70-minute piece unfolds from a static, formless mass, to explore the sinew of the space, through changes in rhythm, shape and dynamics. Each dancer brings something unique to the cause, wearing on his body the familial memory, perhaps of war, of rebellion, of rule, a new generation of Algerian men, careening through the tapestry of time.

            Koubi traces on the backs of these dancers his origins, late discovered, of his own Algerian past. Yet this is not a political piece. This does not have an axe to grind, or a soapbox to stand on. If anything, Koubi softens the lens, and pulls it wider, allowing the audience to simply appreciate something humane: He offers a new idea of men, of nurturance, of interconnectedness and community.

            Koubi embraces the athletic mastery of these movers, adopting and utilizing their skills – acrobatic flips and falls, head spins, inversions, turns and lifts – and cannily transforms these movements from ‘street’ vernacular to something exquisite, almost formal, without putting on one whiff of pretention. It’s as if Koubi can regulate the expression of the dance, and temper it, always, with restraint and balance.

            Towards the end of the piece, the artists face the audience for the first time, and one realizes that rather than devolving into the kind of showy trickery that some overtly athletic dance can veer itself into – spiraling into a kind of egoic, “Hey, look at me!” childishness - this piece had the confidence, the vision, to say something more, something deeper, and that those questions could be seen and echoed in each and every movement.

            It’s hard to describe, and even harder to believe, but the alchemic reactions of these movers approached the depth and breadth of nature itself, at times moored and solid, and simultaneously flowing, like waves crashing on the rocks, or the bright wind rushing through the trees.

            There were a few moments like these, of such pronounced and arresting beauty, that this reviewer was actually brought to tears.

            I wish I could see it again. Bravo. 

February 1, 2016 12:44 PM

Mary O'Brien, Ph.D., longtime Eugene resident and environmental activist now living in Utah, wrote an op-ed for the Salt Lake Tribune Jan. 30 about grazing practices in the West and the Bundy standoff. O'Brien will be in Eugene Friday for the Beyond Toxics anniversary party starting at 5;30 pm at Capitello Wine Bar, 540 Charnelton Street.

January 28, 2016 05:27 PM

Independent videographer Daniel Dronfeld , of DED Media, is back with "The Sale of Kesey Square. Part 4- This Land Is Not For Sale." The video covers the Save Kesey Square rally that started at Kesey Square Monday night (Jan. 25) and marched to Harris Hall where a Eugene City Council Public Forum took place. Look for the special appearance from Councilor Mike Clark, who has yet to go on the rccord with EW about Kesey Square. See EW's coverage of the rally and meeting here.

January 27, 2016 04:06 PM

An eyewitness is contradicting the account put out by the Bundy Bunch that LaVoy Finicum was on his knees with his hands up when shot by law enforcement. 

McConnell who says he had been personal security for Ammon Bundy says he was following the pickup truck driven by LaVoy Finicum and seeks to put rumors to rest about Finicum's death, saying he was not on his knees and he charged at law enforcement. Finicum had tried to drive away from law enforcement then ran the truck into a snowbank, according to several accounts. 

The video is on McConnell's Facebook page here.

And below, The Oregonian has made a copy available on YouTube. 

A man named Melvin Lee has posted a video as well to clarify McConnell's story. He says McConnell was not arrested with the rest of the Malheur occupiers because he had not been part of the group out at the refuge. 

 

Finally, Victoria Sharps a young woman who was in the car with Ammon Bundy says Finicum's hands were up. 

January 27, 2016 02:04 PM

The iconic Eugenean Hershel Bloom died Jan. 25 in New Philadelphia, Ohio. He was an accomplished artist and musician and worked 30 years at White Bird Clinic.  More about him in EW next week. Meanwhile, here's a rare video from an earlier time.

January 26, 2016 06:13 PM

Catherine and Cheryl Reinhart, owners of the wildly popular Sweet Life Patisserie, announced via Facebook today that they plan to open a second location at 19th and Agate near campus, where Eugene City Bakery once resided. 

The Reinharts write that they will share the spot with J-Tea, which is also opening a second location. "Sweet Life Petite" will ideally open in spring of this year, the owners say.

With Prince Puckler's Ice Cream, Beppe & Gianni's Trattoria and Studio One Cafe all nearby the new Sweet Life location, the 19th and Agate food hub grows larger and ever more attractive.

Photo of Sweet Life staff by Todd Cooper

January 26, 2016 07:13 PM

Update: arrests have been confirmed, one, LaVoy Finicum, aka "Tarpman," is deceased, according to media reports. Santilli has been arrested. See full press release below.

Pete Santilli of the "Pete Santilli Show," who has been posting videos from the standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, posted a video Tuesday evening saying Ammon Bundy has been arrested and shots have been fired. This has not been confirmed with law enforcement as of 6 pm.

Santilli identifies himself on Twitter as a "proud 'Leave-Me-The-Heck-Alone-ist' Don't mess with me. Don't take my stuff. Exposing violations of our Constitutional rights; especially the Police-State's." He posts on Facebook as "Talk Network News."

Santilli is live streaming from the hospital. OPB news has confirmed the hospital is on lockdown.

Les Zaitz of The Oregonian is reporting a local governement official says occupation leader Ryan Payne was shot. Zaitz says that the highway between John Day in Burns is blocked by police. Zaitz has been covering the occupation since it began. Follow his updates on Twitter.

 

UPDATE - ADDITIONAL ARREST MADE IN THE OCCUPATION OF THE MALHEUR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE: JOINT STATEMENT BY THE FBI AND OSP News Release from FBI - Oregon Posted on FlashAlert: January 26th, 2016 7:44 PM UPDATE AS OF 7:45 P.M.

At approximately 6:30 p.m. (PST), the FBI arrested Peter Santilli, age 50, of Cincinnati, Ohio, in Burns, Oregon. He faces the same federal felony charge as the individuals listed below.

The arrest was without incident. At approximately 4:25 p.m. (PST) on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Oregon State Police (OSP) began an enforcement action to bring into custody a number of individuals associated with the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

During that arrest, there were shots fired. One individual who was a subject of a federal probable cause arrest is deceased. We will not be releasing any information about that person pending identification by the medical examiner's office.

One individual suffered non-life threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. He was arrested and is currently in custody.

The arrested individuals include:

* Ammon Edward Bundy, age 40, of Emmett, Idaho

* Ryan C. Bundy, age 43, of Bunkerville, Nevada * Brian Cavalier, age 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada

* Shawna Cox, age 59, Kanab, Utah

* Ryan Waylen Payne, age 32, of Anaconda, Montana

These probable cause arrests occurred along Highway 395.

In a separate event in Burns, Oregon, at approximately 5:50 pm, Oregon State Police arrested the following individual:

* Joseph Donald O'Shaughnessy, age 45, Cottonwood, Arizona

All of the named defendants face a federal felony charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 372.

We continue to work with Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward and his deputies; Oregon State Police; and the United States Attorney's Office to address any further outstanding issues. As the investigation is ongoing, we cannot comment further at this time.

All defendants should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. 

January 25, 2016 05:34 PM

Above: City Manager Jon Ruiz

Checking the public email inboxes of the mayor, city manager and City Council can offer unusual insight.

The city emails — open public records — exchanged about Kesey Square/Broadway Plaza and its potential development might confirm the suspicions that many had all along about the process: It's a done deal.

Those suspicions, which have been expressed in emails written to the city by citizens of Eugene (see last week's story, "Kesey Square Decision: What's the big rush?"), as well as expressed in public forums (such as the Downtown Solutions Forum Dec. 2), that the city had long ago decided to put a building on Kesey Square and is merely humoring the citizens who want a public process for their city square.

Last week, in Mayor Kitty Piercy responded to an email from Christopher and Deb Michaels of Seven Stars Childcare.

In a Jan. 15 email, the Michaels wrote:

“The people of Eugene are awake to the issue of Kesey Square. The people want to keep it where it is and to work with government and business to make Kesey Square work for all the people. We know the voice of the business community speaks loud in your ears. Please hear the voice of the people and consider their creative ideas and suggestions.”

To which Mayor Piercy responded on Jan. 18:

“Hello,
Thanks for writing. As you know we are working on making our public spaces function better for everyone and to share these spaces in a way that's comfortable to all. It's not easy. Most of us are pretty nice people and a few aren't. We are working on adding to our public spaces and green spaces and connecting these spaces in a great way that we can all benefit from. In truth Kesey has been a sore spot for some time and not just for businesses. There are elderly folks at the Eugene Hotel, Olive Plaza, and Aurora who find it difficult to traverse downtown and the plaza. Many people simply won't bring their children and families downtown because they don't want to be confronted. Women in particular, young women, have experienced a lot of nasty comments and touching. I understand these are the problems that can be found in every city. I think the developers made their proposal with good will and they are all long time supporters of our community as a whole. Kaz for example has had a rug store, an art gallery, and the very popular Peraginos. He is a good person. I think Amani has also proposed opening his stores to the plaza if resources can be found. And lots of folks have a new heartfelt desire to have the plaza stay open and function better. I am looking for a way all of these things can come together in the interest of our city. We have been doing some very good things and we need to keep on doing so. Kitty.”

Some questions arise: Is Piercy vouching for the character of Kaz Oveissi, the defacto spokesman for the group pushing the 2E Broadway proposal — a Rowell Brokaw Architects project — which intends to put a building on Kesey Square?

Does the city lack a healthy cynicism about the developers, mirroring the same lack of sophistication that brought to Eugene Capstone’s 13th & Olive student housing behemoth with little to no oversight (see "Tax Exempt, Design Optional")? By nature, developers have different interests than cities do, who ideally should be looking out for the public good.

After saying Oveissi is "a good person," the mayor writes of an opposing proposal: “I think Amani [sic] has also proposed opening his stores to the plaza if resources can be found.”

The city has known about Ali Emami’s proposal since October, if not earlier (see "One Flew Over Kesey Square").

The question of “if resources can be found” should be of interest to those following the Kesey Square issue closely. The city and the developers behind the 2E Broadway have called into question the validity of Emami’s financials several times, questioning if it’s realistic. However, the 2E Broadway proposal is only financially feasible if the city gives them a MUPTE (a 10-year tax exemption) and a loan from the city.

Above: Mayor Kitty Piercy

 

Also in the inbox, this past week City Manager Jon Ruiz is forwarding emails to the council that are in favor of building on the square. However, there has also been a flood of emails against building on Kesey Square.

Councilor Betty Taylor responded to Ruiz: “I hope you have read all the others with opposing arguments.”

Regardless of where you stand on developing Kesey Square, citizens should pay attention to how the city manages this process and others. The same development group — Rowell Brokaw Architects — that got the City Hall contract despite a backlash and allegatons of shady negotiations. According to coverage by OPB, a rival firm called the City Hall process "deeply flawed."

There is a “Save Kesey Square” rally planned for 6 pm in Kesey Square tonight (Monday, Jan. 25), which will move to the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza at 6:30.
 

This blog has been updated.

January 25, 2016 02:00 PM

OSU has published information this week on research linking endangered primates in the Amazon with carbon sequestration.