ARSENIC IN THE AMAZON
Public health and safety — two values that a community must not compromise or our children, family, friends and animals wind up at risk — especially when the compromise concerns the deadly poison of arsenic.
Our City Council may vote soon on a compromise for developing the two southeast Eugene parcels to allow about 25 houses to be built and keep the rest parkland.
Twenty-five houses might seem fine enough to appease developers, but any ground disturbance puts arsenic into the Amazon Creek. The DEQ has listed the creek as holding all the arsenic it can safely carry — any more and the deadly poison will harm our life and animals. Any development will cause more arsenic in the creek. This is a disturbing concern as kids play in our creek, and people’s pets swim and drink from it.
The creek flows through the whole city and is a very important water body for Eugene. Millions of dollars have been spent to improve it, and this effort goes to waste if the water becomes unsafe. On top of poisonous waters, the city might be at risk for a Clean Water Act lawsuit if it allows this without any specific ways to mitigate the arsenic problem.
Please contact the mayor and your council representative. Urge them not to poison our waters and compromise our health and safety.
Anne Guthrie, Institute for Wildlife Protection, Eugene
POKING FUN AT NUNS
I was upset by the caricature of a nun on the front page of the May 31 issue of the Weekly. Although I’m confident that you meant no harm, here’s why it upset me:
I am close to many Catholics, both religious and secular. Many have spoken of the deep hurt they and their families have felt associated with the anti-Catholic prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping that is pervasive and accepted in our culture. (Poking fun at nuns is one example.) Anti-Catholic bias has historical basis in the oppression of poor and working-class immigrants, many of whom have been and are currently Catholic (think: Irish, Italian, Eastern European, Latin-American). It can justify violence and has been used to divide people who would otherwise feel a natural alliance, particularly working people of different religious and cultural backgrounds.
Catholic culture is viewed as out-of-step with the dominant (more individualistic) Protestant culture, which dovetails more smoothly with capitalism. In reality, I’ve come to notice that many of the Catholics that I am close to have taught me much about being human. I believe that Catholics, as a religious and cultural group, have held onto many beautiful qualities and values that the dominant culture often finds in short supply, such as: warmth, generosity, cooperation, togetherness, humility, integrity and social justice.
As a paper, you can help us put our attention on what is positive about any culture, including Catholic culture, rather than un-awarely contribute to ridicule and divisiveness. Let your editorial choices have an impact that unites us.
Cameron Hubbe, Eugene
CARE TO JOIN US?
Cascadia Forest Defenders has been a part of the Eugene community since the mid 1990s, during the days of Warner Creek and the infamous “salvage rider.” For over the past decade, CFD has been active in the ancient forest protection campaigns of Fall Creek, Straw Devil, Winberry, Blue River Face, Biscuit and Sten (where treesitters were shot at on multiple occasions).
Over the past year, CFD has been involved with: the Victoria’s Dirty Secret campaign; pressuring timber baron Aaron Jones to stop logging in Eugene’s drinking water source, the McKenzie River watershed; urging Market of Choice to stop banking with Umpqua Bank (StUmpqua), whose board of directors are the most notorious clearcutters in Oregon; working with Northwest Ecosystem Survey Team (NEST) to climb trees to find red tree vole nests, resulting in the protection of thousands of acres of Oregon’s forests.
Like any all-volunteer entity, CFD has gone through many metamorphoses and evolutions over time. Currently, CFD is looking to increase our community involvement by encouraging more of Eugene to directly participate in what we’re doing. We would like to formally invite anyone who has ever had the desire to empower themselves to harness their passion, positive energies and creativity to protect the forests that sustain life on this planet to be a part of CFD.
All of us at CFD urge you to attend a gathering (free food!) on the first and last Thursday of every month at 6:30 pm at the Grower’s Market on 4th and Willamette. There is no limit to the amazing things we can do if we put our heads together. The timber beast is soiling itself in fear just thinking about us.
CFD will be heading to the ancient forest for an Action Camp/Skills Share in June. For more information email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
May the forest be with you!
Julie Anderson, Eugene
TORCHED EARTH POLICY
Regardless of whether you consider Stanislaus Meyerhoff, Kevin Tubbs, et al. to be eco-terrorists or environmental activists, isn’t it ironic that they chose to set fires to protest, among other things, global warming?
Tom Arnold, Eugene
Alan Pittman’s lead article (5/24) about “Biking to a Better Eugene” misses the point. As does the city’s recent Biking and Walking Summit where vocal bicyclists dominated 95 percent of the conversation. While 40 percent of folks may ride a bike sometimes and perhaps 20 percent of them may even commute to work occasionally, probably 60 percent of those in Eugene will never ride a bike. Nearly 95 percent of residents, however, could and would walk to some of their destinations some of the time. The city should focus on pedestrian issues the way they do for these vocal bicyclists.
Safely walking along a four-block section of Acorn Park Road is dangerous example of how NOT to do it. This neighborhood off West 11th near Fred Meyer did its part to hold the urban growth boundary over the last 20 years. They “densified” nearly 40 percent with increases in new homes, apartments, Section 8 housing and a large subsidized single-family node.
The city did not require any of those 13 developers to pay the real costs to allow these new residents to walk to the park, schools, grocery stores, retail outlets, restaurants or the nearby bike path by completing sidewalks along the unimproved Acorn Park Road. Now that the developers are gone, longtime residents are left with big increases in both pedestrian and car traffic. The funding for sidewalks now is left to the property owners’ taxes.
The worst offender is the developer of the Richardson Bridge Apartments, which is subsidized Section 8 housing. The developer got a special waiver to not complete an 80-foot section of sidewalk which would connect their residents (who often walk) to the bike path right next to them! Instead they and their children walk on the roadway everywhere since the deep ditches leave no shoulder at all.
The city’s lack of pedestrian focus has left 110 miles of uncompleted sidewalks in Eugene, according to a 2004 survey. “We have no money for that,” is what city officials say. Of course when Hynix went in 12 years ago, they “found the money” to build 1.8 miles of seldom-used sidewalks along 18th. If the city can’t pay, then let’s find a mechanism to have developers pay.
Vancouver and Victoria, B.C., have sidewalks everywhere and painted crosswalks at every block. Here in “green Eugene,” we have people trying to walk all the time along dangerous, no-sidewalk, no-shoulder sections of roadways like Highway 99 as it crosses over the railroad tracks near Roosevelt. It’s embarrassing.
The city’s sustainability initiative needs to focus on pedestrians, not just bicyclists.
Tom Schneider, West Eugene
Thanks for the cover story (5/24) on biking in and around Eugene; we need it now and forever. Biking is the best solution to our spoiled, addicted culture of style and speed, waste and pollution. So why has biking in Eugene droped in the last few years? Since we began bike lanes and curb ramps here in 1972-73?
The UO Community Planning Worshop has helped brainstorm 132 ways to improve biking and walking here in Lane County. The plan has priorities for developing biking and foot-travel-friendly programs, places and routes. They worked with Eugene’s city advisory committee. Their published document is long and detailed, showing potentials for simplifying our bike-friendly communities over the next five years — assuming our economy keeps growing.
We already have traffic, air pollution and the madness of speeding to market for imported junk through power grids of toxic stress. What we need now is more “Food Not Lawns” and green belts around Eugene where we can use bikes to haul around our foods, herbs and tools.
Micheal Sunanda, Eugene
In response to Brian Bogart (Viewpoint, 5/17), war is only an instrument of career politicians, no one else — not even the military or employees of military contractors want the war.
The solution is simple, but the solution can only be effective if applied on a worldwide basis — no force or group can ever hope to defeat career politicians and career bureaucrats.
Frank Skipton, Springfield
Having lived in New York for seven years, I am familiar with the effects of terrorism: bloodshed and collective mourning. This kind of suffering simply does not compare to incidents of property destruction targeting corporations whose policies harm individuals and the environment, incidents where not one human was injured. Terrorism is the trauma and intimidation caused by the violence of the Ku Klux Klan; it is the maiming and killing of civilians that our government is responsible for in Iraq.
We have to question our priorities when destruction of corporate property is considered violence, when individuals who have harmed no one are considered a top domestic terrorist threat, and when true violent offenders walk free on our streets. Such misuse of law enforcement resources demonstrates that these prosecutions are motivated by a desire to distract the public from real threats of terrorism, threats that the government has continually shown it is unable to handle. To waste resources on this kind of FBI activity means that I can expect that my experience of the horrors of terrorism won’t be the last.
Leah Todd, Brooklyn, N.Y.
An open letter to the finest burrito producers on Earth: When I first moved to the Northwest from New Mexico, I thought I knew what good Mexican food was all about. Was I ever misinformed. The problem with the food I was used to was that it was too authentic, too flavorful and too spicy. Eugene’s unique soft-edged sensibilities have produced taquerias that get around these problems with the abundant use of two magical ingredients: lettuce and sour cream. How simple, how genius! Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
Shredded iceberg, mmmmm! I know many Eugeneans complain that it’s too crunchy and it hurts their teeth, but I say, “Caution be damned, bring on the watery flavorlessness of iceberg!” “And what of the second ingredient?” you ask. What of that elixir of whiteness, that dairy ambrosia, sour cream? What can I say? It’s like whipped cream in every way, but it’s sour. Pure brilliance.
I know I stand humbled in the presence of such culinary daring, but I would like to make a suggestion for an additional menu item. Perhaps these fine establishments could put together a tortilla filled with mayonnaise and hot dogs. It could be called an America wrap. Just a suggestion.
Jason Torres-Morrow, Eugene
CHAINS VS. CHARMS
My husband and I moved here in 2005 after living in Tucson for almost 20 years. Initially we were delighted to see that the unique flavor that Eugene was known for was still part of the landscape. We are dismayed, however, with the way the city seems to be going with the downtown development. It is true that people “like” to shop at big chain stores (they shop at chains because they believe that it is cheaper to do so, which isn’t always true). It is also true that if chains go into the downtown area they will probably do all right, but that isn’t the only point to consider.
We watched as Tucson, a city that had a very unique history and lots of local color, gradually become McCity. One small area near downtown kept local shops afloat (mostly due to the semi-annual street fair), but slowly the Old Pueblo become an amalgamation of high-end shops the locals couldn’t afford and chain after chain of shops and restaurants. By the time we left, you could blindfold someone from the Midwest, drop them off on Broadway, and the only way they’d know they were in the desert Southwest was the heat.
I fear that Eugene is headed in that direction. Springfield is already going there, but (meaning no disrespect to longtime Springfielders) it never had the reputation of being a funky, artsy, one-of-a-kind sort of town to begin with. If the chains move into downtown, Eugene can kiss its charm goodbye. I certainly wouldn’t make a point of taking visiting friends downtown to shop and lunch. I mean, how on Earth could that be of any interest at all? To anyone?
Davena Elder, Springfield
THE BURN GOES ON
So field burning continues! It’s so sad to have the powerful agricultural lobby in Salem overwhelm our health-care givers to allow field burning to continue to pollute our lungs and skies.
Scientists by now warn us that toxic exposure in the womb is linked to later health problems such as diabetes, prostate cancer, fertility problems, thyroid disorders and attention deficit. Two hundred scientists from five continents say there is growing evidence that humans are vulnerable to long-term exposure to toxic pollution.
The Oregon Medical Association, the Lung Association, nurses and medical research scientists all warned us against farmers burning their fields. It was halted in Washington, California and even Idaho, but here in Oregon we allow the power of a few farmers to harm the health of everyone living in our valley.
This is another important reason for campaign finance reform. My thanks to Rep. Paul Holvey and the Oregon Toxic Alliance for their gallant effort.
Ruth Duemler, Eugene
There is a way to end global warfare if we can create its details and apply it to today’s most powerful warmongering nation, the U.S. Put all the Bush people in jail who engineered their illegal Iraq war and keep them all there until death do they all part. This message of righteousness would end all major wars, for if the most grossly armed nation cannot get away with it, then no one can.
The first baby step in this process is to impeach the top U.S. war criminals. If we, the American people, cannot accomplish this first baby step, then we deserve all the massacres that the future will surely bring.
Bob Saxton, Eugene
A FATHER’S WISH
My Father’s Day wish is that my sons adopt the value of a national conflict resolution skill-building program to a secure and prosperous future for themselves and their children, my grandchildren.
I want for Father’s Day that my sons write to their congressional delegation: Violence is a learned conflict resolution strategy; violence is a public health problem that drains our nation’s economy of trillions, sucking our intelligence and creativity dry; the technology to reduce military casualties, to eliminate spousal and child abuse, schoolyard bullying, rape and other forms of criminal violence is available; we can heal this disease, we have the key to the prison we are in.
In the last 40 years, the science of conflict resolution has been tested and validated. It now needs the importance, funding and coordination of a national mission to develop these skills throughout America. Rep. Peter DeFazio is co-sponosoring a bill in Congress right now to open a path to a bright future. HR808 would establish a Department of Peace and Nonviolence, a secretary of peace at the center of power and a peace academy to teach conflict resolution skills to our nation. More information is on the web at www.thepeacealliance.org As a father, President Bush could initiate the legacy of a peaceful, prosperous world for his children. Sens. Gordon Smith and Ron Wyden are fathers. We all want this for our children. The founding fathers of our country, who claimed peace to be highest duty of a free country, would approve.
David Hazen, Eugene
A CHANCE FOR CHANGE
I want to thank Sen. Floyd Prozanski for the work he has done to get HB3540C passed, giving Oregonians the opportunity to express their will through their vote. Measure 37 affects all Oregon citizens regardless of whether one personally has filed a claim. The 7,000 Measure 37 claims that have been filed threaten over-development of Oregon’s unparalleled landscape. This will affect our groundwater, increase traffic congestion and pollution and put a strain on our public services. HB3540C allows all citizens the right to decide if these consequences are ones they are prepared to face, not just those whose bank accounts stand to grow as a result of Measure 37. I strongly urge all Oregonians to vote their conscience on Nov. 6.
Colleen Kimball, Eugene
I want to express my displeasure with Seneca Sawmill owner Aaron Jones’ recent full-page advertisement in The Register-Guard. Jones’ letter is misleading, at best. In it, he asserts that Measure 37 does not cost the government a dime. What Jones fails to mention is that Measure 37 does cost the people of Oregon a great deal, specifically hundreds of thousands of acres of beautiful land that make Oregon such a wonderful place to call home.
The people of Oregon are lucky to have representatives like Floyd Prozanski, who’s worked hard to see to it that Measure 37 sees the ballots on Nov. 6. It’s time that Oregonians vote on what Measure 37 is really all about: the commercialization of some 750,000 acres of Oregon’s pristine landscape.
Eric Taylor, Eugene
I am appalled at the level of impatience and disrespect that drivers in Eugene/Springfield have for pedestrians and cyclists. Every day I witness drivers cutting the corners while a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, just barely scraping by them!
My own experiences within the last two weeks (two in downtown Eugene and one in Springfield) have taken my frustration to new heights. When a crosswalk light turns in my favor and I start to cross, that doesn’t mean you can just cut me off and keep driving! One rude driver on the corner of Harlow and Pheasant Boulevard on Saturday, May 19, looked me in the eye and then headed straight for me, turning the corner without a care. She even had the nerve to flip me off! My message to her: How dare you! Shame on you for your ignorance!
Even my boyfriend, who rides a bike to work every day, has stories of drivers who don’t look and don’t care.
So, please have some respect and patience when you are driving. Look for others and take care not to run them over!
Sandy Evans, Springfield