News Briefs: The Juice is Back | Downtown Re-Birthday | Cop Used Excessive Force | Save The Wild Slugs | The Real Eco-Crimes | Obama Here Friday Night | Activist Alert | War Dead | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Thorny issues remain in 4J’s future
McKinney for President
Green Party presidential hopeful calls for accountability
Changing the Political Climate
Notes from PIELC
Rallying for Peace
Photos from the Peace Rally
Happening Person: Carolyn Osborne-Sommer
THE JUICE IS BACK
Genesis Juice, a longtime favorite among the health-conscious in Lane County, is back some 10 months after the co-op shut down last spring. The 30-year-old company’s name and equipment were bought by Toby’s Family Foods, LCC of Springfield, and the fresh-squeezed juices are back on the shelves this week.
Two of the founders of Genesis Juice, Claudia Sepp and Dale Hart, have joined Toby’s, and the old juicing and bottling equipment has been rebuilt, says Sheldon Rubin of Toby’s.
Gone are the glass bottles with their 25-cent deposits, replaced by recyclable 12-ounce plastic bottles and new labels. The juice combinations are the same, says Rubin, with the exception that honey in some of the blends has been replaced with agave nectar.
The old Genesis Juice products used mostly, but not all organic ingredients; the new Genesis juice is all organic, certified by Oregon Tilth. And a high pressure processing (HPP) system uses a water tank pressurized to 87,000 pounds per square inch to “preserve the nutritional integrity of the fruits and vegetables … while keeping the products safe, healthy and fresh for consumers,” says Rubin. Toby’s bought the multi-million dollar HPP equipment a couple of years ago to use in the manufacture of its tofu products.
Suggested retail prices for the 12-ounce juices range from $2.29 for Organic Apple to $4.29 for Organic Superfood Smoothie and Organic Carrot. — Ted Taylor
Just about everyone has ideas on how to revitalize Eugene’s downtown core. Some of the ideas are visionary; some are based on hard facts and practical experience. A group of local people is wanting to document and discuss all the ideas.
Citizens for Public Accountability (CPA), in association with the city of Eugene, Davis’, Eugene Weekly, Friends of Eugene, HELIOS, The Horsehead, Jameson’s, The KIVA and Sundance Natural Foods, is sponsoring a series of four free events designed to “make it possible for everyone to voice opinions and ideas for revitalization of our downtown, and to network with others to advance areas of interest, and tangible projects.”
Some projects downtown are already on track, such as the redevelopment of the Centre Court building and adjacent “Aster’s hole,” and the city is seeking proposals for the Sears pit across from the library. But questions remain about other areas downtown.
“We’re trying to expand the universe of what’s possible,” says Jan Wostmann of CPA. “We’re not creating a master plan, just a conversation about what people want to see downtown. And we want to include input from people who have experience doing projects downtown.”
The first public forum in the series is at 7 pm Tuesday, April 1, at Fenario Gallery, 881 Willamette. The forum is titled “You Tell Us!” and offers an opportunity for residents to speak up, network and form working groups. Following the forum will be a “Downtown Re-Birthday Party” with live music and refreshments.
The second event, “Making Downtown Work,” is set for 7 pm Wednesday, April 9, at WOW Hall, West 8th at Lincoln. Working groups from the first meeting will report, and experts in urban planning, design, real estate, economics and social dynamics will talk about the “larger picture of downtown Eugene.” Mayor Kitty Piercy will facilitate.
The third event, “The Project Faire!” will be from noon to 5 pm Saturday, April 26, at The Tango Center, 194 W. Broadway. It will include a lively mix of planning, politics, tours and presentations.
The fourth event, “Putting It All Together,” is planned for 7 pm Tuesday, April 29, at the WOW Hall. Conclusions arrived at this final meeting will be presented to the City Council. Following the forum will be the “First Annual Downtown Actualization Party.”
COP USED EXCESSIVE FORCE
Eugene Police Chief Robert Lehner and officers under his command had no problem with a police sergeant using “pain compliance” to force a 61-year-old woman in her nightgown from her home. But the Civilian Review Board did.
The board voted 4-1 on March 18 that the force used on the woman — painfully wrenching her wrist to the point that medics were called and she complained that she needed surgery — was excessive.
“Here we are, a 61-year-old woman, not big at all, standing in the doorway with two young officers, each one holding her forearm in an escort hold, and they couldn’t pull her through the door without doing the pain, gooseneck hold?” said Review Board Chairman Munir Katul, a retired physician. “It didn’t sound right to me.”
“She’s in her nightgown, she’s not a threat,” said Ann-Marie Lemire, chaplain at Sacred Heart Medical Center. Lemire said the woman told police she didn’t want to go out in front of her neighbors without her clothes and dentures. “She was asking, requesting some dignity and that was not given.”
“I think the force was excessive,” said Richard Brissenden, a municipal court judge in Florence and Cottage Grove. “I don’t think doing pain compliance on a 61-year-old lady is consistent with community values.”
According to a half-page public summary compiled by the police auditor, the incident began when officers responded to a call reporting a fight with a knife at the house. The 61-year-old complainant explained that the fight was actually the night before and allowed the officers to search her house without incident. A sergeant arrived at the house five minutes later but apparently did not communicate with other officers to find out the fight was the night before and that the house had already been searched. He ordered the woman to leave her house while he searched. She said she didn’t want to go out in her nightgown, and the police sergeant inflicted the pain hold on her. EPD policy is to refuse to allow the public to know the names of officers involved in citizen complaints or details of complaints against fellow officers.
“Basically it started with when the sergeant came on the scene, there was not communication,” Lemire said. “It went downhill from there.”
“This seems like to me, ‘OK here is a demonstration of pain, are you going to do what we want you to do?'” Brissenden said.
“Why does she have to be escorted out?” Katul asked. “She’s no threat.” Katul said the incident “sounded like” the officer was thinking “because I said so … by gosh we’re going to move you out.”
Several board members complained that the police Internal Affairs officer had failed to interview and record key witnesses in the investigation and had asked leading questions.
Board member Norton Cabel and police Auditor Cristina Beamud said there was insufficient evidence to rule the force excessive or not.
Brissenden said that insufficient investigation of complaints appears to be a recurring problem. “Several officers are interviewed, but it seems on the complaint side of things, not enough people are interviewed.” —Alan Pittman
SAVE THE WILD SLUGS!
Slugs, those slimy creatures beloved to Eugeneans, could be endangered by future logging plans, according to a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and four other conservation groups.
|Burrington jumping slug. Photo William Leonard.|
The petition seeks to protect, under the Endangered Species Act, 32 species of slugs and snails that exist primarily in old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest. These gooey creatures are among the most endangered of all species, according to the petition which says: “Mollusks have experienced more extinctions than any major taxonomic group — 42 percent of documented animal extinctions in the last 500 years have been mollusks.”
While Tierra Curry of the CBD admitted that slugs are “not charismatic megafauna” like polar bears and other more huggable-looking species, she points out that some of the mollusks “are really cool.” She cited the Burrington jumping-slug which sports a bit of a shell and the ability to flip its tail to jump off logs to escape predators. This particular jumping slug is an evolutionary intermediate species between slugs and snails
The Northwest Forest Plan’s “survey and manage” provisions once protected the snails, slugs and a number of other species of flora and fauna, but those protections were stuck down by the Bush administration, said the Curry. This petition is in “direct response” to the loss of survey and manage, she said.
Seven of the mollusks on the list face danger from the BLM’s controversial Western Oregon Plan Revisions (WOPR). These include the evening fieldslug; the diminuitive pebblesnail and the Crater Lake tightcoil, a snail found on BLM lands near Eugene.
The squashy species have an uphill battle against them. It’s been almost two years since the Bush administration has listed a new endangered species. — Camilla Mortensen
THE REAL ECO-CRIMES
With all the recent news of ecologically motivated arsons and the FBI and news media using the eco-terror label again, you’d think a Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) panel on “Environmental Crimes in the New Millennium” would focus on the crimes of environmental activists. Instead, a group of environmental crime prosecutors and defenders spoke to a packed room about the ins and outs of criminal enforcement of environmental laws. The criminals here were individuals and corporations whose actions caused harm to the environment.
“Like a lot of other white-collar defendants,” those committing environmental crimes “take longer to realize that this is an area where you could go to jail,” said Eileen Sobek of the Department of Justice. “You don’t have to be a drug dealer or a poacher to go to jail for an environmental crime,” she said.
David Z. Nevin, a lawyer from Idaho whose job it is to defend those criminals, spoke next. While he is perhaps best known for his defense of one of the separatists involved in a shootout with the FBI and the U.S. Marshals in the 1992 siege at Ruby Ridge, it was his mention of defending a man accused of poisoning a wolf in Idaho that got the room’s attention. Until last month, gray wolves were on the endangered species list, and many environmentalists say they should still be protected. “I don’t have the slightest problem defending this guy,” he said of the wolf killer.
Nevin said while he expected to feel “cognitive dissonance” when he first began defending environmental criminals, his job “is protecting the values expressed in our Bill of Rights.”
After Susan Mandiberg of Lewis and Clark Law School discussed the complexities of enforcing environmental laws through criminal prosecution, Dwight Holton of the Oregon U.S. Attorney’s office spoke of the joys of prosecuting eco-criminals.
“I have an incredibly fun job,” he said, “I get to put people who dump stuff into the well and people who kill wolves behind bars.”
He said he has “zero cognitive dissonance” and that he uses “the same tactics in environmental crimes as in ‘blood and guts’ cases.” — Camilla Mortensen
OBAMA HERE FRIDAY NIGHT
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is planning to speak at a free event at Mac Court in Eugene Friday night. Doors open at 7 and Obama is scheduled to speak at 9 pm. He plans to speak Friday morning at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum.
The Eugene event is free, but the 10,000 available seats are likely to fill up quickly. Reservations can be made at my.barackobama.com/page/s/Eugene and an unofficial local Obama support group can be found at www.eugene4obama.com
• Oregon Sen. Kate Brown is running for secretary of state and will be speaking at 3 pm Thursday, March 20 at Davis’ Restaurant, Broadway and Olive. For more info call 484-6145.
• What is your vision for Eugene’s riverfront? A community advisory team is being formed to create a master plan for the portion of EWEB property that will be vacated when EWEB moves to its new Roosevelt Operations Center. Applications are being accepted through March 28. EWEB commissioners will choose five members; the Eugene City Council will choose four members. Apps are available at eweb.org or at City Hall.
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq began onMarch 20, 2003 (last week’s numbers in parentheses):
• 3,990 U.S. troops killed*(3,968)
• 29,320 U.S. troops injured* (29,320)
• 145 U.S. military suicides* (135)
• 308 coalition troops killed** (307)
• 1,123 contractors killed(accurate updates NA)
• 89,710 to one million Iraqi civilians killed*** (89,353)
• $503.3 billion cost of war ($501.4 billion)
• $143.2 million cost toEugene taxpayers($142.6 million)
* through Mar. 17, 2008; source: icasualties.org; some figures only updated monthly
** estimate; source: icasualties.org
*** highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate civilian deaths as high as 655,000 to one million.
Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule
• Near Lorane Elementary School: Weyerhaeuser (744-4600) will ground spray 578 acres near Turkey Run, Norris, Tucker, Shaw Creeks and the Siuslaw River starting March 24 (#50210).
• Near Camp Creek: Western Helicopter (503-538-9469) will aerially spray 233 acres with Velpar and Tahoe herbicides for Lone Rock Timber (673-0141) starting March 19 (#55208).
• Near Fox Hollow area: Oregon Forest Management Services (896-3757) will ground spray 224 acres for Giustina Land and Timber (345-2301) starting March 25 (#50202).
• Near Dexter and Lost Creek areas: Strata Forestry (726-0845) will ground spray 25 acres for Giustina Resources (485-1500) starting March 10 (#55213).
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, forestlanddwellers.org
• We were pleased to see a healthy turnout at the Sow Seeds of Peace parade, rally and vigil Sunday (see story and more photos on our website this week). It’s encouraging that so many people showed up, considering the level of gloom in America these past seven years. Hope for change has been frustrated again and again, but we continue to stand up for peace and sanity. We all know such demonstrations won’t stop the bloody occupation of Iraq that has been dragging on for five awful years and killed upwards of a million people. But it’s vitally important to keep this foreign policy blunder in the public eye as we head into the elections.
Iraq should be a big litmus test for federal and state candidates because support of the invasion and occupation indicates poor judgment and skewed priorities. It’s not a bad test for our mayoral, council and commission candidates as well, and for the same reasons.
Is a candidate claiming to be pro-education but also supporting Bush and Cheney aggression? The cost of Iraq so far could have provided $4,000 Pell Grants for 80 million college students, hired nine million full-time music and arts teachers for a year, or built 38,000 new elementary schools.
Is a candidate calling for cutting crime? Iraq’s cost could have been used to hire and equip 11 million cops for a year (see other trade-offs at www.NationalPriorities.org).Is a candidate calling for economic reform? The total long-term cost of Iraq is expected to run into the trillions of dollars, money taken away from economic investment at home in infrastructure, education, research, alternative energy, small business loans, etc.
Mayor Kitty Piercy spoke out with conviction against the Iraq occupation Sunday at the peace rally. As a former school teacher, she understands how the waste of resources on war affects children here at home. We didn’t see Jim Torrey there.
• Many of us are getting calls in what appears to be polling by the Torrey campaign. The questions go something like, “How certain are you to vote in the primary in May? If the vote were held today for mayor, would you vote for Jim Torrey or Kitty Piercy? Which is the most important issue to you: crime, jobs or streets?” The last question appears intended to limit people’s perceptions about the big issues facing Eugene. Otherwise, why not include education, the environment, social justice, downtown redevelopment, sustainability, taxes, police accountability, our form of city government?
• Springfield needs its own newspaper. The R-G covers Springfield government to a degree, and EW drops 4,000 papers a week in Springfield for all the folks who want to know what’s going on in Eugene and Lane County. But a local paper is vitally important in building a town’s sense of community and identity. It should have local news, sports and entertainment, columnists who write about local characters, photos of local people doing interesting stuff. A local paper serves the public good by keeping a close eye on city government, schools and public safety. But the Springfield News shut down in 2006, and now the Springfield Beacon is defunct after just 65 issues, and apparently no one is eager to pick up the pieces.
It was only a few years ago when the new Springfield News Editor Larry Berteau was talking about kicking the twice-weekly paper into gear and going daily. The paper was profitable, or at least holding its own with the help of job printing, but it was a commodity as much as a community institution. Lee Enterprises bought it in a package deal from Disney, which bought it in a package deal from Capital Cities, and so on. Mainstream papers nationwide have been struggling, and the S’News was hit from all sides, including competition from the R-G and EW. Sometimes a media conglomerate will bail out a drowning paper in its chain, but the captains at Lee figured the old boat was not worth saving and pulled the plug. Beacon Communications, based in Lake Oswego, apparently came to the same conclusion with the Springfield Beacon. Local ownership invested in the community might have come up with a better business plan.
It’s time for Springfield businesses and residents to get together and support a new community paper, perhaps even offering some incentives, such as free rent for a year or a pledge of advertising. Think of it as economic development for small businesses downtown.
SLANT includes short opinion pieces, observations and rumor-chasing notes compiled by the EW staff. Heard any good rumors lately? Contact Ted Taylor at 484-0519, firstname.lastname@example.org
A “Navy brat” as a kid, Carolyn Osborne-Sommer grew up in Quonset huts and went to 12 different schools. At age 10, in her first year off base, she took art classes at a community center in Imperial Beach, Calif. At 16, she taught “clay-play” to kids at the same facility. “Early on, I learned I could make a difference, be part of a community,” she says. After a brief career in dental hygiene, a brief marriage and the birth of her daughter Amy, who is deaf, she moved north to Shasta County, where deaf kids could attend regular classes. “I’d teach an art class so that the teacher could do speech therapy,” says Osborne-Sommer, who did the same at Harris School after moving to Eugene in 1978. Here she also married Tripp Sommer, earned a BFA degree, and became a “rogue teacher” at many venues and an advocate for local arts groups. She currently teaches at the Rural Art Center in Lorane and offers private lessons in her backyard Sandune’s Raku Studio (607-0177). She has an artwork on display through April 18 in “The Political Show”, a national juried exhibit at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany.