News Briefs: Trees Replace Concrete for Arbor Day | Which Bud for You? | UO Might Violate NCAA Rules | Beltline? Bring Back Highway 69! | Miners Threaten to Shoot | War Dead | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule | Activist Alert
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
TREES REPLACE CONCRETE FOR ARBOR DAY
They say that breaking up is hard to do. Well, it’s certainly noisy.
City backhoes smashed up the curbside concrete in front of Eugene Weekly and more than a dozen nearby businesses, including the Alzheimer’s Association, in recent weeks and hauled off many tons of rubble in preparation for tree plantings that will begin around 10 am Saturday, April 10, at EW.
The planting of more than 20 bigleaf maples and other shade trees is a collaboration of the Eugene NeighborWoods Program, Eugene Tree Foundation and downtown property owners in celebration of Arbor Day. Volunteers from REI, Willakenzie Junior Grangers, Girl Scout Troop 20275 and community volunteers are expected to help out. Mayor Kitty Piercy is expected to be on hand to accept Eugene’s 31st annual Tree City USA Award.
“Last year we planted around the old library and in the two blocks south on Charnelton and Olive,” says Erik Burke, president of the Eugene Tree Foundation. He says the plantings around EW will “connect nicely with that and other plantings I’m organizing in Jefferson Westside neighborhood.”
Property owners will be responsible for watering the young trees until they are well established.
Burke says bigleaf maples are “wonderful street trees” that can live for many years. Century-old bigleaf maples dominate the shady streets of the Whiteaker and other older neighborhoods.
Burke says other recent Arbor Day Trees for Concrete plantings are along 16th by the Vet’s Club, and along Orchard Street next to the Market of Choice on Franklin Boulevard. “Another option is planting native shrubs or wildflowers or ornamental flowers under the trees if desired,” he says. EW gardening columnist Rachel Foster has volunteered to plant shrubs and flowers around the trees at EW this summer.
The NeighborWoods Program brings together neighbors, local businesses and the city to “plant and care for street trees in the public rights-of-way,” according to the city website. — Ted Taylor
WHICH BUD IS FOR YOU?
How can you find out which variety of marijuana provides the best relief for your glaucoma, back pain or other malady? A select group of 20 Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) card holders will have an opportunity to take home and judge 20 different local strains of cannabis following the “Eugene Cannabis Cup/Strain Evaluation” from 11:30 am to 5 pm Friday, April 23, at the Voter Power office, 687 River Ave. Four of the 20 judge slots were still available as of April 5.
Local growers have been invited to donate at least one ounce of their highest quality bud to be doled out to the 20 patients in late April. “We will be distributing the medicine at our patient resource days,” says Jim Greig of Voter Power. Judges will have more than two weeks to test the samples and will mail in their evaluations by May 15.
The April 23 kick-off event will feature informal “People’s Choice Awards” based on sampling some of the strains to be studied, along with individuals’ stashes. The event is limited to OMMP cardholders.
The cost of participating in the judging is $100, and all proceeds will go to the nonprofit Coalition for Patients Rights 2010. “The cost isn’t for the cannabis; that would be illegal,” Greig says. “We will only charge for the admission, food and beverages, plus an event souvenir.” Designated drivers are recommended for those who inhale.
“Each judge will provided with one gram of each of the 20 strains that will be numerically coded,” Greig says. “The numbering system protects the anonymity of the grower and strain, and ‘blinds’ the judges. Judges will be asked questions relating to the strains’ appearance, taste, their method used for consuming and its medicinal effect.”
Ed Glick, R.N. clinic director for the Voter Power Foundation, says “each strain of cannabis possesses unique combinations of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. It is the unique bio-interaction of cannabinoids, which provides relief to specific illnesses or symptoms. One strain might work well for pain but not effectively for intraocular pressure from glaucoma.”
Greig says he would prefer to move the event to a larger facility, but “I couldn’t find a bigger venue that would allow us to consume cannabis, so I have to hold it at the VP office this year.” He can be reached at 541-844-1220 for information about this event and a fundraising seminar on advanced marijuana cultivation April 24.
Voter Power is involved in two citizen initiatives aimed at improving the OMMP rules, and legalizing and regulating marijuana.
“Our medical marijuana law lacks an effective supply system,” says John Sajo of Voter Power. “The law is pretty good at keeping patients from being arrested but has produced very mixed results in terms of actually getting patients their medicine. We’d like to do it like California, where they can go to a dispensary and have myriad choices.” — Ted Taylor
UO MIGHT VIOLATE NCAA RULES
With a booster committing the university to a multi-million-dollar unapproved oral contract to a former football coach, the UO’s lawyer struggling to obtain athletic department documents, football players running wild and afoul of the law, and boosters running the search for a new basketball coach while the UO president is off in China, is the UO Athletic Department out of control?
The question is more than academic; it may be a violation of NCAA rules which provide severe penalties to universities with a “lack of institutional control,” one of the top principles in the NCAA rulebook:
• “It is the responsibility of each member institution to control its intercollegiate athletics program” (2.1.1).
• “The institution’s president or chancellor is responsible for the administration of all aspects of the athletics program, including approval of the budget and audit of all expenditures.”
• “The institution’s responsibility for the conduct of its intercollegiate athletics program includes responsibility for the actions of its staff members and for the actions of any other individual or organization engaged in activities promoting the athletics interests of the institution” (2.1.2).
• “The institution’s annual budget for its intercollegiate athletics programs shall be controlled by the institution and subject to its normal budgeting procedures” (6.2.1).
• The rules forbid “refusal to furnish information relevant to an investigation of a possible violation of an NCAA regulation when requested to do so by the NCAA or the individual’s institution.”
• The UO apparently often forgoes written contracts, but NCAA rules require that “contractual agreements or appointments between a coach and an institution shall include the stipulation that a coach who is found in violation of NCAA regulations shall be subject to disciplinary or corrective action” (11.2.1).
• The rules also require “contractual agreements, including letters of appointment, between a full-time or part-time athletics department staff member (excluding secretarial or clerical personnel) and an institution shall include the stipulation that the staff member is required to provide a written detailed account annually to the president or chancellor for all athletically related income and benefits from sources outside the institution. In addition, the approval of all athletically related income and benefits shall be consistent with the institution’s policy” (11.2.2).
• “The institution, as opposed to any outside source, shall remain in control of determining who is to be its employee and the amount of salary the employee is to receive” (11.3.1). — Alan Pittman
BELTLINE? BRING BACK HIGHWAY 69!
In the fray over the attempt to redesignate Beltline Highway as The Randy Papé Beltway, it has come to light that most Eugeneans don’t know what that road is called in the first place. EW’s favorite, now defunct name, for the thoroughfare is Highway 69.
The name for the highway we currently know as Beltline is spelled as one word, Beltline, not Belt Line, as that local daily paper has been spelling it. And the route in question that is being changed is Beltline Highway, not Beltline Road. There are actually two different Beltlines, according to Rick Little of ODOT. It’s Beltline Highway from Gateway Street west. From Gateway to the east, it’s Beltline Road.
The name change (whatever it gets changed to) would only affect Beltline Highway, not Beltline Road, east of Gateway, where many businesses have street addresses.
This isn’t Beltline’s first sign and name change. When the county planned the road in the late 1950s it was referred to as the “peripheral road.” It was supposed to be part of a larger beltway that encircled Eugene-Springfield. That project was never completed, and the street was then referred to as Beltline Road. In 1978, Lane County gave control of Beltline Road to ODOT and it became Beltline Highway and designated State Highway 69. According to Little, signs designating the route as OR 69 were never posted.
In 2007, as the 2008 Olympic Trials approached, it was proposed that Beltline Highway be given numbered signs in order to help potentially lost sports fans find their way to Hayward Field. Originally, according to minutes from an Oregon Transportation Commission meeting, it was proposed that the highway be numbered as OR 14. Instead the highway was designated OR 569, in place of of plain old 69.
“Truthfully, changing from OR 69 gave us more assurance that OR 69 route shields would not be stolen. We were aware that the number 69 had special meaning to some people,” Little says.
The new state shield signs deemed Beltline as OR 569. The total cost for that initial sign change “was approximately $5,000 in district maintenance funds,” Little says.
Other signs pointing to Beltline were changed to OR 569 as various construction projects called for them, Little says, and they were already budgeted into those projects. He says, “This district spends about $30,000 per year on sign replacement. ODOT spends about $3 million per year in sign replacement around the entire state.”
Currently, the proposal is to change the name from Beltline Highway to the Randy Papé Beltline, which would involve $1,500 to place a sign at either end of Beltline Highway, instead of the quarter million dollars in sign changes initially proposed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski and the OTC. Other signs would be changed later as wear and tear demands. Unfortunately, no plans appear to be under way to change the route back to Highway 69. — Camilla Mortensen
MINERS THREATEN TO SHOOT
Conflicts between activists and those they disagree with are nothing new, but alleged threats to shoot members of Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (KS Wild) and their fellow hikers stirred up fears in southern Oregon recently.
According to George Sexton of KS Wild, the conservation group found out about the threats to shoot at them that appeared on an Internet discussion forum for miners called Oregon Gold Hunters only after their hike was completed.
KS Wild works to protect public lands, waterways and wildlife in southern Oregon. One of their campaigns has been to end suction dredge mining in rivers. Sexton says suction dredge mining, which stirs up sediment and sometimes toxic substances like mercury, arsenic and cyanide, is harmful to native fish such as threatened coho salmon as well as to water quality.
Sexton says the mining “leaves taxpayers on the hook for cleaning up the mess.”
Conflicts between miners and other public lands users, Sexton says, have gone on for years, but sentiment has been stirred up recently by a ban on suction dredging in California that may drive miners up into southern Oregon.
In response to an email about a planned KS Wild hike, one of the miners, under the name “spilsnthils” wrote on the Internet forum: “Out in the woods on their own, hmm sounds like disaster. If a guy was pissed off enough he could sit up in the woods with a high powered assault riffle and put an end to the whole group in one swift action.”
After law enforcement officials were alerted to the posts, Sen. Ron Wyden wrote a letter to AG John Kroger and U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton asking them to “use your authority to ensure the safety of community groups on public lands.”
Wyden also cited the instance of Gregory Graybill who was riding his four-wheel drive vehicle when he was shot by a miner who felt he was too close to his federal mining claim. Graybill’s arm had to be amputated.
The full Internet thread can be viewed at http://wkly.ws/gz though it has been modified since media attention came to the site. Forum participants have cited their First Amendment right to free speech on the issue. According to Kroger’s communications director Tony Green, “The Depart According to Kroger’s communications director Tony Green, “The Department of Justice looked at the Web site in question and determined that the comments were protected First Amendment speech. As a result, there is no basis for a criminal investigation.” ment of Justice looked at the Web site in question and determined that the comments were protected First Amendment speech. As a result, there is no basis for a criminal investigation.”
Sexton says KS Wild has no plans to stop its hikes on public lands, “The best way to respond to this stuff is by shining the light of day” on it, says Sexton. “You can’t let thugs determine public policy with threats.”
For upcoming KS Wild hikes, go to kswild.org — Camilla Mortensen
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003 (last week’s numbers in parentheses):
• 4,391 U.S. troops killed* (4,390)
• 31,762 U.S. troops injured** (31,739)
• 185 U.S. military suicides* (updates NA)
• 1,123 U.S. contractors killed (updates NA)
• 104,481 to 1.2 million civilians killed*** (104,460)
• $715.8 billion cost of war ($714.5 billion)
• $203.5 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($203.2 million)
• 1.024 U.S. troops killed* (1,020)
• 5,393 U.S. troops injured** (5,317)
• $263.6 billion cost of war ($262.2 billion)
• $74.9 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($74.6 million)
* through April 5, 2010; source: icasualties.org; some figures only updated monthly
** sources: icasualties.org, defenselink.mil
*** highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate civilian deaths as high as 655,000 (Lancet survey, 2006) to 1.2 million (Opinion Research Business survey, 2008)
LANE AREA HERBICIDE SPRAY SCHEDULE
• In eastern Lane County near Marcola Schools, Walterville, Leaburg, Dexter and Lowell: Seneca Jones Timber (461-6245) will ground spray 11 miles of roads with Garlon XRT (ester) and Milestone VM herbicides starting May 15 (No. 771-00413).
• ODOT will start spraying state highways with herbicides in District 5 (Lane County) starting April 5 depending on weather (see News/ODOT). Call District 5 at 744-8080 or (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. ODOT spraying has already started in other parts of Oregon.
• Union Pacific Railroad: plans to spray tracks through Eugene delayed due to weather. Call Jan Bohman at Eugene 682-5587.
• Deadline is April 15 to apply for a vacancy on the Lane County Vegetation Management Advisory Committee. Applications available at the 125 E. 8th Ave., phone 682-4203 or visit http://wkly.ws/gv
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
• “Looking at Eugene and Lane County Through a Human Rights Lens” is sponsored by the Eugene Human Rights Commission and the Community Coalition for Advancement of Human Rights. The free event featuring numerous local experts and elected officials will be from 6:30 to 9 pm Thursday, April 8, at the Hult Center.
• Historical geographer Gray Brechin from UC Berkeley is touring Oregon, speaking on the New Deal legacy, “Another World Was Possible.” He will speak for free at 1 pm Thursday, April 8, at Building 17, room 309C at LCC, and at 4 pm Thursday at Lillis 282 on the UO campus. Civic Stadium is part of the New Deal legacy, along with the old Eugene Post Office.
• A free showing of Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators will be at 7 pm Thursday, April 8, at 180 PLC on the UO campus. It includes a discussion about wolves and other top predators in the West. Panelists include Russ Morgan, wolf biologist with the ODFW, OSU professor Bill Ripple and Rob Klavins of Oregon Wild. For more information, call 541-344-0675 or 3541-46-4365.
• Journalist and author Sherry Wolf will speak on “Stop the Sex Scare in Sports: From the Closet to Gender Testing” at 7 pm Friday, April 9, at the UO Law School, room 175. She will speak on “The Case for Socialism” at a workshop from 1 to 4 pm Saturday, April 10, at Many Nations Long House at UO.
• Visiting law professor and civil rights expert David Cole will speak on civil liberties and military detainees at 3:30 pm Friday, April 9, in Room 110, Knight Law Center, 1515 Agate St.
• Helios’ Green Drinks this month is from 5 to 7 pm Friday, April 9, at World Cafe, 449 Blair Blvd., next to Sam Bond’s. More information at www.heliosnetwork.org or call 284-7020.
• “Human Rights Start at Home” is a community-wide Human Rights Summit co-sponsored by the city of Eugene and the Community Coalition for Advancement of Human Rights. The event will be from 9 am to 6 pm Saturday, April 10, at the Center for Meeting and Learning on the LCC campus. Registration is $10 and includes lunch. More information at http://wkly.ws/dy
• Coffee Party USA holds its first Eugene meeting from 3 to 5 pm Saturday, April 10, at Cozmic Pizza, 8th and Charnelton. The website www.coffeepartyusa.com encourages people across the country to organize local Coffee Party events and chapters. Local contact is Lynn at firstname.lastname@example.org
• A short “umbrella” demonstration supporting a rainy day fund and kicker reform will be from 2 to 2:30 pm Sunday, April 11, on the Ferry Street Bridge. Umbrellas will be provided. Meet at the south end of bridge. RSVP to email@example.com
• A fundraiser for County Commission candidate Pat Riggs-Henson is being planned to 2 to 4 pm Sunday, April 11, in rural Cottage Grove. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-341-1380 for directions or visit www.patriggs-henson.com
• A Face the Displaced Party focusing on the humanitarian crisis in Columbia is planned for 6:30 pm Monday, April 12, at the Latin America Solidarity Committee office, 458 Blair Blvd. “With five million people violently forced from their homes, Colombia is second only to Sudan as the world’s worst displacement crisis,” says social activist Peg Morton. U.S. military aid and the extensive use of aerial herbicide spraying have contributed to the refugee crisis. The group also plans to take a display of portraits and policy demands to the U.S. Courthouse at 4 pm Monday, April 19.
• Deepen your connection to 15 local farmers at the 11th annual That’s My Farmer event from 6 to 8:30 pm Wednesday, April 14, at First United Methodist Church, 13th and Olive. Topics include preserving farm land; growing, cooking, and preserving vegetables and fruits; chickens; sauerkraut; building soil; backyard greenhouses; working with draft horses. Donation suggested: $5 per person or $10 per family. All proceeds go to the low-income fund.
• “River and the Making of Ritual Space.” Public space architect William C. Tripp shares how ritual space connects us to our roots, anchors us to our place and binds us to each other at 7pm Wednesday, April 14, at Hult Center Studio adjacent to the Jacobs gallery.
• A tax day action, “Fund Jobs Not War,” will be from 11 am to 3 pm Thursday, April 15, at the downtown post office, organized by Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) and Eugene Springfield Solidarity Network (ESSN). The day’s message is, “Instead of paying for endless war, Congress should fund a New Deal like, large-scale job creation effort.” Taxpayers will have an opportunity to vote on where their tax dollars go, by participating in a penny poll. The event includes a noon rally with music and speakers. Email email@example.com or call CALC at 485-1755.
• Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski will talk about the potential economic benefits of responsible environmental practices in a talk at 3:30 pm Wednesday, April 14, at the UO School of Law. His lecture title is “Addressing Climate Change: The Right Policy is also the Smart Policy.”
• Gov. Ted Kulongoski is so full of asphalt on the Papé highway renaming that it’s coming out his ears. Excellent reporting in The Register-Guard has amply demonstrated that ODOT and the governor intentionally hid the renaming of Beltline from the public because they knew people wouldn’t like it. Renaming the freeway after a millionaire who has made big campaign contributions to the governor is a clear violation of state naming rules. This state is clearly run by a good-ol’ boys club, and ODOT clearly exists to do things to Oregonians rather than for Oregonians. The Legislature should act quickly to remove the naming power from the governor and ODOT before yet more big signs of corruption are posted.
• Kudos to the Ems for making a hilarious April Fool’s of KVAL and other local TV stations. The gag gave guffaws while amply demonstrating that the on-air press release readers at KVAL are not only not “First, Fair, Accurate” as they claim, but also embarrassingly dumb and humorless. Here’s a hot news tip: If someone sends you a far-fetched press release with a big April 1 in bold on top at 10:30 pm, don’t make your top story the fact that you are gullible. Laugh.
• We’ve been following the Courthouse Garden project for several weeks now, and we learned a few new things at City Club April 2. Judge Ann Aiken and landscape architecture professor Ann Bettman were the speakers and showed slides of the garden in progress. Even more people are involved in the project than we had imagined, including Mayor Kitty Piercy, UO President Richard Lariviere and Karmen Fore in Rep. Peter DeFazio’s office. And it appears just about everyone who works in the Courthouse is fascinated with the garden, and some are even getting their hands dirty.
What’s in the future? The agreement is only for three years, but the historic Agripac building on the site could be restored to become a garden center someday. We also learned that to sustain this project year after year will require a director — someone who can coordinate volunteers, deal with issues, interface with the community and raise money. Public and private grants are likely available for agricultural, educational and community service collaborations that can serve as examples for other cities. And years from now, if and when the land is sold for development, much of that organic composted soil can be scooped up and moved, along with the drip irrigation system, to enrich and beautify another eyesore in the city. It can become a portable institution. Meanwhile, Saturdays are work days from 10 am to 1 pm. See the garden’s Facebook page at http://wkly.ws/gx for more information.
• Three cheers for the Eugene Tree Foundation and Eugene NeighborWoods Program that work with residents and businesses to plant trees along streets where there’s nothing but dirt or concrete. We’ve been staring at the concrete slabs in front of our offices for at least 10 years thinking we could really use some shade trees to go with our bike racks. Turns out the city is a willing partner (see News Briefs this week). Happy Arbor Day.
• Anyone who really cares about America and what our government has done in our names with so much of our blood and taxes should watch the Collateral Murder video leaked from the Pentagon by Wikileaks (http://bit.ly/dlWQdC). So far TV news has largely censored it, but the bloodthirsty truth of the Iraq War, the digital Pentagon Papers of our time, is on fire online. No, they do not hate freedom, they hate us, with what the video shows is good reason.
• Give us this day our daily paper, but hey, it would be nice to see some news on the front page. The wet weather was the lead story in the R-G March 30 and 31, April 1 and 3. We get it. It rains and blows in the spring. Trees fall down. Rivers rise. It’s Eugene.
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, editor at eugeneweekly dot com