News Briefs: Ugly Dogs Are Good Dogs, Too | Musicians Jam at City Club | Loads Too Heavy For Bridges | Sierra Club Spreads Solar Panels | City Plans Car Share Program | City Reviews Rental Rules | Activist Alert | Lane County Spray Schedule | War Dead | Corrections/Clarifications |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Q & A:
Ending War in Afghanistan
A Q&A with Matthew Hoh, first U.S. official to resign in protest over the Afghan war
Happening People: Beth Little
UGLY DOGS ARE GOOD DOGS, TOO
|Vote for Lucille! Photo by Kelly Beal, Beal Designs|
El Diablo, “the Chihuahua from hell” who became a star on Cesar Millans Dog Whisperer TV show, isnt the only rescue from Eugene-based Luv-a-Bull looking for fame. Lucille, a pit bull with the head of a gargoyle, the body of a bat and a tendency to spin in circles, has entered the 2011 Worlds Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif.
Liesl Wilhardt, Luv-a-Bulls founder, writes in an email encouraging dog lovers to vote for Lucille, “We want to have Lucilles story bring more attention to the plight of badly bred, unwanted pit bulls and their need for rescue and love.”
She adds, “We dont really think she is ugly.”
Lucille was adopted from Luv-a-Bull and now has a loving home in Portland. She will be heading down to California for the contest on June 24. While the ugliest dog in the world will be decided by a panel of judges, ugly dog fans can vote for their own favorite (and check out the full panel of ugly dogs) at http://wkly.ws/12p ã Camilla Mortensen
MUSICIANS JAM AT CITY CLUB
Lane County has a vibrant and growing live music scene, and thousands of musicians make their homes here, performing, teaching, composing, producing and doing whatever else is needed to make a living. City Club of Eugene invited four professional musicians to talk about their art and their lives June 17, ending with a jam session of George Gershwins “Summertime.”
Musicians Paul Biondi, Laura Kemp, Jessie Marquez and David Burham (from left in photo above) talked about how they became musicians, their daily routines, their challenges and sacrifices, and the importance of music in their lives.
One theme that ran though all their stories is the significance of early childhood education in music and concern that arts are being cut from public school budgets.
“Every person has a gift, and if they are not able to find out what that gift is and nurture it, that gift could be lost,” said Burham, a violist with the Eugene Symphony for 27 years. “My life would be barren, soulless without music.”
Biondi, a jazz and blues saxophonist who has toured with many nationally known musicians, said he was introduced to music in the fourth grade and it changed his life. “I was able to take band, get an instrument and get lessons from the band director. Ä Programs are being slashed today, programs that keep kids out of trouble. Its a big mistake if we dont get back to supporting music in our schools.”
Marquez, a singer and composer who combines Cuban, Brazilian, jazz and pop, said she also discovered music as a young girl. She laments that not all children get to explore music. “So many children do not have opportunities for private music lessons today due to money issues.”
Kemp has been a fixture on the local music scene since 1990, performing and composing everything from bluegrass to jazz to Indian kirtan music. “I love to pass along my passion to students, teaching young people how to make music, and then running into them years later and finding they are still making music.”
Making a living as an artist in Eugene has never been easy, and these musicians talked about the drop in pay for gigs, the limited performance venues, the lack of health insurance, the need to do other work to pay the bills (Burham builds electric violins), and the sometimes tedious business and entrepreneurial side of being a musician in the age of the internet.
But all were upbeat about living in the Eugene area and the future of our local music scene. “The support of the community makes it possible for us to do what we are doing,” said Biondi. “Please keep it up ã and maybe crank it up some more.”
“Why cant we have Eugene Celebration every week?” asked Biondi, noting that our area has some of the most talented musicians in the country. He noted that about 13 percent of the economy of the city of Austin, Texas, is based on music and the arts. In Eugene, he says, its only 1 percent. ã Ted Taylor
LOADS TOO HEAVY FOR BRIDGES
Despite the efforts of Native American, conservation and activist groups, 200 massive loads of tar sands equipment have been steadily making their way up the Columbia River and over twisty mountain roads to Canada where they will be used in greenhouse gas generating oil production and the destruction of boreal forests.
Groups have objected to Imperial Oils Kearl Module Transport Project (KMTP) not only because it uses U.S. rivers and highways to facilitate toxic tar sands extraction, but also due to the effects on the roads, on nearby salmon streams and on local residents.
The trucks and their loads combined can weigh up to half a million pounds. Last year, after EW reported on the heavy haul, Congressman Peter DeFazio made headlines when he sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood in which he wrote, “If Idaho and Montana issue oversize load permits in violation of the federal bridge formula, American taxpayers will pay the price for the unprecedented wear and tear on our highway system.”
Trish Weber of All Against the Haul says the group obtained copies of the engineering evaluations of the infrastructure that was performed by the Idaho Department of Transportation (IDT) and the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), respectively. She says her group commissioned an independent engineering analysis of these evaluations by Scott Kent, a professional engineer with a doctorate in structural engineering. Kent determined from information included in the IDT bridge evaluation calculations that the KMTP trucks exceed the allowed weight per axle as calculated by the Federal HighwayAdministration (FHWA) federal bridge formula.
In a letter sent to DeFazio and Sen. John Tester, Weber wrote, “The states of Idaho and Montana, by permitting the KMTP, have not done an adequate job of protecting federal highway infrastructure.”
Weber, who is also a professional engineer, says as a result of the letter she flew to Washington, D.C., in early June for meetings with the FHWA.While the analysis and permitting for the heavy loads has been done by state agencies, FHWA told Weber it has jurisdiction over bridges on I-90 and bridges more than 20 feet long on all the state highways.
Weber says she met with Michael Onder, team leader for truck size and weight division at FHWA, and he brought the analysis to bridge engineering department, which said the questions raised are valid concerns and should be answered. Weber says, “That was what we needed to hear as opposed to •this is no big deal.”
She says, “The primary concerns are MDT and IDT not looking at the same trucks. Every truck that goes through Idaho goes through Montana.” She says Idaho reviewed 14 different truck size and weight configurations, while Montana analyzed only one.
As a result, Weber says Idaho found that extra measures were needed to protect bridges from overloading. In Montana the plan is to slow the trucks down to five miles per hour as they cross the bridges. Not only does Weber question whether that is enough to protect the federal bridges ã”These trucks are so extreme this could be the one in a hundred time it doesnt work,” she says ãthe question arises of how the trucks will not hold up traffic for more than the legal 10 minutes while slowing down for each bridge. ã Camilla Mortensen
SIERRA CLUB SPREADS SOLAR PANELS
This year when Rudolph and company prance across Oregon roofs, homeowners may want to request that they try not to scuff the solar system.
Oregon has an odd relationship with energy, especially coal, importing coal-fired energy even as the Boardman plant is slated to shut down by 2020. The solar industry is growing and already employs more Americans than the U.S. steel production sector, according to the U.S. Solar Foundation.
Oregons Sierra Club and RS Energy are partnering to offer rooftop solar installations at rates affordable to what may be a surprising share of homeowners. After the Sierra Club announced the deal on June 13, Oregon Sierra Club Director Brian Pasko says they received 120 requests for assessments in the first 24 hours. “Its an amazing response,” he says.
The discounts are being offered to all Oregon Sierra Club members. Non-members can join the Sierra Club and immediately be eligible for the evaluation, and RS Energy will help customers wade through the details of financing the projects.
David Richards of RS Energy says that incentives can cover up to 75 percent of a systems cost. “EWEB offers a really nice incentive,” Richards says. “They pay an up front amount for the system; that lowers the homeowners cost. The homeowners also eligible for a $6,000 state tax credit and a 30 percent federal tax credit.”
The typical system requires about 350 square feet and is made mostly of silicon, with a glass top and aluminum frame. Richards says the systems are fairly flush to the roof and usually dark black or dark blue. While it may surprise homeowners that solar power can be aesthetically pleasing, Richards says that the recent drop in price seems to be a bigger surprise. “I think the biggest thing that people are not aware of is that it has become significantly more affordable than it was even a year or two ago,” he says.
Pasko decided to be one of the programs guinea pigs and had 18 solar panels installed on his familys home in early June. He says the process took about three weeks from the evaluation to solar power. “It will literally save me, over about 20 years, about $12,000 in energy bills,” Pasko says. “They look great on my house, and things went up really smoothly.”
Pasko hopes that the Sierra Clubs deal for its members helps kick off a sustainable energy trend. He says, “Were really excited to offer our members the opportunity to save a lot of money and be part of Oregons energy future.”
Sally Nunn, chair of the local Sierra Club, says members of the Many Rivers Group, which includes Lane, Douglas and Cooscounties, are also responding favorably to “this incredible opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint.”ã Shannon Finnell
CITY PLANS CAR SHARE PROGRAM
The city of Eugene, working with Lane Transit District and point2point Solutions, is developing a citywide car sharing program, tentatively set to begin next fall.
“Basically were in the process of developing a RFP (request for proposal) for car sharing in the city,” said Theresa Brand, program manager of point2point Solutions, a government alternative-transportation program run out of LTD. “The ideal would be that the program would have representation in Eugene and Springfield and then eventually expand.”
The goal of the program is to reduce pollution and congestion on the road through carpooling and ride sharing, as well as improve parking conditions in the downtown area.
The proposal would bolster the citys existing transportation infrastructure, providing car share services to residents in Eugene and Springfield, allowing them to reserve cars online and then go to centrally located depots to pick them up.
“National studies have shown that having a car share car can take up to 15 cars off the road” per shared car, said Brand. “For people who dont drive as much, it can be a very cost-effective means of transit.”
The city is taking its lead from UO, which has been contracting with WeCar for the past two years to provide car sharing services to students. The university has been trying to lower motor vehicle use on campus, hoping to eventually institute a no-car policy for incoming students.
“The idea is that the university needs to reduce the number of cars coming to campus,” said former UO Student Government Environmental Advocate Nathan Howard. “The idea is to have multiple options for alternative transportation.”
Because UO has had limited success with the WeCar program, it has signed a three-year contract with Zipcar, another car sharing company.
“WeCar has some perks, and provides services to many regions, but Zipcar is the superior carshare program,” said Howard. “Weve been pretty impressed with Zipcars results.”
In addition to Zipcar the university has signed a contract for next year with a ride sharing service called Zimride, which will provide a networking service for students looking for carpools. According to Howard, 10 to 20 percent of the student body will use Zimride within the first year, resulting in a savings of over 190,000 pounds of carbon.
Although the programs are limited to the university campus, Howard believes they are a good example of how alternative transportation can be implemented in the Eugene area. “I think people are realizing that there is no one silver bullet for solutions after cars,” he said. “Transportation is a large part of sustainability.” ã Nils Holst
CITY REVIEWSRENTAL RULES
During its work session June 15, the Eugene City Council reviewed the citys Rental Housing Program, a program that attempts to enforce standards and resolve landlord-tenant issues outside of the courtroom.
The program is scheduled to sunset at the end of this year, and although the council made no decision whether or not to keep the program, several councilors expressed their support.
“I think this is an important, effective and successful program,” said Councilor Alan Zelenka. “I think its very successful in the fact that it diverts people from going to the court system.” He added, “It facilitates communication.”
The Rental Housing Program was created to ensure that landlords follow the requirements laid out in the citys Rental Housing Code, which establishes minimum habitability requirements for the citys approximately 29,800 rental units. If the landlord is not meeting the requirements, then the tenant can file a complaint with the city, allowing the city to resolve the situation without resorting to the courts, which can be an expensive and time-consuming process.
The program is paid for by a $10 per unit tax, and has been somewhat controversial in the past due to the significant surplus the program accrued as a result of the disparity between the amount collected and what the program actually costs.
“This is a very important program,” said Councilor Betty Taylor. “This is one of the strongest examples of citizen participation in government.”
For more information on the Rental Housing Program and the Rental Housing Code, visit the program website at www.eugene-or.gov/rentalhousing ã Nils Holst
« Basic Rights Oregons 12th annual Bites for Rights restaurant fundraising is Thursday, June 23, and several local eateries are participating this year by donating a percentage of Thursdays gross to BRO. Participating in Eugene are Anatolia, Ratatouille and Sweet Life Patisserie. In Corvallis, Interzone Organic and Old World Deli. See www.bitesforrights.com
« Moonshadow software, which may be used for redrawing of County Commission districts, will be explained and demonstrated in the countys classroom below Harris Hall at 1:30 pm Friday, June 24. The software is controversial in that the vice president of Moonshadow is City Councilor Mike Clark, who is expected to run against County Commissioner Rob Handy in 2012. Handy won a narrow victory in 2008 against Bobby Green in the district that includes north Eugene. Redistricting could affect the outcome of the next election. Conservative Commissioner Jay Bozievich has advocated that the county use Moonshadow software rather than rely on Lane Council of Governments for redistricting data.
« Reality Kitchen at 245 Van Buren in Eugene will be hosting an open house Sunday, June 26, during the KLCC Garden Tour, to introduce the Whiteaker neighborhood and larger Eugene community to the ongoing work the nonprofit will be doing to support local young adults with and without disabilities. Numerous activities, food, drink and music are planned. Contact Jim Evangelista at 337-1323.
« The Lane County chapter of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters is planning its summer event, “Food for Thought ã Celebrating Whats In Our Backyard,” from noon to 3 pm Sunday, June 26, at a private home in the River Road area. Contact Ashley@olcv.org or call 968-8269 to RSVP.
« A free workshop on “Integrating Sustainability Into Your Business” with Regina Hauser, director ofThe Natural Step Network, will be from noon to 1 pm Tuesday, June 28, at the Eugene Public Library. RSVP to 682-5541or email firstname.lastname@example.org
LANE COUNTY SPRAY SCHEDULE
« Western Lane County: Roseburg Resources Company plans to spray along roadsides in 10 townships. including land in western Lane County. with Glyphosate, Imazapyr, Triclopyr Amine and Ester and surfactants. See notice 2011-781-00465. Little Lake Logging, Jeffery Newman, will ground spray near Triangle Lake. See notices 2011-781-00468 and 2011-781-00469.
« ODOT will be spraying noxious weeds, grasses and brush on shoulders, around structures, curves and intersections on Highway 36 beginning June 26
« If you have suffered any ill effects from ODOT spraying, please let Forestland Dwellers know. We are encouraging ODOT to mow or manually manage vegetation in lieu of spraying.
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
« 1,613 U.S. troops killed* (1,605)
« 11,864 U.S. troops wounded in action (11,864)
« 763 U.S. contractors killed (763)
« $425.6 billion cost of war ($423.2 billion)
« $121 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($120.3 million)
« 4,422 U.S. troops killed (4,421)
« 31,922 U.S. troops wounded in action (31,922)
« 185 U.S. military suicides (updates NA)
« 1,537 U.S. contractors killed (1,537)
« 110,721 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (110,719)
« $784 billion cost of war ($783.1 billion)
« $222.9 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($222.7 million)
Through June 20, 2011; sources: icasualties.org; defense.gov, U.S. Dept. of Labor
* highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate Iraqi civilian deaths as high as 655,000 (Lancet survey, 2006) to 1.2 million (Opinion Research Business survey, 2008)
« Last weeks cover story “Carbon Nation” said Phase III of the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration project got $66.9 million from the DOE from carbon injection into sandstone rocks in Wyoming. While the grant was indeed awarded, a Big Sky spokesperson says the project never moved forward due to a lack of CO2 necessary for the research project.
« Last weeks “Less Gas, More Ass” story on the Naked Bike Ride had an incorrect email for Ralph Forrest-Ball. He can be reached at email@example.com
« A key Lane County budget hearing is under way as we go to press this week and decisions are coming that will affect the quality of life in our county for years to come. The county is facing a $3.8 million shortfall and the money has to come from somewhere. Judging by the make-up of the more conservative commission this year, we expect social services will get shorted, but jail beds and all but one or two of the highly paid sheriffs deputies will be saved. Tea Party folks were rumored to be organizing to rally at the hearing for public safety funding.
Our skewed priorities, of course, result in the need for even more cops and jail beds in the future. Sponsors, the highly effective nonprofit that provides transition services for offenders released from prison, relies on both state and county funding, which is scary. Sponsors helps ex-convicts become productive, taxpaying members of society. Why would any sane person cut funding for Sponsors? These are not sane times.
We hear Commissioner Jay Bozievich was talking about slicing $200,000 from Lane County Animal Services to fund public safety, which would basically neuter LCAS, but he heard so much barking from animal lovers that hes backed off. Meanwhile, unions representing county workers are in a bind: If they dont agree to cuts in benefits, particularly health insurance, they face more unpaid furlough days ahead.
« On a related note, the War Against the Poor continues as state lawmakers cut funds for LTD bus passes for school kids and push for doubling the fees for medical marijuana patients to $200 a year. We know kids whose families cannot afford bus passes, and we know medical pot patients who are living out their final days in poverty. The disadvantaged among us are not acceptable resources to be tapped.
« While Oregons education system sinks from huge budget gashes, the captains of the vessel are focused not on bailing or fixing the ship but on who gets to steer. The governor has a bill to grab the wheel. The State Higher Education Board has another bill to wrest control. The UO president has a competing bill. Meanwhile, Republicans are obsessed with looting the ship with a bill to allow private companies to siphon off more money for “virtual” schools that virtually arent schools at all. The governor appears willing to help the looters if they help him seize the wheel.
« Its understandable that Richard Lariviere wanted to do something about state funding when he came to the UO presidency two years ago.Only 9 percent of the UO budget comes from the state and that numberis still sinking. But the political advice he received about how this state operateswas not the best. Seeking special treatment from the Legislature for the UO, based on this universitys superior skill in raising private dollars, was sure to raise the hackles of the other institutions and their governing board. Not surprising that the board rapped his knuckles for playing outside the lines. Maybe it was worth it to raise the issue and call for creative thinking.Well see.
« Eugene celebrated World Naked Bike Ride Day June 11 (see our “Less Gas, More Ass” story and photo last week) with about 60 people participating, but Portland last Saturday night way outdid us in the goose-bump category with some 13,000 mostly nude cyclists riding a 4-mile course that held up late evening car traffic for the better part of an hour. We were there and watched in awe, but didnt bring a camera with a flash to document the flesh. We saw the usual “One Less Car” message in body paint, but also “One Less Bra.” Pants off to The Oregonian editors who chose to publish photos of naked man butts on their blog (http://wkly.ws/12n). Cant imagine our stodgy local daily doing that. There is a point to the nudity beyond in-your-face fun and freedom: Car drivers cruise the streets surrounded by more than 3,000 pounds of steel, plastic, glass and rubber. Bicyclists are so vulnerable in traffic they might as well be naked.
Portlands Pedalpalooza and Naked Bike Ride were delayed a week so as to not conflict with the June 11 Rose Festival Parade and weekend, and happily the move combined bike culture with Portland Prides annual festival with its activist theme of “Make It Happen.” Big Eugene contingents traveled north for both celebrations, and we hope these mass gatherings inspire bigger events at home.
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
Born and raised in Orlando, Fla., Beth Little studied history at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she also met her husband, Tim Little. After graduation, they drove a VW van to Alaska for a summer in the fisheries, discovering Eugene along their route. “We came back, bought a 69 school bus, and drove to Eugene,” Little recalls. “We went to national parks. It took months.” A year later, in 1987, the Littles began selling wood and canvas deck furniture at the Saturday Market. “I felt a kinship to the market community from the start,” she says. “The structure of representation and the amount of volunteerism is paramount to its success.” She served as chair of the market board in the early 90s, and she learned about management first-hand in two years with the nonprofit Family Resources and five years at Burley Design. Little became general manager of the Saturday Market in April 2000. “Our sustainable practices have bubbled up from customers and vendors,” she notes. “Now we sort 100 percent of waste and compost at least 1,000 pounds every Saturday.” Tim Little owns Built to Last Woodworking. The couples deck furniture can be seen at the Oregon Country Fair, Booth Two.