Eugene Weekly : News : 8.5.10

News Briefs: Paddle Oregon is Back | Wildlife Services’ Vicious Cycle | Pet Medical Support Leaves Lane County | A Good Bag is Hard to Find | Rebellion Stirs Forestry Board | Activist Alert | War Dead | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule | Lighten Up |

Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes

Happening People: Mario Tucci

Something Euge!



Paddle Oregon begins in Eugene this year. Photo:

Some 90 people plus volunteers have signed up so far for Paddle Oregon, and this year the trip is down the Willamette River from Eugene to Salem. The trip is just under 100 river miles and begins Monday morning, Aug. 16, at Marshall Island Access. Take out will be Friday at Willamette Mission State Park.

This year’s run marks the 10th anniversary of Paddle Oregon and will include more than the usual educational opportunities, according to Kate Ross, outreach and education coordinator for Willamette Riverkeeper in Portland. Along for the ride and giving talks at the campsites will be experts on the river and its wildlife, a geologist and even astronomers leading a “star party.” Participants particularly interested in birds and other wildlife can ask to join wildlife “pods” of paddlers.

Native American ceremonies will kick off Paddle Oregon this year, featuring Kalapuya storyteller Esther Stutzman and traditional drummers. Joining the flotilla on the first day will be the 29-foot Spirit of Eugene Peace Canoe.

Travis Williams is executive director of Willamette Riverkeeper and will be giving a slide show about the river and the impact of human activity on water and soil quality and wildlife. His 2009 book The Willamette River Field Guide is a comprehensive study of the river and its history and ecology, from the perspective of an avid paddler.

“The Willamette River is a complex creature,” he writes. “The river is a living organism, one that thrives on the basics of life, such as clean water and rich riverside lands.” He says the best way to learn about the river and appreciate its beauty and diversity is silently by small boat. 

Canoes and kayaks are available to rent for those without suitable boats, and a shuttle service is also available. Paddlers need to be experienced in river travel and able to navigate class II rapids.

The cost of the trip is $620 per person, which covers three meals a day (including “sinful amounts of gourmet cuisine”), permits and camping, gear shuttles between campsites, musicians and other entertainment, presenters, portable restrooms and showers, and insurance. Discounts are given for youth 17 and under.

Information about the trip, including a slideshow of previous years’ trips, can be found at — Ted Taylor


The recent permits to kill Oregon’s small wolf population issued to the USDA’s Wildlife Services division have brought that controversial government agency into the spotlight. Predator advocates such as Eugene’s Predator Defense call for non-lethal predator control, such as the recently funded range rider program, rather than shooting or poisoning wolves and other predators. 

A $15,000 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant (USFWS is a separate agency from Wildlife Services) will reimburse livestock producers who pay for a range rider to patrol cattle grazing in areas of the Imnaha wolf pack this summer. The Imnaha pack, which currently has a litter of puppies, is said to have attacked and killed livestock earlier this summer. USFWS says that range riders have been shown to help reduce livestock losses to wolves in other states.

George Wuerthner, a longtime researcher of Wildlife Services, says that general consensus among those who disagree with the policies of Wildlife Services is that information readily available and advertised to the public is quite different from the reality found beneath the surface. For example, he says, the extermination of rabid raccoons is advertised as a solution that Wildlife Services provides, and the public rarely disapproves of this activity since rabies is so  dangerous. However, by advertising such services, the indiscriminate killing of wolves, cougars, bears and coyotes are thrown out of the limelight, according to Wuerthner.

Critics say that despite its attempts to protect the livestock industry, Wildlife Services has seemingly worsened the problem. Wuerthner, staff ecologist for Predator Defense, says: “Indiscriminately killing predators skews the age of a population over time … leaving a higher percentage of young, inexperienced predators that are far more likely to target livestock.” 

Wuerthner explains what he calls a vicious cycle created by Wildlife Services: A livestock owner calls in a troublesome predator, several animals are killed (among them a large population of older, more experienced hunters) and inexperienced hunters are left to once again target livestock. After this, the cycle repeats. 

He says that part of the reason that this cycle exists is that livestock owners often have no incentive to properly protect their animals. “In Chile, the farmers take protective measures like cattle sheds and corral fences to protect their livestock because there are laws against killing predators,” Wuerthner, who recently returned from Chile, says. “In the Northwest there are no laws in place, and so it’s easier just to call in Wildlife Services.”

Wuerthner cites the statistics that say in 2007 Wildlife Services spent upwards of a $100 million in order to control predatory attacks. By the time the year was over, Wildlife Services had become responsible for more than 100,000 animal deaths — coyotes, cougars, cats and dogs among them. 

Statistically, predator attacks play a far smaller part in the death of livestock than disease, poisonous plants and injury, but predators are treated differently because, he says, you can’t shoot a disease.  — Andy Valentine


The Bearen Foundation has helped hundreds of people in Lane County pay for the medical bills of their pets over the past 10 years, but the organization is leaving and heading to Southern California. Founder Megan Bendtzen says the organization raised and gave out $37,000 over the years and helped more than 300 families treat instead of euthanize their pets. 

She says sometimes $100 made the difference between treatment or having to put an animal to sleep.

Bendtzen founded the Bearen Foundation and named it after her cat Bearen, who needed an expensive life-saving kidney transplant. Bearen lived for 10 years after getting the transplant at UC Davis. He passed away on July 4 at age 16, the day before his 10-year transplant anniversary. The foundation is known for its pet events around town from the Eugene Celebration’s Pet Stroll (formerly the Pet Parade) to the Presents for Pets Drive for LCAS.

Bendtzen says, “It wasn’t for lack of funding that we had to close our doors — though we could always use more. The need was certainly there and the support from the community.”

Bendtzen’s job transferred her to Hermosa Beach, Calif., more than a year ago, and she has been running the foundation from there. She is no longer able to continue do that, so the foundation will now move with her. She says all funds raised in Lane County have gone to local animals, and while the public can still donate to the organization, the funds will now go to the new foundation in California. She says that UC Davis has had to suspend the transplant program that saved her cat’s life, and if people would like to donate to the Bearen Foundation on behalf of UC Davis, they can direct the funds. Donations to the Bearen Foundation are tax deductible. 

Bearen Foundation’s mission was that that no pet should be euthanized solely due to financial hardship, and Bendtzen says 100 percent of donations went to saving the lives of local pets. For more information go to — Camilla Mortensen


The answer to July’s Brewhaha forum topic “Paper or Plastic: Is Either Fantastic?” turned out to be a resounding “no.” Four panelists discussed the topic during the discussion at Davis’ Restaurant July 29 sponsored by the Oregon Bus Project and EW.

The Oregon Legislature will vote in 2011 on a proposal to ban plastic bags statewide. Many stores prefer plastic bags, made from fossil fuels and not biodegradable, because they cost less than paper. Recyclable and biodegradable paper bags require a lot of energy to recycle, use a lot of water in their production and weigh more (which requires more fuel during transport).

Steve Cook, a geosciences instructor at OSU, explained that switching from one grocery-carrying product to another requires an examination of its life from resource extraction to grave. “There’s no free lunch,” Cook said, and added that even cloth bags have an environmental impact.

From an economic standpoint, Kiva co-owner Melissa Brown favors reusable bags. “Any time people are bringing in their own bags it’s good for grocers,” she said.

“We’re attacking the one bag that has adequate alternatives and doesn’t present safety problems,” said Brock Howell of Environment Oregon, explaining the group is not seeking to ban plastic produce or trash bags. He said that the damage that plastic bags inflict on the oceans inspired him to advocate for the plastic bag ban.

Some cities and stores have independently taken measures toward encouraging bag reuse. Washington, D.C., issued a five-cent tax on plastic bags in January that prompted a drop in consumption from 22.5 million plastic bags to three million, according to the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue. San Francisco banned plastic bags in grocery stores in 2007. Locally, Market of Choice and Sundance offer a five-cent rebate for bag reuse. — Shannon Finnell


Members of the forest-dwellers’ group Pitchfork Rebellion rallied outside of the Oregon Board of Forestry public meeting on that took place at LCC on July 30 to protest the lack of ethics guidelines prohibiting financially interested individuals from serving on the board.

“There are some timber company executives on the Board of Forestry, and they’re making decisions that directly affect their own personal profits,” says Day Owen, co-founder of Pitchfork Rebellion. Owen estimates that about 40 protesters participated in the teach-in, titled “Who is the Board of Forestry and What Do They Do?”

Current guidelines allow a maximum of three members of the seven-member Board of Forestry to obtain “any significant portion of their income from the forest products industry.” The governor appoints board members to four-year terms; the state Senate confirms their appointments. The Board of Forestry website states that its mission is “to lead Oregon in implementing policies and programs that promote environmentally, economically and socially sustainable management of Oregon’s 28 million acres of public and private forests.”

After the rally, Owen spoke in the meeting, exhibiting video clips that he says are evidence of illegal forest practices. “We believe that members of the board were visibly shocked when they saw some of the footage,” Owen says. According to Owen, the video clips are evidence of illegal spraying of pesticides during rain and a logging operation dumping excessive sediment into a salmon-bearing creek.

Owen offered to guide members of the Board of Forestry to affected sites, and he says that some members accepted. “We are excited that we seem to be making some positive progress with these various government agencies,” Owen says.  — Shannon Finnell


This year’s Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration is planned for 7 to 9:30 pm Friday, Aug, 6, at Alton Baker Park’s small shelter, located near the park entrance and the duck pond. The evening begins with a community potluck, followed at 8 pm with a program featuring a call by Bob Watada to take action to abolish nuclear weapons. Japanese Koto music, Taiko drumming, Obon dancing, and the making of peace cranes are planned, and the event will close at dusk with the floating of candle lanterns on the duck pond while Koto master Mitsuki Dazai plays traditional Japanese music. The ceremony honors those who died when the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Call CALC at 485-1755 for more information.

• The Eugene City Council will vote Monday, Aug. 9, on the Eugene Police Department’s request to extend the downtown exclusion zone (see Viewpoint last week). Monday’s meeting begins at 7:30 pm. The public hearing is over, but residents can still contact city councilors. In response to these same downtown issues, the Civil Liberties Defense Center is offering a free “Know Your Rights” training at 3 pm Friday, Aug. 20, at 55 W. Broadway. See or call 687-9180.

• Initiative 28 to expand the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to include dispensaries has become Measure 74 and the measure has been selected for a Citizens’ Initiative Review to be held in Salem Aug. 9-13 and Aug. 16-20. The review process is open to interested citizens and the media (see Meanwhile, the local campaign to pass the measure kicks off at 4 pm Saturday, Aug. 14, at the Voter Power office, 687 River Ave., in Eugene. “Everyone who believes patients should have access to their medicine is requested to help,” says Jim Greig. For more information call 636-4472 or 844-1220. 



In Iraq

• 4,417 U.S. troops killed* (4,417)

• 31,897 U.S. troops injured** (31,888) 

• 185 U.S. military suicides* (updates NA)

• 1,123 U.S. contractors killed (updates NA)

• 106,035 to 1.2 million civilians killed*** (105,977)

• $736.8 billion cost of war ($735.6 billion) 

• $209.5 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($209.2 million)

In Afghanistan

• 1,203 U.S. troops killed* (1,189)

• 7,150 U.S. troops injured** (7,011)

• $287.2 billion cost of war ($285.8 billion)

• $81.7 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($81.3 million)

* through Aug. 2, 2010; source:; some figures only updated monthly

** sources:,

*** highest estimate; source:; 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)


• Massive aerial spraying: Western Lane: Weyerhaeuser Company South Valley Timberlands (744-4600, 912-0203) will aerial spray 343 acres using 12 different herbicides including Garlon 4 in Cheshire, Low Pass, Horton, Blachly, Triangle Lake, and Greenleaf next to Congdon, Swamp, Lobster, Lake creeks (Coho Salmon streams); Long Tom River and Poodle Creek, began July 29 (ODF Notice No. 2010-781-00642 ). Eastern Lane: Weyerhaeuser Springfield Operations (988-7502, 746-2511) will aerial spray 1,226 acres with seven different herbicides plus six different adjuvants including odor-masking agent starting Aug. 10 (No. 2010-771-00672).

• Bureau of Land Management Final Environmental Impact Statement — Herbicide Spray Plan is out, see

Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332,


Before the Tea Party folks take back America they’d better be sure they can make the mortgage payments.

Rafael Aldave, Eugene







• We were sad to hear that Mark Zolun died the evening of July 30. In an email to friends and family, Mark’s partner Kenne Glenn says, “I was at his side as were others and it was very peaceful. Know that he is not suffering any longer and put up a valiant struggle to the end. He never complained or was angry about his situation and was always trying to play host and put others at ease!” Mark and Kenne owned Iralia Mediterranean Rustica, one of Eugene’s favorite restaurants and catering businesses. A celebration of life is being planned, tentatively at 11 am Aug. 21 at Mark and Kenne’s home. For updates, email or 

• Eugene’s independent police auditor Mark Gissner appears loathe to lock horns with either the police or the city manager, despite Eugene’s long history of police abuse and ongoing complaints and lawsuits about cop behavior. We need an assertive, hardheaded advocate for the people in this key position of independent oversight. Until we get a real auditor, frustrated residents have one more place to be heard. Check out to find a list of nearly all EPD uniformed officers. Once you register (free and anonymous) you can rate individual officers and write comments, positive or negative, about your interactions with them. So far, it’s mostly blank. Let’s fill it up, not with angry rants, but rather with clear, accurate and specific information.

• We hear that Phil Knight already has contributed at least $100,000 to the Chris Dudley campaign for governor partly because Knight is still pissed about the passage of tax Measures 66 and 67. Those measures cautiously raised taxes on Oregon corporations and wealthy individuals to slightly boost the budget for such frills as education. The Oregonian (Aug. 3) reports that Knight’s current Nike holdings are $5 billion. 

Former UO quarterback Jeremiah Masoli announced on his website that he’s going to be a Rebel as he heads off to get a degree in parks and recreation from Ole Miss. His new site is supposedly run by a PR firm. The site and a recent sympathetic piece in Sports Illustrated take some jabs at the media, specifically the R-G, for getting facts wrong about Masoli’s issues with the law. The most common correction made on the website is that Masoli was not involved in a series of strong-arm robberies in high school; he just happened to be in the car during an incident when the thieves got caught. The site also corrects the repeated assertion that Masoli was arrested in the Eugene frat house burglary and the marijuana incidents. While Masoli pleaded guilty to the crimes, the page clarifies that he was never actually arrested. EW is proud to say that we are not listed as one of the 14 erring media outlets, possibly because of our fabulous fact checking, or maybe because we don’t cover a lot of sports …

• For better, for worse, The Oregonian is back in Eugene home boxes in some parts of town early every morning. To cut costs some months ago, the Portland daily had limited home deliveries to Sundays. Ad revenues must be back up. The paper’s paid weekday circulation has dropped over the past 10 years from about 431,000 to 250,000, according to the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.

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






“I can’t remember when I didn’t know how to cook,” says Mario Tucci, who learned at the side of his grandmother in Modena, Italy. “My first dish was meatballs.” When he was in high school, Tucci spent summers in the mountains of Tuscany, serving tourists at the Hotel Ristorante Miramonti in the small town of La Consuma. He met his wife, Shivan, a Eugene native, in Italy. After a wedding here, they lived in Italy for seven years before returning to Eugene with their daughters Alex and Phoebe. Tucci worked at Mazzi’s for a while, then started, ran, and four years later sold a coffee company, Caffe Onesto. In 2007, he and his wife bought the Friendly Street Cafe, located inside the Friendly Street Market. “I have an incredible menu,” says Tucci, “South American during the day, everything home-made, and super-authentic Italian at night-time.” The produce is mostly organic and purchased from local small farmers in season. Wednesday night is gnocchi night, featuring live music and a few loud-talking Italian ex-pats. “I personalize the food a lot,” says Tucci. “You can come in and say, ‘Mario, make me something,’ and I’ll do it. Even on a busy night, I remember every single dish I make.”