FOR THE BIRDS
While the theme for EW’s latest Outdoors Issue was welcome (May 18), I’m disappointed that, alone of the pursuits covered, birding was treated as a joke rather than the positive pastime so many find it to be.
Personally, I find that birding encompasses many of my passions: curiosity about the world, getting outdoors, learning, science, experiencing nature and even storytelling. I realize the tongue-in-cheek sensibility of Mr. Keefer’s piece wasn’t meant to denigrate birders, but it may discourage some from exploring the ornithology thicket.
If anyone would like a fun but serious introduction to birding — with a focus on the Eugene area — I wrote a ’zine called Chittering Madness last year. The second issue is in the works, but I still have copies available. Email requests to email@example.com.
Ryan Mishap, Eugene
Your recent article on abuse and neglect in Lane County’s long-term care facilities (“A System of Neglect,” May 4) raises several important issues.
One is the culture at Oregon’s Department of Human Services (DHS). Their attitude seems to be to wait until abuse or neglect occurs, then issue a fine, which they know won’t work, and finally order the facility to stop admitting new patients.
Shouldn’t they be more pro-active — dealing with problems before they reach the neglect stage? If the problem is not enough nurses and caregivers, why isn’t there a regulation requiring x number of caring professionals for every y number of patients, and then fines that are high enough so the owner will make changes.
Another problem is the antiquated bureaucratic system of DHS. You might have made clearer that Adult Protective Services is a part of DHS. And while APS often does very essential work, it is sometimes used to avoid dealing with the real problems, e.g. overworked staff.
A culture that has lost sight of its mission and an antiquated bureaucratic system — they go hand in hand. DHS needs some big changes — the sooner, the better, for all our sakes.
John Kiely, Eugene
NEGLECTING THE ELDERLY
Thanks to Kelly Kenoyer for the impressive piece on Oregon’s long-term care facilities (May 4). Bravo to Lee Bliven for his dedication.
Our family was surprised that, despite the steep cost of care for our elderly mom in several Oregon facilities over the years, we still had to work hands-on to get her basic needs met.
State law is to blame, with regulations that protect those profiting from the failing health of people more than the people themselves. Does anyone really believe two caregivers can manage 40 residents on meds and in diapers? Oregon does!
And many states mandate that nurses administer meds. In Oregon, an 18-year-old worker with no medical background can give drugs in assisted living facilities — including insulin and barbiturates.
The Long-Term Care Bill of Rights assures residents are safe to complain without fear of retaliation, but one learns it is wiser to keep quiet. Your only recourse is the ombudsman, who in reality is more a mediator than an advocate.
As for substantiated complaints: We know of injury-by-neglect cases that should have been substantiated but were not. One case was closed before all the parties were even interviewed. Does DHS give facilities a pass because investigators themselves are overworked or undertrained?
We all face the possibility of life in a long-term care facility — one accident can put you there. So please question your legislators, particularly about Oregon’s caregiver-to-resident ratios.
It is tragic that many of the hardy old folks who survived the Depression and WWII may die of neglect in Oregon’s long-term care facilities.
Cheryl P. Morris, Eugene
The Eugene Weekly’s recent Outdoors Issue described Oregon as a “birding paradise.” It’s a claim that’s hard to argue with.
From Fern Ridge here in Eugene to Yaquina Head on the coast to any of the state’s many National Wildlife refuges, there is a feeling of abundance. Even a short walk through these spaces brings an irrepressible smile to my face. An encounter with an interesting bird can feel like a gift that one has received.
But we should not be so myopic as to forget that such spaces are mere remnants of what has been and continues to be destroyed. Habitat continues to be systematically eliminated and life itself is being extinguished.
The pace of such destruction is accelerating and won’t stop without meaningful resistance. The most recently released State of the Birds report found that more than one-third of North American birds are currently at risk of extinction.
Despite the technological assault and the injuries inflicted on the landscape in the name of progress this place remains a paradise, albeit a rapidly shrinking one. It remains worth fighting for.
Ian Smith, Eugene
Regarding Chad Anderson’s May 11 letter (“While Rome Burns”): I appreciate your efforts as an ally to me and other women in our efforts towards liberation. We need men to stand with us to end the oppression that still privileges men at the expense of all of our humanity.
However, I wish you would think twice before criticizing a volleyball rule that serves to give women equal touches on the ball. Any rule intended to increase female participation is in place because of the unconscious patterns that tend to creep in during co-ed events.
Men tend to take up more space, speak more, emote louder and go after the ball more aggressively than women. Individual people may be exceptions to this rule, but the tendency still holds.
It seems to me that you are not actually complaining about sexism. You are complaining about an attempt to create equity in the face of sexism. That equity rule requires you to be aware of others in a way that might be unfamiliar to you. It encourages you to think of participation and connection as more important than winning.
Kara Huntermoon, Eugene
Hanford Nuclear Reservation sure has been in the news recently. On May 9 we learned of the collapsed tunnel exposing train cars full of highly radioactive waste, and eleven days later we learned that a Hanford worker’s clothes were contaminated while working on a possible leak at an underground storage tank.
More than three decades of effort and billions of dollars to cleanup the most contaminated place in western hemisphere, and we still see no end in sight.
In 1980, Oregon voters approved a moratorium on the financing and construction of nuclear power plants until a permanent repository was established for the nuclear waste that remains lethal for centuries. Thirty-seven years later, the federal government has yet to solve the problem.
Why then would the Oregon Legislature be considering an exemption on the moratorium for nuclear reactors 300 megawatts or smaller? Senate Bill 990 would bypass the two requirements of that law: a permanent repository for the waste and statewide voter approval of any new proposed plant.
Representatives Paul Holvey and Phil Barnhart sit on the House Committee on Energy and Environment. Urge them to reject SB 990. To send a message to your representative, go to oregonwand.org and press the action button.
For those interested in a personal account of the health ravages caused by exposure to radiation from Hanford, Oregon WAND is sponsoring Hanford: A Conversation in Poetry and Prose on May 25th. For more information, visit oregonwand.org.
Susan Cundiff, Eugene
NO MORE FALSE TOTEMS
I would like to send a nod to the [Oregon] Country Fair for not raising a totem pole.
You asked and we told you how it feels, for us, to have acculturation and genocide constantly in our lives.
I appreciate that they have the sensitivity and ability to stop and consider.
Too often we are in a position of naming Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, and then killing him.
Jim Linwood, Lakeside
KIDS THESE DAYS
The sad realization for the intelligence community of our nation: giving top-secret classified information to Trump is like giving a kitchen knife to a 3-year-old.
Ronald Blanton, Eugene
WITCH HUNT ON STEROIDS
Now that Comey’s memo, if it exists, corners Comey for dereliction of duty for not reporting Trump’s alleged transgression, and now that the endlessly repeated Russian election hacking claim has failed to offer any evidence stronger than unconfirmed claims by anonymous sources, and so on, this media war clearly replicates the 1990s witch hunt against Bill Clinton, but on steroids.
If we can’t get him for this, we’ll get him for the next thing. If we can’t get him for that, we’ll get him on the next thing. And if we can’t get him for that, we’ll get him …
Trump’s 304-to-224 Electoral College win came because Hillary Clinton ran a miserable campaign and because she was the candidate of the status quo, corporations and corruption, not because of Russian hacking. Accept responsibility. Working people are hurting. Bernie spoke to this. Hillary did not.
The 2018 election is 18 months away. If Democrats do not return to servicing their working class base, Republicans could gain congressional majorities sufficient for a Constitutional Convention — not good. The Left must a) abandon corporate money and b) abandon identity politics and victim culture and c) end their increasingly annoying fake news campaign.
Joe Tyndall, Eugene
THE BIG FLOP
Poor pocket Democrats apparently can’t even muster “Impeach Trump” bumper stickers. What happened to that over-brimming war chest of contributions Clinton amassed?
Where is that heroic liberal Hollywood director who can put together a feature length film of Trump’s lunatic Whitehouse antics? Racist, sexist, angry and ignorant — starring Chump as himself.
American history could call it: “What could possibly go wrong?” Two hours of “nonstop Trump outtakes,” enough to gag even his most adamant evangelical supporters.
Trump “speaking ugly and being ugly” without narration, music or overdubs — sort of a primal scream Howard Dean-style thriller.
We have already paid dearly for this box office flop.
Glenn Jones, Eugene