News Briefs: Direct Sales Model for Genesis Juice? | Ulrich Paintings Stolen from LCC | New Forestry Picks Tied to Timber | Program Focuses on Neighborhoods | Activist Alert | Chief's Award Ignores Scandal | Corrections/Clarifications |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes.
News: Decent Digs
Council puts developers ahead of renters.
Genesis Juice has shut down production and all's quiet at the bottling plant on West 3rd Ave. The phones still work and people are still around, answering questions, dealing with bookkeeping and other tasks, and waiting to see what happens next.
The business could be sold, says Melissa Druck, one of the four worker/owners, and/or Genesis could try a new distribution model and sell directly to the public. Genesis has been under pressure from the federal Food and Drug Administration to pasteurize or otherwise sterilize their raw juice products, but FDA rules only apply to juices sold in relatively large volume through retail stores.
Druck says the co-op has "always been considering a CSA thing where people can come here to pick up juice or we could have neighborhood drop-offs." CSA refers to community supported agriculture, a business model where farmers bypass grocery stores and contract with consumers through buying groups.
Are enough people interested? That's the big question for Genesis. Druck says the co-op would like to hear from their customers. People can call Genesis at 344-0967 or send an e-mail from www.efn.org/~genesis
Meanwhile, Druck says the business is trying to collect on accounts past due. "A lot of people owe us lots of money," she says, money that is needed no matter what direction the company goes. — TJT
|Fool's Search by James Ulrich|
Three framed paintings by James Edward Ulrich, who died in late 2001, were stolen from an exhibit at the LCC Art Department Gallery Friday, Feb. 13. Ulrich's widow, Kathleen Caprario, is offering a $500 reward and no questions asked for information leading to the return of the artwork.
The three pastels on paper depicted "images of the fool," says Caprario. She describes them as "very expressive, highly dramatic and allegorical," and says they were major pieces in the exhibit. The smallest is about 8 X 12 inches, the largest is about 19 X 25. She says their combined monetary value is about $4,000, but their value to family and friends far exceeds their material worth.
Caprario had just given a talk about the exhibit in the gallery a few days before the theft. "This is very bizarre," she says. "Perhaps it was an impulsive act. The work resonates for many people. But it's beyond my imagination to understand the personality of the person who would steal these paintings."
The paintings were apparently taken when left unguarded for a short time.
Anyone with information about the missing paintings can call the Eugene Police Department, the LCC Art Department at 463-5409 or Caprario at 741-8285. — TJT
Gov. Kulongoski in late January made three appointments to the State Board of Forestry without any input or consultation with Oregon's environmental community. Each of the appointees, confirmed by the Senate over protests from environmentalists, have strong ties to the timber industry, according to Jed Jorgensen of the Oregon Conservation Network.
The appointees to the board are Barbara Craig, a professional forester, and natural resources attorney with the Stoel Rives law firm in Portland; Stephen Hobbs, an OSU forestry professor and research dean; and Jennifer Phillippi, forest land owner and business manager of Rough & Ready Lumber and Perpetua Forests Company.
"The appointments indicate Kulongoski's unwillingness to find common ground," says Sybil Ackerman, conservation director for the Audubon Society of Portland. "It is a very strong signal and symbol, and it's telling us we have to look for a voice in some other way."
The forestry board oversees state forests and manages logging regulations on private lands, and is now represented by a majority who favor timber industry positions, says Jorgensen. The other board members are Larry Giustina, a timber executive; Chris Heffernan, a rancher and farmer; Diane Snyder, executive director of the nonprofit Wallowa Resources in Enterprise; and William Hutchison, a Portland lawyer.
The Senate confirmed the appointments by a vote of 23-6. The six senators voting in opposition were Vicki Walker and Bill Morrisette of Lane County; Ginny Burdick, Avel Gordly and Frank Shields of Portland; and Charlie Ringo of Beaverton . — TJT
What rates high in determining Eugene "quality of life?" A recent survey in the River Road area found most residents giving high priority to "neighborhood-based community, networks and local culture."
"People want fun and positive interaction with people they live near," says local organizer Jan Spencer. With this survey in mind, the Eugene Permaculture Guild is offering a free program focused on neighborhoods, "the Commons" and how to create local culture. The event will begin at 7 pm Tuesday, Feb. 24 at Harris Hall.
A panel discussion with Spencer, Kara Steffensen, Rob Bolman, Deborah Brady and Jon Belcher will discuss a number of local projects, strategies and organizations. For example, a River Road group is organizing to promote socializing, gardening, communications and business development. In the Friendly Street neighborhood, residents are organizing around voter registration. West of downtown, locals are gathering support for an "Intersection Repair" project.
Following the panel, UO adjunct environmental studies professor Chet Bowers will talk about political language, civic goals and values, and a strategy to "repair many of the consequences of our increasingly privatized, natural resource intensive, corporate manufactured culture."
For more information, call 686-6761.
The Eugene premiere of the documentary film Unprecedented: The 2000 Election will show at 11 am and 1:30 pm Thursday, Feb. 19 in Room 308, Building 17, at LCC. Filmmaker Joan Sekler will answer questions following the 50 minute showing and Charles O. Porter, former Oregon congressman, and John Cougill, co-chairmen of the Committee to Impeach the Rehnquist Five, will present an update on their lawsuit against the Supreme Court justices over conflicts of interest in their 2000 election decision.
The local chapters of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and Beyond War are presenting "The Health Effects of War and SMART Alternatives" at 7 pm Tuesday, Feb. 24 at The Shedd, 285 E. Broadway. Speakers will include Dr. Catherine Thomasson, board president of Oregon PSR. SMART is an acronym for a national security policy that is a Sensible, Multilateral, American Response to Terrorism, "focused on preventing war, and acts of terrorism, and demonstrating U.S. global leadership through international cooperation and collaboration and adherence to the rule of law." For more information, call 896-3996 or e-mail email@example.com
Friendly Neighbors for Peace is beginning its non-partisan door to door voter registration drive from 10 am to 2 pm Saturday, Feb. 21. The group will be going door-to-door to register people in the neighborhood. They meet at Washington Park Community Center on Washington Street for an orientation. For more information, call 687-6879 or 344-7133.
A free talk on "The Great Green Hype: Genetic Engineering and Our Food" will be given by biologist and educator Craig Holdrege at 7:30 pm Wednesday, Feb. 25, at the Eugene Waldorf School Great Hall, 1350 McLean Blvd. Holdrege will look at what is driving the genetic revolution in agriculture, and will discuss the questions of safety, regulation and the lack of mandatory labeling.
In the midst of one of the worst scandals to rock the Eugene Police Department in its history, the Eugene City Manager and City Council have lavished high praise on the police chief under whose watch the scandal occurred.
Two former Eugene police officers are being prosecuted for multiple charges of coercing women into sex while on duty, but departing Police Chief Thad Buchanan got a hero's farewell last week from his bosses.
"Great job, Thad," said Mayor Jim Torrey.
At least five other councilors also joined in congratulating Buchanan for the "commendable," "admirable" and "tremendous" job they said he did as chief.
City Manager Dennis Taylor handed Buchanan a large framed "Certificate of Appreciation" for "the highest quality of public safety services to the community."
There was no mention of the coerced sex charges against two of the officers Buchanan was supposed to have led and supervised to provide that "exemplary" police service. — Alan Pittman
In last week's "Quickest Way to the Heart" feature story, a wrong number was given for the Institute for Culinary Awakening. The correct number is 686-8443.
The late Sen. Wayne Morse is being honored with a one-man play this weekend (see Calendar listing for Sunday) and this production has political as well as historical and dramatic significance. American Gadfly playwright Charles Deemer describes Morse as a man of political courage who "stood on principles before party loyalty. He was a rare political bird, a true maverick. He was just as Socrates described it, a man sent by the gods to keep the State honest. We desperately need that kind of gadfly today." Hear hear.
Eugene city councilors are meeting at the Hilton Friday for their annual retreat and goal-setting sessions and coincidentally they will be having lunch downstairs the same time City Club is dining upstairs with Gary Blackmer, an independent city auditor from Portland. A couple of councilors suggested the council move upstairs to join the party, but we hear Councilor Papé and perhaps another councilor or the mayor got together with the city manager and nixed the idea. Blackmer will be talking about how independent auditors can save cities millions through boosting efficiencies and avoiding lawsuits, an idea championed by the Charter Review Committee in 2002 but kept off the ballot by conservative councilors. We can understand why city managers and even city attorneys might resist the idea of someone looking over their shoulders, but it's puzzling why fiscal conservatives wouldn't love the idea. We predict some councilors will bail on their private lunch and join the City Club crowd for this lively presentation. But will some choose ignorance instead?
The mayor's new task force to study economic development in Eugene is already in trouble with councilors at odds over whether or not the committee's recommendations should be by consensus or by majority vote. Sound silly? Not at all. Just as our nation is angrily divided and polarized over White House policies, Eugene is similarly polarized regarding growth and sprawl. The only way for our town to become less divided on these issues is to find common ground, and that won't happen on split votes. Councilor Bettman has advocated for "consensus minus one," recognizing that consensus can break down if even one person dissents. Councilor Solomon prefers majority rule, probably because the mayor's new committee already appears to be stacked with pro-growth, pro-sprawl members. Will this new 16-member committee accomplish anything useful? Not if it's just a rubber stamp for unfettered development.
Araminta Hawkins tells us she won't be pursuing Pat Farr's soon-to-be-vacant House District 14 seat. She's too busy with a full-time job at PeaceHealth, serving on the board of HIV Alliance and her work with various other political and social activism groups. Who else might run against Farr's wife, Debi? Rich Cunningham would probably jump at the chance but he's facing heart surgery and will be out of commission for awhile. John Bullock's name has popped up as someone worth recruiting. He's a principal in the Bethel School District and a good, eloquent Democrat.
The City Council is expected to give final approval Feb. 23 to a plan to divert $40 million in tax revenues over the next 20 years into an urban renewal fund to benefit the riverfront area, new federal building area and part of downtown. One big problem (in addition to sucking money out of city and state coffers) is that we don't know how the millions will be spent. State law requires urban renewal projects be identified before the money is collected, but the proposed Eugene plan is so vague that the City Council could decide to use the money for another high-rise parking atrocity, subsidize a basketball stadium for UO (we're not kidding), or even a state highway project. The council seems dead-set on passing this plan, even though it's likely to be referred to the voters. Let's tidy up the project language first so we have a clearer idea of what we will be voting on.
Bush's Vietnam-era National Guard service is under scrutiny and we'll probably never know where he was hanging out between late 1972 and September 1973. Bush's personal history reflects on his character, but Democrats shouldn't spend too much time flogging an issue that most Americans don't care about. D's should focus on the Bush administration's three-year track record on the environment, education, economy, corporate corruption and foreign policy.
SLANT includes short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes compiled by the EW staff. Heard any good rumors lately? Contact Ted Taylor at 484-0519, firstname.lastname@example.org
Council puts developers ahead of renters.
BY ALAN PITTMAN
The Eugene City Council put developer interests ahead of providing safe and decent housing last week.
The council voted 5-4 to delay creating a housing livability code that students and renters have asked for and instead use staff resources for projects developers and land speculators want.
The vote left supporters of a housing code shaking their heads. "Let me get this right, it's not a high priority that people in this community have decent housing with plumbing and heat and roofs that don't leak, but it's a priority to process a change for one developer," Councilor Bonny Bettman said of a council vote in support of instead prioritizing changing regulations to support a developer of a medical clinic.
At a public forum after the vote, UO student Jesse Harding reminded councilors that the council's West University Neighborhood Task Force had made housing standards its top recommendation 14 months ago, but the council had done nothing. "It's really spitting in the face of the task force and it's recommendation," said Harding, who served on the task force.
City Councilor Nancy Nathanson, now running for mayor, was the key swing vote against making a housing code a top priority. Nathanson, who is backed by property managers, land speculators and developers in her campaign, said the housing code could have a negative "potential serious impact" and "would bump another high priority" item from the top five list of city staff planning priorities.
"I can't support the motion as it was made," Nathanson said. She instead successfully argued for a motion for staff to bring back a "scoping" study on what it would take to study a new housing code in order for the council to take another look at the issue in June.
Mayor Jim Torrey cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of Nathanson's slower approach. "We're moving way too fast."
But Councilor David Kelly said the issue has been before the council for at least three years and pointed out the neighborhood task force spent weeks discussing the need. "We are hardly rushing to this."
Nathanson argued that the vote against making the housing code a top planning priority was in fact a vote to make it a high priority. "We've put it on the front burner," she said. "That's really a hurry-up."
But city staff made clear at the meeting that items not placed on the planning top five priority list would not be dealt with for years. "These are what you have resources to do in the next 18-24 months," City Manager Dennis Taylor told the council of the top five priority list. "The rest of the items will not get done."
City Planning Director Susan Muir told councilors that items not in the top five priorities "will go on the back burner."
Bettman said Nathanson's motion could kill the housing code proposal. "It seems to me it's putting it on life support so that we can pull the plug."
Kelly said he was "very disappointed" in the council decision to put housing standards "on the slow track." It's "bizarre" that the council "couldn't give a somewhat high priority to the idea that roofs shouldn't leak, heating should be provided in the winter and you shouldn't need to go to court to fix this problem."
Kelly said that rather than forcing tenants to pursue costly and time consuming lawsuits against landlords using state housing codes, Eugene should follow the example of Corvallis and set up city housing code enforcement funded by an $8-$10 charge per year for renters.
Councilor Betty Taylor said the current state housing code "does not work unless people have money to go to court."
At the public forum, Maddy Melton, UO student body president, said she was "upset" about the council move to delay discussion of the housing code until the summer when students are gone and can't lobby the council. "It's absolutely irresponsible," she said. "We're voters in this community and I think we have to be taken seriously."
Shannon Tarvin of Eugene Citizens for Housing Standards said the city's 54,000 renters need basic livability standards enforced. "We need protection now."
Kelly said "I can't think of many priorities that should be higher" than decent housing.
But the pro-developer council majority thought of many higher priorities, including rezoning property for the developer of a medical clinic, studying ways to give more tax breaks to big industry and developers, and a study to move the urban growth boundary out so land speculators can cash in. All these efforts made the city's top planning priority list instead of housing standards.
Councilor Taylor said the housing standard issue has been before the council for at least seven years without action. But she encouraged advocates to "continue to push" for decent housing. "Please don't give up."