News Briefs: Derby Kills 30 Coyotes | Elliott State Forest Now Up For Sale? | City Safe, But Cops Demand More Cash | 'Economic Gardening' Touted | Activist Alert | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule | Corrections/Clarifications
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Rust in the Race
Longtime county commissioner returns to run
LCC and Cops
City to spend millions to help and hurt downtown
Pow! Zoom! Skate!
Roller derby goes to the kids
DERBY KILLS 30 COYOTES
The predator derby held in southeast Oregon the weekend of Jan. 16 is rumored to have killed 30 coyotes, according to Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense. A coyote derby in Nevada the weekend of Jan. 8 killed 20 coyotes, and a coyote and wolf derby held in Idaho that same weekend was also protested by conservation and animal rights groups. The number of coyotes that were injured but not killed outright was not given in any of the contests.
Predator derbies are contests in which teams of hunters try to shoot and kill as many predators as possible during a set period of time. Proof of a kill is either the animal’s corpse or a piece of it, such as the ears, tail or a paw.
Fahy says Predator Defense is working with other national and state organizations are working together to draw attention to and shut down these contest hunts.
Coyote derbies take place all over the country, as do fishing derbies and other sport hunting contests. In Oregon, as in most states, coyotes are not a protected species.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which oversees hunting regulations in Oregon responded to complaints about the derby via email, telling concerned Oregonians that ODFW and the Oregon State Police were aware of the derby and any violations reported would be investigated, and that “Coyotes are classified as predators, not game animals. Coyotes may be legally hunted year-round but hunters must adhere to the general hunting regulations.”
Fahy and other conservationists say that hunting coyotes does not actually cut down on their numbers. They say studies have shown that coyote populations actually increase in response to lethal predator control. — Camilla Mortensen
ELLIOTT STATE FOREST NOW UP FOR SALE?
The State Land Board plans to make a decision Feb. 9 about whether or not to sell the Elliott State Forest, a coastal rainforest that provides habitat for threatened and endangered species, including coho salmon, the marbled murrelet and the northern spotted owl. Conservation group Cascadia Wildlands wants to see the forest used as a carbon bank, not logged.
The Elliott, the site of logging protests and the subject of lawsuits over its Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), is owned by the Common School Fund and proceeds from logging it go to fund Oregon public schools. Josh Laughlin of Cascadia Wildlands calls this “clearcuts for kids,” and says there are better ways than logging the forest to generate money for schools.
The director of Department of State Lands, Louise Solliday, says one of the reasons the forest could be put up for sale is “The revenues and harvest levels from the Elliott have been declining over the past few decades because of the need to protect habitat associated with threatened and endangered species.”
She says her staff is still working on a recommendation for a decision to make to the SLB members, who are Secretary of State Kate Brown, Gov. Ted Kulongoski and State Treasurer Ben Westlund.
Currently the forest is being logged under a 1995 Habitat Conservation Plan, while a problematic revised conservation plan is in the works. An HCP outlines what will be done to “minimize and mitigate” how many threatened and endangered species will be killed and how much of their habitat will be damaged.
The options for the forest that the land board will consider are to continue logging under the 1995 HCP; stop using the 1995 plan and stop revising the 2004 HCP, and develop a new plan; continue using the 1995 HCP and revised HCP until the revisions are complete; or sell the Elliott State Forest.
The 1995 HCP is the subject of a lawsuit by conservation groups, including Cascadia Wildlands, which alleges it does not take into consideration new information showing the northern spotted owl is facing increased threats. The 2004 revised HCP faces criticism from the NOAA Fisheries Service for fish buffers that are too small and would not protect threatened salmon from the effects of logging.
A report by economist Eric Fruits presented to the SLB says, “Department of State Lands management of the Elliott State Forest yields returns of less than 1 percent.” Fruits calls this a “meager return,” which he writes, “Could raise questions whether the state is neglecting its fiduciary duty to Oregon schools.”
Laughlin says, “We don’t want to see a hasty decision made.” He says selling the forest to be logged by a private timber company would be “the worst thing that could happen to our state forest.”
“None of the options are in the best interest of the Common School Fund,” he says. He’s calling for “innovative leadership from the state,” he says, to look into protecting older rainforests like the Elliott and using them sequester and store carbon for school dollars, possibly in combination with thinning projects.
Laughlin says, “We really want the state to conduct a feasibility analysis of what the Elliott’s forests are worth in terms of stored and sequestered carbon to best position itself and become a real leader in slowing climate change.”
CITY SAFE, BUT COPS DEMAND MORE CASH
While Eugene police and conservatives hype crime to boost the police budget, citizens have never felt more safe, according to a scientific survey by the city.
Ninety-six percent of Eugene residents reported feeling “very” or “somewhat” safe walking alone in their neighborhood after dark, according to results released this month of an annual community survey. That’s a jump from 89 percent the previous year and 83 percent the year before that.
Meanwhile the Eugene Police Department and conservatives are hyping crime to push for dramatic increases in police spending.
The EPD recently told the City Council that it is in “severe stress” and needs to more than double its police force to provide community policing.
Eugene now has more police officers per capita than Springfield and about the same officers per capita as Salem. But Eugene taxpayers spend $43 million a year on the EPD, about a third more than Salem, a city with a similar population and overall crime rate.
Since 1997 the violent crime rate has fallen 46 percent in Eugene and the property crime rate has fallen 30 percent, according to FBI data.
Eugene’s low crime rate ranks it as one of the safest cities in the nation, according to the FBI numbers. But Eugene police reported arresting 1,002 people in 2008 for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
The city survey found that 77 percent felt “very safe” walking at night in their neighborhood versus only 2 percent who felt “very unsafe.”
People felt less safe walking in business areas at night with 65 percent reporting they felt very or somewhat safe. Respondents gave a similar response (63 percent) in 2004.
The business area numbers appear to be more about perception of downtown than reality. Asked why they felt unsafe, the survey reported the leading response was a vague “bad area” or “strange people.”— Alan Pittman
‘ECONOMIC GARDENING’ TOUTED
The city of Littleton, Colo., has been working with the concept of “economic gardening” for the past 20 years and the idea appears to be catching on around the country as struggling cities and counties examine their economic development strategies.
The basic concept is to focus on nurturing second-stage growth companies and growing a local economy from within. The concept is contrary to the more conventional strategies of trying to recruit business and industry by offering free land, infrastructure, tax breaks and other expensive incentives. Lane County has seen Hynix, Sony and other big companies come and go over the years after taking advantage of subsidies.
“Communities are struggling to regain a sense of control over their future, and they see investments in local entrepreneurs as less risky and more certain than continuing to play the high stakes recruiting game,” says Chris Gibbons, director of business/industry affairs for the city of Littleton. He is quoted on the National League of Cities website, http://wkly.ws/89
Gibbons says the idea was based on research by David Birch at MIT that indicated “the great majority of all new jobs in any local economy were produced by the small, local businesses of the community. The recruiting coups drew major newspaper headlines, but they were a minor part (often less than 5 percent) of job creation in most local economies.”
“Our approach,” he says, “focuses on bringing sophisticated corporate-level tools like database researching, geographic information systems, search engine optimization and social network mapping to the small, growing company.”
Littleton has an Economic Gardening Team that assists companies with core strategy, market analysis, competitor intelligence, “using temperament to slot teams” and undertaking custom business research. Infrastructure work by the team includes connecting businesses with area universities and other intellectual resources.
Lane County is taking steps in a similar direction. Jack Roberts, executive director of Lane Metro Partnership, says his agency’s focus has changed in recent years, but he still does recruiting and following leads. In 2008 he told EW, “I’ve heard a lot of good arguments why we shouldn’t spend a lot of money trying to entice companies to move here … I’ve never heard a good argument why we shouldn’t try to actively market our community to those who are considering coming here. Frankly, there is no better way I know of to compete for good, family wage jobs.” See story at http://wkly.ws/8a
Gibbons says the Littleton program has helped entrepreneurs double the job base in the city from 15,000 to 30,000 and triple the retail sales tax from $6 million to $21 million over the past 20 years. The population only grew 23 percent during that same time period. — Ted Taylor
• A fundraising event to help retain Rep. Val Hoyle in the state Legislature is planned for 5:30 to 7:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 28, at Davis’ Restaurant, 94 W. Broadway in Eugene. Hoyle was appointed to House District 14. Those attending the event will include Sen. Chris Edwards, Councilor Andrea Ortiz, Art Johnson, Anne Marie Levis, Jennifer Geller, and Joy Marshall. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or make donations directly at http://wkly.ws/7w
• Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns and downtown Safety Task Director Susan Muir will speak at City Club of Eugene at 11:50 am Friday at the Hilton downtown. Topic is “Priorities for Downtown Safety.” See www.cityclubofeugene.org for more information.
• Friday’s 3 pm Pacifica Forum has been canceled due to a scheduling conflict at Agate Hall. Barry Sommer was the scheduled speaker on “The Threat of Islam.”
• The Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention is bringing activist Jackson Katz, Ph.D. to speak on the subject of American manhood and violence against women. The lecture, “More than a Few Good Men: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help,” will be at 7:30 pm Wednesday, Feb. 3, at the EMU Ballroom on the UO campus.
• Eugene’s Climate and Energy Action Plan discussions continue with a look at health and social services Feb. 4, and natural resources March 4. The meetings are held from 6 to 9 pm at the EWEB community meeting room, 500 E. 4th Ave. More information at www.sustaineugene.com/eugeneclimate
• J Street, the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement, is launching its national field program Feb. 4, with a kick-off celebration in Eugene to coincide with similar events across the country. The Eugene event will be at 9 pm Thursday, Feb. 4, at Temple Beth Israel, 1175 E. 29th Ave. J Street’s Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami will speak via national simulcast.
Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule
• Near Gillespie Corners/Lorane and Territorial Highways: Michael R. Atkinson (344-4991) will ground spray Velpar DF(hexazinone), Tahoe 4E (triclopyr), and Oust (sulfometuron methyl) on five acres near tributaries to Coyote Creek for RE & RR Morris Family Partnership in California (925) 837-8734 starting March 3 through Oct. 30 (Notification No. 2010-781-00117).
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
• In the galleries section of last week’s paper, Rob Adams’ painting “The Long March” was incorrectly identified as the title of an exhibit at the Museum of Unfine Art. The venue is now showing a retrospective of artists featured over the past decade, which will be part of the Last Friday Artwalk on Jan. 29.
• Last week’s story on the new infoshop in town incorrectly said “the area hasn’t really had anything approaching an infoshop since Icky’s Teahouse closed in 1997,” however we hear the area really did have something like an infoshop: The Shamrock House in the Whiteaker neighborhood served as an infoshop for several years before closing in 2002.
• In last week’s review of the Very Little Theatre’s Country Girl, the photo credit should have gone to Rich Scheeland.
• The not-so-close vote on Measures 66 & 67 this week shows that Oregonians are not buying into the anti-government sentiment that appears to be swaying voters elsewhere. Fox News (http://wkly.ws/8g) was tracking this week’s Oregon vote, salivating over a possible Massachusetts replay. In Oregon we might bitch about government and taxes, but we also understand that the public sector provides the infrastructure that supports the private sector. Business and industry build on a foundation of public education, roads, public safety, courts, regulations, and the safety net of social services for our young, disadvantaged and infirm. Thanks to all who worked so long and hard to pass 66 & 67. Now let’s get to work on Oregon’s crazy tax kicker.
• What’s the scoop on The Register-Guard’s latest football coverage? The daily did a big front page story on football player turned hero, kicker Rob Beard, who reportedly stepped in to break up a fight and got beaten up himself, but the paper ducks and weaves when it comes to reporting something negative about star quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and wide receiver Garrett Embry.
Both The Oregonian and Oregon Daily Emerald quote students who allege Masoli and Embry stole laptops and other items from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon frat Saturday night. The R-G says it won’t name names without a police report, even though the paper has done that with other crimes in the past. Perhaps it’s a stretch for the R-G’s sports boosters to be real journalists.
Also, what’s the deal with the EPD being so tight lipped with public records on the incident? Do the tens of thousands of dollars the athletic department pays cops to go to football games buy a cover-up?
Curiously, with Phil Knight donating about $1 million in custom-engraved (to prevent theft of course) MacBook Pros to the new center for student athletes, what in the world would Masoli or Embry need with some other kid’s laptop anyway?
• We’re pleased to see the Pacifica Forum theatrics settle down after a raucous and irritating few weeks of yelling, name-calling, bird-flipping and Nazi saluting. Will we remember this latest outburst, to quote Macbeth, as “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”? Maybe we can glean a few lessons here and there about the complexities of free speech, effective responses to hate speech (i.e. discussion vs. disruption), academic freedom, discerning truth from fiction in history, and how a few people can get a lot of people really pissed off. This Friday’s PF has been canceled due to a scheduling conflict.
This week the UO administration has the unenviable task of deciding whether to allow Pacifica Forum and other groups led by retired professors to meet on campus or not. Damned if they do; damned it they don’t. We think it’s best to keep PF somewhere on campus where their speakers can provide stimulating fodder for students of history, journalism, performing arts and psychology. It’s kind of like taking the kids to the zoo, where you never know what they're going to see — the birth of a giraffe or masturbating monkeys.
• Another Martin Luther King Jr. Day has gone by with righteous speeches and posturing in Eugene, one of the whitest cities in the nation. Another year has gone by without the city getting serious about actually banning racial profiling. Back in 2002, the Eugene police gathered data on 18,000 traffic stops and found that local police were far more likely to stop and search African-American and Latino drivers. Besides denials that Eugene police had ever been or would ever be racist, the only apparent actual change resulting from the study was that the EPD never again repeated the embarrassing study.
• Too cold, wet and dark to ride your bicycle to work or shopping? Time to toughen up and gear up. Eugene has more than a few year-round cyclists and now they have a new hero. Showing up for the Eugene Walking and Biking Summit this past weekend was Don Ross, age 67, who pedaled his bike and trailer down from Fairbanks this winter. That’s right. He left in October, used studded bike tires and camped along the ALCAN Highway in temperatures well below zero. The affable former Alaska bush pilot and sailboat adventurer is now off to Washington, D.C., for Earth Day climate change events. He’s hooking up with 350.org people along the way, meeting bicycle advocates and talking to classes of school kids. He calls himself “Peace Rider” and he likes to talk about how cut off we are from each other and from nature, and how that disconnection leads to irrational environmental policies and even war. Find out who he met in Eugene, see photos and follow his blog at http://wkly.ws/7r or email him at email@example.com
• Junction City and Harrisburg will get a local newspaper back this week after the folding of The Tri-County News in December. The Tri-County Tribune will be printing 9,500 papers and distributing 8,500 free by mail. Sounds like a bare-bones publication with no storefront office, and only freelance writers and photographers. We wish them well. Every town needs a community paper. The subscription-based TCN printed less than 2,000 papers before Andrew Polin pulled the plug. Nelson Rosales and Lorenzo Herrera are the new owners. A kick-off party is planned between 4 and 7 pm Thursday, Jan. 28, at River Bend Resort in Harrisburg.