Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Uranium mining may start in Oregon
Happening People: Deborah Aikens
OREGON TO KILL WOLVES
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife sent out a press release Friday evening announcing its intent to kill two more of Oregon’s wolves, including the Imnaha pack’s GPS collared alpha male. Conservationists say the timing of the press release prevented the news about the planned killing from getting out before wolf advocates could voice objections.
|The Wenaha pack’s alpha male|
According to ODFW, “Data from the alpha male’s GPS collar confirm he was at the scene where the calf was killed earlier this week.” That same data will allow ODFW to find and kill the wolf quickly, says Rob Klavins of Oregon Wild. “We’re pretty troubled about the whole idea,” he says.
Klavins says, “I’m fan of The West Wing and they called it the Friday trash,” and says that’s when government agencies release news if they don’t want people to know about it.
The owner of the spring calf that ODFW was killed and eaten is Todd Nash, “an outspoken anti-wolf activist,” Klavins says.
Nash, president of the Wallowa County Stockgrowers, is one of the ranchers that have been issued a permit to kill wolves caught in the act of attacking livestock.
“The state of Oregon appears to be implementing a wolf kill plan, not a wolf recovery plan. Its mandate is to recover wolves in our great state, not to cave to the demands of the powerful livestock industry, ” says Josh Laughlin of Eugene-based Cascadia Wildlands. The group signed on to a letter with Oregon Wild, the Center for Biological Diversity and others, asking that the wolf kill order be suspended.
On Tuesday, Sept. 27, activists with the Animal Defense League locked themselves to the doors of the ODFW offices, blocking the entrances to protest the killing of the wolves.
Oregon’s wolves are protected under the state Endangered Species Act and are managed by a wolf plan that allows wolves to be killed if they chronically attack livestock. Recent state legislation compensates ranchers for any livestock killed by wolves and provides incentives for use of nonlethal deterrents for wolves.
The ODFW press release says, “Landowners in this area have been using numerous nonlethal measures to avoid wolf-livestock problems,” however Nash was apparently not using controls like flagging and electric fencing. He had a range rider checking the cattle.
Four of Oregon’s wolves have been killed for attacking livestock, one died while being collared and another was killed by poachers, Klavins says. If the alpha male and another younger male are killed, the formerly 16-member pack will be reduced to two wolves, the alpha female and a pup, and will no longer have a breeding pair. Two other packs in Oregon still remain; one of them, the Walla Walla pack, had puppies. If the pups survive through December, that pack will be considered to have a breeding pair.
Klavins says the public hunting seasons in other states like Montana and Idaho could hurt Oregon’s wolf population as well. “Wolves don’t recognize political boundaries and state lines and what happens in neighboring states affects what happens in Oregon,” he says. Eugene-based Predator Defense has called for a boycott on travel to those states in protest of the wolf hunts. — Camilla Mortensen
SENECA FAILS AIR TEST
Seneca Sustainable Energy’s biomass burning cogeneration plant has been controversial since it was first proposed. Social justice advocates such as Oregon Toxics Alliance have worried about the effects of increased air pollution in an area of Eugene already hit by toxics. Conservation groups have protested Seneca’s logging practices. Now Seneca has been fined $9,856 by Lane Regional Air Protection Agency for failing a portion of its pollution control test.
The plant burns wood from logging in order to generate steam and electricity. Eugene Water and Electric Board buys energy from the plant. According to LRAPA documents, stack testing at the plant, required under its LRAPA-issued permit, showed that when the selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) equipment is running to control nitrogen oxide emissions (NOX) the amount of particulate matter released is outside the permit limits. The issue first arose in testing in April. The increase in particulate matter does not occur when the SCNR is not running.
When inhaled, particulate matter can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health problems, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
“They cannot guarantee that the level of air toxics coming from Seneca are safe. That’s why they are called pollutants,” says Lisa Arkin of OTA.
SCNR technology is shown to reduce nitrogen oxides from 20 to 60 percent. The more expensive selective catalytic reduction method that Seneca chose not to use could have reduced the smog-causing nitrogen oxides by 75 to 90 percent, according to data from the EPA. Smog is also damaging to the lungs. OTA criticized Seneca’s choice of SCNR technology during the permitting process.
According to Oregon Toxics Alliance, neighborhoods in the west Eugene industrial corridor where the Seneca plant is burning its logging waste have higher percentages of Latino, disabled and poverty-level residents than other Eugene neighborhoods. Arkin says the group, in conjunction with Centro LatinoAmericano, has just received two grants, one from the EPA, the other from Providence Health, to assist the residents of two nearby neighborhoods that have high rates of asthma among their children.
“Isn’t that backwards that little OTA is trying to help the people and bring nurses in while LRAPA and Seneca are saying it’s OK to pollute our airshed?” she asks.
LRAPA is requiring Seneca to submit a testing plan for approval by Sept. 28, complete the testing by Oct. 12 and provide LRAPA with a written report documenting the test results 45 days after the testing is completed. If Seneca is indeed violating emissions limits, it has three months to come up with a plan to fix the problem. The agency says emissions during this time period “are not expected to cause or contribute to any violations of the ambient air quality standards in the Eugene/Springfield area.”
If Seneca’s nitrogen oxides emissions exceed its annual permit limit, it faces additional fines from $3,800 to $15,200, according to LRAPA’s stipulation and final order document.
According to LRAPA, “When enforcing environmental laws and regulations, LRAPA has the authority to incorporate a SEP (Supplemental Environmental Protocol) into the settlement agreement that is separate from and in addition to correction of the violation.” SEPs under the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality have been used to fund projects that improve the environment by nonprofit groups like OTA.
Seneca’s biomass plant and its logging mill that generates the waste it burns have separate permits for criteria air pollutants like nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, but operate under one permit from LRAPA for hazardous air pollutants, an issue that OTA has called into question. If the facilities were considered the same source for particulate matter, it which would put Seneca over the 15 ton increase in fine particulate matter that would trigger a new source review from the EPA and significantly stricter standards. — Camilla Mortensen
MEETINGS LAW MAY GET REFINED
Former Lane County Commissioner Bill Fleenor was named in a timber industry-funded lawsuit against three commissioners last year, but he was the one commissioner exonerated in Judge Michael Gillespie’s ruling. Now Fleenor wants to see Gillespie’s ruling made moot by updating Oregon’s Open Meetings Law and clarifying ambiguities. But such a bill might not see legislative light until 2013.
Fleenor has talked to Shannon Sivell, legislative policy counsel for Oregon Attorney General John Kroger, and has talked to State Rep. Phil Barnhart about sponsoring legislation to tweak the law.
“In his ruling, Gillespie created law from the bench,” wrote Fleenor in an email to Sivell. “He established that four commissioners engaged in what he termed a ‘serial deliberation’ which is not defined or addressed in the current law.” Gillespie found that Commissioner Faye Stewart and former commissioner Bill Dwyer also met inappropriatly but the Seneca-Jones Timber funded lawsuit did not name them.
Fleenor also wrote that Gillespie “touched upon the use of email, and the possibility that a thread of email correspondence between three or more elected officials could be considered a violation of the Open Meetings Law. His interpretations have created serious ramifications and cast serious reservations throughout all local and state jurisdictions, from county commissions to city councils to special districts, as it relates to a locally elected official’s abilities to gather information outside of a public meeting.”
Barnhart tells EW he talked to Fleenor in August and agreed to consider “whatever proposal he might have,” but also says, “This is a complex issue. It is critical that public business be done in public and it is important that public officials understand what they have to do to protect that public access.”
Barnhart says changes in the Open Meetings Law “need to be considered very carefully and after full deliberation.” He says “it is unlikely” that level of scrutiny could happen in the short session of the Legislature in February, but it could happen in the 2013 long session.
Fleenor sent Barnhart and the AG’s office a list of changes he’d like to see go before the Legislature. They include “Any form of communication, discussion, conversation, dialogue, banter, debate, exchange of ideas, speech or discourse, either in person, electronically or otherwise, in a one-on-one, serial, consecutive, or sequential manner between members of a public body, shall be permitted except as otherwise provided by ORS 192.610 to 192.690.”
His changes also deal with email correspondence and offer more precise definitions of words that are already in the statutes, such as “meeting,” “deliberation,” “decision,” “executive session” and “governing body.”
Meanwhile, the Lane County attorney’s office has sent out a memo to staff, elected officials, committee members and others urging caution. “Our recommendation is to be cautious about meeting with other members … to discuss information that will be considered in public meetings. One final lesson from the recent court decision is that knowledge of the public meetings law and failure to comply with its requirements might subject individual members of a public body to personal liability.” — Ted Taylor
FREE CLINIC OCT. 1-2
A free medical clinic for low-income, uninsured local residents is being provided again by the all-volunteer Cascade Medical Team (CMT) from 8 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1-2 at the PeaceHealth Medical Group Building, 1162 Willamette in Eugene. No proof of residency will be required.
The two-day clinic will provide full service primary health care with nine volunteer providers, including specialists in family practice and gynecology. Medications will be available to treat common conditions, but no controlled drugs or pain medications will be at the clinic.
Lane County has more than 60,000 residents who are uninsured and not eligible for the Oregon Health Plan or Medicare. CMT has provided medical care in Guatemala for the past 10 years and occasionally holds clinics in Lane County.
FOREST PROTEST IN SALEM
Cascadia Forest Defenders protested the logging of the native coastal trees of the Elliott State Forest with so many treesits and blockades that the Oregon Department of Forestry began closing roads to keep them out. Now CFD and other forest groups are heading to Salem Oct. 11 to let Gov. Kitzhaber and the State Land Board know that they think ramping up clearcutting in Oregon’s state forests is a bad idea.
“The immediate message is ‘reject the new harvest plan for the Elliott State Forest,’” says Jason Gonzales of CFD, and “the less immediate message is a demand for better conservation on state lands in general.”
The rally is targeting logging not only on the Elliott, which faces a 40 percent increase in clearcutting, but also on the Clatsop and Tillamook state forests. The protest is spearheaded by Friends of Oregon’s Forests, a coalition of forest groups working on all ends of the conservation spectrum from salmon fishermen to Earth First!. Gonzales says some UO classes will be attending as a field trip.
The Elliott is home to federally listed marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl and Oregon Coast coho salmon, according to Cascadia Wildlands, one of the groups participating in the protest, and the Oregon north coast’s Clatsop and Tillamook forests also provide salmon habitat.
The activists will let their opinions be known about logging on the state forests at the State Land Board meeting where Kitzhaber, Secretary of State Kate Brown and Treasurer Ted Wheeler will decide the fate of the trees. “Kitzhaber has a lot more sway in the management of state owned lands then people realize,” Gonzales says.
The “Rally to Tell Governor Kitzhaber to Protect Oregon’s Forests” starts at 9:30 am Oct. 11 at 775 Summer St. in Salem. A carpool from Cottage Grove will leave the Walmart parking lot at 7:30 am, and the Eugene carpool and buses will leave from behind the FedEx office at 13th and Willamette at 8 am sharp. Organizers encourage getting to the carpool meeting points early. For more info go to http://wkly.ws/146 or email email@example.com — Camilla Mortensen
• Feminist anthropologist Serena Cosgrove, Ph.D. will read from her book Leadership from the Margins: Women and Civil Society Organizations in Argentina, Chile and El Salvador from 5 to 7 pm Friday, Sept. 30, at Tsunami Books, 25th and Willamette. Sponsored by Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide.
• A fundraising event for County Commissioner Pete Sorenson will be from 5 to 8 pm Saturday, Oct. 1, at Tsunami Books. Music, food and beverages will be provided. Call Scott at 345-8986 for visit www.petesorenson.com for more information.
• Eugene’s first four-family, flow-through worm bin will be inaugurated at a celebration including demonstrations, comments by civic and garden dignitaries, and cider freshly pressed using a neighborhood apple press. The new bin is a collaboration among Amazon neighbors, the city of Eugene, and the Eugene Masonic Cemetery. The event is 2 pm Sunday, Oct. 2, on East 25th Avenue between University and Onyx. For information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call 344-1053.
• David Oaks of Mindfreedom will speak on “Climate Crisis, Chamber of Commerce and Boycotting Normal!” at 5:30 pm Wednesday, Oct. 5, at Growers Market upstairs, 454 Willamette. Free. See http://wkly.ws/145 or call 345-9106.
• The Board of Lane County Commissioners will have a public hearing on Oct.5, at 1:30 pm in Harris Hall on voter redistricting. Some of the proposals the commissioners will consider have raised concerns that voter districts will be gerrymandered and altered to benefit a conservative majority. Information on the proposals is available at http://wkly.ws/149
• A free forum on recycling and composting for event organizers, caterers and volunteers will be from 6 to 8 pm Wednesday, Oct. 5, at the Glenwood Transfer Station. RSVP required to Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 682-2059.
• The local Tea Party, aka 9.12 Project Lane County, will host a talk by Idaho Rep. Curtis Bowers at a meeting from 6:30 to 9:30 pm Wednesday, Oct. 5, at the Garden Way Church, 231 N. Garden Way in Eugene. Bowers will talk about the Communist Party threat to the U.S. See http://wkly.ws/142 for information.
• 1,773 U.S. troops killed* (1,765)
• 14,094 U.S. troops wounded in action (13,896)
• 887 U.S. contractors killed (887)
• $458.3 billion cost of war ($455.9 billion)
• $135.3 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($134.6 million)
• 4,421 U.S. troops killed (4,421)
• 31,921 U.S. troops wounded in action (31,920)
• 185 U.S. military suicides (updates NA)
• 1,542 U.S. contractors killed (1,542)
• 112,253 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (112,119)
• $796.7 billion cost of war ($795.8 billion)
• $235.3 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($235 million)
Through Sept. 26, 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)
Lighten Up by Rafael Aldave
As you listen to Tea Party candidates for president, it becomes obvious that their supporters don’t believe in evolution.
Lots going on the local business community this fall with dozens of enterprises, for-profit and nonprofit, coming and going and changing. Here are a few we’ve heard about.
The popular Tamarack Wellness Center with its heated salt water therapy pool has been on the edge financially for some time and even shut down its pool this summer. But the nonprofit is back and is inviting the public to open house tours at 3:30 and 4:30 pm Sunday, Oct. 2, followed by a free “Pool of Lights” community celebration from 5 to 7 pm. Tamarack is at 3575 Donald St.
Jennifer Gerrity has opened a new antique store called Overcast at 1245 Willamette St. in Eugene. She says she specializes in “dark, rare and unusual items from the past.” Moving into the space next door this summer was Nest, a mother-daughter art and antique shop. The shops are on the Friday Art Walk circuit.
Not Your Mom’s Sandwich Shop is now open at 150 Shelton McMurphy Blvd., Monday through Saturday, 10:30 am to 6 pm. Find it on Facebook at http://wkly.ws/147
The Kiva, Eugene’s downtown grocery store near the bus station, has completed its interior remodel and that puzzling construction project on the side of the building along 11th Avenue is soon to become a walk-up window for the deli inside. Check out the new public art. Kiva is also on Facebook or check out kivagrocery.com
What’s happening with the old FSEEE headquarters building on Charnelton near 12th? The nonprofit Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics moved a few blocks away in July and building owner Hugh Prichard had the classic old building remodeled. It’s now for rent again.
Send suggestions for Biz Beat items to email@example.com and please put “Biz Beat” in the subject line.
• Eugene mental health activist Lynne M. Silvi, 48, drove her car through Portland’s Waterfront Park wall and into the Willamette River early in the morning of Sept. 23. Silvi was open about her significant mental and emotional problems and was a passionate advocate for changing the mental health system. She felt like she was “deeply traumatized” by traditional systems of care, according to David Oaks, director of MindFreedom International in Eugene.
Silvi was very bright and highly communicative, and through her very personal and frank writings she gives us a unique look into the horrors and hope of a troubled mind, and the painful stigma of being labeled “mentally ill.” She found a new home in the local MindFreedom community where “normal” is broadly defined. “MindFreedom feels like a reunion of family I never knew before,” she writes. “This connection and encouragement gives me the courage to speak out. … Today I am medication-free and psychiatrist-free for the first time.” Find her writings, including her “Open Letter to My Mental Health Therapist” at www.mindfreedom.org
• Meetings about the development plan for the UO properties in the Walnut Station mixed-use area (formerly the ODOT and Romania properties) shake out into more parking, not exactly a surprise, for the short-term. Some interesting ideas do bounce around for the Romania building, which has historic designation. Fairmount neighbor Karen Alvarado advocates for a grand art center including artists’ studios, gallery space, etc., with ties to the UO School of Art, Architecture and Allied Arts, similar to art projects in reclaimed buildings near some California colleges. What about several movie theaters harking back to the day when a cinema thrived in that part of Eugene? What else?
• Who doesn’t love dogs? Lane County commissioner candidate and current City Councilor Mike Clark, apparently. When City Councilor Betty Taylor (owner of a golden retriever named Lucy) brought up the idea of rescinding the old rule banning dogs on 13th Avenue near campus, Clark didn’t just disagree, he suggested that the city extend the dog ban to downtown. Comments on EW’s Facebook page about the proposed pup prohibition have been almost entirely against a ban, with at least one suggestion to ban Clark instead.
• “Stop bashing teachers” was our favorite advice from Shelley Berman when he spoke to the City Club of Eugene on Sept. 23. Working superintendent of 4J schools for only two months, he waded into one controversial area after another. Berman said the “vast majority of teachers are excellent” and that the best professional development is to put teachers working together to solve a problem. He cited Finland, now rated the best educational system in the world, as a country that started investing in the quality of teachers 30 years ago. Finland does no state testing of students, he added, giving a nod to the overdue dismantling of No Child Left Behind and its endless testing.
• What’s going on down on Wall Street? Nothing, according to the mainstream media, but the European press and social media report the Wall Street protests (search for #occupywallstreet) are heating up. According to occupywallstreet.org the protest is a leaderless resistance movement made up of “the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent” and is inspired by the Arab Spring tactic of mass occupation that brought change in Egypt and elsewhere.
Supporters, including Oregon’s Cascade Climate Network, have sent pizzas to help feed the protesters. Noam Chomsky recently announced solidarity with the protesters, saying, “Anyone with eyes open knows that the gangsterism of Wall Street — financial institutions generally — has caused severe damage to the people of the United States (and the world).” From 200 to 1,500 protesters — the numbers fluctuate — have been camping out on Wall Street. Police officers pepper-sprayed activists last week causing a public outcry. At least 80 people have been arrested since the protest started Sept. 17.
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 in Iowa, Deborah Aikens spent her K-12 school years in Sacramento, where her father worked in state government. “Early on I was aware that I was sensitive to conflict,” she says. “I couldn’t watch a whole movie or I’d stay up all night.” She began her study of physiological psychology at UC Davis, but transferred in 1971 to Berkeley, then a hotbed of antiwar protests. “Bomb threats were part of daily life,” says Aikens, who retreated to Davis after two years to finish her degree in a serene environment, “across from horses and cows.” She helped to start the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Menlo Park and later became a member of its first graduating class, earning a Ph.D. in 1980. “I worked with Dr. Emmett Miller, teaching stress-reduction classes,” she says. “I saw how effective they could be to relieve people’s suffering.” When she and her husband, Marc Aikens, moved to Eugene in 1987, she opened a practice in transpersonal psychology. In 1994, she founded the Northwest Center for Health Promotion, an educational nonprofit that offers classes in stress-reduction and self-care. NCHP’s six-week “Renew Your Life” course begins this fall with a free introductory class on Tuesday, Oct. 4. Call 343-0536 to reserve a space.