News Briefs: Beam Wins PDX Kudos | Public Input on Broadway | Operation Backfire Goes to Appeal | Magaña on YouTube | A Whopper of a WOPR | Stop Smith Campaign Cranks Up | War Dead | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule |
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Police plan to use Taser against non-violent people
A Greener Place to Play
Pesticide-free parks take root in Eugene
Happening Person: Jane and Eva Happy
BEAM WINS PDX KUDOS
Beam Development, the Portland firm that has proposed a local-focused historic restoration of the Centre Court and Washburne buildings in downtown Eugene has won kudos for a similar project in its hometown.
As part of its “Best of Portland” issue July 25, the alternative newspaper Willamette Week praised Beam principal Brad Malsin’s Central Eastside project as “the epicenter of Portland’s radiant future.”
WW describes Beam’s Portland project as “a creative class demographer’s wet dream” with its tenant roster of “fashion designers, architects and environmental engineers.”
Many urban redevelopers now consider such “creative class” businesses as key to the success of cities. The theory was popularized by Richard Florida in his best seller, The Rise of the Creative Class.
Malsin lost out to Opus development in the Burnside Bridgehead project in Portland. But while the Central Eastside is done, the Opus project has yet to “lift even a shovelful of dirt,” WW wrote.
Malsin’s Beam is also in competition with some of the Opus people in Eugene. KWG includes people who have worked for and with Opus on the Bridgehead and other projects. In Eugene, the City Council voted to involve both KWG and Beam in proposed downtown redevelopment involving a total of about $50 million in public subsidies.
City Manager Dennis Taylor said Beam had agreed to work together with KWG, perhaps giving KWG control over choosing tenants for the ground floors.
But Malsin told EW that he’ll keep an independent, community-oriented focus for his project. “We have a different way of seeing the world,” he said of KWG. “We don’t do the shopping mall kind of deals.”
Beam’s proposal to rehab the Washburne and Centre Court buildings and build a one-story building in the adjacent Aster pit could cost Eugene roughly $10 million in subsidies. Beam said it may also build a second floor of housing above the Washburne building and build across Broadway from the Centre Court in a later phase. Beam’s proposal had unanimous support on the council, but three councilors have expressed opposition to KWG’s proposal, involving expensive parking garages and roughly $40 million in subsidies. A final council decision is expected in late September. — Alan Pittman
PUBLIC INPUT ON BROADWAY
A series of meetings are under way regarding redevelopment of West Broadway. At stake is an estimated $50 million or more in public subsidies and tax breaks involved in this project, and opportunities are available for public input and learning more about the proposals.
The mayor’s West Broadway Advisory Committee (WBAC) has been working on the proposals and gathering public comments this summer. The next meeting will be from 5 to 7 pm Wednesday, Aug. 15 at the Bascom-Tykeson Room of the Eugene Public Library downtown. Another meeting to determine the group’s final recommendations to the City Council is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 29.
The topics being discussed are many and include expansion of the Downtown Urban Renewal District, parking garages, public parks and open spaces, bicycle and pedestrian considerations, transition plans for existing displaced businesses, developer profits, the balance of housing and retail, sustainable construction materials and methods, the availability of Brownfields Economic Development Initiative grants and HUD money and city land contributions.
OPERATION BACKFIRE GOES TO APPEAL
Oregon’s eco-sabotage cases are not yet closed though last week saw the last sentencing of the 10 Oregon defendants as well as the reduction of one sentence.
|Cavel West horse slaughterhouse|
On Aug. 1, Jonathan Paul’s sentence of 51 months for burning down the Cavel West horse slaughterhouse was reimposed by U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken. Aiken sentenced Paul in June, but his lawyer, Marc Blackman, challenged the legality of the sentencing. The sentencing process involved complicated sentencing guidelines, the application of the terrorism enhancement or equivalent, “upward departures” in sentence length and criminal history levels (see EW 6/7).
Aiken heard the legal arguments at last week’s hearing but refuted them and let the sentence stand. Blackman said he plans to appeal the sentence.
In addition to the sentence, Aiken also assigned Paul a book report due when he reports to prison Oct. 2. Aiken alluded to the defendant’s use of a “book club” for their meetings as she discussed her assigned reading. Paul is to read New York Times bestseller Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Vision to Promote Peace … One School at a Time.
The book by David O. Relin and Greg Mortenson recounts Mortenson’s efforts to build more than 50 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
She also read a letter in court from Stan Meyerhoff, whom Aiken sentenced in May to 13 years — the longest sentence in the Operation Backfire case. Meyerhoff wrote of his work teaching English and Spanish to other inmates. Aiken has made a point of suggesting inspirational books to read, telling motivational stories and telling defendants to educate others in the future.
Two days later, Aiken heard a similar sentence appeal from Kendall Tankersley. She had received a sentence of 51 months. Aiken rejected the legal appeal but still reduced the sentence by five months.
Tankersley was only involved in the arsons for a brief period of time, and Aiken pointed to Tankersley’s efforts to lead an “exemplary” life after the arsons. Tankersley had been applying to medical schools at the time of her arrest. She has also begun paying restitution for the cost of the arsons. Paul has paid his restitution as well.
According to a July 5 notice of appeal, Meyerhoff also intends to appeal his lengthy sentence.
The federal prison system has no parole, but prisoners can get up to 54 days a year off their sentence in “good conduct time.”
The cases, however, are not yet over. Four people have never been caught and remain at large. Two people are to be sentenced in Washington state, and a third, Briana Waters, is the only defendant who still intends to go to trial. Many expect Waters’ case to address the possible use of National Security Agency warrantless wiretaps. — Camilla Mortensen
MAGAÑA ON YOUTUBE
Roger Magaña, the Eugene Officer sentenced to 94 years for using his badge to coerce sex from a dozen women, is on YouTube.
The “fuck the police” video (youtube.com/watch?v=5eHweGrPUpY) appears to be about six years old and allegedly shows Magaña illegally entering a house to harass and arrest a bunch of skateboarders, according to the post’s description by an anonymous author.
An unidentified officer with Magaña “steps in, puts me in a full-nelson, throws me face down onto the cement outside, and puts his knee in my back and handcuffs me,” the poster alleges.
The video post created some stir with 54,826 views and 326 comments, many criticizing the police and/or debating who was at fault.
In 2004 the city paid $22,500 to settle a lawsuit alleging that Magaña and Eugene police officer Mel Thompson illegally entered a Eugene couple’s apartment in a separate incident.
Attorneys for Magaña’s sex abuse victims have accused the city of whitewash for failing to investigate other officers for not stopping Magaña’s abuse despite numerous complaints. — Alan Pittman
A WHOPPER OF A WOPR
The Bureau of Land Management plans to release a draft environmental impact statement of the Western Oregon Plan Revision (WOPR, pronounced “whopper”) Aug. 10. The WOPR will change the way 2.6 million acres of public lands and resources are managed in Oregon by the BLM in six districts ranging from Eastern Oregon to Eugene to Coos Bay.
The WOPR revises the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan which protected habitat for species such as the northern spotted owl in Oregon’s remaining old-growth forests.
Most of the public lands are areas that fall under the Oregon and California Revested Railroad Lands Act of 1937, or O&C Act. This is the same act that tied a portion of federal timber revenues to county revenues.
The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 replaced this timber revenue with federal monies for six years. It expired in 2006, and Lane and other counties with large areas of timberland now face potentially severe budget cuts. The cuts were temporarily staved off when Congress approved a one-year reprieve for the coming fiscal year.
“Americans shouldn’t have to choose between protecting our remaining old-growth forests or paying for essential county services,” said Josh Laughlin of the Cascadia Wildlands Project.
According to a lawsuit filed by the American Forest Resource Council (AFRC) and the Association of O&C Counties — groups representing the forest products industry — the O&C Act calls for “sustainable” logging on all of the O&C lands in compliance with other laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water and Clean Air acts.
In 2003 the secretaries of Interior and Agriculture entered into an out-of-court settlement with the AFRC and O&C Counties agreeing to revise the management plans. The outcome of this agreement is the WOPR. This means the practice of establishing old-growth forest reserves — unlogged areas — could be ended, except around endangered species habitat.
“Eliminating the reserves is a train wreck in the making,” said Laughlin. People come to Oregon, he said, to see “towering forests, clear creeks and abundant wildlife, not clearcuts and stumpfields.”
The BLM cannot discuss specifics of the draft environmental impact statement until after its release.
The public will have 90 days from the release on Friday to comment on the draft of the WOPR. The 1,650-page document will be available on paper, CD and via the web at www.blm.gov/or/plans/wopr/ — Camilla Mortensen
STOP SMITH CAMPAIGN CRANKS UP
The Stop Gordon Smith Campaign sponsored by the Democratic Party of Oregon (DPO) is cranking up its website and blog to update voters on the Oregon Republican’s conservative Senate voting record. But will Smith, taking flak from both the left and right, actually run for a third term?
Smith is raising money to seek a third term in 2008 though he has also been rumored to be considering a run for the governorship. At least one Democratic blog is speculating that Smith could decide he would have more power as governor than as a minority member of the Senate (see www.BlueOregon.com).While campaigning for governor, and even as governor, Smith would also have more time at home and to tend his family business, Smith Frozen Foods.
“Smith is restricted in managing the company due to his Senate job,” writes Democratic activist Ernie Delmazzo on BlueOregon. “He can’t put his name on a company loan or line of credit and his receiving federal government subsidies and contracts would bring controversy. As governor, little or no legal restrictions would apply and he could operate every aspect of Smith Foods.”
The Democratic website StopGordonSmith.com does not endorse any potential candidates to oppose Smith.
“If you want to find out about Gordon Smith’s more than 20 votes for the Iraq War, the gap between his votes and his quotes, or why he votes with President Bush 90 percent of the time, it’s all here,” says DPO Chair Meredith Wood Smith.
The website documents Smith’s very public campaign in 2002 to divert Klamath River water to farmers, pushing President Bush and Vice President Cheney to override environmental rules, leading to the largest recorded adult salmon kill in the history of the West.
“Now that 70,000 salmon are dead, countless fishermen have lost their livelihood and the U.S. House is looking into his actions, he’s suddenly media shy,” reads the website. “Gordon Smith should take responsibility for his actions. If Gordon Smith can open an irrigation system to release thousands of gallons of water, surely he can open his mouth and apologize to Oregonians.”
Names of possible Democratic candidates to face the Pendleton senator include political activist Steve Novick, state House Speaker Jeff Merkley, former Ashland public radio talk show host Jeff Golden, Portland businesswoman Eileen Brady, medical equipment executive Ty Pettit and state Sen. Alan Bates. On the Republican side, political activists Bill Sizemore and Kevin Mannix have voiced interest in the Senate seat. — Ted Taylor
Since the U.S. invasion began on March 20, 2003 (last week’s numbers in parentheses):
• 3,676 U.S. troops killed* (3,651)
• 26,558 U.S. troops injured* (26,558)
• 292 Coalition troops killed* (292)
• 414 contractors killed** (414)
• 74,927 Iraqi civilians killed*** (74,403)
• $449.7 billion cost of war ($445.7 billion)
* through Aug. 6, 2007; source: icasualties.org; some figures only updated monthly
** estimate; source: icasualties.org
*** highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate civilian deaths as high as 655,000
Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule
• Near Walterville Elementary-Middle School: Oregon Forest Management Services (896-3757) will ground spray 55 acres with Arsenal and Chopper herbicides plus Methylated Seed Oil adjuvant for Weyerhaeuser (741-5211) between July 30 and Sept. 30 (#55805).
• Western Helicopter Services (503-538-9469) will aerially spray 90 acres with Triclopyr Ester, 2,4-D, Sulfometuron, Metsulfuron, Imazapyr and Glyphosate herbicides in Low Pass near Jones Creek tributaries for Plum Creek Timber (336-6224) between Aug. 15 and Oct. 25 (#50888).
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
EW has cranked up several blogs by editorial staffers at http://blogs.eugeneweekly.com or via our website. Read about bad cops in Thailand being forced to wear “Hello Kitty” armbands; see the YouTube video showing EPD’s infamous Roger Magaña busting skateboarders for no apparent reason; visit cat blogs; take a drive through Portland suburbs; compare Harry Potter with Jesus; see scary photos of Michael Jackson; take a cheap road trip to Ashland via Crater Lake, etc. The blogs will also provide breaking news, updates on stories we’ve written, stories that never made it into print, and snarky comments on just about any topic. And of course readers can leave their own snarky comments as well.
Air America affilliate KOPT-AM shut down its local programming last week after growing a loyal audience since 2004. It will be missed. News hounds Rick Little, Sarah Ferren and Sean Shoppe were staying on top of local news, and talk show host Brian Shaw was conjuring up some righteous leftie monologues and dialogues. Barbara Nixon, Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant and David Kelly had scheduled shows; and regular voices included Mayor Kitty Piercy, county commissioners, UO and LCC profs, nonprofit leaders, environmental activists and even EW‘s Ted Taylor.
We appreciate the investment Churchill Media (Susanne Arlie and John Musumeci) made in this money-losing adventure, though the programming has always been a puzzle — Musumeci once funded the vicious Gang of 9 and its anonymous campaign to discredit progressives on the City Council. Cynics among us wonder about the timing of this decision. Progressives had a strong and growing voice on KOPT, and several of them, including Piercy, are up for re-election in 2008.
Now what? KOPT is for sale, and maybe someone will pick up the pieces and rehire these talented journalists and hosts. Meanwhile, a void exists and public radio KLCC has a golden opportunity to finally put together the kind of daily live talk show that has worked so well for Ashland’s Jefferson Public Radio (JPR), rebroacast on Eugene’s KRVM. KLCC already has a strong news staff and we think KLCC’s audience and underwriters would support a talk show with a moderate and respectful tone, hosted by someone like Jeff Golden of JPR. Coincidentally, Golden is currently unemployed while he decides whether or not to run for the U.S. Senate. If he decides not to run … Ashland’s loss could be Eugene’s gain.
The fate of Palace Bakery, once a friendly supplier of breads, pastries and other desserts to Café Zenon, Perugino and its loyal customers, will now depend on its new owners, Full City Coffee, and their grand plans. While all of Palace’s former employees were laid off and the bakery will no longer bake bread nor craft specialty desserts and cakes, the name will be retained — though may as well be changed to Full City Bakery. To wit, there is discussion on knocking out the wall separating Full City and Palace to allow for growth of the coffee chain. Café Zenon will now serve desserts from Sweet Life Pâtisserie. The new Palace Bakery will undoubtedly switch from Wandering Goat to Full City brand coffee. While change is inevitable, it is disheartening to see mergers and acquisitions on such a small scale, mostly because of the displaced workers but also because of the fewer options for consumers. Another restaurant will serve Sweet Life desserts, and another place to buy breads and specialty cakes bites the dust. Small business diversity, especially in a city as close-knit as Eugene, is the key to a healthy economy.
McKenzie-Willamette/Triad is working its way through the planning process to build its new medical center north of Eugene, and the next step is approval or denial by the Eugene Planning Commission. The project is on the agenda at 11:30 am Monday, Aug. 13, and it could go either way. But our metro area’s history of urban planning favors developers with big bucks over livability and common sense. Valley River Center, Hynix, and PeaceHealth’s RiverBend are just a few examples of developments that defy sound urban planning. Will we see the same pattern with McKenzie-Willamette’s new hospital? Planners in the past have found ways to sidestep even clear rules and goals by imposing conditions. One big obstacle facing the hospital is the Metro Plan’s requirement that developments be “designed and located in a manner that preserves and enhances desireable features of local and neighborhood areas and promotes their sense of identity.” We and the residents of the area will be watching to see if the Planning Commission can mitigate that one.
One of the topics discussed at last weekend’s West Broadway Advisory Committee workshop was the possibility of a downtown theater, maybe an arthouse run by a chain. We’re excited about the idea of a downtown theater but also concerned that a national chain’s faux-arthouse multiplex could suffocate the Bijou, one of Eugene’s gems. Chain theaters have distribution clout and would likely wind up with the more popular, money-making indie releases (Regal, not the Bijou, showed Sicko). Other options? A downtown Bijou, perhaps? A second-run theater pub, like Portland’s Mission and Bagdad theaters (both run by McMenamin’s), that could also support fun events like weekly Buffy nights? Another two- or three-screen independent arthouse theater would be an interesting option and one that might make for fairer competition. The new Regal theater at Valley River Center should have been built downtown, but it’s too late for that.
This issue might seem small and of import only to film fans, but in truth it’s reflective of the entire downtown debate: Do we bring in newer, bigger, shinier businesses without thought for the damage as well as the good they might do, or do we weigh the impact on the community and then decide what best suits Eugene’s existing life and character? Voice your opinion at the committee’s next public forum, 5 pm Aug. 15 at the Downtown Library.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
JANE AND EVA HAPPY
“When I was a kid, there was a farm at the end of the street until I was 9,” says Jane Happy, who grew up in Salem. “We could go play in the field all day long. I was heartbroken when it was developed.” Now a social worker at Sacred Heart, a resident of Eugene’s Friendly Neighborhood and the mother of 10-year-old Eva, Happy has taken an active role this year in the effort to save Madison Meadow, two acres of remnant meadow and orchard. “I was making fairies for Eva’s birthday party fairy hunt,” she says. “I had an inspiration to make them to benefit the park.” Constructed from artificial flowers, costume jewelry, and other thrift-store materials, the Happy fairies were a hit for $10 each at the Mount Pisgah Wildflower Show. “I’ve been making two every night ever since,” she reports. “Eva makes one or two. We’ve sold a thousand dollars worth at garden tours.” Though the Madison Meadow nonprofit has raised $379,000 since incorporating in 2003, they need another $143,000 by December to save the land from development. Learn more at madisonmeadow.org