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Letters to the Editor: 10-3-2013

A RECLAIMED MEADOW

Like the “wild” sweet pea and fennel, I am a transplant to this area. While I am not a true old-timer, I have been a resident of Oakleigh and McClure Lanes for the last 24 years. Everyday my 80-year-old mother-in-law and I walk my young daughter along Oakleigh Lane to and from our neighborhood school.

When my husband, David, and I, along with our then 4-year-old (and her toys), outgrew our little house on Oakleigh, we moved one block south on McClure to a house adjacent to a large blackberry-covered lot. It was clear the vacant field would likely be built upon at some point. My husband is a teacher and I am a gardener, so it took some committed efforts to purchase the open land next to our new house. It was and remains our intent to guide its development as a community-minded place.

I have spent much of my free time in the last 24 years in meetings and work parties, caring for the public open space along the river I love. I have been deeply involved in both the planning and planting of Rasor Park. Daily garbage pickup is part of our routine. As a family, we have joined the effort of rejuvenating the once abandoned hazelnut orchard at the end of McClure Lane into a productive and safe place. 

Up until a few years ago, in order to get to the bike path and the river, we had to walk out to River Road and around to either East Hilliard or McClure Lane. Accessing the river from the east end of Oakleigh meant a careful navigation though a formidable acre of blackberries hiding barbed wire, “No Trespassing” signs and tent campers.

Over the past few years, after a massive clean up, we welcomed neighbors to enjoy the now reclaimed meadow and help keep it safe and free. I am afraid that our desire to share the space as generously as possible may have created some confusion.

As we explored the many options, the idea that emerged and sparked so much interest was cohousing, a community development which offers shared meals and tools, watchful eyes on children and elders and housing planned by its residents to provide both privacy and opportunities for friendly interactions. Cohousing is about addressing the community needs of people, rather than simply building structures to be filled with strangers.

Knowing and greeting my neighbors as we meet is a great pleasure to me and I am truly happy, even with some being critical of our plans, that neighbors on Oakleigh Lane enjoy the community we share. It is my firm belief that they will continue to do so as Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing integrates into and further enhances our neighborhood.

Joan Connolly, Eugene

 

PRECIOUS HABITAT 

In the 21st century, we will have to learn to cherish all creatures in the commonwealth of sentient beings if we are going to preserve our fragile environment. — Sam Keen

I’m all in favor of cohousing in the Eugene area, but the Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing project will actually do more damage and long-term destruction to the area. I don’t see this project as being environmentally beneficial to the area or to the people who live there. Developments (of any kind) that destroy the essence of having a greenway space for all beings and living things to enjoy are not appropriate for the area. 

I urge Becky Taylor, Eugene city planners and whomever else involved with the Oakleigh Meadows Cohousing permit process, to not allow this to happen to our precious habitat. 

Planet Glassberg, Eugene 

 

BLACKING OUT

The sadly simple reason that there is so much redaction in the Liane Richardson investigation can be found in Commissioners Faye Stewart, Pat Farr and Pete Sorenson’s admission that, in the latest budget, the line item allowing her (Richardson) to siphon money came as a surprise to them. (“What? Read before approval? Are you daft, taxpayer?” All of that redacted blackness merely masks more evidence of their moral turpitude and incompetence.

And we thought cleaning up poop in the flowerpots was costly.

David Perham, Eugene

 

POOR SERVICE

There is some new life happening downtown on Broadway! It is quite a wonderful mix and variety! There is the new Bijou cinemas, the tea house next to it, Party Downtown, the Red Wagon Creamery, not to mention a few other random, rather “hip” new restaurants — some of which have already received the Best of Eugene award? Unfortunately, that award seems to have gone to their heads — due to their inability to serve and treat guests well and equally from their hearts. 

Since “sustainability” seems to be the premise of their approach to food and how it is brought to your plate, one would think that the service from personnel would transcend to their communication and interest in their customers. Unfortunately, due to the classist, subtle discriminatory treatment they parlay out to a few of their customers with a “you-are-not-as-cool-as-us” attitude, I am left wondering: mmmmm, how long will they sustain their business? 

Looking for equality in service.

David Wilson, Eugene

 

THE END IS NEAR

The street repairs are showing signs of completion but my favorite sign is the “BE PREPARED TO STOP” one; seems like a good idea. They should leave them up. Thanks for the new smooth ride.

Vince Loving, Eugene

 

RIGHT FOR EUGENE

As a longtime reader and supporter of EW, it was with great dismay that I read the Viewpoint [9/19] “Goodbye Greenway?” This is perhaps the most misinformed, misleading Viewpoint article I have yet read in EW. For a publication that purports to support green and community-oriented projects and activities, the publication of this represents either poor judgment, lazy editorial practices or a deliberate attempt to stir up controversy.

Had the editorial staff bothered to do even a bit of fact checking prior to publishing this article — that is, basic journalism — they would have discovered that Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing (OMC) is a smart, green, community-based infill housing project that represents the sort of housing project that the residents of Eugene have championed in the past, are supporting now and say they want in the future. They would have discovered that the Willamette River Greenway is not, never was and will not be under threat by this project.

OMC will consist of privately owned homes plus extensive common areas. It is co-designed by its residents who have chosen to live in a close-knit neighborhood that features a healthy blend of privacy and community. It is not a Trojan horse condo project that “out-of-town developers” will use to set a “chilling precedent” that “threatens our city’s space, views and plants” to “open the door” for “further development of privately owned land in the Willamette Greenway.”

Are you kidding me?

OMC addresses affordability by enabling residents to significantly downsize their homes due to the extensive common facilities available to them. Cohousing is inherently more sustainable than traditional single-family housing options, lowers each family’s footprint and enables and encourages sharing and cooperative behavior. Preservation of existing green spaces, food gardens, construction practices that exceed LEED standards, shared vehicles and other amenities ensure that this project is green today and will be for the long term.

Cohousing is right for Eugene. 

 Mike van Mantgem, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: EW tries to avoid running information that is inaccurate not only in the articles we write but also in the letters and viewpoints we run. That said we recognize, and hope our readers do too, that an opposing viewpoint might be frustrating but that doesn’t make it factually wrong. 

 

BLIND SPOT

I was headed to the bank earlier this afternoon [Friday, 9/27] and I watched a silver Subaru Legacy nearly kill a bicyclist on Pearl and 11th Alley. If that bicyclist hadn’t been aware that this driver would probably not check her blind spot before making a sharp left turn she would have been kaput. Very scary. Alas the bicyclist was not hit. 

The driver then headed to the Bank of America parking lot where she sat in her car for almost five minutes. She could have checked her blind spot 250 times during the time she checked her Facebook, pinned something, got her bank deposit together, finished listening to her favorite song or whatever else it was that she was in such a hurry to do.

Since I was headed to the same place as her I waited for her to get out of her car to let her know “Hey! You almost killed a bicyclist!” She responded “Really? They should probably watch out.” And then she walked away. 

I am very glad that the lady on the bike had the reflexes and good enough brakes to stop that quickly in the rain. I am very disappointed that the driver of this car doesn’t really care that she almost ended someone’s life. Her silver Legacy has a green sparkly Oregon “O” on the back window. If you are riding a bike behind her, give her some extra space since she clearly doesn’t value your life. 

Stacy Jo Armstrong, Eugene

 

GREENWAY CLARIFIED

In the Sept. 26 letters, Martin Henner misinterprets Bovilsky’s viewpoint, “Goodbye Greenway.” As typical when suggestions are made using handpicked lines from text, his assumptions only act to minimize the point. The developers, Oakleigh Meadow Co-Housing (OMC), propose a 28-plus unit condo development on private land that is within the boundaries of the Willamette River Greenway. 

The issue is not about public vs. private land use or her neighbors’ views of the river being affected (views of the river do not currently exist from Bovilsky’s house or anywhere else on Oakleigh Lane). The issue is clearly whether a development of this size, and others that would likely follow precedent, should be built within and along the Willamette River Greenway. The Willamette Greenway was established to “protect and preserve the natural, scenic, and recreational qualities along the Willamette River.” Bovilsky calls on the greater community who uses and values this legacy to consider whether large housing developments fit within the original intent for land use management of this natural legacy. 

There is still time to voice your opposition to the hearings official. Please contact Becky Taylor of the Eugene Planning Department at becky.g.taylor@ci.eugene.or.us before Oct. 9.  

Rich Dambrov, Oakleigh Lane resident, Eugene

 

MORE RAT BASTARDS

In the Slant piece [9/26], EW slams unnamed “rat bastards in Congress” for wanting to “whack” the SNAP program. The obvious insinuation is that such action would “whack” the poor. That’s probably true.

But what about the “rat bastards” on the other side of the congressional aisle who voted for Senate Bill 744, about which even liberal columnist Eugene Robinson acknowledges, “of course it’s amnesty”?

SB 744 would allow millions more foreign workers into the U.S. It would effectively legalize work for the eight million to 10 million illegal immigrants already here. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says it would raise unemployment and reduce wages well into the future.

How’s that going to help America’s poor who have to compete with low-cost foreign labor for jobs? Both Oregon senators thought this was a swell idea. I think it’s a travesty. Corporate America loves it — but I hope the rat bastards to whom EW refers will be able to whack it.

Jerry Ritter, Springfield

 

MUTUAL RESPECT

I agree that all people of Eugene should have the right to live houseless as a lifestyle and the homeless should be respected and acknowledged. I would like to see an equal understanding and respect towards my family and myself. 

We are not a family of means. We are not even close to middle class but we work hard, volunteer, donate and teach our children that even though there are “things” they “just have to have,” there are plenty who have far less so be appreciative of what we do have. 

I am tired of hearing “Come on lady, you can afford a buck. Look at you!” and several similar statements within a few blocks. If I have anything to spare, I’ll totally buy you a burrito or give you my change, just don’t be rude, friend! I’m tired of reading how I am expected to provide for others when we barely provide for our own and without outside help. 

I’m tired of explaining to my children why we need to cross the street to avoid a belligerent person trying to engage us with negativity. I am tired of being forced to leave an area on a family walk to avoid yet another needle. Agreed these examples do not apply to everyone. 

Nobody bitches about the good, right? Still the problems remain and seem to grow on the not-so-good side of the coin. Please clean up after yourselves. Please clean up after those who choose not to. Please find a way to be productive and earn your keep in this beautifully diverse city. 

I acknowledge you, I respect you and I feel you as a human being. Won’t you do the same?

JeanMarie Indell, Eugene

 

GREED AND INSANITY

Legislators from Oregon with ties to the timber industry are very short-sighted and narrow-minded, looking only at “board feet” concerning our forests. The DeFazio O&C bill to clearcut 1.6 million acres of federal public forests in Oregon is an outrage. We must change our strategies for jobs and revenue or we will have much bigger issues to deal with such as loss of biodiversity, food and water shortages within the next 30 years.

Reps. Val Hoyle, John Lively and Caddy McKeown have the same “clearcut the forest” business-as-usual attitude, which contributes to climate change, species extinction and accumulating toxins in our air, water and soils. Our state economy relies on tourism and fishing as well as logging and this clearcut bill would hurt those industries. There are 20 to 30 years of work thinning our public forests with many more jobs than clearcut logging. The timber harvest tax is shamefully low; let’s increase that for the struggling county budgets. 

We have some of the best forests in the world for carbon sequestration here in western Oregon and should promote getting paid for carbon offsets, a win-win which would also help restore health to our forests. Diverse age and species of trees fare far better in forest fires than the tree plantations we have on private forestland. There are alternative options that will require intelligence, wisdom and no political favors to the logging industry in order to restore our forests and a healthy future for generations to come. The insanity and greed must stop.

Donald Alexander, Dexter

 

SELECTIVE CONCERN

You certainly have to admit our Lane County commissioners can be full of surprises. In the recent flap over the Kaleidoscope Music Festival, I was quite surprised to read that Commissioner Faye Stewart thought very loud music and vehicle traffic inflicted on Seavey Loop residents was down right “unneighborly,” and that Lane County should be more concerned for its residents’ comfort and quality of life. 

This from the same Faye Stewart who had no problem with his friends Greg Demers and the McDougal brothers cleacutting Parvin Butte, claiming it was forest land, and when clearcut, claiming it was mining land. Unfortunately, mining land required a 200 foot vegetation buffer to protect all those neighbors whose property adjoined the site. So, somehow Mr. Demers and the Mc Dougals’ company were allowed to plant seedlings on the fence lines which might become a “neighborly” buffer in several decades if those seedlings survive the dust from blasting and truck traffic as Parvin Butte is demolished. 

I guess blasting, heavy equipment, gravel truck traffic and the complete destruction of the comfort and quality of life of the neighbors near Parvin Butte isn’t “unneighborly” in Stewart’s view; it’s just business. 

On another curious note, Liane Richardson was appointed by Commissioners Jay Bozievich, Stewart and Sid Leiken and wouldn’t speak to Commissioners Rob Handy and Pete Sorenson. I guess it kind of narrows down which two commissioners told her to try the pay enhancement scheme which got her dismissed.

Hal Huestis, Eugene

 

REJECT GMO BILL

The special session of the Legislature is considering a “package” of bills supposedly focused on tax and pension reform, but one of them would pre-empt any local regulations related to food, plants and seed, taking away local control even as it does nothing to clarify or create statewide policies. 

Oregon ranks fifth in the nation for its number of organic farms, with annual sales in excess of $200 million. The genetically engineered (GE) wheat scare in Eastern Oregon shows that family farmers need protection. GE contamination can impact both organic and conventional farmers. Oregon’s farmers face heavy economic losses when their products are rejected by consumers and major markets due to the threat of GE contamination.

ODA has banned genetically engineered bentgrass in the Willamette Valley and established isolation distances and management protocols in Jefferson County, but it has not acted against other GE contamination risks, nor addressed GE food labeling issues.

The Legislature and the governor should reject LC 5/SB 633, which embodies the preemption of local regulation. It is critically important to protect the integrity of the organic farming industry and community and the people's right to know what they are buying and eating. Consumers have the right to know whether their food is genetically modified and to reject GMO foods, and if the state won't provide that right — as it has not — then localities should be free to do so. 

Robert Roth, Eugene