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Letters to the Editor 9-22-2016

PARKS AND WRECK

Thanks for your article on parks, but there is much more to this story. The history of Scobert Park in the heart of the Whiteaker illustrates a severe disconnect at the city. 

Scobert Park is tainted by bad juju, and is a perfect case study of mismanagement and long-term malfeasance by the city of Eugene. 

The city forcibly took this property from Dale Scobert in 1979. He received one-quarter of the land’s value because in the two years prior to the city taking the land for the park, the city down-zoned it from R-3 to R-1, thereby reducing it to one quarter of its value. The court documents show a heated argument that went on for years. 

In the words of Jack Billings, Scobert’s attorney, “… the city has now tried unsuccessfully for the third time to take the Defendants’ property. Clouding title to their property for over two years should be sufficient harassment and incompetence to warrant a non-suit with prejudice.”

 Although Scobert and his lawyer petitioned the court several times and succeeded in halting condemnation proceedings, the city took the property by emergency ordinance #18443 on July 23, 1979. 

Unable to win in court, the city took the extraordinary measure of changing city code to justify the condemnation of the property in order to take it. Rather than develop this park itself, the parks department turned it over to neighborhood landscapers who created a gorgeous pocket park. Scobert quickly became a crime magnet and a hangout for transients attracted to Eugene by the Mission, which is a 400-bed facility three blocks away that actually feeds up to 700 per day. 

Three hundred extra people wandering around Whiteaker, some of them stomping Scobert Park, caused Public Works to scrape the ground in the fenced-off portion of the park last month because of the intense pressure of homeless transients there. The park is now destroyed.

 This is a picture of a manufactured social disaster for the Whiteaker, and should be evidence enough that locating every sanctioned and unsanctioned homeless encampment and social service either in or on the periphery of the Whiteaker is clearly abusive and may ultimately result in a federal lawsuit. That wouldn’t be a good use of public money, but since the city is in the habit of throwing money at those who bitch about being treated unfairly, how is this different?

Den Ramsey, Eugene


TRANSIT PLANNING

I don’t know much about MUPTEs, but there were a couple of ideas in Bonnie Bettman McCornack’s opinion piece that caught my attention.

She said that if Eugene is serious about the transit corridors, we should look at expanded density along West 11th. My observation is that between 11th and 18th, there is an extraordinary number of apartment complexes from City View westward … now extending to Bertlesen with new projects..

If she is right that LTD’s EMX extension on West 11th is part of a big plan to keep all apartment dwellers (read: working class and low income) away from South Eugene, that explains a lot. Robert Moses was a leader in using public transportation and infrastructure to keep African Americans away from the lovely amenities enjoyed by the white communities surrounding NYC. To follow this lead even further, may I suggest that you continue to make Willamette Street impractical for expanded bus service?

I prefer a town that has a mix of densities and demographics throughout. Planning can help accomplish that. Some planning letters I do know — NIMBY, rarely help accomplish that.

Hilary Anthony, Eugene


IMPROVE LCC

Remember when Lane Community College was one of the best community colleges in the country, offering an impressive menu of courses and programs to meet students’ needs and desires?

In case you’ve wondered lately, it’s no longer that way. Full programs have been cut and remaining programs and departments are skeletal. For example, the English Department has just cut British Literature, World Literature, Chicano/a Lit, Native American Lit and others. 

Once, not too long ago, LCC claimed to put “students first” and made diversity a core value. But something else turned out to be more important, so those claims are now meaningless.

It’s money, of course. They say they can’t afford to offer classes that don’t fill. Interest in the humanities is waning in American society; the Trump phenomenon illustrates that. But LCC could choose to lead in a positive direction, instead of following the downward path.

Solutions: 1. Vote for legislators who value broad-based, thought-provoking humanities education. 2. In the posting for the new president, offer $150,000 instead of $300,000, and use the savings to keep programs and classes. (Some say they must offer the moon to get the best candidates, but imagine offering less and finding candidates who care more about serving students than making lots of money!) 3. Cut administrators’ salaries by 4 percent (they’re bloated) and full-time teachers’ salaries by 1 percent (I’m willing). 4. Serious community support in the form of bond measures for teaching, not just buildings that end up half-empty. 5. Support Obama’s dream of making community college free.

Sure, it takes money to regain the quality we once had? Or even maintain current standards. But it takes vision, courage, genuine commitment to the spoken values, and perhaps some sacrifice, to really make it happen.

Jeff Harrison, Teacher of English at Lane


WRITE IN

In my 67 years on the planet, our two presidential choices are the worst I can remember. That the Weekly, Pete Sorenson, etc., say we have to vote for Clinton is B.S.

Vote/write in someone you feel has the values to be president. Anything else is a sellout.

On the “Best of Eugene” voting, I support “Best Local Musician” to be Eagle Park Slim.

Don French, Eugene


WALK FOR ALZHEIMER’S

Please join me for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at 2 pm Sunday, Oct. 9, at Alton Baker Park, 100 Day Island Road, Eugene. Registration is at noon.

Every 66 seconds, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the nation’s sixth leading cause of death. Oregon’s 1,312 deaths attributed to Alzheimer’s in 2013 was the 10th highest mortality rate from this devastating disease, the only one among the top 10 killers without a cure or way to slow its progress.

In 2016, more than five million Americans live with Alzheimer’s. That could grow to 16 million by 2050. In Oregon, 62,000 residents, 65 and older, have Alzheimer’s; by 2025, that number likely will climb to 84,000. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.

Every dollar raised directly benefits individuals locally. Each year, the Oregon Chapter provides free education programs, support groups, a 24/7 Helpline, and website. Your dollars also help drive critical research toward treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure.

To participate, visit the Walk to End Alzheimer’s website at tinyurl.com/EugeneWalk.

For information about Alzheimer’s, call 800-272-3900. 

The end of Alzheimer’s starts here and now — with each of us.

John R. Crosiar, Alzheimer’s Association Oregon Chapter, Springfield


OPTING OUT

Upton Sinclair wrote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”  So it is with most of the U.S. middle class, conservative or liberal. Their privileged lifestyle depends on not getting what they’ve done to working-class people.

Both the Sanders and Trump campaigns have been, like Occupy, working-class revolts against an economy set up to keep us down. Sanders lost and Trump is a repulsive conman, but we have no good reason to vote for Clinton, a corporate-friendly warmonger who offers only more of the same.

We are being exploited by the rich and middle class, but we don’t have to participate in our own hanging. Eventually the U.S. political system will hit a wall and explode. Until then, we should refuse to play.

Lynn Porter, Eugene


A DRESSING DOWN

I just do not understand why local newspapers keep providing "Jahadi Jack Dresser" a platform so he can keep spewing his disinformation and hateful propaganda against this country and Western countries in general.

For years, Dresser has praised despots, tyrants and Middle Eastern terrorists. His latest praise has been heaped on Bashar al-Assad, the president/dictator of Syria who has been killing his own people in a long running civil war. Assad is responsible for the deaths of half a million of his own citizens. As of last week, Assad has been using chemical weapons (chlorine gas) on his people. The millions of Syrians who have been "lucky" enough to flee this genocide are living in squalid refugee camps in Turkey and are trying to enter European countries that don’t want them.

As a person who hates this country so much, I doubt that Dresser would be willing to trade places with the people who are fleeing Syria for their lives or the people that live under the militant group Hesbollah who kill those who speak out against them. These people do not have the privilege of free speech, the umbrella Dresser uses to spread his poison.

As a EW reader, I am repulsed by Dresser’s letters. Millions of servicemen and women have served this country to preserve the 1st Amendment. What a shame it is being abused in this way.

Please, EW, stop giving people like Dresser a platform. 

Arlen Markus, Dexter


VOTE 97

I’ve been a teacher in the Eugene area for the last 11 years. Over the years, I’ve seen that as students’ needs get greater and greater, the funding to meet those needs sadly keeps going down.

In addition to some of the largest class sizes and shortest school years in the nation, basic day-to-day supports are also disappearing from schools. There are so few counselors and school nurses that I have nowhere to send my students when they need emotional help that is beyond my training.  If there were more behavioral health specialists in the schools, many kids would have an opportunity to address these problems head on, instead of having them spiral out of control, often for years to come.

Measure 97 would make significant strides in investing in public education, just by ensuring that companies that do over $25 million in Oregon sales pay their fair share in taxes. This would generate an estimated $3 billion per year in funding towards education, senior services and health care.

Measure 97 is a wise investment, not only for education, but for making sure the next generations of Oregonians are self-sufficient and ready to contribute to society in a meaningful way.

Mark Thornton, Eugene


LOVE THE BEATLES

Eight Days a Week promises to be a Beatles’ tribute — mission accomplished! I’m a Baby Boomer (born in 1948, in the Dark Ages) and was 16 when the Beatles came to America. So, I can really appreciate seeing them and hearing their music again!

Although the Beatles are unknown to many young people today, their sounds may be unfamiliar. But, for many of us, their anticipated excitement and screaming fans speaks of a bygone era today. Many music groups have had only one or two hit songs — the Beatles are credited with having every music album a hit!

Until then, “She Loves You” — yeah, yeah, yeah!

Stace Webb, Eugene