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Letters to the Editor 2017-08-10

WE NEED REAL COOLING CENTERS

The recent spate of hot weather is more than something to complain about. For the very young, the very old, the medically fragile, and the poor and unhoused, heat in the 90s and 100s can cause a medical emergency.

The radio stations and the local daily have put out lists of “cooling centers,” but as a friend points out, a serious cooling center must stay open later than 4 or 6 pm, the hottest part of the day. Some churches are open to 8 pm, as are some libraries on certain days, but these are exceptions.

We need a summer plan to keep people cool the way the Egan Warming Centers keep people warm in winter. Let’s encourage our city and county leaders to work together and create a plan to identify buildings that could be open at least to 9 pm until this hot spell breaks.

We could use the old Lane Community College center, the Atrium or a large building on the Lane County Fairgrounds — maybe the ice rink, which would be cool in a couple of ways.

Let’s keep people alive and out of the hospitals.

Vickie Nelson, Eugene

 

UNHOUSED TOWN HALL WITH MAYOR VINIS

On Tuesday, Aug. 1, at 7:30 am at the Alton Baker Park pavilions, Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis met with a group of unhoused people. 

A fair number of housed and unhoused people arrived and exchanged ideas and shared stories of their situations. Some of the unhoused people offered ideas about efforts they would like to see made. Sadly, historically, all too much talk and few honest efforts have been forwarded by the city of Eugene. 

Tangible solutions brought about by the efforts of the broader community and aided by the city will be needed to address the many issues of the unhoused people living in this city.

City government has not made enough effort in reaching out to the broader community with creative answers that work toward developing low-cost, permanent and effective transitional housing. Incentives and city code changes could open wide doors to placing Conestoga huts and tiny houses throughout the broader community and also aid in the development of small converted living spaces within homes, churches and local businesses. 

Finding and utilizing spaces, including yards of private homes, business lots and unused city lots, not only offers a wider selection of potential living spaces for the unhoused but it also works to include many people who can work to find answers for alleged problems associated with the local unhoused.

Opening land space, working to develop micro-housing communities like Square One and utilizing groups like Community Supported Shelters — combined with tax wavers and other incentives for the broader community — are good workable options.

The art and business community could be brought in to aid in creating aesthetic features, hosting fundraisers and for developing programs that help local for-profit and nonprofit businesses.

Many creative ideas can be developed that keep costs down and still have the capacity to grow in effective ways. Please keep in mind that we can talk about all the good things hammers can do, but until those hammers are picked up and put to task, they are just tools with unrealized potential.

Hedin Manus Brugh, Unhoused in Eugene

 

WRONG MESSAGE

I appreciate so much about your Pets issue. Your articles and promotions about rescue organizations and animal issues help create much needed awareness and hopefully can convert into some financial support for the non-profits doing rescue, rehabilitation and responsible adoption work. 

I do have to speak out, however, about the sinking feeling that came over me when I saw your cover of a beautifully shot portrait of a chimpanzee from Chimps Inc. sanctuary with giant word “PETS” across his face. 

As someone who makes a living as a photographer and videographer, I am keenly aware of the impact of images, and I think that juxtaposing a word with a powerful image creates a powerful connection in the brain. 

And as someone who spent seven months in Cameroon working with chimpanzees orphaned by the illegal bushmeat trade, I now have a heightened sensitivity to issues surrounding great apes. 

I try to use my photography and video work to send a clear message about how absolutely wrong it is to keep all primates as pets, and especially highly intelligent great apes like chimpanzees. 

I am sorry that an editorial decision was not made that demonstrated a similar sensitivity when designing your cover. I think it sends the wrong message and does not adequately reflect the good journalism inside.  

Dana Vion, Springfield

 

BEST IN SHOW

350 Eugene was honored to be chosen Best in Show and to receive the Slug Award at the July 29 Eugene Parade, considering all of the competition. This event shows the community’s creativeness and dedication to volunteerism by the variety and number of entrants.

For many curb-sitting parade watchers wondering what 350 means, we would like to share what our organization is about: 350 is the number of parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere scientists say is the safe upper limit. 

The planet is currently at 408 ppm and was at 285 ppm before the Industrial Revolution. The emission of carbon from burning fossil fuels is the main contributor to global rising temperatures, drought, flood and increased intensity of weather events. 

350 Eugene is a local grassroots movement found online at world.350.org that focuses on climate warming solutions, changing political dynamics when possible and demonstrating the benefits of moving to a clean energy through renewable sources.

If you would like to learn more or how you can get involved, visit our website at world.350.org/Eugene. As the Raging Grannies sang Sunday along with Our Children’s Trust youthful plaintiffs, “Get off the couch, get into the street, we must turn down the planet’s heat.”  

Jim Neu, 350 volunteer, Eugene

 

FUZZBUTT FEEDBACK

As a double adoptee husky parent who now lives in Bend, the “Fuzzbutt” (Pets, July 27) article hit close to home. ​​​I adopted a First Avenue Animal Shelter husky a decade ago, and our family also has adopted a Craig​s​list ​​husky ​pupper who is now 6.​ ​

I just wanted to share our happiness of reading about the fuzzbutts and the work those wonderful people are doing to help lil’ lost huskies. We often scour Craigslist ads, too, because they are littered with adds for year-old huskies needing re-homing. They are such a difficult breed that has so much love to give. 

So cheers to those lovely people helping out huskies, and a reminder not to go out buying pups just because they are adorable without understanding the responsibility. 

Maybe Bend can get involved too?

Dana Robles, Bend

 

COMPANY TOWNS

In his column (“It’s The Jobs, Stupid”, July 20), Bob Warren crows about how he was instrumental in bringing “two responsible companies” (Entek and Lowes) to Lebanon. 

Turns out Entek uses a cancer-causing solvent (trichloroethylene). When the Department of Environment Quality began investigating risk to residents, local pols began to pressure the state to back off, and it has (The Oregonian, Jul 22). 

Here’s a quote from the article: “State lawmakers who represent the area around Entek berated the department during hearings in Salem; one pledged to never fund its budget again.” 

So when it comes to public health, employers rule, responsibility be damned. So when Warren says he’s bringing “the kind of jobs that support and enrich families and communities,” what he really means is ignore what the companies do, as long as there’s a paycheck in it for you. 

They used to call those type of communities “company towns.” I guess they still do, but please don’t BS us with how “responsible” these employers are.

Steve Jenson, Eugene