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EW! A Blog.

July 23, 2015 01:29 PM

Portlandia takes on a serious medical condition normally associated with aging, but also affects even some young adults you might know.

July 21, 2015 12:38 PM

OK, all you lovers of wild things, here's an opportunity to show some creativity. Check out this Oregon Zoo video.

July 17, 2015 11:38 AM

Army vet and local UO student Shawn McMurtrey is carrying on a project he started as a student in an environmenatl justice class at UO taught by Shane Hall. He's gathering signatures for a petition to stop the attempt by Nestle to buy water rights at Cascade Locks on the Columbia River Gorge watershed. Click on the map to link to the petition.

July 16, 2015 01:22 PM

Sen. Jeff Merkley introduced legislation today that is bound to meet resistance on Capitol Hill. Here's the complete press release from the Merkley office:

Merkley Announces Bill to Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley announced the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act of 2015, a major piece of legislation to stop offshore Arctic drilling. The legislation would prevent any new or renewed leases for the exploration, development, or production of oil, natural gas, or any other mineral in the Arctic planning area.
 
"A spill in the Arctic would be an environmental catastrophe of extraordinary proportions – and such a spill is inevitable if drilling proceeds," said Merkley. "The ecosystem in the Arctic is too fragile and the ability to respond to a spill in this region is nonexistent. Drilling in the Arctic Ocean is the height of irresponsibility. We need to put it off limits, permanently."
 
The Department of Interior estimates that there is a 75 percent chance of a large oil spill exceeding 42,000 gallons of oil should drilling leases in the Arctic be developed. To date, there has not been a successful oil and gas operation in the Arctic Ocean. The Arctic region is home to one of the world’s most delicate ecosystems, extreme and treacherous conditions, and severely limited capacity to respond to an oil spill or accident.
 
In 2010, when BP’s Deepwater Horizon exploded and began to sink, the nearest Coast Guard station was approximately 132 air miles away in New Orleans. In contrast, current proposals by Shell Oil Company to drill in the Chukchi Sea are over 900 air miles from the nearest Coast Guard station in Kodiak and over 1,200 miles from the nearest deep-water port in Dutch Harbor. The Gulf has one of the most comprehensive search and rescue infrastructures in North America, yet Deepwater Horizon dumped an estimated 4.9 million barrels (210 million gallons) of oil into the Gulf over 87 days.
 
The Arctic is home to endangered species such as bowhead whales, polar bears, and ringed seals, as well as invaluable and fragile ecosystems that are critical to fisheries, migratory birds, indigenous populations and subsistence hunters. Opening development on a new fossil fuel reservoir in the Arctic not only puts the natural resources, ecosystems, and the dependent communities at risk, it also contradicts the President’s Climate Action Plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions and reduce climate change.
 
In June, Senator Merkley led a group of Senators in authoring a letter to President Obama urging the Administration to rescind Shell Oil Company’s conditional Exploration Permit in the Chukchi Sea. Senator Merkley wrote that new lease sales in the Chukchi Sea and Arctic Ocean are an unnecessary risk that threatens local communities, fragile ecosystems, and efforts at climate change mitigation.
 
The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN).
 

July 16, 2015 02:43 PM

Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood responds to a misinformation campaign by critics that is being echoed by lawmakers.

July 16, 2015 03:35 PM

Just in this afternoon from Womenspace ...

"In light of the recent tragic losses our community has had to endure, Womenspace will be holding a silent vigil to honor those who were taken from us too soon by their intimate partner. We will be meeting at the Springfield City Library to honor those lost and support anyone affected by intimate partner violence."

The vigil will be at 5 pm Friday, July 17, and ths Springfield Library is a 225 N. 5th Sreet.

"The mission of Womenspace is to prevent domestic violence in intimate partner relationships in Lane County and support survivors in claiming personal power," reads the email to supporters.

"Womenspace is the primary provider of domestic violence services in Lane County. For almost 40 years, the agency has helped IPV survivors reach their goals of safety and self-sufficiency. Womenspace provides survivors with crisis intervention, safety planning, peer counseling, advocacy, education, resource referrals, and satellite offices serve rural communities. Their Crisis Line is available 24/7 at 485-6513 or (800) 281-2800."

For more information please contact Teresa Aslin, assistant executive director, at 485-8232.

July 9, 2015 04:13 PM

This just in from EWEB:

Low water forces shutdown of Trail Bridge turbine
 
With the McKenzie River at or below historic low flows for early July, the Eugene Water & Electric Board on Friday will shut down its Trail Bridge hydroelectric generation turbine, and anticipates it may have to further curtail generation at its Walterville and Leaburg facilities later this summer.
 
The generation turbines at EWEB’s McKenzie River projects require a minimum flow of water to operate properly. When water volume decreases below a minimum threshold, running the power generation equipment risks damaging the turbine units.
 
“While it is unusual to take the units offline, it isn’t unprecedented,” said Generation Manager Mike McCann.
 
“We have had to do this before at each of the projects, just never this early,” McCann said. “We are not alone as there are other utilities in the Northwest experiencing the same conditions.”
 
The Trail Bridge turbine is part of EWEB’s Carmen-Smith Hydroelectric Project, located about 70 miles east of Eugene. The Trail Bridge powerhouse, located below Trail Bridge dam and reservoir, can generate up to 5 megawatts of electricity, or roughly equal to about 2 percent of Eugene’s average daily consumption of electricity.
 
McCann said he expects the utility will shut down the Walterville turbine later this month due to the low water levels. The Leaburg facility will continue running one of its two turbines until late July or early August, depending on river flows. EWEB will be able to run its largest hydroelectric generation facility, the Carmen plant, in a “peaking” mode to produce power during the typical daily high-demand hours.
 
Despite the curtailment of McKenzie generation, EWEB will have adequate supplies of power through the summer. The Bonneville Power Administration, which markets power from a network of 29 hydroelectric dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers, supplies EWEB with the majority of the energy consumed by Eugene residents.
 
As a result of the low river flow conditions, the public may notice that reservoir and canal levels are lower than normal. This is a temporary condition and operating levels will rise again when river flows increase. The utility will use the downtime to accelerate its preventative maintenance.
 
EWEB will keep a minimum amount of water in its Leaburg and Walterville power canals to mitigate drying of the canal embankment soils due to warm weather. Excessive drying could damage the embankment soils and increase dam safety risks when the canals resume operation at normal flow levels.
 
“Once it starts raining, and it will, EWEB will begin generating again,” McCann said. “We don’t expect any long-term negative effects to our infrastructure due to the low water conditions.”

July 2, 2015 03:38 PM

A tribute video to longtime LCC Board member Bob Ackerman.

July 2, 2015 11:56 AM

Check out this cool (literally) creation that uses a cheap fan, a piece of plumbing, a styrofoam cooler and a block of ice.

June 30, 2015 05:41 PM

Mayor Kitty Piercy has called for an emergency meeting of the Eugene City Council to discuss a fireworks ban over the holiday weekend in light of fire danger in the area. The mayor’s ability to call such a meeting is pursuant to ORS 192.640.

Here is the statment from the mayor's office today:

"In response to community concerns about fire dangers associated with severe drought conditions, Council will hold a special meeting and public hearing on Wednesday, July 1 at noon in Harris Hall to consider ordinance changes that would prohibit fireworks of any kind to be deployed between the date of Council action and July 6, 2015.

"Currently, legal fireworks are only allowed in Eugene on December 31, January 1, and from June 23 to July 6 each year. The prohibition of fireworks during the rest of the year would remain in effect. These dates were established in an ordinance passed by Council last year. Since that time the Eugene Police and the Eugene/Springfield Fire Department have ramped up education and outreach so that Eugene residents are informed of regulations and have information on how to safely discharge fireworks. Fireworks shows that require a permit, professional inspection, and fire crew onsite would not be affected."
 
A copy of the ordinance is available on the City’s website www.eugene-or.gov.

June 24, 2015 03:00 PM

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley released the following statement today after the U.S. Senate passed “fast track” trade legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other future trade deals:

When crafting a new trade structure, our national objective should be raising wages and living standards for middle-class Americans. Past trade deals have consistently failed to live up to their promises and made it harder for working Americans to get ahead. Unfortunately, the fast track bill passed by the Senate today does not change that fundamental structure – a structure which has led so many past trade deals to create job losses and falling wages for working Americans.

Many Americans understand that competing for jobs with workers earning rock-bottom wages in other countries hurts them and hurts our economy. That’s why I pressed to use this opportunity to make sure that future agreements truly have meaningful, rising labor and environmental standards, and that they’re able to be enforced. Despite the hard work of many on both sides of this debate, this trade framework ultimately does not achieve enforceable standards on critical issues like minimum wages, currency manipulation, environmental standards, and labor standards. Thus, while some industries may benefit from this framework, new trade deals under this structure will hurt American workers. That’s why I voted ‘no’ on fast track today.

June 23, 2015 02:16 PM

Fox News is all huffy this week over a "Coaching for Educational Equity" conference in Oregon, calling it a waste of taxpayer money that labels "white privilege as oppressive." The confab runs next week in Cottage Grove and the local Tea Party wingnuts are expected to show up carrying protest signs. All the conference really does is address issues of race and equity at an institutional and personal perspective.
http://wkly.ws/21e

June 18, 2015 04:42 PM

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has a new series of videos intended to encourage recreational fishing in Oregon. Fishing license sales have been dropping over the years, which has reduced revenue for ODFW.

June 16, 2015 03:11 PM

Local physician Pamela Wible, M.D., has a fun new video encouraging medical doctors to create better clinics.