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Walking through downtown last week was like trying to breathe underwater. The heavy smoke stung the eyes and turned even a casual stroll into intense exercise for the lungs. The streets were quiet — most citizens were hiding indoors to stay away from the polluted air.

When Miya Longsworth ran away from a dangerous foster situation in California at only 16 years old, she ended up on the streets of Eugene. She did her best to manage high school while couch surfing, but spent her junior year burdened by homelessness. 

At that same time, September of 2015, Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz was working with community members to rethink how the city was handling the issue of youth homelessness. “We decided to focus on generating a movement and a new expectation for our community,” Ruiz says, “rather than just creating another organization on the landscape of the problem.”

• Waylon Mobley, 541-954-4541, plans to hire Oregon Forest Management Services, 541-520-5941, to spray 57.3 acres near Doak Creek with Accord XRT II, Oust Extra, Polaris SP, Roundup Pro Concentrate and/or MSO Concentrate. See ODF notification 2017-781-11324, call Brian Peterson at 541-935-2283 with questions.

• The Civil Liberties Defense Center is hosting a free Resisting ICE: Immigrant Rights for Allies training 6 to 8 pm Monday Sept. 18 at the Wesley Center, 2520 Harris Street, Eugene. The CLDC says, “In light of Trump rescinding DACA and the safety of our undocumented neighbors getting more compromised each week, our community needs to come together and act. Join us for a Know Your Rights training specifically for allies who want to be help protect and support the immigrant community!

Gov. Kate Brown and several local lawmakers gathered Aug. 29 in Eugene’s Alton Baker Park to address a crowd about the passage of the transportation package — House Bill 2017. It’s the first time in the state’s history that funding will be dedicated to statewide public transportation; one aspect of the bill focuses on electric cars.

Representatives from Nightingale Health Sanctuary met Aug. 29 with the Southeast Neighbors Board to discuss turning the one car camp in South Eugene into a full-functioning rest stop to provide shelter for the homeless.

A descendant of Eugene Skinner — the founder of the city of Eugene — is seeking to prevent the proposed land swap for a new Eugene City Hall and Lane County courthouse, on the grounds that such a trade would violate the legal requirements placed on the land when it was donated to the county.

• Belly Restaurant and Belly Taqueria once had the same owners, Brendan and Ann Marie Mahaney, but Belly Restaurant was sold to Diana and Steve Lee in 2015. Now the announcement of the taqueria’s closing (see our story Aug. 24) has caused some confusion for the popular downtown restaurant, which has no plans to close. Belly Restaurant at 30 E. Broadway is still very much in business. The taqueria at 454 Willamette Street will become a New Orleans-inspired restaurant called the Black Wolf Supper Club.

• There will be an interfaith prayer service with the theme “Seeing Light in Darkness,” 6:45 pm, Monday, Sept. 11 at the First Christian Church (1160 Oak Street in downtown Eugene). The gathering will “celebrate the oneness in our diversity through prayers, chants, readings from sacred texts and many other forms that come from the teachings and traditions of our participating presenters.” Those presenters include people of Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Jewish faiths, as well as an African-American storyteller, a Buddhist and the former mayor.

Although racist, xenophobic and gender-motivated incidents are not new in Eugene, these acts of aggression have more than doubled over those reported during the same period in 2016, according to data from the city’s Office of Equity and Human Rights. 

The city of Eugene is aiming to complete construction for a park and other riverfront redevelopment by 2021. The future park is part of the city’s Riverfront Urban Renewal District, which includes 16 acres of riverfront property sold by the Eugene Water and Electric Board to the city for $5.75 million in 2016.

Starting in the early ’90s, Gary Hale and his wife, Jan Wroncy, who died in 2016, tracked herbicide sprays in Lane County. Concerns about herbicides travelling via waterways or drifting onto their property led the family to research potential spray sites and subscribe to a mail-in, pay-for-information system run by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).

Campbell Global, 541-809-0093, plans to hire A&H Forestry, 503-467-1255, to spray roadsides near Finn Rock with glyphosate, triclopyr with ester, triclopyr with amine, MSO Concentrate and/or No Foam. See ODF notification 2017-771-10809, call Brian Dally at 541-726-3588 with questions.

Compiled by Gary Hale, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, forestlanddwellers.org

Green Lane Sustainable Business Network is holding its monthly luncheon Wednesday, Sept. 6, 11:30 am to 1 pm at the First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street. The topic is the benefits of electric vehicles for your business. Vegetarian lunch is optional, $12 per person for lunch, $5 per person if not eating. More info at greenlane-sbn.org.

Longtime co-owners of Eugene favorites Belly and Belly Taqueria, Brendan and Ann Marie Mahaney plan to move to Portland in early 2018 to ponder new avenues and do a little more yoga. 

At 9 am on Aug. 21, Salem’s downtown streets were sparsely populated with cars and people. As the moon slowly began to cover the sun, people who were stopped in parking lots and sitting on sidewalks gazed toward the sky. 

Firefighter Mike Simon III has slept in a tent on the beach of the Dexter Reservoir in Lowell since Aug. 16. His exhausted brother, nephew and cousins also sleep in nearby tents each night.

These family members are with a 20-member crew of Alaskan Natives who took three rural plane flights to travel from their tiny fishing village of Hooper Bay, Alaska, to Eugene to fight the Jones Fire, which is burning about 10 miles outside Lowell in the Willamette National Forest.

Kenny Jacoby

 et al.

According to Eugene Weekly’s analysis of Municipal Court data, one out of every four people whom the Eugene Police Department (EPD) tickets or arrests for a non-driving charge is homeless, and more than one-third of all the charges brought in the city’s municipal court are filed against people who lacked permanent addresses at some point last year. [See “Criminalizing Homelessness,” in the June 1 issue.]

Seneca Jones Timber is hiring Avel Salgado (541-520-5941) to ground spray 56.9 acres with imazapyr and triclopyr just north of Douglas Creek in west Lane County. Call Ted Reiss with questions (541-689-1011).  Notification # 781-10167.

Giustina Resources (541-485-1500) is hiring Craig Shimp, Sherwood, (503-467-1255) to ground spray roadsides on 84.4 acres just south of Lowell across Dexter Lake with glyphosate and triclopyr. Notification # 771-10079.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent Tom Hunton (president of Huntons’ Sure Crop Farm Service, Inc.) a warning letter on July 18 for placing wastes in a location where they were likely to escape or be carried into waters of the state. DEQ sent the warning letter in follow up to a May site visit that was prompted by a complaint about Sure Crop’s facility on Milliron Road in Junction City. During the site visit, DEQ observed wastes in a stormwater ditch next to Sure Crop, along with numerous hoses going to the ditch from a farm tank on the site.

The newly enthroned 35th SLUG Queen Santa Frida Babosita plans to use her new position to further the arts and raise awareness for Latinos and people with disabilities in Eugene.

The city of Springfield has temporarily waived certain fees it typically charges for the construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which are also known as secondary dwelling units and in-law flats. 

“This is a call to action to show that we will do what’s necessary to protect our people,” said Charlie Landeros, an organizer of Monday’s “Hate Is Not Welcome in Lane County” rally. Unlike events like the Women’s March and rallies against President Trump’s Muslim ban, the march and rally focused less on unity and more on standing apart from white supremacy and in solidarity with marginalized people.

• The nonprofit Nobel Peace Laureate Project will hold its annual “Inspirer of Peace” Award Gala from 1 to 3 pm Saturday, Aug. 19, at Nobel Estate Urban, 560 Commercial St. Honored at the event will be Dr. John Alcott, Terry McDonald and Tsunami Books (Scott Landfield) for their dedication to peace education. The $25 entry will go to support the project’s ongoing work. Call 541-285-3309.