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News Briefs

At first glance, it looks like a landfill — abandoned couches and chairs, food wrappers piled on top of plastic bags, electronics and old clothing. But in actuality, it’s a strip of riverbank along the south side of the Willamette River between Autzen Footbridge and Knickerbocker Bike Bridge, and a recent YouTube video portraying trash along the riparian zone has garnered the attention of homeless activists, environmentalists and Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy.

Former county administrator Liane Inkster (previously Richardson) was fired by Lane County more than a year ago, but questions from her uneasy departure still linger, most recently due to a letter from the Oregon State Bar (OSB) clearing her in a disciplinary investigation. 

Everybody sleeps. But for people who are unhoused, sleeping can be controversial and even illegal, due to city ordinances that ban lying down, sleeping or camping.

Those ordinances might be based on bad philosophy, according to Chad Kautzer, an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, who argues that such ordinances outlaw activities that are fundamental to survival.

The city of Eugene recently sent the following Eugene businesses “pre-enforcement notices” for violating the Clean Water Act by failing to conduct required monitoring of industrial stormwater discharges from their facilities: Al’s Sheet Metal, Apex Machinery, Armur Coatings, Bulk Handling Systems (two locations), Mohawk Metal Company, Rolling Frito-Lay Sales, The Truss Company, Tyree Oil and Zip-O-Log Mills (two locations).

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that former Lane County Commissioner Rob Handy’s complaint against the county and against former administrator Liane Richardson (now Inkster) and Commissioners Sid Leiken, Faye Stewart and Jay Bozievich for undermining “his ability to do his elected job” can be amended and move forward for a decision. 

The deadline for ballots to arrive at Lane County Elections is 8 pm Tuesday, Nov. 4. The last day to mail ballots and assure their arrival is Thursday, Oct. 30. Ballots can also be dropped off 24/7 at any of the white ballot boxes around town or on campus. Here are our endorsements in selected contested races and ballot measures. See last week’s paper or go online to read our full endorsements.

 

National & state candidates:

In a season of highly controversial ballot measures and no-compromise, multimillion-dollar “yes” and “no” campaigns, Measure 87 is set to be among the more peaceful decisions Oregonians have to make in November. Facing no organized opposition, the “fact specific and very narrowly drawn” measure would amend the state Constitution to permit state judges to simultaneously serve in either the National Guard or as a paid teacher in public universities.

Eugene videographer Tim Lewis says when he first found out about the controversial mining at Parvin Butte in local newspaper stories, he thought, “That’s a hell of a story” for a film project, “but I have no time to do that kind of stuff.” 

On a recent recreational swim near Florence, diver Diana Hollingshead was astonished once she realized what she was seeing underwater: thousands of healthy juvenile sea stars. Due to sea star wasting syndrome, a disease that causes sea stars (aka starfish) to develop lesions, fall apart and die in a matter of days, the discovery of healthy sea stars was an encouraging one.

The approval of another herbicide specifically for use on genetically modified (GM) crops underscores the timeliness of Oregon’s Measure 92 that would mandate labeling foods containing GMOs. On Oct. 15, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave final approval of the herbicide Enlist Duo, which is used on Dow Chemical crops genetically modified to resist the chemicals glyphosate and 2,4-D. 

• Weyerhaeuser Company, 744-4600, plans to aerially spray 57 acres near Jones Creek in the Coast Range with Accord XRT II, Polaris SP, Rotary 2 SL, Sulfomet Extra, Metcel VMF, Foam Buster, Induce, Insist and/or MSO. See ODF notification 2014-781-00827 or call Robin L. Biesecker at 935-2283 with questions.

As a journalism instructor at the UO, Eugene author Melissa Hart tells her students to write engaging beginnings to their stories. She followed her own recipe with her latest memoir, Wild Within: How Rescuing Owls Inspired a Family, which opens with her husband’s vasectomy. 

Such begins a story about a quirky romance, rescued birds of prey and the process of adopting a child. Hart will read from her book at the UO’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History Oct. 28, along with local author Tom Titus.

A recent poll by Oregon Public Broadcasting shows support for the “top-two primary” initiative Measure 90 at 36 percent, opposition at 38 percent and undecided at 26 percent. If you are among the undecided, here’s a story for you.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently sent the following businesses $1,600 “expedited enforcement offers” for violating the Clean Water Act by failing to monitor industrial stormwater discharges from their facilities: Eagle Plywood Specialties (Harrisburg), Georgia-Pacific Wood Products NW (Philomath), Gheen Irrigation Works (Harrisburg), Natron Wood Products (Jasper) and Sundance Lumber Company (Springfield).

With full-day kindergarten and the new Smarter Balanced standardized tests looming on the horizon, Eugene School District 4J can’t afford to lose any source of funding. That’s why the district is asking voters to renew a five-year local option levy on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The call for all-out war against Islamic extremists is growing louder in the Pentagon, Congress and the White House as the U.S. carries on increasing overt and covert military actions in the Middle East targeting primarily ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. 

But Rep. Peter DeFazio says, “History has shown that U.S. involvement in sectarian as well as civil wars raging in the Middle East does not benefit our interests. ISIS would not exist today if it were not for the unnecessary U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, which I voted against.”

A 4-year-old girl from Eugene diagnosed with a form of nerve cancer called neuroblastoma is receiving treatment at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, and she needs help from her community to afford it. 

Scarlet Craig, along with her parents Tim and Elena Craig, have already raised $43,782 on the website GoFundMe as we go to press. The cancer, which doctors first discovered on Scarlet’s adrenal glands and has now metastasized to her bones, is the same kind of cancer affecting Leah Still, daughter of Cincinnati Bengals football player Devon Still. 

A measure coming up in the November election proposes a state-created endowment fund to help Oregon students pay for college. Coined the Oregon Opportunity Initiative, Measure 86 amends the Oregon Constitution to allow the creation of an Opportunity Fund that would go towards paying for students going to college within the state. 

The current state-funded program, Oregon Opportunity Grant, only reaches one out of five students that apply for money, according to Measure 86 founder State Treasurer Ted Wheeler. 

Mikhail Gorbachev says that CNN creator Ted Turner “has set a new standard for what a single individual can do to address the most challenging problems threatening our survival.” That is according to the blurb on the back of author Todd Wilkinson’s Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet, published by Lyons Press in 2013 and copyrighted to Turner Works, LLC. 

From Life in Color to Run or Dye and Color Me Rad, getting blasted with gouts of bright color has become part of the joy of dancing and fun runs. Fun runs have been criticized for misappropriating the Hindu festival of Holi on which they are based, and more recently there have been concerns about the massive amounts of nontoxic paint blasted at the Cuthbert Amphitheater at Life in Color Oct. 4.

More than three million people have watched the sad but hopeful video of a pitbull who was left to die in a remote location in California. Named Bunny and shy and wary of strangers, the dog was lured into a live trap with some cheeseburger by her rescuers. Now Bunny has made her way to Eugene, where she is searching for a forever home.

Women make up 50.5 percent of Oregon’s population as of 2013, and yet Oregon does not have an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in its Constitution. 

While the fight for a federal ERA continues, Oregon has a chance on Nov. 4 to vote for its own ERA, which would amend the Oregon Constitution to include specific language establishing equal rights for all, regardless of sex. 

Dolly Parton is making sure the kids of Eugene are getting the books they need to improve their literacy, regardless of their family’s income. Parton’s Imagination Library, which partially funds the monthly mailing of age-appropriate books to children ages birth to four in communities nationally and internationally, has come to Eugene. The response from residents has been enthusiastic.

ODOT recently sprayed Highway 126 and Territorial Highway. For daily information call ODOT Herbicide Application Information Line (888) 996-8080. You may also call Tony Kilmer at the Springfield office at 744-8080 for herbicide and additives information and to ask what time a highway was sprayed.