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News Briefs

Eugene has 23 neighborhood associations, and each one works with neighbors, businesses and local government to solve issues in its respective neighborhood. They also work together with the city of Eugene’s Office of Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement (HRNI) to secure matching grants for community projects. 

The controversial Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing (OMC) planned unit development off River Road next to the Willamette River will go back for additional public comment following a decision May 15 by the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). 

DEQ is accepting comments through 8 am on June 1 on the proposed cleanup of the trichloroethylene-contaminated Evanite Fiber site along the Willamette River in Corvallis. Visit goo.gl/nbbpQp for more information.

There’s no shortage of demand for good homes in Eugene these days, especially for those with low or little income. Now the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International has its fingers crossed that the nonprofit will be able to put up a few more houses every year if the Oregon Legislature passes House Bill 2690-1 this summer. 

A play structure at Shawala Point in Corvallis’ Riverfront Park will honor the short life of a little boy and pay tribute to the Kalapuya people who lived in the Corvallis area in pre-settlement times. 

Trish Weber has begun fundraising for the memorial for her son, Nigel Rose Weber, and says she hopes to raise $30,000 for the play structure, which will be in the shape of a traditional Kalapuya bowl. The bowl, about 4 feet tall, will have handholds for kids to climb on it. 

• ODOT is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Highways I-5, 99, 101, 105, 126 east of Springfield and Highway 36 from Highway 99 to 1 mile east of Blachly were sprayed recently, ODOT may spray the rest of Highway 36 soon.

The DEQ has again fined Christopher Bartels for violating environmental law at the slaughterhouse he operates on Central Road, this time for violations of monitoring and reporting requirements. DEQ fined Bartels $30,147 on May 7 for failing to perform required monitoring of slaughterhouse wastewater in 2013, and for trying to pass off 2012 monitoring results as having been collected in 2013. Bartels has 20 days to request a hearing on the fine, and based on past history between DEQ and Bartels, he will request a hearing and DEQ will reduce the fine.

#ShellNo, #YouShellNotPass, #PaddleinSeattle. 

The hashtags were fun, but the protests May 16-18 in Seattle disputing Shell oil’s plans for Arctic drilling were calling attention to a serious issue — Big Oil and global climate change. The Obama administration gave conditional approval for Shell to drill in the Arctic earlier this month.

Rep. Jennifer Williamson told the Oregon Legislature’s House Committee on Business and Labor that her two distillery bills are not encouraging anyone to drink more hard liquor, but to drink Oregon hard liquor. 

Williamson, a Democrat, is chief sponsor of two bills moving forward in the Oregon Legislature that would improve ways distilleries are allowed to market and sell their products. She became aware of some of the industry’s concerns after she and her husband took a tasting tour of Bull Run Distillery, which is close to her Portland district. 

Only a few months ago, Kore Kombucha owner Curtis Shimmen planned to open a kombucha taphouse in the Whiteaker neighborhood, serving a variety of fermented drinks and foods, including kefir and kimchi.

Now, everything has changed.

“I put my blood, sweat and tears into that place, and all my money,” Shimmen says. “I’m looking for another spot, but it’s going to be difficult.”

Who came up with the vehicle registration fee (VRF) measure on the May 19 ballot and why were other, more palatable options not suggested? Judging by letters to the editor in EW and The Register-Guard, these questions remain unanswered in the minds of many voters as the Tuesday voting deadline approaches.

“The proposal was not generated or authored by any one person,” says Lane County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky. “In fact, it was a citizen panel that recommended the fee to the board.” 

Completed ballots need to be at the elections office or in white ballot boxes around town and campus by 8 pm Tuesday, May 19. If you didn’t get your ballot, call Lane County Elections at 682-4234 or visit lanecounty.org/elections. Below are our endorsements in selected races and money measures. Find additional information in last week’s EW and in your Voters’ Pamphlet.

 

Lane ESD Director Position 7 (at large)

Linda Hamilton or John A. Baumann

The April 25 earthquake that struck near Kathmandu, Nepal, followed by a second earthquake near Mount Everest on May 12, brought the tiny South Asian country to the forefront of the national conscience and brought out Eugene’s generous donors. 

• ODOT is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Hwys. I-5, 99, 101, 105, 126, Territorial, Beltline and Hwy. 36 from Hwy. 99 to 1 mile east of Blachly were sprayed recently; ODOT may spray the rest of Hwy. 36 soon.

In the wake of police shootings across the country, several bills regarding police body cameras were proposed in this year’s Oregon legislative session. Only one major bill is left, focusing on the issue of the body cams and public records. 

Rep. Lew Frederick (D-Portland) started with a bill mandating that every law enforcement agency in the state equip its officers with body cameras. It quickly became clear that would be financially impossible for many counties and rural areas in Oregon. 

In 1998, Brenda Tracy reported to the police that she was sexually assaulted — gang-raped — by four men, two of them Oregon State football players. More than 16 years after the ordeal, Tracy is speaking out and working to change Oregon laws dealing with campus sexual assault. 

The University of Oregon Intercollegiate Athletics Committee is sponsoring a talk by Tracy on Thursday, May 14.

Ballots arrived in Lane County mailboxes this week for the May 19 special elections. If you didn’t get your ballot, call Lane County Elections at 682-4234 or visit lanecounty.org/elections. Completed ballots need to be at the elections office or in white ballot boxes around town and campus by 8 pm Tuesday, May 19.

Below are our endorsements in selected races and money measures. Find additional information in your Voters’ Pamphlet.

 

Lane ESD Director Position 7 (at large) 

— Linda Hamilton

ODOT is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call 1-888-996-8080 for herbicide application information. Hwys. I-5, 58, 99, 101, 105, 126, Territorial and Beltline were sprayed recently. ODOT also plans to spray the entire length of Hwy. 36 soon. 

State legislators in Salem are moving forward with bills to protect animals living in Oregon. Many of the new laws would give law enforcement officers additional means to make sure existing laws against animal cruelty are obeyed. 

As the weather heats up, the issue of dogs being left in hot cars heats up too. The “dogs in cars bill,” as its sponsor Sen. Tim Knopp (R-Bend) calls it, is moving forward in the Legislature. SB 614 would allow law enforcement officers to break into a vehicle to save an animal.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a civil penalty in the amount of $7,634 to the Coos County Solid Waste Department on April 30 for repeated discharges of turbid water to Storey Creek and Joe Ney Slough from the construction and demolition landfill it operates near Charleston. DEQ issued an enforcement action of some kind back in January to Arclin U.S.A. concerning its Springfield facility that Oregon Clean Water Action Project requested a copy of from DEQ on April 17.

Many unique stories and life experiences intertwine with what we eat. A group of notable authors is coming together to share these stories and experiences with Eugeneans with a theme of “Our Daily Bread: Women’s Stories of Food and Resilience” at the 2015 Northwest Women Writers Symposium put on by the UO’s Center for the Study of Women in Society.

An unusual idea to deal with trash along the Willamette River left by homeless campers is raising eyebrows and tempers, but the details are still being discussed and hashed out. 

In Eugene, we have debates about debates. 

Eugene School District 4J school board candidate Colin Farnsworth says the April 30 4J School Board Candidate Debate, organized by south Eugene neighborhood associations and moderated by EW, is censoring his voice in the school board election. Event organizers say they’re simply following the debate guidelines of the League of Women Voters.