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News Briefs

For about a century the Tour de France has showcased some the best scenery France has to offer as cyclists battle through small villages, pastures and mountains. This year Lane County is hosting its very own inaugural Tour de Lane Aug. 3-5 with rides kicking off from Richardson Park in Junction City. This non-competitive cycling festival will provide participants with a number of rides of varying lengths and difficulty.

Bunnies being dumped out of a trailer, a rabbit being flung through the air and rows of screaming children bearing down on a cluster of bunnies paralyzed with fear:  Red Barn Rabbit Rescue documented this and more at the “animal scramble” at the July 13-14 Cottage Grove Rodeo (see our blog post July 16). Animal advocates are seeking to put an end to this annual event that they say is cruel and irresponsible.

In the ongoing debate over whether people are smart enough to learn to use reusable bags, the Eugene City Council will continue exploring a ban on single-use plastic bags in grocery stores at a public hearing Sept. 17.

If this sounds familiar, Eugene postponed past discussions of a bag ban to see if a 2011 statewide ban would pass. It didn’t, and in the meantime individual cities including Portland and Corvallis have implemented local bans.

• Weyerhaeuser, 744-4600, plans to aerially spray at least three units in the Coast Range totaling at least 173 acres with some combination of Accord XRT II, Polaris AC, Metcel VMF, Escort XP, Sulfomet Extra, Oust Extra, Sulfomet, Oust XP and additives MSO and non-ionic surfactant. See ODF notice 2012-781-00524.

• Weyerhaeuser, 988-7502, plans to hack and squirt 31 acres with Imazapyr near Parsons Creek. See ODF notice 2012-771-00534.

Weyerhaeuser, 744-4600, plans to aerially spray at least nine acres near Lorane. See ODF notice 2012-781-00525. 

If you want to prepare a raccoon before cooking it, consult the 1970s edition of Joy of Cooking, which says “remove all fat, inside and out,” and then soak it in saltwater overnight in the refrigerator. But a more likely conundrum in Eugene these days might be: What if one bites you without being provoked?

Lane County has called in the USDA’s controversial Wildlife Services to trap a bear out of its Rattlesnake Road waste disposal site. But Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense questions why Lane County is spending the money to trap a bear when it’s letting criminals out of its jail. 

Oregon has an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 black bears according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and bears showing up around human habitation is not uncommon. 

Two of Oregon’s four known wolf packs, the Imnaha and the Wenaha pack, have each added four pups to the mix this year, bringing the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife count to approximately 37 confirmed wolves in Oregon, according to Josh Laughlin of Cascadia Wildlands. “And there’s likely more,” he says. 

On June 27, ODFW announced a lactating female was caught on camera in the Eagle Cap Wilderness and pups may be in that area, too.

Oregon isn’t the only place on the West Coast fighting polluting energy pipelines. The Unis’tot’en and Wetsu’wet’in First Nations have blockaded the pathway of five proposed pipelines collectively called The Northern Gateway leading from the tar sands out through ancient forests and native lands to the coast of British Columbia. 

It’s high time for a rollback on the prohibition of the world’s most beneficial plant, activists say. Emerald Empire HempFest is gearing up for its ninth annual event at Maurie Jacobs Park July 20 to 22. 

Fashioned after Seattle’s HempFest, the Emerald Empire HempFest is becoming something more than just a haven for pot paraphernalia and heavy tokers. “It’s all about education,” HempFest Executive Director Dan Koozer says.

Seneca Jones Timber Co. (541) 689-1011 is hiring Western Helicopter (503) 538-9469 to spray 223 acres in 3 units in the Camas Swale area with some combination of glyphosate, imazapyr and metsulfuron methyl and the surfactants/adjuvants methylated seed oil, Syl-Tak and Sylgard. See ODF notice 2012-781-00510.

Parvin Butte is still standing. Shorn of most of its trees and blasted by heavy equipment, the Dexter landmark lingers in the background as summer visitors play on Dexter Lake. The Dexter/Lost Valley neighbors are still fighting to save the butte from McDougal brothers and developer Greg Demers, whose company Lost Creek Rock Products (LCRP), has been decimating it. The latest skirmish took place in front of Lane County Hearings Official Gary Darnielle on July 12.

When it comes to cockroaches in the cafeteria and mice in the classroom, Aimee Code says, “There is risky pesticide use occurring in our schools.” Code is an environmental health associate of the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP). “The fact that we want to institutionalize caution makes perfect sense to me,” she says.

Democratic Party of Lane County Secretary Andrew Becker and Steven Coatsworth, the national committeeman for the Young Oregon Democrats of America (YODA), have been elected, along with others, to represent Oregon at the Democratic National Convention starting Sept. 3 in Charlotte, N.C. 

A July 7 downtown Eugene rally against aerial spraying of pesticides drew more than 800 people, according to Day Owen, founder of Pitchfork Rebellion. The group, which Owen describes as “a forest dwellers’ support group consisting of people concerned about aerial spraying of pesticides near our homes,” said it is celebrating having conducted the largest anti-pesticide rally in the history of Oregon. 

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the ongoing controversies related to the proposed 1,200-student Capstone housing project. Since the Eugene City Council approved a 10-year property tax break in May, the project has been slapped with three appeals, continued pressure regarding construction standards from nearby residents and now the lack of a sale or ownership of the property on which half the project would be built.

Coos Bay is one of six Northwest ports vying to export coal to Asia. Thanks to its position on the railroad system, Eugene is one of the many cities in Oregon and Washington facing mile-and-a-half-long coal trains chugging through town, leaving coal dust and diesel fumes in their wake. The coal train issue has been the topic of a recent Eugene City Club debate, will be the subject of a City Council vote and will be the center of a “Coal Hard Truth” forum on July 16, as well as a peaceful protest July 12.

Commissioner Rob Handy remains locked out of his county office with “as far as we know no legal basis,” according to his attorney Lauren Regan.

Regan says Handy is still going out and meeting with constituents despite not having access to his county office but “excluding a popular liberal commissioner in this way is problematic.”

Fellow Commissioner Faye Stewart excoriated Handy for not being around the office on the July 5 Morning Wakeup Call on KPNW, a conservative radio station (wkly.ws/1bk). 

Shannon Finnell

 et al.

The federal government’s General Services Administration delivered a letter to Occupy Eugene on July 10 denying the group’s permit application to remain at the old Federal Courthouse on 7th Avenue. The group was given until 3 pm July 11 to leave the site. In response, the Occupiers handed the feds an eviction notice of their own.

In Afghanistan

• 2,021 U.S. troops killed* (2,017)

• 16,687 U.S. troops wounded in action (16,584)

• 1,173 U.S. contractors killed (1,131)

• 12,793 civilians killed (12,793)

• $545.1 billion cost of war ($542.5 billion)

• $161.1 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($160.2 million)


In Iraq

If you want to see modern-day “horse whisperer” Buck Brannaman help horses with people problems, then head up to Corvallis July 6-9 for a four-day horsemanship clinic. Brannaman, long known in the equine community for his way with horses, came to greater fame last year when the documentary movie Buck about his life and work was released to critical acclaim. 

Free lunches for children and youth ages 2 to 18 have begun at 67 sites throughout Lane County, thanks to the Federal Summer Food Service Program and FOOD for Lane County (FLC). No documents are required to participate. 

Most sites serve meals each weekday between noon and 1 pm during the nine weeks when schools are not in session. A list of sites can be found at www.foodforlanecounty.org or call 343-2822. 

ODOT is spraying highways in the Lane County area. For more information call 1-888-996-8080.

• West Lane ODF, 935-2283, has hired Nick’s Timber Services (503) 910-1120 to ground spray 10 miles of roadsides on ODF land in western Lane County with Element 3A, Element 4, Oust XP, Forester’s Accord Concentrate, Agri-Dex and/or Herbimax. See ODF notice 2012-781-00363.

 The question of whether Lane County Commissioners Sid Leiken, Jay Bozievich and Faye Stewart violated open meetings law with a May 3 emergency meeting that did not provide 24 hours notice is now in the hands of the Oregon courts.

Shannon Finnell

 et al.

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. But what do you do when life hands you pesticides in your urine? You fight. And when the Environmental Protection Agency attempts to delay regulations protecting salmon from pesticides, you take that agency to court.