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News Briefs

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality sent San Mateo-based J.H. Baxter & Co. a warning letter on March 31 for various hazardous waste law violations discovered by DEQ during an unannounced inspection on March 25 at Baxter’s wood treatment facility in Eugene’s Trainsong neighborhood. Violations included failure to label hazardous waste, failure to conduct required hazardous waste inspections, failure to provide up-to-date contingency plans to first responders and failure to clean up spills.

The Lane County Jail announced on April 21 that it will no longer hold inmates on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers without a warrant or a court order. This is in response to an April 11 federal court ruling that Clackamas County violated a woman’s Fourth Amendment rights by holding her in jail for 19 hours after her case was settled in order to let federal immigration agents begin investigating her residency status. 

TEDxUOregon returned April 19 for its second year of speakers, student speakers and performances at the UO’s Beall Concert Hall.

New affordable, childbirth education classes will be offered weekly starting this Sunday, April 27, at River Road Parks & Recreation in response to a change in the way PeaceHealth at RiverBend is offering its classes. The River Road classes, taught by Lillian Shoupe, will focus on relaxation, confronting preconceived cultural ideas of birth, a deeper understanding of anatomy and physiology and building positive affirmation for the process they’re going through.

A study published this month involving Eugene grade school students supports what every chocolate lover already knows: Don’t take away the chocolate milk. 

In 2011, 11 4J elementary schools participated in a study that evaluated the effects of removing chocolate milk as a beverage choice from school lunches. After two months of chocolate milk-bereft lunches, total daily milk sales went down about 10 percent, and children threw away 29.4 percent more milk, meaning that more kids picked up the regular milk but decided not to drink it. 

Achoo! Uh oh, your hamburger was totally just attacked by a snot-rocket! Thankfully, 48 companies in the Eugene area see the benefits of not having sick staff serve food. Paid sick leave, which gives workers the ability to stay home sick without losing financial stability, could be granted to workers within the city limits of Eugene as soon as January 2015. 

As Eugene city leaders floundered last week in relocating the former residents of the Whoville homeless camp, an anonymous benefactor took up the issue, offering a $400,000 donation to establish a sanctuary on private property.

The pledge came as a direct response to, among general grievances, the unyielding position of City Manager Jon Ruiz and others willing to leave the destitute in limbo. “I wanted to step up,” the donor tells EW, “because I saw the city making an attempt to push these people out. They’re citizens, not strangers.”

Sombath Somphone is “one of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic’s most respected civil society figures,” according  to a December 2013 press statement from Secretary of State John Kerry on the one year anniversary of Sombath’s disappearance. Sombath was kidnapped from a police checkpoint in Laos and has not been heard from since. Sombath’s wife, Ng Shui-Meng, will be speaking about her husband’s disappearance and the challenges to free speech and human rights in Laos and in the rest of Southeast Asia while in Eugene on Monday, April 21.

• M Three Timber Company, LLC, 767-3785, plans to spray Accord XRT and Element 3A on their timberlands countywide in Lane County. See ODF notice 2014-781-00342, call Stewardship Forester Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions. 

• Giustina Resources, 485-1500, plans to hire Strata Forestry, Inc., 726-0845, to spray glyphosate, hexazinone and/or sulfometuron methyl on 71 acres near Dexter Lake tributaries. See ODF notice 2014-771-00336, call Stewardship Forester Marvin Vetter at 726-3588 with questions. 


Oregon Department of Environmental Quality sent San Mateo-based J.H. Baxter & Co. a warning letter on March 31 for various hazardous waste law violations discovered by DEQ during an unannounced inspection on March 25 at Baxter’s wood treatment facility in Eugene’s Trainsong neighborhood. Violations included failure to label hazardous waste, failure to conduct required hazardous waste inspections, failure to provide up-to-date contingency plans to first responders and failure to clean up spills.

The Whiteaker Community Council (WCC) got a surprise at its annual elections meeting Wednesday, April 9, when upward of 80 residents of Eugene’s hippest district packed into the small room at the Whiteaker School to air concerns about a proposed noise ordinance.

The Easter Bunny is bouncy, fuzzy and lays eggs. Bunnicula, the vampire, vegetable-sucking rabbit, is reserved, misunderstood and has razor sharp fangs. While both of these sets of characteristics are (almost) all true, real rabbits are made up of a complex combination of the two, something that the holiday Easter Bunny character glosses over.

Fifty-five bias-related incidents were reported to Eugene’s Equity and Human Rights Center (EHRC) in 2013 — an increase of four reports from last year. Equity and Human Rights Analyst Lindsey Foltz says a lot of bias-related activity is unreported, in part because of a lack of trust of the government or police. 

Local schools continue to struggle with insufficient funding, and two Lane County school districts, Fern Ridge and Pleasant Hill, filed bond measures that will appear on the May Primary ballot to help pay for improvements to property and facilities that school officials say are greatly needed — one school is basically providing federally assisted school lunches out of a gym concession stand.

The city of Eugene sent a “request for corrective action” letter to Gibson Steel Fab, Inc. last month for various Clean Water Act violations, citing Gibson for deficiencies in employee education and monthly inspections, storing several hazardous materials without secondary containment and failing to contain overspray from painting operations so as to prevent it from coming into contact with stormwater.

The city of Eugene paid 60 staff members to shut down the Whoville homeless camp on the corner of Broadway and Hilyard streets April 4 — a move that campers and homeless rights advocates say put many of the Whoville residents back on the streets alone.

“They’ve taken old, they’ve taken veterans, they’ve taken everybody who has a problem, said ‘You have to go,’ instead of giving them a place to sleep at night and giving them some sort of peace of mind,” Whoville camper Jacob Baird says.

• Weyerhaeuser, 744-4600, plans to backpack spray 8 acres near Norris Creek with Velpar L, Velpar DF, Transline and/or Forestry Garlon XRT with additives methylated seed oil and/or non-ionic surfactant. See ODF notice 2014-781-00306, call Stewardship Forester Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions.

Kevin Sullivan

 et al.

Thanks to a disagreement over Robert’s Rules of Order, the Lane County Republicans have recently acquired new leadership in the form of chair, vice-chair and secretary to fill the seats of Paul Barnett, Bill Young and Kristy Cooper, who have all resigned. This split happened as the races heat up for three Lane County Commission seats in the May primary.

The city of Eugene sent “request for corrective action” letters to three Eugene businesses, A&K Development Company, Oregon Ice Cream Company and Oregon Tread Rubber Company, in late February for various Clean Water Act violations.

“Here we go again. Big money moves into a neighborhood and excavates 40 feet into the ground near the river,” Wende Hitchcock says in exasperation. She says a gravel site along the Coast Fork of the Willamette River near Delight Valley Road has applied to the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) to expand its operations, including excavation and asphalt production. Hitchcock and other neighbors fear impacts to the rural community from noise and trucks to possible affects on wildlife and water.

Unhoused Eugeneans will speak at a panel during an April 7 event that the Eugene Human Rights Commission’s (HRC) Homelessness Work Group hopes will help deconstruct stereotypes people commonly apply to the homeless.

Six people who currently reside at Whoville, Opportunity Village Eugene and the city-approved rest stop at the intersection of Garfield and Roosevelt Streets will respond to a prompt and then answer questions from the audience. 

On Oct. 16, 2013 John Burns says a private timber helicopter dripped poison onto him, his land, his neighbors and their water supply. He started coughing and his sinuses ran for hours. Neighbors reported their dogs getting sick and even dying, a horse went blind and the local fire chief had to go to the emergency room. Five months later, the more than 30 people of the Cedar Valley area outside Gold Beach who reported symptoms from asthma to nose bleeds still don’t know what was in the chemical mix that hit the rural community.