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News Briefs

Chelsea Gerlach was sent to prison in 2007 for her participation in ecologically motivated sabotage with the Earth Liberation Front. Gerlach is now out of prison and on probation, and she is returning to Eugene to guest DJ “Chance to Dance,” an ecstatic dance at the WOW Hall March 22 that will raise money for Gerlach’s 3-year-old nephew Malachi, who has cerebral palsy.

Last weekend a cougar was shot in the head and killed in Eugene after being captured and put in a cage. The 2-year-old cougar killed three chickens and two goats named Justin Timberlake and Rufio near Hendricks Park, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. ODFW reports that another young male cougar was trapped and killed March 17 and a trap has been set for a third cougar. These latest cougar captures mark the trend of increased cougar killings in Oregon, says Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense.

• Giustina Land and Timber Co., 345-2301, plans to hire Western Helicopter Services Inc., (503) 538-9469, to aerially spray herbicides including Atrazine, 2,4-D, Clopyralid, Hexazinone, Sulfometuron Methyl and Triclpopyr Amine on 69 acres near tributaries of South Fork Ferguson Creek, Owens Creek and the Long Tom River. See ODF notice 2014-781-00273, call State Forester Robin L. Biesecker at 935-2283 with questions.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assessed a penalty of $7,608 against Michael Brown of Oakland, Ore., on March 4 for sewage-related violations at Saginaw Mobile Home Park north of Cottage Grove. DEQ has expressed “particular concern” due to Brown’s “prior history of discharging partially treated sewage onto the ground” and noted that the treatment system at this site “may be causing harm to public health or the environment.” DEQ sent Brown a “warning letter with opportunity to correct” back in November following a DEQ visit to the site in late October.

Representatives from Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer rights advocacy group, held a March 2 panel at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. The pair of presenters focused on the history of big money in politics and the potential of even more dollars being spent to stop the climate change movement. 

Though speculating on water is illegal, WaterWatch of Oregon says Willamette Water Company was looking to do just that back in 2008 when it applied for a permit to withdraw 22 million gallons per day from the McKenzie River. On March 7, the Oregon Water Resources Department (WRD) issued a final order denying the Willamette Water Co.’s controversial application to control a large amount of the McKenzie’s water.

The Alder Street Advocates neighborhood group is planning a transportation-themed mural to be painted on the street surface of Alder Street between 19th and 24th avenues. The design and painting of the mural will happen through the collaborative efforts of people who live in the neighborhood. 

Grant applicant Allen Hancock says the applicants have gone door to door and found 50 people who are interested in participating. “Not only because they want to create some art and make the street beautiful, but because they want to meet their neighbors,” he says.

Under Oregon law a nuclear power plant can’t be constructed in this state until there is a safe, permanent way to deal with nuclear waste, and even then, citizens reserve the right to vote on whether a plant can be built, according to Chuck Johnson of Oregon and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. While Oregon does not have a commercial nuclear reactor, Johnson is concerned with the Columbia Generating Station (CGS), a Washington nuclear power plant just across the Columbia River from Oregon.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently sent PeaceHealth a warning letter for hazardous waste law violations discovered by DEQ during an unannounced inspection last month at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield. The facility is classified as a “small quantity generator” of hazardous waste because it generates between 220 and 2,000 pounds of hazardous waste per month.

The Eugene Police Department’s Civilian Review Board (CRB) has reviewed two cases that were filed with the Eugene Police Auditor’s office in the past nine months regarding allegations of officers unlawfully frisking African-American women. 

On Feb. 11 the CRB discussed a case in which a male officer patted down a female while her car was being impounded for not having insurance. Police Auditor Mark Gissiner says pat-down searches can only be performed if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the person is armed and dangerous or if he or she is being taken into custody.

Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz has recommended cutting $250,000 from Human Services discretionary funding as part of balancing the city budget for fiscal year 2015, which begins July 1. These cuts would manifest as “reductions in support to local nonprofit agencies such as Looking Glass, St. Vincent de Paul, Womenspace, Lane ShelterCare and a myriad of others,” according to Human Services Commission (HSC) Chair Pat Farr.

Just as LGBTQ activists are celebrating Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s decision to not defend Oregon’s gay marriage ban and celebrating Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of that state’s anti-gay discrimination bill, along comes the reminder that the Oregon Family Council wants to throw a little cold water on the gey celebration.

More precisely, OFC is the primary sponsor of an initiative that wants to dampen any future gay weddings in Oregon by allowing businesses to refuse “supporting same-sex ceremonies in violation of deeply held religious beliefs.” 

The fight against genetically modified crops in Lane County is in the hands of Circuit Court Judge Charles Carlson, who is expected to rule on whether the Local Food System Ordinance complied with state constitutional requirements.

Grupo Latino de Acción Directa (GLAD)’s Feb. 28 forum at St. Alice’s church in Springfield focused on public safety. More than 140 members of the Latino community attended, including Timothy Doney, the new Springfield police chief and Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner, according to one of GLAD’s founders, Phil Carrasco.

GLAD is hosting evening and luncheon forums as well as “Café con” (Coffee with) events that politically engage a broad spectrum of the Latino community, Carrasco says. These forums let people show up and speak their piece, without others speaking for them, he says. 

International Women’s Day is Saturday, March 8, and events in the Eugene area welcome writers, rockers, artists, healers and more to celebrate this day and Women’s History Month.

Oregon wolves are on the move. Just last week, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) confirmed that wolf tracks were found on Mount Hood last December. Oregon has enough suitable habitat for 1,450 wolves. So why did the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) remove federal protections for gray wolves in 2011 in the eastern third of the state when there are currently only 64 wild wolves in Oregon? Wolf reintroduction advocates discussed this quandary and more at “Wolfshop,” part of the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference on Feb. 28. 

A growing trend in Eugene, gift circles, allows people to enter a space where people share items, ideas or resources with no expectation of receiving anything in return. Tree Bressen and Kim Krichbaum are community members who have been organizing gift circles for over a year. Bressen says that what she does is just a part of the larger gift economy.

While other states, such as California, have introduced bee protection bills, Lisa Arkin of Beyond Toxics says she thinks Oregon is the first state to take some kind of decisive action at the state level. The city of Eugene is also looking to take further action on bee-killing pesticides. 

House Bill 4139 passed in the Oregon House earlier in February, and on Feb. 24 it passed in the Senate, “showing amazing bipartisan support for protecting the bees,” according to Arkin.

The fate of the Beverly property and the Amazon Creek headwaters it contains is still up in the air, thanks to the Eugene City Council’s motion to table the issue in a Feb. 19 work session. The property is near Spencer Butte in the south hills. 

The city of Eugene’s Revenue Team is sifting through potential strategies to suggest revenue increases to the Budget Committee for the city’s General Fund, in light of the $3 million deficit the city faces for fiscal year (FY) 2015. Their goal is to recommend revenue strategies that will generate significant revenue, be acceptable to the community and can be implemented by FY16.

City Councilor and Revenue Team member Claire Syrett says the team aims for its recommendations to equally affect businesses, property owners and people using city services.

Dozens of people were turned away from the Bascom-Tykeson room at the Eugene Public Library Feb. 23. The room had reached its full capacity of 106 people well before Walidah Imarisha’s 2 pm talk “Why Aren’t There More Black People in Oregon? A Hidden History.” Several people watched through the windows from Broadway. 

Imarisha, a professor in Portland State University’s Black Studies department, has been touring Oregon for three years giving the talk, with 12 stops this February in honor of Black History Month. 

“Who’s going to pay for the arts?” artist Jerry Ross asked at a Feb. 12 meeting at the Eugene Public Library. That was the question of the hour at the meeting hosted by the Arts & Business Alliance of Eugene (ABAE) and the Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts (DIVA).

A Lane County land-use case, which was first filed in 2011, alleging that the county regularly exceeds deadlines is not yet resolved. Advocacy group LandWatch Lane County is frustrated with the amount of time it is taking to get a final order on the case from the state Department of Land Conservation and Development.

• Seneca Jones Timber Company, 461-6245, plans to aerially spray herbicides including Atrazine and 2,4-D on 50 acres near Coyote Creek. See ODF notice 2014-781-00181, call State Forester Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions.

• Seneca Jones Timber Company, 461-6245, plans to spray herbicides including glyphosate and 2,4-D along 38 miles of Seneca roads throughout Lane County. See ODF notice 2014-781-00201, call ODF at 935-2283 with questions.