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News Briefs

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality recently sent Hollingsworth & Vose Fiber Company a pre-enforcement notice following an inspection of Hollingsworth’s Corvallis facility, which is classified as a large-quantity generator of hazardous waste. DEQ’s letter cites Hollingsworth for failing to close containers of hazardous waste, failing to develop and execute weekly inspections of hazardous waste storage containers and failing to cleanup spills.

The recent rape investigation at the University of Oregon has not only triggered a spate of articles about the issue locally and across the nation, it’s also triggering requests for emails, contracts and other information from UO staff who might be involved in the investigation or its handling. As a state institution the UO, like other government entities, is subject to Oregon’s Public Records Law.

If you’re driving south into Eugene from I-105, look east to the foot of Skinner Butte and you may just see a rainbow. Stripes of color framing a mural shoot upward from Lincoln Alley, which, as of May 9, was still an impenetrable knot of blackberry bushes scattered with broken glass and garbage. By May 12, however, the strip of land housed a blue picnic table, a community mural and garden beds filled with the seeds of sunflowers, irises, lemon balm, Jerusalem artichoke, raspberries, bleeding heart and other plants. This is the Secret Garden of the Commons.

More than 550 people will come to Eugene from across the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands and Japan to learn about community building, according to city neighborhood planner and conference planner Rene Kane. The conference comes to town as Eugene neighborhood leaders fret over proposed funding cuts to eighborhood services. Eugene will host the Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) conference May 21 to 24.

Food carts will soon be a regular fixture on the streets of downtown Springfield. Local nonprofit Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO) has been working with city staff to create a food cart program in hopes it will encourage downtown revitalization.

“There are a lot of examples around the country of the way that these programs have injected a new life into the community,” says Dave Johnson, NEDCO food hub operations supervisor.

Thursday, May 15, is the last day to safely mail in ballots for the Oregon May Primary, which is Tuesday, May 20. After Thursday, drop off ballots at any of the white ballot boxes around town or on campus. Deadline is 8 pm Tuesday. Postmarks don’t count. 

 

Statewide Offices

U.S. Senator (Democrat) — Jeff Merkley

Merkley has two challengers in the primary, William Bryk and Pavel Goberman. Merkley is a rising star in the Senate and a strong voice for economic justice and health care reform.

 

Aprovecho Sustainability Education Center wants to teach you how to make soap, manage cattle and learn other permaculture-related activities for little cost. Aprovecho began giving workshops this spring on a gift economy basis — the nonprofit education center will teach you permaculture and in return ask that you give back in some way through donating, sharing a skill that you know or even simply bringing a friend. Workshops are held every Sunday. Aprovecho, which was started more than 30 years ago, is on 40 acres of land outside Cottage Grove. 

The city of Eugene recently sent Cascade Plating & Machine a “request for corrective action” letter requesting stabilization of a sizable area at the facility on Cross Street, just off Roosevelt Boulevard.

The University of Oregon community has erupted in the past weeks with outrage over the sexual assault case involving three male student-athletes and a young woman. Students have protested at Johnson Hall, holding signs reading “We demand justice” and “I live in a rape culture,” while chanting “Survivors over sports.” The chant refers to what protesters say is the school’s mishandling of the case by allowing three basketball players to continue playing during March Madness while the sexual assault investigation was already under way.   

Eugene City Council reallocated $150,000 to the city’s Emergency and Minor Home Repairs (EMHR) program, which assists low-income homeowners and tenants with emergency and accessibility-related home repairs. The program experienced a higher demand than usual for repair assistance this winter, according to City Grants Manager Michael Wisth, and had exhausted its funding for fiscal year 2014. Funds were taken from the city’s microenterprise development program.

City Manager Jon Ruiz’s recommended city budget for Eugene’s coming fiscal year closes a $2.5 million gap with one-time funding from the city’s reserve fund and reductions to parks maintenance, downtown library hours and recreation services. It also calls for a one-time contribution of $200,000 to the nonprofit group TrackTown USA.

Students, faculty and staff at the University of Oregon have the right to conduct controversial scholarship and teaching or hold contentious public positions, according to the University Senate, a body made up of faculty, students and staff that is a partner in the shared governance of the UO. 

In early April the senate body unanimously passed an Academic Freedom Policy. Professor Michael Dreiling, the president of the UO’s newly formed union, United Academics, says that this policy would help to unlock “the greatest potential” that the UO has to offer.

• Little Lake Logging and Const. Inc., 927-3339, plans to spray Tordon RTU (triclopyr ester) on 30 acres near Little Lake Creek. See ODF notice 2014-781-00486, call Robin L. Biesecker at 935-2283 with questions.

• USR Company LLC, Rosboro LLC, 746-8411, and High Mountain Investment Group, 746-8411, plan to hire Dole Land Management Inc. to spray their roadsides throughout Benton County with imazapyr and/or triclopyr. See ODF notices 2014-551-00183, 2014-551-00184 and 2014-551-00185, call Bill Mahr at 929-3266 with questions.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assessed a $7,800 penalty against the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission (MWMC) last week for causing pollution of waters of the state in February. MWMC operates the Eugene-Springfield wastewater collection and treatment system, including the treatment plant on River Avenue and the “biosolids management facility” on Awbrey Lane. On Feb.

In addition to the historic trolley tracks unearthed every so often on Willamette Street, Eugene is bursting with historically significant elements that are out in the open, like the dry stone retaining wall on the north side of Skinner Butte built during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps. 

Lady Jangchup Palmo reacted in a unique way the moment she was diagnosed with cancer. “Her first response was laughter, joy,” says Jigme Rinpoche, her son.

The Lane County Board of Commissioners voted on April 22 to give County Counsel Stephen Dingle a raise via a step advancement after what commissioners say was a positive review in a closed executive session. Dingle’s salary was at $145,995 a year, according to his contract. His move to what the board order calls “the next step on the salary schedule for Program Manager, D82, which is Step 8,” puts his salary at $152,630.

Dental coverage and living wages are not something people think about if they already have them. But when a worker doesn’t have one, or in the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) of the University of Oregon’s case, either, this can lead to not only health problems, but also to friction when it comes to contract negotiations.

The UO GTFF 3544 held a rally Friday, April 25, outside Johnson Hall to spread awareness about what the union says is the administration’s lack of ability to meet with the GTFF and provide fair negotiations. 

• Rosboro LLC, 746-8411, plans to hire Dole Land Management, Inc. to spray 500 acres of roadsides on their timberlands throughout Lane County with imazapyr and/or triclopyr. See ODF notice 2014-781-00453, call 935-2283 with questions. 

• ODOT has begun spring spraying. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Highways I-5, 58, 99, 101, 126 and Beltline were sprayed recently and Highway 36 may be sprayed Wednesday.

The Whiteaker neighborhood underwent something of a Velvet Revolution April 23 as residents of Eugene’s artsy neighborhood elected a total of 13 new members to the Whiteaker Community Council (WCC), including incoming chairman Sam Hahn and secretary David Nickles, author of the recent Whiteaker Manifesto.

County Commissioner Pete Sorenson is calling for Lane County to return to being a little more open and available. He sent an email to the county’s agenda team, which determines what items will be dealt with at County Commission meetings, that starts, “I remember a time when the Republican Central Committee, the Democratic Party of Lane County and many other groups would routinely use Harris Hall as a gathering place.

The nonprofit Better Eugene Springfield Transit (BEST) will host a meeting May 14, during which they will hear concerns from Lane County human services providers about the community’s public transit needs. Laurie Trieger on the BEST board of directors says she anticipates the conversation will be about transportation needs of low-income individuals.

The American dream of suburbia is running out of road —at least according to Benjamin Ross, a Maryland-based author and transit activist. He will tackle this issue and more when he comes to town to speak on May 4, exactly two days after his latest book, Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism, hits the shelves.

“The suburban value system that people used to assume was a superior way of living has reached a dead end,” says Ross. “It’s no longer a status symbol to have a lawn and a car.”