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News Briefs

Parvin Butte neighbors who have been fighting the destruction of the scenic butte that sits in the middle of rural Dexter had a day in court Jan. 5 when Lost Creek Rock products, owned by Greg Demers and Norman and Melvin McDougal, came before Lane County Hearings Official Gary Darnielle to appeal the fines they have accrued mining Parvin without a site review.

It’s difficult to say what’s a more difficult proposition — helping save the spotted owl or holding a seat on the Lane County Board of Commissioners. Either way it’s a lot about the timber industry and all about politics. Longtime forest advocate Andy Stahl says that having made a career of “speaking truth to power” in dealing with federal forest issues, he’s ready to take on Lane County. 

Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy delivered a sober assessment of the State of the City last week in an address at the Hult Center. 

“I’d like to be here tonight telling you that things will be much in better in 2012,” Piercy said. “But, in truth, the uncertain financial forecast continues to impact every government and every household. No matter what I read or who I listen to, the news isn’t very good.”

Internationally noted urban planner and sustainability author Timothy Beatley of the University of Virginia will be speaking on “Envisioning Biophilic Cities” at 5:30 pm Tuesday, Jan. 17, at Fenton Hall, Room 110 on the UO campus. The free lecture will be preceded  by the screening of Beatley’s documentary The Nature of Cities at 5:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 12, also in Fenton Hall. 

Many of the nation’s Fortune 500 companies, including Intel, Oregon’s largest private employer, have paid little or no state income taxes in recent years despite reporting large profits to their shareholders, according to a report released in late December by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) and Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ).

No Bike Lanes for Hazardous Willamette

A draft “Concept Plan for South Willamette” by city planning staff has left out one of the top safety priorities for the city’s bike plan — bike lanes on Willamette Street. 

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” is not the U.S. Post Office’s official creed, though most people think it is. And it turns out that it’s not the weather that could stop the mail from coming — or coming on time — it’s finances. 

Thinning Harms Flighty Rodents

Oregonians may not know it, but our state’s forests are riddled with wide-eyed, nocturnal, gliding mammals. The northern flying squirrel serves many ecological functions in Pacific Northwest forests, and is considered to be a “keystone species.” It is a vital part of the diet of the endangered species listed northern spotted owl, and a new study shows that flying squirrels are negatively affected by commercial thinning of timber.

Thanks to Oregon’s wandering wolf, California saw its first Canis lupus in the state since 1924. The young gray wolf known as OR-7, but now renamed “Journey” thanks to conservation group Oregon Wild’s naming contest, was confirmed in the Golden State via his GPS tracking collar on Dec. 29. 

According to Sean Stevens of Oregon Wild, “I’d be hard pressed to think of a more famous or accomplished wolf than OR-7.”