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RIDE (Rides for Intoxicated Drivers of Eugene) is a nonprofit hoping to begin local service this winter. “It is our mission to keep our community’s children safe by reducing drunk driving on our streets,” says CEO Jonathan Russell. RIDE will provide sober drivers to chauffeur intoxicated patrons home in their own vehicles. Chase drivers will follow behind and pick up the RIDE driver once the patron has arrived safely home. Russell says RIDE is “still in the funding stages” using Indiegogo. Perks are available for those who donate at various levels.

• Lane County Central Labor Council will hold its Labor Day Picnic from noon to 4 pm Monday, Sept. 2, at Jack B. Lively Memorial Park in Springfield, 6100 Thurston Rd., behind SPLASH. Show up for good food and to support the working class. Email essn@efn.org for more information.

In Afghanistan

• 2,262 U.S. troops killed (2,258 last week)

• 19,181 U.S. troops wounded in action (19,141)

• 1,389 U.S. contractors killed (1,389)

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $653.1 billion cost of war ($651.1 billion)

• $195.9 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($195.3 million)

 

In Iraq

• 4,422 U.S. troops killed, 31,928 wounded

• 1,599 U.S. contractors killed (1,599)

• 125,296 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (125,049)

A train disaster can stem from something as small as a leak — chlorine gas can be fatal when inhaled — or as massive as an ethanol or crude-oil fed fire. An environmental disaster can stem from something as simple as a train derailment or as complex as the massive amounts of fossil fuels and hazardous materials that are turning Oregon into an energy-industry gateway.

 Former Lane County administrator Liane Richardson was fired after an investigation stemming from changes she made to her pay, and now questions arise over the pay stubs of County Counsel Stephen Dingle, who has been intertwined with the Richardson controversy.

James Chastain’s tent sat by Ferry Street Bridge for a week. He pitched camp and others followed — three, then five, then 20. “It became a neighborhood,” he says. Homeless advocates say a neighborhood — or at least a safe place for the many homeless people in Lane County to sleep — is still needed.

Federal Judge Ann Aiken of Eugene has joined 86 other federal district court chief justices in a letter to Congress calling for an end to sequestration, the mandatory 10 percent federal budget cuts that have followed years of flat funding. The federal judiciary, facing budget cuts of $350 million in 2013, has lost more than 2,000 staff members, reducing personnel to 1999 levels at a time when workload has increased. In addition, furlough days due to sequestration are expected to total 8,600 by the end of this year.

• Giustina Land & Timber Co., 345-2301, plans to hire Western Helicopter Services Inc, (503) 538-9469, to aerial spray 125 acres near Crow, Norris and Coyote Creeks with Get Wise, Aminopyralid, Glyphosate, Imazapyr, Metsulfuron Methyl and/or Sulfometuron Methyl. See ODF notification 2013-781-00697 for more information.

Opportunity Village Eugene’s ribbon is snipped, and now it’s time for construction. Following the Eugene Celebration Parade Saturday, Aug. 24, residents and volunteers will head to the site at 111 N. Garfield and begin constructing its shelters. “When this succeeds, this can go nationwide,” future resident Mark Hubbell says.

At the ribbon cutting, organizers reported that in addition to the construction, they’re working on even more service-related plans for the village, including an educational program called “The Academy.”

Eugene’s bike traffic may move a little differently soon. Changes that could be put into the city’s code include a larger zone excluding bikes and skateboards on sidewalks downtown, allowing skateboards to travel in bike lanes and quiet electric-assist bikes allowed on off-street paths, where they’re now banned. The city is seeking input from Eugeneans to establish whether residents want the changes, which could make sidewalks and streets safer and more accessible.

Whither Civic Stadium? After a two-year moratorium, the site’s future is once more a live question, and Eugeneans might wonder what part the public can play in answering it — and whether they prefer a big box store or a soccer team.

According to Eugene 4J School Board Chairperson Mary Walston, the board is soliciting comments at its 7 pm Aug. 28 meeting at César E. Chávez Elementary School. The board welcomes both oral and written testimony, and the public comment period is early on the meeting’s agenda.

The American Institute of Architects Southwest Oregon Chapter is hosting the People’s Choice Awards for Architecture again this year at the Eugene Celebration, and as in recent years the display will also include landscape projects. Find the display at the corner of Broadway and Willamette in the Broadway Commerce Center. This year the designs (and voting) are also online at aiaswo.com, according to Scott Stolarczyk, co-chair of the awards committee (sstolarczyk@robertsonsherwood.com). Winners of the competition will be announced at City Club of Eugene Sept. 13.

Occupy Medical will not be downtown during the Eugene Celebration Sunday, Aug. 25, but instead the mobile clinic will roll out to Cottage Grove to offer free medical care, foot care, nutrition guidance and even haircuts, with no appointment needed. Prescriptions will be written as needed, but the clinic does not dispense drugs. The clinic with two volunteer doctors and their trained assistants will be available from noon to 4 pm Sunday in the parking lot at South Lane Mental Health, 1245 Birch Ave. Call 316-5743 or 942-3939.

Thirty miles northeast of Eugene, tucked amid trees and fields like a memory of some simpler time, sits the historic city of Brownsville. This quaint town is made up of roughly 40 streets over 1.34 square miles of land. A few of these roads extend beyond Brownsville’s center and out into true Willamette Valley countryside. The commerce that dots Main Street is not exactly bustling, but does not fall short where patronage is concerned. The folks here know one another; they exude a sense of camaraderie, of tolerance, of knowingness that cities far on the horizon sprawl thin and fade with the tides of consumer demand. Those cities’ fates lie in the hands of capitalist fluctuations, and they will be remembered as such.

The Bureau of Land Management has issued a “finding of no significant impact” on its order to close the White Castle timber sale to public access, but the protesters currently occupying the trees in opposition to the planned logging project beg to differ. They say cutting the native trees hurts the ecosystem and doesn’t solve the root problems of lack of money for counties and a lack of jobs. A comment period on the closure ends Aug. 30.

Volunteer surveyors in Elliott State Forest recently discovered nesting behavior by the marbled murrelet, a sea bird protected under the Endangered Species Act, on one of three parcels of land being assessed for sale by the State Land Board.

It was the smack heard ’round the YouTube. On Sunday, Aug. 4, Eugene police officers were attempting to enforce a court order transferring custody of a 10-year-old child from his mother to his father at Monroe Park when an officer struck the child. 

Joann Ernst has had a turbulent career; but turbulent or not, she has proven she can stand her ground. Now, she’s entering the fray for the East Lane County Commissioner race to change the perception of civic engagement in the county. “I think Lane County has lost the trust of the people because they don’t seem to have a voice. I’d like to bring that voice back,” Ernst says. Kevin Matthews and Jose Ortal have also indicated they will file for the May 2014 primary.

Alley Valkyrie said from the beginning that closing the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza was unconstitutional, and a recent ruling in Eugene Municipal Court has proven her right, she says. The arguments in court centered on poop, which makes for giggles, but Valkyrie’s attorney, Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center, says it’s no laughing matter when someone’s free speech rights are being taken away.

“Whenever anybody’s constitutional rights are diminished, everybody’s rights are harmed,” Regan says.

Efforts in Oregon to protect small farmers and organic growers are coming from the ground up at the county and state level these days. An initiative to ban genetically modified (GM) crops in Lane County has been resubmitted to the county clerk, and small farmers came out ahead in the Oregon Legislature this session. 

Fill your stomach for the good cause on Saturday, Aug. 17: Dishcrawl introduces “Neighborfood,” an afternoon celebration of food, family and community in downtown Eugene. Dishcrawl will give a portion of the proceeds to Womenspace, a nonprofit organization providing support to women and children in situations of domestic abuse.

Too many cohousing projects in the works? Oakleigh Meadow, a cohousing community planned along the Willamette River in north Eugene, is making progress on city approvals and hopes to break ground soon, but home sites are still available. Until Oakleigh sells out, we probably won’t see much happen at an earlier cohousing site — the big empty lot at the corner of Lincoln and 11th Avenue. Martin Henner owns the Lincoln property and actually had a groundbreaking ceremony for cohousing apartments in October 2007, and then the economy tanked.

Mobility International USA in Eugene will launch its new Brilliant & Resilient Photography Book, featuring profiles of 50 disabled women activists from 41 countries, at 6 pm Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Ford Alumni Center, 1720 E. 13th Ave. Email sdunn@miusa.org or call 343-1284 for more information.

Groundbreaking for Opportunity Village Eugene will be at 10 am Friday, Aug. 16, at 2nd Avenue and Garfield. Councilor Claire Syrett will be one of the speakers.

Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz won some high marks during his annual performance evaluation, but councilors also complained about the budget process that created a nearly $6 million deficit and poor relations with the public employee union. “A certain pattern has developed here, certain unhealthy trends,” says City Councilor George Brown. Brown says he hasn’t received answers to critical budget-related questions that he submitted in April. “Why it doesn’t bother the other councilors is beyond me,” he says.