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.
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.
We heard a late-night flight coming into Eugene Sunday, Feb. 23, was unable to land and was diverted to Portland. Grumpy Eugene passengers had to rent cars and make the early morning drive home. The pilot told passengers that he was unable to get ground wind speed information from the Eugene tower and so he could not land. What happened? We checked with Eugene Airport officials and learned that all pilots have discretion when it comes to safety and it appears some malfunction occured with the FAA equipment, which was quickly repaired.
• The Eugene Budget Committee is meeting three times in March at Harris Hall in the Lane County Service Building. The second meeting will be at 5:30 pm Thursday, March 6, and the third will be at 6 pm Tuesday, March 11. The meetings follow the city manager’s recommendations for balancing the FY 2015 General Fund that were presented to the Budget Committee Feb. 26. Additional meetings will be planned for April. See eugene-or.gov/budget.
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.
In this year’s November general election, Oregon voters could be asked to ratify (or not) a new law that would effectively end the Oregon Liqour Control Commission’s role and “privatize” sale of distilled spirits (aka hard liquor). That is, assuming that at least one of eight petitions filed by a group calling itself Oregonians for Competition can garner the required number of voter signatures (87,000) to gain a spot on the ballot. The petitions are backed by the Northwest Grocery Association and agents of various large grocers, acting as petitioners.
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.
Cascade Raptor Center on Fox Hollow Road took a big hit in the recent snow and ice storm, says Louise Shimmel of the center. She says volunteers wore hard hats as they were feeding the birds and checking on them amid crashing branches and even falling trees. The birds survived despite damage to their aviaries, though a couple of traumatized owls and a kite needed to come inside for the weekend. A supply shed was damaged, along with the mouse barn and a car. The center was closed for two weeks and is now fundraising to help pay for the damage and lost revenue.
• Grupo Latino de Acción Directa is planning a community meeting with Springfield Police Chief Timothy Doney and Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner from 5:30 to 7:30 pm Thursday, Feb. 27, at St. Alice Catholic Church, 1520 F St. in Springfield. Topics may include “engaging and working with underrepresented communities” and “goal setting for cultural proficiency.” Contact Phil Carrasco, 337-6391.
“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.
Lane United FC hasn’t pieced together its roster, but the soccer club already has high expectations — and not just on the field. The newest member of the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League signed a three-year deal with Springfield’s Willamalane Parks and Recreation District as its venue, but the Northwest Division’s latest under-23 competitor plans to go USL-Pro as soon as it has a more permanent pitch to call home.
Eugene’s Police Commission is hoping to improve the police department’s “professional police contacts” policy, which says in its draft version, “This policy states unequivocally that bias-based profiling by the Eugene Police Department will not be tolerated.”
City Councilor Greg Evans, who is African American, says he believes he has been affected by racial profiling in Eugene.
“I’ve been stopped in this community — between the time I was 28 and 45 years old — 43 times with only two citations,” Evans says.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) followed up on the pre-enforcement notice that it sent to Pacific Recycling, LLC in November (EW 1/9, goo.gl/QO7Z1t) with a civil penalty of $2,400 on Feb. 3. DEQ formally cited Pacific Recycling for failing to dispose of hazardous waste at a permitted site, failing to determine if hazardous waste had to be treated prior to land disposal and offering hazardous waste for transport without a hazardous waste manifest.
On Feb. 12, the Associated Students of the University of Oregon voted in favor of a resolution “condemning the discriminatory views and practices of Lierre Keith and Deep Green Resistance.”
The issue was brought forth because people in the LGBTQ community and allies felt unsafe having Keith come to campus to speak at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference due to her alleged transphobic views, according to the authors of the resolution.
SheerID has grown to 21 employees and has moved from 1175 Charnelton to a larger building at 2451 Willamette St. The now vacant Charnelton building was previously occupied by the nonprofit Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics. SheerID specializes in verifying valid customers for businesses, nonprofits and other organizations that do targeted marketing. The business grew out of concern for fake IDs and coupons being used for discounts and special offers by military vets, students, alumni, etc. The company has seen major growth since launching in early 2013.
Concepts of a new Eugene City Hall don’t look much like the old building, city councilors saw at a Feb. 10 work session. Architecture firm Rowell Brokaw presented configurations of a small building, with a council chamber similar to the existing one, facing 8th Avenue near its intersection with Pearl.