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Three new parking lots have opened in the Whiteaker neighborhood, courtesy of the political strategizing by the Whiteaker Community Council (WCC), which is leasing the properties with funds donated by a coalition of local businesses.

The fate of Kesey Square still hangs in the balance. Will Eugene City Council members vote to develop it or won’t they? Will they improve it for the public to use or leave it without management? Meanwhile, community members have expressed interest in hosting events at the city square also known as Broadway Plaza, which was deeded to the public “forever” by the Eugene Urban Renewal Agency in 1971. 

• Oregon Department of Transportation will soon be spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call 1-888-996-8080 for herbicide application information. 

• Giustina Resources, 726-3588, plans to hire Strata Forestry Inc, 726-0845, to spot spray a total of 287.5 acres at seven sites near Mount Zion and Lost Creek south of Dexter Lake and one site near Bear Creek, southeast of Cottage Grove with hexazinone, clopyralid, sulfometuron methyl and/or 2,4-D. See ODF notification 2016-771-02653, call Tim Meehan at 726-3588 with questions. 

• The NAACP of Lane County’s “Community Conversations: Building Unity in our Community” series of public meetings on race, privilege and equity continues from 5:30 to 8 pm Thursday, March 10, at the EWEB Community Room, North Building, 500 E. 4th Ave. The meeting begins with a light dinner at 5:30. Additional meetings in the series will be at the same time and place on the second Thursday of each month through May. Reservations are requested through naacplanecounty.org or the Facebook page. Call 682-5619.

Fracking is coming to Morocco. Americans might associate the North African country on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea with the black-and-white romance of Casablanca, but Morocco faces some of the same modern environmental issues as we do in the U.S. 

Samira Idllalène is visiting Eugene for 10 days via the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide to study how to make environmental laws in Morocco more effective and to give a presentation at this weekend’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference.

Late on a December night in 2014, Sen. John McCain attached a rider to the National Defense Authorization Act, swapping 2,400 acres of federally owned land for 5,300 acres of land owned by Resolution Copper Mining. San Carlos Apache Tribe Councilman Wendsler Nosie, Sr., and his granddaughter Naelyn Pike will be keynote speakers at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference at the UO this week talking about their efforts to regain the land that is sacred to the San Carlos Apache Tribe and the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

Among the long list of speakers at the University of Oregon’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference is president and founder of Eugene-based Grape Solar, Ocean Yuan, who’s proven there’s a market for consumer solar panels. 

The Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC), open to the public, runs March 3-6 at the UO School of Law and features a variety of green-oriented keynote speakers, panels and films.

• ODOT is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information. Hwy. 99 near Creswell was recently sprayed. Hwy. 101 will soon be sprayed with Aquamix and Milestone for Scotch broom and gorse.

• ODOT sprays chemicals including Rodeo, Accord and Honcho Plus containing glyphosate, Milestone VM Plus containing aminopyralid and triclopyr, Esplanade 200 SC containing indazifam, Payload containing flumioxazin, Escort/Escort XP containing metsulfuron methyl and Dyne-Amic adjuvant. 

Fixing large class sizes in Eugene School District 4J can be like “moving around deck chairs on the Titanic,” 4J School Board Chair Anne Marie Levis said at a Feb. 25 meeting.

Parents, teachers and staff from across the district filled the library at Edison Elementary School last Thursday to discuss class sizes in the 30s at the elementary school level. No clear answers came out of the meeting, although school officials suggested that parents write letters to 4J’s Budget Committee and to the Oregon Legislature. 

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a civil penalty of $6,451 to Rexius Forest By-Products, Inc. on Feb. 17 for Clean Water Act violations at its Bailey Hill Road facility. Specifically, DEQ penalized Rexius for negligently failing to monitor for arsenic in its stormwater discharges. Rexius can appeal the penalty, pay it or offset it by implementing a “supplemental environmental project.” Examples of such projects include stream restoration and replacement of pavement with rain gardens to improve water quality.

It may come as a surprise to some landlords, renters and even attorneys in Oregon that pet fees have not been permitted by Oregon statutes for the past five or six years. But confusion about the law remains, most likely because Oregon Revised Statutes 90.302 does not actually declare that pet fees are prohibited; rather, the list of “Fees allowed for certain landlord expenses” no longer includes non-refundable pet fees.

• Lane County has a new Spanish language radio station, reportedly the first ever on the local FM dial. KEQB, La Que Buena, began broadcasting Feb. 17 on 97.7 FM. The station is owned by McKenzie River Broadcasting and will serve the “almost 30,000 Latinos in Lane County and more in the surrounding counties,” says Program Director Steve King. McKenzie River Broadcasting also operates KMGE-FM (Mix 94.5), KKNU-FM (New Country 93.3) and KEUG-FM (105.5 Bob FM).

• The 34th annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference on the UO campus begins Thursday, March 3, and runs through Sunday with numerous local experts on panels and participating in discussions. For example, Beyond Toxics is involved in a panel on “Fighting Aerial Pesticide Sprays and Water Quality Violations on State and Private Lands” at 9 am Saturday, March 5, in LAW 184. Find a schedule at pielc.org. Last-minute changes in the schedule can be found listed in the lobby of the UO Law School. Free.

The annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) comes to the University of Oregon March 3-6. For the first time in its 43-year history, PIELC has organized a film festival to preview the conference at the Bijou Art Cinemas Feb. 25. Films will also play as part of the conference itself.

“Almost all the films have a panel accompaniment with people involved in the films,” says PIELC co-director, Emily Hajarizadeh. “We chose to incorporate film this year because every year we receive massive amounts of submissions for films, and we haven’t had a space to show them.”

The night of Monday, Feb. 22, was a moment many have been waiting for since October, when the city considered the private purchase of Kesey Square in a closed executive session: For the first time, the Eugene City Council publicly discussed Kesey Square, aka Broadway Plaza.

The work session, and public forum that followed, illustrated a lingering divide between some of the city councilors and mayor and the requests from citizens to keep the square public. 

• Seneca Jones Timber Company LLC, 689-1011, plans to hire JR Helicopters, (509) 452-3300, to aerially spray 56.9 acres near Douglas Creek with glyphosate, atrazine, 2,4-D, clopyralid, hexazinone and/or Crosshair. See ODF notification 2016-781-02102, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions.

When NPR education correspondent Claudio Sanchez visits a town to give a lecture or public talk, he likes to take something back home with him — a story.

“I try to report on something local every time I’m invited to one of these things, because I think it’s a great opportunity to get to understand the community better,” he says.

On March 2, Sanchez will speak at the University of Oregon about his experience as an education reporter. His visit is sponsored by KLCC and supported by the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a civil penalty of $6,777 to Ninkasi Holding Company on Feb. 9 for Clean Water Act violations at its Whiteaker facilities. Ninkasi’s Clean Water Act permit requires monitoring for various pollutants in its stormwater discharges four times per year, and Ninkasi failed to take any samples at its Blair Boulevard discharge point, and took only three of the required samples at its Polk Street discharge point.

Graduate student Jewell Bohlinger studies human and cultural geography at the University of Oregon, and she’s currently researching prisons — from environmental impacts within prisons to whether prisons can be sustainable with high incarceration rates.

Bohlinger is one of more than 100 UO graduate students who will present their research projects Feb. 26 at the UO’s Ford Alumni Center for the UO Graduate Student Research Forum, organized by the UO Graduate School.

The occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by anti-government activists was expensive on a number of levels, from law enforcement costs to loss of revenue stemming from the refuge. Also costly could be the Bundy’s and other occupiers’ legal fees and possible restitution, and there are questions about how the ranchers were able to afford to be be away from their jobs and ranches for more than a month from Jan. 2 to Feb. 11, when the last four militants surrendered.

• Tsunami Books reports its “Eat Local/ Shop Local” sandwich board sign in front of the store was stolen the night of Feb. 18, the same night the Domino’s Pizza opened next door at 2568 Willamette. Coincidence? A new sign will be up soon. Domino’s now has three stores in the Eugene area.

• The Coalition to Reduce Elementary Level Class Size is hosting an organizing meeting from 6:30 to 8 pm Thursday, Feb. 25, at Edison Elementary School, 1328 E. 22nd Ave. Oscar Loureiro, director of research and planning at 4J, and Anne Marie Levis, 4J school board member, will join the meeting for a question and answer session. Find the event on Facebook.

Oregon State University is hosting doctor, author and New Age spiritualist Deepak Chopra in collaboration with the I Am Genie Foundation at the LaSells Stewart Center across from Reser Stadium in Corvallis Feb. 23. 

“I’ll be speaking about the topics from my last two books, which were called Super Genes and Super Brain,” Chopra tells EW from the Chopra Center for Well Being in Carlsbad, California. 

Frustration is growing with the way Lane County Animal Services is handling horse neglect cases, says horse rescuer Darla Clark of Strawberry Mountain Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. 

Although Clark is in Douglas County, she gets frequent calls from concerned Lane County residents about horse neglect situations here, including a case in which horses were wandering on a roadway near a school in Cottage Grove and another situation in Elmira in which a herd of horses were alleged to be starving. Many of the Elmira horses were sold at the Eugene Livestock Auction on Feb. 14.