• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

News Articles

When you stumble out of a downtown bar next weekend, you may stumble right into a waiting taxi.

Over the Dec. 16 weekend the Eugene Police Department began a program that sets up two taxi staging areas downtown in an attempt to cut down on drunk driving and increase public safety. 

A recent vote by the Lane County Board of Commissioners to fill Sen. Chris Edward’s seat in the Oregon State Legislature drew comment from the governor, the Democratic Party and, most vociferously, the gun lobby.

Before the Dec. 14 vote, the County Commission received several hundred emails from gun-rights activists weighing in against former state representative and Oregon secretary of state candidate Val Hoyle, who was the Democratic Party’s top pick.

Former Lane County Commissioner candidate Dawn Lesley recently reported a bias incident to the City of Eugene’s Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement office. A friend of Lesley’s came to her after seeing swastikas spray-painted on a Trump sign along I-5 in Lane County. 

Barely two weeks after President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in, Oregon’s regular legislative session will begin Feb. 1. 

Multiple bills being drafted aim to address civil rights, human rights and health care. And while some bills are also being designed to protect existing state laws, others are being proposed to fill in the gaps in federal laws and protections that could be affected by the Trump administration. 

The first stop for many newly arrived Latino immigrants, many of whom don’t speak English, is Centro Latino Americano on 5th Avenue. This nonprofit describes itself as a safety net for the Latino community in our region, one that is even more necessary in light of President-elect Donald Trump denouncing Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals.

The Electoral College confirmed Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the United States Dec. 19, but many of the millions who voted against him have not given up hope and they plan to rally in the streets the day after Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration. 

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) fined Eugene-based Apex Machinery, Inc. $6,095 on Dec.14 for Clean Water Act violations at its facility located at 100 Polk Street. DEQ fined Apex for failure to monitor for pH, oil & grease, suspended solids, copper, lead and zinc. DEQ noted that “the system that protects water quality in Oregon is highly dependent on permit registrants complying with the monitoring requirements of their permits,” and that failure to comply with these requirements is “considered to be among the most serious of violations.”

At 7 pm Wednesday, Dec. 28, there will be a public meeting regarding The Future of Tsunami Books. The lease for Tsunami Books is up June 30, 2017, Scott Landfield of Tsunami says. Will it continue at its present location, will it be moved, or will it dissolve? The facts will be presented, followed by a facilitated question and answer, and discussion period. An as-yet unscheduled second meeting by invite will be held to deal with specific financial issues. Email tsunami1@opusnet.com with questions or comments.

Years of deliberation, millions of tax dollars spent, and still nothing to show but a city block of gravel flats and an angry clutch of frustrated taxpayers: A sharply divided Eugene City Council agreed last week to pursue a costly plan (of as-of-yet dubious legal merit) to erect a shiny new City Hall building on a county-owned plot north of the Park Blocks downtown.

Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio wants to hold President-elect Donald Trump responsible for his “drain the swamp,” campaign promise, in which Trump said he would impose tougher lobbying restrictions as well as lifetime lobbying bans. 

On the heels of the presidential inauguration, an event is coming that will allow community members to show solidarity and share their support for those who may be most affected by this transition of power.

“Weed is really amazing for a ton of people, but really dangerous for some,” Kristen Mort says. Her 18-year old son was hospitalized earlier this year for a condition called “cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome” after she says he had writhing convulsions, excruciating abdominal pain and nonstop vomiting. 

There were 21 reported car crashes on the morning of Dec. 8, mostly from drivers taking their morning commute along the Beltline or Delta Highways through Eugene. Early last February, a similar icy dawn on area roads caused 15 car crashes. As of Dec. 13, the National Weather Service predicts below-freezing temperatures for a span of several nights (Dec. 14 to 17), meaning drivers are again venturing out into black ice and Christmas lights. 

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued fines on Dec. 5 to food processing equipment manufacturer A & K Development Co. and to G & R Auto Wreckers, Inc. for Clean Water Act violations at Eugene facilities. DEQ fined A & K $6,427 for failure to monitor for copper and zinc at its facility at 410 Chambers Street, and fined G & R $10,106 for failure to monitor for pH at its Pick-A-Part facility at 90579 Highway 99 North.

• Brails on 5th has opened! After the venerable Keystone Café shut its doors in May 2015, Sang Joo (Joy) Knudtson of Brails Restaurant on Willamette stepped in. The new Brails is located at the former Keystone Café, 395 W. 5th Avenue, just on the edge of the Whiteaker.

After 21 years in business at its 2585 Willamette Street location, Tsunami Books is hoping it can hang on for another 20. But it’s going to take a bit of a Hail Mary, Tsunami proprietor Scott Landfield says. 

A 700-strong pool of part-time city employees are earning wages that barely pass federal poverty line standards. A Jan. 18 city work session has been called to address this ongoing issue. 

People filled chairs, lined walls and sat on the floor for the duration of the special meeting of the city of Eugene Human Rights Commission (HRC) on Monday, Dec. 5. Professors, public school teachers, community members and activists were vocal in their concerns for undocumented people in their communities, classrooms and schools.

The future of the Elliott State Forest still hangs in the balance and local environmental groups are dubious about a proposal to be discussed at an upcoming meeting of Oregon’s State Land Board.

•  Paul and Lisa Tostberg, owners of Corvallis’ Coffee Culture, have launched their roasting business as a standalone retail-wholesale brand in the greater Pacific Northwest, Holderness Coffee Roasters. The Tostberg’s have been in the industry since 1993, according to a press release, when they had a drive-thru coffee kiosk that also developed film. The Tostbergs say, “We had no way of knowing that coffee would be a successful enterprise, so we developed film as well!

• Oakridge area residents against the proposed Old Hazeldell gravel quarry at TV Butte on the edge of the town will hold a rally on Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza, noon Tuesday, Dec 13, before packing into Harris Hall, where the Lane County Commissioners will be reading and discussing the proposal, rally organizers say. For the quarry proposal to move forward, the commissioners must decide to rezone the property from forestland to rock and gravel.

On a borrowed plot only a stone’s throw from the Eugene Mission, the Nightingale Health Sanctuary is tidy and obliging, even as biting autumn winds tug at the loose corners of its makeshift huts.

“We’re here to help people stabilize and move on,” Nightingale manager Nathan Showers says.

Back in September, Janie Coverdell traveled to Standing Rock from Eugene to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Inspired by the activism she took part in there and by the lack of media attention at the time, she decided to return last month. 

A new motion by the University of Oregon Senate may change the mandatory reporting policy on sexual assault to favor the wishes of the victims.

The current UO mandatory reporting policy requires all staff members to report sexual assaults they hear about from students, regardless of the actual desires of the victims themselves, according to Jennifer Freyd, a professor of psychology at UO and a nationally recognized activist on sexual assault issues.