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Enforcement of new and highly stringent rules out of the Eugene Fire Marshal’s Office regarding outdoor canopies, tents and booths appear to be the cause of the cancellation of Eugene’s traditional Earth Day Celebration event April 18. The popular event has been held at EWEB Plaza since about 1999.

Whole Foods is preparing to begin construction in April for its new store downtown that will take up one full block near The Shedd Institute at 8th and Broadway. Two buildings on the site will come down and the new store of about 38,000 square feet is expected to open in March 2016. This project has been relatively uncontroversial. Whole Foods made headlines in 2006 when the company proposed a 50,000-square-foot building in the same area, but required city subsidies of $8 million for a 500-car adjacent parking garage to be shared with the city.

• The proposed Lane County Vehicle Registration Fee, Ballot Measure 20-231, will be the topic at City Club of Eugene at noon Friday, April 10, at the Downtown Athletic Club, 999 Willamette St. Speakers will include County Commissioner Pete Sorensen and Lane County Transportation Planning Program Supervisor Lydia McKinney. Cost is $5 for nonmembers. See cityclubofeugene.org for more information.

In March of 1957, the gates of The Dalles Dam on the Columbia River closed and Celilo Falls, 8 miles upstream, was covered up within six hours. A March 6 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference panel explored the environmental damage stemming from the flooding of the falls and discussed solutions.

• ODOT is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call 1-888-996-8080 for herbicide application information. Highways I-5, 58 near Pleasant Hill, 99, 105, 126 in Springfield and Beltline were sprayed recently.

• M Three Timber Co., 767-3785, plans to spray its roadsides in Lane County with Accord XRT II, Garlon 3A and/or Induce. See ODF notifications 2015-781-05361 and 2015-781-05364, call Brian Peterson or Brian Dally at 726-3588 or 935-2283 with questions.

Current laws in Oregon make it illegal to pay people of opposite sex different wages to do the same job. There are also federal protections. However, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) conducted a study between 2011 and 2014 and found that women in Oregon make an average 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. 

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting comments on two applications for Clean Water Act construction discharge permits until 5 pm Thursday, April 9. Both projects involve the disturbance of 5 acres or more of land. The first project is at Swanson Group’s Springfield Plywood/Veneer Facility, located at 1651 South F St., and the other project is at Roosevelt Middle School (located at 680 E. 24th Ave. in Eugene). Visit goo.gl/Yp4iAK for information on how to submit comments.

Community supported agriculture (CSA) is booming: Winter Green Farm in Noti delivers fresh farm produce to about 500 members each week, up from 35 members when it first started 24 years ago. 

“Local food is rockin’ it,” says Linda Davies, Winter Green Farm’s office and CSA manager. Add a community supported fishery (CSF) to the mix and the Oregon-grown food scene looks even better. 

• The Cottage Grove Blackberry Pie Society will host a community conversation with Lane County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky at 7 pm Thursday, April 2, at Hard Knocks Brewing, 1024 E. Main St. in Cottage Grove as part of the Blackberry Pie Speakers Series. Mokrohisky, who has been the county administrator since May 2014, will address local and county issues and answer questions from the audience. Call Leslie Rubenstein at 521-2887 or email blackberrypie@gmail.com. 

You’re at a party; you see a guy who is all over a drunk young woman — giving her even more drinks, perhaps in hopes of having sex with her later. What do you do? 

Walk into the kennel area at Greenhill Humane Society and you are struck by two things: First, the hopefulness and worry on the furry faces of dogs, from Chihuahuas to huskies, looking for forever homes, and second, the loudness of the barking and yelping echoing off the cement walls. 

• ODOT is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call 1-888-996-8080 for herbicide application information. Highways I-5, 99 and Beltline were sprayed recently.

Two bills in the Oregon Legislature regarding wage theft and wage and hour violations had public hearings in the House last week. They are each part of a broader effort to hold employers to higher standards on how they treat and pay their workers.

Smarter Balanced — Oregon’s latest, more rigorous standardized test — is officially here. The Smarter Balanced testing window opened March 10 in Eugene School District 4J, and the testing period extends to early June. 

To discuss the ins and outs of standardized testing in the U.S., the Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE) invited Anya Kamenetz, NPR education blogger and author of The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed with Standardized Testing — But You Don’t Have to Be, to speak in Eugene April 1 at Tsunami Books. 

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting comments on the proposed cleanup plan for the McAyeal’s Wardrobe Cleaners site through 5 pm on Tuesday, March 31. The site is located between the downtown Eugene Public Library and Kiva. The cleaners operated at that location starting in 1972, leaving behind soil and groundwater contaminated with dry-cleaning solvents. Contaminated groundwater that would otherwise occupy the library basement is currently diverted to a treatment system before being discharged to the city’s storm sewer system.

We hear Cousin Jack’s Pasty Co. was invited to provide meat pie food props for the Eugene Opera production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. “To [General Director] Mark Beudert and the cast and crew of the Eugene Opera, I say bravo for a fantastic performance and a big thank you for allowing us to participate,” says David Clark, who owns the local business with his wife, Kim Clark. “Like the arts, our small business is constantly pressured with ever increasing costs.

City Club of Eugene topic this week is “Perspectives on Alternative Approaches to Forest Management” with Marc Barnes of Integrative Resource Management and Matt Fehrenbacher of Trout Mountain Forestry. Noon Friday, March 27, at the Downtown Athletic Club, 999 Willamette St. $5 for nonmembers. See cityclubofeuegene.org to get on the email list.

On Thanksgiving Day 2014, a truck from California came to Bartels Packing west of Eugene carrying 35 organic cattle. Kandi Bartels, executive vice president of Bartels, which produces grass-fed natural and organic beef, says the paperwork from the driver stated there were two bulls and 33 cows in the shipment. 

The Youth Mental Health Protection Act (HB 2307) would ban licensed mental health providers and psychologists in Oregon from providing “conversion therapy” to minors. Conversion therapy is a largely discredited practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. HB 2307 passed in the Oregon House 41 to 18 on March 17 and now heads to the Senate.

The problems with the DOT-111 tank railcars that exploded and killed 47 and destroyed the downtown core of the Canadian town of Lac-Mégantic have been known since 1991, according to Congressman Peter DeFazio, yet the federal government still hasn’t pushed to fix them.

• Union Pacific plans to spray railroad tracks running through Eugene this week.

• Oregon Department of Transportation is currently spraying roadsides. Call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 at 744-8080 or call 1-888-996-8080 for herbicide application information. Highways I-5 and 99 through Eugene were sprayed recently.

What’s the environmental impact of your bud? 

A March 6 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference panel at the UO law school explored illegal marijuana grows in Northern California, home to the Redwoods and Mt. Shasta, and their negative impacts on water and wildlife, including coho salmon and Pacific fishers.

Panelist Thomas Wheeler, program and legal coordinator for the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), explained that trespass grows in California’s Humboldt County often consist of thousands of plants on private or national forest land. 

If you were in Lane County in the mid-‘60s and mid-‘70s and actively opposing the war on Vietnam during those years, Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) wants to hear from you. As Vietnam-related anniversaries approach, including the 40th anniversary of the April 30 end of the war, CALC — which began as Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam — is planning a series of activities. Email at vietnampeaceCALC@gmail.com for more info.

In Afghanistan

• 2,356 U.S. troops killed (2,356 last month)

• 20,067 U.S. troops wounded in action (20,066)

• 1,582 U.S. contractors killed (1,582)

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $792.7 billion cost of war ($785.8 billion)

• $317.1 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($314.3 million)

 

Against ISIS

• $2.1 billion cost of military action ($1.9 billion)

• $849,200 cost to Eugene taxpayers ($760,000)