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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.

Clean drinking water is a logging issue in Oregon, where so many of our watersheds are on forest lands. In the furor over the DeFazio forest bill — or more properly the O&C Trust, Conservation and Jobs Act — river advocates say that the need to protect water for fish, wildlife and humans gets lost as people argue over county payments, timber jobs and board feet. 

The name may not be familiar, but the ideas might be refreshing in relatively conservative east Lane County. Jose Ortal is one of the challengers eyeing incumbent Faye Stewart’s East Lane County commissioner position in 2014. Also on the record planning to file are former EWEB commissioner Joann Ernst and longtime environmental land use activist Kevin Matthews.

Weyerhaeuser Co., 744-4600, plans to backpack spray 247 acres near Fish Creek in the Coast Range with Polaris AC, Polaris SP, Forestry Garlon XRT, Accord XRT II, Rodeo and/or Accord Concentrate with additives MSO and/or nonionic surfactant. See ODF, 935-2283, notification 2013-781-00649 for more information.

Warm up and get ready to roll! The renovation of the park under Washington-Jefferson Bridge has begun, and what will be the biggest covered and lighted skate park in the country will reach completion in March 2014. 

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent a warning letter to Jeanne M. Burris of Springfield on July 29 for illegally operating a waste tire storage site at property owned by Burris at 29882 Kelso St. in Eugene. DEQ’s warning letter indicates that while more than 17 tons of tires from the site have already been disposed of at Delta Sand and Gravel, additional tires remain on the property and also that improper storage and accumulation of tires can be a fire hazard and attract mosquitoes, rats and mice.

More than 20 percent of Lane County residents are on food stamps — that’s 80,657 people in a county with a population of about 350,000 who need federal assistance to eat and to feed their children. Local mapper and retired government employee Joe Kosewic has been mapping food stamps and other social issues to graphically draw attention to the challenges faced by the poor and the homeless.

Noted herbalist Rosemary Gladstar will be offering a free lecture at 7 pm Friday, Aug. 9, at Mount Pisgah Arboretum, following a free educational plant walk at 5 pm. Mountain Rose Herbs is hosting the event and will provide organic tea. Profits from the sale of event merchandise, DVDs, books and other products will be donated to United Plant Savers, a nonprofit that protects native medicinal plants in the U.S. and Canada. This is the first in a series of events as part of the Free Herbalism Project. See freeherbalismproject.com or mountainroseherbs.com.

Sen. Jeff Merkley will be the speaker at a special free meeting of the City Club of Eugene at noon Friday, Aug. 9, at the UO Law School, Room 110 on campus. The event is co-sponsored by the Wayne Morse Center, Oregon College Democrats and the League of Women Voters. The deadline for ordering lunch has passed. Metered parking is available on Agate Street and 15th Avenue. See cityclubofeugene.org.

In Afghanistan

• 2,254 U.S. troops killed (2,251 last week)

• 19,080 U.S. troops wounded in action (19,032)

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

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $647.9 billion cost of war ($646.1 billion)

• $194.4 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($193.8 million)


In Iraq

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

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

• 124,640 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (124,217)

Is your bug spray getting into the Willamette River? According to sampling done by the Long Tom Watershed Council (LTWC) over the past two years, some of the most frequently found pesticides in Amazon Creek are DEET, a chemical used in insect repellent sprays like OFF!, and diuran, an herbicide that interferes with photosynthesis. At a LTWC public meeting on July 24, Kevin Masterson of the DEQ and Jason Schmidt of the LTWC presented the results of the sampling and discussed the potential and largely unstudied danger of mixing multiple chemicals in creek water.

Despite fears that the pattern of attacks on progressive Lane County commissioners from the right over the last several years would scare good people away from politics, possible progressive candidates are already starting to explore running for the West Lane (Jay Bozievich) and East Lane (Faye Stewart) commission seats. Dawn Lesley, a soon-to-be graduate of the 2013 class of Emerge Oregon, a training program for Democratic women, is exploring a run against Bozievich for 2014.

Recent allegations that County Administrator Liane Richardson was asking employees to alter how she added money to her paycheck in a way not authorized by her employment contract came to light thanks to a county employee whistleblower, backed by the AFSCME union. An “outside investigation” was launched into this incident, overseen by County Counsel Stephen Dingle, but county documents appear to indicate Richardson should have been aware that what she was doing was improper. 

The Eugene City Council has extended the suspension of the controversial Multiple-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) for a second time, which means it might not grant more tax breaks for as long as a year. MUPTE allows City Council to grant 10-year property tax waivers to housing developers in the downtown area. It has come under increasing public scrutiny since granting large property tax waivers to student housing companies Capstone and Core Campus. Under the new suspension ordinance, MUPTE could remain dormant until July 31, 2014.

“What do people like to see in police policies?” asks Kaitlyn Lange, former Eugene Police Commission chair. She says this question, and trying to allow for more flexibility and greater efficiency, led to recent changes in the commission’s work plan, which alterations the commission’s focus from reviewing policy to examining issues it has determined the community is most interested in. City Council approved the plan July 22. “We’re trying to get away from wordsmithing policies and really get at the meat of what concerns people,” she says. 

Comments to Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regarding industrial stormwater pollution control plans for two B & R Auto Wrecking facilities (one in Albany and one in Corvallis) are due by 5 pm on August 9. Visit goo.gl/ScwdH to see stormwater plans, and goo.gl/iMDQb to comment. It should be noted that while DEQ is required to respond in writing to comments on stormwater plans, it recently came to light that DEQ considers mere written acknowledgement of receipt of comments to fulfill this requirement, which appears to violate the intent of the law.

Sponsors’ women’s program has not only hired a new director, but it is also about to get a third house specifically designed for women with children. Sponsors aims at reducing recidivism by providing services to help men and women transition back into the community from jail and prison.

A tour of Eugene bicycle industries is being planned as part of this weekend’s Blackberry bRamble celebration. The tour begins from 9 am to noon Friday, Aug. 2, at Rolf Prima, 150 Shelton McMurphy Blvd., followed by noon to 2 pm at Bike Friday, 3364 W. 11th Ave., followed by 2 to 4 pm at Co-Motion, 4765 Pacific Ave. Rides and celebration events continue all weekend. Email hughes97405@gmail.com or see eugenegears.org/bramble.

• The Eugene Sustainability Commission will meet at 4 pm Thursday, Aug. 1, at the Eugene Public Library downtown. Babe O’Sullivan is the contact at 682-5017.

In Afghanistan

• 2,251 U.S. troops killed (2,246 last week)

• 19,032 U.S. troops wounded in action (19,005)

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

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $646.1 billion cost of war ($644.4 billion)

• $193.8 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($193.3 million)


In Iraq

• 4,422 U.S. troops killed, 31,927 wounded

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

• 124,217 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (124,049)