The Kesey Square saga continues: The city of Eugene announced it will issue a “request for expression of interest” (RFEI) for the Kesey Square parcel at Willamette and Broadway, but has not put out an actual decision to sell the square to a public process.
In an email to Mayor Kitty Piercy and the City Council sent Nov. 18, Assistant City Manager Sarah Medary says that city staff is currently “drafting a request for expression of interest, which will more formally ask if there is other viable private interest in redeveloping the parcel.”
Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy signed on to a West Coast-wide petition Nov. 21 that calls for politicians to halt all new adoption of fossil fuel infrastructure. Using the political momentum behind the Portland City Council’s landmark Nov. 12 vote to ban any new fossil fuel infrastructure in that city, the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network (SEEN) is hitting up mayors in Seattle, San Francisco, Vancouver B.C. and other cities from California to Canada sign the petition.
After all the anticipatory hubbub over the Young American’s for Liberty Nov. 20 Liberty Poker Night at UO’s Erb Memorial Union — during which the YAL’s local chapter was denied event funding by the UO student government — the tournament itself was a surprisingly tame event. Among the predominantly male crowd, not a single protester appeared.
A member of a homeless family that includes a three-month-old baby, says they were ordered out of their illegally parked family van by Eugene police officers on a cold night Nov. 19, and told their van would be towed.
• The Global People’s Climate March is happening around the world and the local event begins at 2 pm Saturday, Nov. 28 at the corner of 7th and Pearl, then at 2:20 will be a family-friendly march over Ferry Street Bridge or the DeFazio Footbridge to Alton Baker Park. Participants are asked to wear yellow. Organizer Mary DeMocker says that around 3 pm, “we’ll make a video for world leaders and Gov. Kate Brown of hundreds of us transitioning from a huge oil drip formation to a giant living sun.” The gathering is in anticipation of the U.N.
Since the day Brian Babb was shot by a member of the Eugene Police Department, the veteran’s family has questioned the events and policies that led to Babb’s death.
However, Eugene’s police auditor Mark Gissiner says a flawed report by the Lane County Interagency Deadly Force Investigation Team (IDFIT) means the family still doesn’t have closure, and indicates to Gissiner that the way deadly force investigations are handled in Lane County needs a number of improvements.
Downtown merchants in Eugene are getting a head start on the holidays with a number of events before Thanksgiving, including a tree-lighting ceremony and entertainment from 5:15 to 6:30 pm Friday, Nov. 20, on the east Park Blocks. Many downtown shops will remain open until 8 pm.
About 1,400 wild horses are currently being gathered (aka rounded up) via helicopter from Oregon’s public lands in an area known as Beaty’s Butte on Oregon’s east side. Wild horse advocates are questioning the management of the area and what will ultimately happen to the mustangs once they have been removed from the range.
The Center for Public Integrity recently gave the state of Oregon a grade of “F” in its 2015 State Integrity Investigation, which is a “a comprehensive assessment of state government accountability and transparency done in partnership with Global Integrity.” Oregon also received an “F” on the public access to information component of its overall integrity grade, which is consistent with the “F” given to Oregon by the National Freedom of Information Coalition for lack of transparency.
• “Growing our Local Food Economy Part II” is the topic at City Club of Eugene noon Friday, Nov. 20, at the Downtown Athletic Club, 999 Willamette. This program looks at “exploring mixed-use land use for the food industry” and speakers include Jason Lafferty, Shawn Donnille, Terri Harding and Melissa Fery. One issue to be discussed is the city’s proposed expansion of the urban growth boundary to create industrial lands — which could be used for food processing facilities.
• Two local events dealing with sexual violence are planned. The first is “Learn, Listen, and Speak Out: A Community Response to Sexual Violence” from 7 to 9 pm Thursday, Nov. 12, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 1465 Coburg Road. Free. The second is a mental health conference, “Addressing Sexual Violence in Our Community: Roadmap to Prevention” from 8 am to 5 pm Friday, Nov. 13, at Valley River Inn, 1000 Valley River Way. Some scholarships available. Contact email@example.com.
Last week was eventful for James Manning. As a candidate for Oregon state representative in House District 14, which covers West Eugene, Bethel and Junction City, he says he was excited to see the Eugene library levy pass, increasing hours of operation for the library in his home neighborhood of Bethel.
As a Eugene Water and Electric Board commissioner, Manning says he spent a lot of time last week talking with people about the $10 fee increase proposed by EWEB that would have charged more to low-energy users and less to high-energy users.
A reshuffling of the criteria for homelessness in Lane County has erased the eligibility of hundreds of people for the county’s central housing list, leaving many expectant homeless people on the list feeling crestfallen.
However, the new county criteria also lifts some of the most urgent, life-threatening cases to the top of the list, to more quickly serve them.
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley is feeling the burn — of climate change. But maybe he’s feeling the Bern, too. Merkley teamed up with presidential candidate and fellow Sen. Bernie Sanders on Nov. 4 to introduce new climate change legislation. The “Keep It In the Ground Act” would end all new federal leases for oil, gas or coal extraction on public lands and waters.
The scams are back. Local businesses are once again getting calls about Best of Eugene awards and offers to ship the awards, for a price. These offers from out of state are copyright violations at best and total scams at worst. One fellow who is soliciting fake awards says he works for Eugene Weekly. He’s calling the businesses he sees in our Best of Eugene issue and asking for credit card numbers. Of course we have never charged any business for the awards we give out. A variation on this scam involves websites where businesses can see the awards they are buying.
When Ali Emami steps outside his store on Willamette Street, he can look into the neighboring public plaza and see the statue of Ken Kesey. He says he remembers chatting with sculptor Pete Helzer in 2003 when Helzer was working on the bronze artwork officially known as “The Storyteller.”
Kesey is a part of Eugene’s unique culture, Emami says, and that’s something the city should be building on, not tearing down. When Emami was in high school in Iran, he says, he read Kesey’s books. Now, years later, he owns the two properties that border the iconic square that is a landmark to the famed Northwest author.
It’s halfway though fall term and Michael Schill has been UO president since July 1. He’s five months into his term as the fifth president (counting interim leaders, too) in five years, something that has led the Chronicle of Higher Education to call the Ducks’ leadership position a “revolving door.”
Schill met with members of EW’s editorial board Oct. 30 to talk about some of the UO’s current occupations.
Charles Ogletree has a vision for the Black Lives Matter movement, the youth of our country and even a vision for how to change the conditions of generational poverty featured on HBO’s The Wire. Ogletree, an activist and prominent Harvard law professor, will visit Eugene on Nov. 12 to give speeches on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Barbara’s Soaps is back at Saturday Market and will have its usual booth space at Holiday Market, according to owner Barbara Hascall and confirmed by Kimberley Cullen, Saturday Market’s general manager. Complaints about excessive aromas coming from the booth have apparently been resolved, though details about the mediation have not been disclosed. “To create a safe place that is conducive for effective mediation, it is standard procedure at the Center for Dialogue and Resolution to agree to confidentiality at the start of each session,” Cullen says.
• The documentary Exposed: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife will be shown at 6 pm Thursday, Nov. 5, at Bijou Art Cinemas, 492 E. 13th Ave., along with The Imperiled American Wolf. A discussion will follow with cinematographer Paul Garrett and Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense. See encirclefilms.org.
“Right now at this moment a coyote is strangling in a neck snare or a wolf is struggling in a leghold trap,” says Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense and one of the nonprofit’s founders. The predator advocacy group is celebrating 25 years of work to protect coyotes, wolves, cougars and other predators on Nov. 5 with movies and a Q&A at the Bijou Art Cinemas on 13th Avenue.
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, 36, 58 and 99 were recently sprayed. Most of Highway 36 was sprayed Oct. 20 and the area near Triangle Lake School was sprayed Oct. 23 when classes were not in session.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently fined Central Point-based LTM, Incorporated (doing business as Knife River Materials) $159,144 for polluting a tributary of the Middle Fork of the Coquille River with sediment; grading and stockpiling earthen material without a Clean Water Act permit; and placing wastes where they are likely to escape into waters of the state. LTM/Knife River’s violations stem from an excavation project on Oregon State Hwy. 42 under a contract with Oregon Department of Transportation.