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On Feb. 12 the Eugene tech community plans to address the topic of downtown livability in Eugene with a giant computer programming event called a hackathon. The tech frenzy starts Friday at the Downtown Athletic Club, where Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) will host Hack for a Cause.  

Joshua Purvis, the events coordinator for TAO, explains that local members of the tech community will work in teams to develop and produce ideas and concepts concerning downtown livability in Eugene “with a vision for implementation.”

• M Three Timber Company, 767-3785, plans to aerial and ground spray 66 acres near Muslin Creek with 2,4-D, atrazine, hexazinone, sulfometuron methyl, clopyralid and/or Induce. See ODF notification 2016-781-01311, call Brian Peterson at 998-2283 with questions. 

Marijuana: controlled substance or religious sacrament? 

In December 2015, the Portland branch of the United States Postal Service (USPS) seized a 5-ounce package of marijuana mailed from Eugene by Joy Graves — the leader of the Cottage Grove branch of Oklevueha Native American Church (ONAC) — who says it was intended to help an ailing ONAC member in Ohio.

• Last fall’s Community Apple Drive has culminated in the first cider exclusively harvested by the community, and the cider will be released on tap and in bottles beginning this week by WildCraft Cider Works. Apples, pears and plums from backyards, alleys and street sides were collected from August through November to produce 575 gallons of a 28-varietal cider. A percentage of sales will go to local nonprofit conservation groups. A celebration will be held starting at 8 pm Friday, Feb. 5, at Hi-Fi Music Hall, 44 E. 7th Ave.

• A Civil Liberties Defense Center office warming party will be from 5:30 to 8 pm Friday, Feb. 5, at CLDC’s new offices at 783 Grant Street. Find the free event on Facebook.

On the corner of Lawrence Street sits a tiny white building that houses feisty nonprofit Beyond Toxics, which has advocated for environmental and social justice reforms in the state of Oregon since 2001 — you might remember it as Oregon Toxics Alliance. 

On Feb. 5, Beyond Toxics will celebrate its 15th anniversary at Capitello Wine Bar in downtown Eugene, as well as introduce a state ballot petition banning aerial chemical sprays.

The American media has been paying a lot of attention to the clown car that makes up the pool of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. And on the Democratic side, the media has finally noticed that Bernie Sanders is making inroads into what many thought was a surefire Hillary Clinton ticket.

But lately, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein says, there’s been a little more oxygen in the room, and the media and American public have realized that Stein and the Greens have something to say.

Nadia Raza’s lawsuit against Lane Community College, filed Jan. 21, alleges that the administration failed to protect the tenured instructor from an aggressive student felon and stalker. 

Raza’s 19-page complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene by attorney Jennifer Middleton, is not the first attempt to get the LCC administration to adopt immediate measures to better protect its staff from sexual advances and physical threats from students. 

[Update: This article has been edited to include information about a petition to Save Kesey Square.]

Before the Eugene City Council meeting Jan. 25, the chants and drums of the Save Kesey Square rally could be heard from the nearby Harris Hall, growing louder as more than 100 protesters walked from Kesey Square to the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza while a council work session was in progress.

• The independent private Oak Hill School will be the new home of Super Summer, a three-week academic enrichment program for advanced learners and Talent and Gifted students, and will expand to include sixth and seventh grade students. The popular program has been housed at the UO for the past 35 years. Super Summer will begin its permanent residency on the rural Oak Hill campus near LCC June 27. The application process will open Feb. 8. See oakhillschool.com or call 744-0954.

Women’s Action for New Directions meets at 7 pm Thursday, Jan. 28, at the First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street, to talk about the Women for Peace: National WAND Biennial Conference Report. The conference was held recently in Washington, D.C. Speakers include Annette Rose. Free.  

Math gets a bad rap, says Gina Graham, owner of Eugene tutoring service Math Is Magic! “We have in our nation a predisposition to think math is yucky,” she says. “I think that’s a problem.”

The nation’s relationship with math grew even more complex with the onset of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). When the state of Oregon adopted CCSS in 2010, parents and students in Eugene School District 4J and other districts saw an internal shake-up as districts shifted from older, more direct methods of teaching to newer techniques in math instruction that fulfill learning requirements outlined by the Common Core. 

Until last year, Eugene School District 4J did not have a policy in place to specifically protect transgender and gender non-conforming students. 

When 4J school psychologist Brianna Stiller was developing 4J’s gender policy, which the 4J School Board passed in the spring of 2015, district lawyers told her that since 4J already had anti-harassment policies in place, it didn’t need a gender policy.

“I told them, ‘You’re missing the point,’” Stiller says.

On Dec. 15, the Lane County Board of Commissioners quietly voted on an ordinance that made an already ambiguous policy about who has the right to be on county property even more problematic.

Under Chapter 6 of the Lane County Code, “a duly authorized officer,” who could be a board member, the county administrator or “any person delegated the authority to control county property” by those people — and the delegation of authority does need not be in writing — can trespass someone from county property. 

[Update: This story has been edited Jan. 22 to include a response from the city of Eugene]

Slow down. That’s the message citizens of Eugene are emailing to City Manager Jon Ruiz, Mayor Kitty Piercy and the Eugene City Council about Kesey Square and its potential development into an apartment building by a local group, which could happen as soon as this spring.

Jan. 15 was the deadline for submission of RFEIs (requests for expression of interest) for Kesey Square.

KLCC public radio in Eugene is no longer running Alternative Radio, a weekly program that has run for 30 years. The hour-long program slot at 7 pm Tuesday has been filled by Reveal, investigative reports from the Center for Public Integrity, Public Radio Exchange and partner public radio stations around the country. KLCC is now a partner station with opportunities to give Eugene-area stories national exposure. Reveal is free for KLCC, as was Alternative Radio.

Seneca Jones Timber Company LLC, 689-1011, plans to spray roadsides near Siuslaw River Road, Crow Creek, Douglas Creek, Sheffler Road, Doane and Crow Roads, Simonsen Road, Farman Creek and Camas Swale Creek near Weiss Road. See ODF notifications 2016-781-00876, 00877, 00879, 00880, 00881 and 2016-781-00882, call Brian Peterson or Robin Biesecker at 998-2283 with questions. 

• OSPIRG Foundation’s new report, “Oregon’s Multi-Million Dollar Democracy,” will be released at 10 am Thursday, Jan. 21, at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza downtown. The report highlights the disparity between large and small donors in Oregon’s 2014 elections and recommends steps to level the playing field. Speakers will include Linda Lynch, president of Lane County League of Women Voters, and Amy Laws of OSPIRG.

In Afghanistan

• 2,349 U.S. troops killed (2,349 last month)

• 20,071 U.S. troops wounded in action (20,071)

• 1,629 U.S. contractors killed (1,616)

• 16,179 civilians killed (updates NA)

• $725.3 billion cost of war ($722.1 billion)

• $290.1 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($288.8 million)

 

Against ISIS

• $7.9 billion cost of military action ($7.4 billion last month)

• $3.1 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($2.9 million)

I had to see this thing, this occupation, in person. Another 1970s Sagebrush Rebellion being staged at Oregon’s bird sanctuary, this sacred site? Really? Our oldest American refuge, so precious it was designated as such before America even had a National Park Service? Why? Who are these guys? Why Malheur of all places? WTF?

I called my former colleague, Senate Republican leader Ted Ferrioli, who represents Harney County, to get his take. And I called Cliff Bentz, the current state rep from Ontario.

Bring up the topic of Kesey Square and the importance of downtown open public space with city of Eugene officials and you can expect the conversation to be steered to the Park Blocks. 

Kesey Square has problems, city employees say, including issues of design, the preponderance of “travelers” dominating the space, the simple fact that it’s flat and that people just don’t want to be there. 

The projected cost of Eugene’s new City Hall has now risen after city councilors requested that city staff look into boosting the new four-story structure’s ability to withstand a severe earthquake. 

“We asked the city manager to investigate looking into that standard. He said, ‘Yeah, but it’ll cost more,’” said Councilor Alan Zelenka in an interview with EW. The conversation on altering City Hall’s structure took place at the last City Council meeting in December, he says.  

Giustina Land and Timber Company, 345-2301, plans to hire Western Helicopter, 503-538-9469, to aerially spread urea fertilizer pellets on 3 units totaling 454.6 acres near Jones Creek and Hall Road and near Goldson Road off of Hwy. 36. See ODF notification 2016-781-00296; call Robin Biesecker at 998-2283 with questions.