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News Briefs

The city of Eugene sent “request for corrective action” letters to States Veneer and Tyree Oil in August for failing to submit industrial stormwater discharge reports to the city for 2012-2013 industrial stormwater discharges from their facilities. Both facilities submitted the required reports after receiving the city’s letters. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent a warning letter to Marjorie Smith of Corvallis on Sept. 3 for operating the septic system at Crooked Creek Mobile Home Park in Alsea without a discharge permit.

Maybe it’s the diaries of Lewis and Clark, or perhaps it’s Woody Guthrie’s folk song “Roll On, Columbia, Roll On” that makes us think of the Columbia River as a uniquely American waterway, but the river actually begins in the Canadian Rockies. The Columbia River Treaty between the United States and Canada has managed the river’s flows since 1964, and the time is nearing to reassess that treaty. 

If you wanted to exercise your right to free speech this week on Lane County property then you would have found that the Free Speech Plaza was shut down. No problem. The county provided a 71-by-73-foot square in a gravel parking lot off 6th Avenue for free speech use from 6 am to 11 pm from Sept. 6 to 10. 

Jean Stacey of SLEEPS, Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep, filed Oregon State Bar complaints against County Counsel Stephen Dingle and former county administrator Liane Richardson in regard to testimony they gave Aug. 19 in the cases against Alley Valkyrie and 21 SLEEPS protesters in the Free Speech Plaza that were later dismissed. The Lane County Commission is currently discussing making changes to the “free speech area” of the Wayne Morse Terrace, as the county is now calling it.

As kids gear up for another school year, sex education probably isn’t the first thing on everyone’s minds, but perhaps Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards’ upcoming visit to Eugene can serve as a reminder that learning about sex in an informative, helpful way is still an integral part of our school system. Richards has served as president of Planned Parenthood since 2006, and in that time, she has worked to promote sex education and maintain access to preventive care throughout health care system upheavals. 

Congressman Peter DeFazio said he doesn’t think it is a good idea to “lob cruise missiles for an unspecified objective” when it comes to dealing with the question of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war. Speaking at a press conference Aug. 30, DeFazio argued that congressional war powers have been eroded. President Barack Obama is now seeking congressional approval to attack Syria, without a United Nations mandate. 

Eugene’s street community lost one of its own when Philip James Williams — affectionately known by many as Pip — died Aug. 4 of a heroin overdose. He was 25.

An evening memorial service and public celebration of life was held Aug. 28 at  Kesey Square in downtown Eugene, where upwards of 100 people gathered to share remembrances. Over a public address system set up on the red bricks, friends, family and members of the city’s transient population spoke with emotion into a single microphone, sharing their recollections and grief.

The Oregon University System’s bargaining with staff is coming down to the wire, with classified staff union SEIU 503 scheduled to vote on strike authorization Sept. 9-11, in advance of a Sept. 13-14 bargaining session. Classified staff includes non-teaching and non-administrative staff from janitors to computer programmers. Union leaders say that OUS isn’t debating important work-related topics because the National Labor Relations Act doesn’t require some issues to be discussed.

Eugene Celebration Parade photos.

The eighth time’s a charm? The UO’s faculty union, United Academics at the University of Oregon (UAUO), enters its eighth scheduled bargaining session of the summer Thursday, Aug. 29. “We’ve made a lot of progress in a lot of areas, but we’ve got a few sticking points, as far as salary, faculty-shared governance and more job security for non-tenure track faculty,” says Ron Bramhall, a senior business instructor on the UAUO bargaining team.

More than two million acres of public forests, a checkered history, and federal and state laws confusingly mixed with county funding means that the current O&C lands logging proposal can be hard to wrap your mind around. About 150 people came to the downtown Eugene Public Library Aug. 26 to try to understand the “DeFazio bill,” or as it is more properly known, the O&C Trust, Conservation and Jobs Act.

It was around 2 am when nature called for Stacie Brumley. The Safeway had been closed for an hour, but the public restroom at Junction City’s Laurel Park was a stone’s throw away. That’s where, on June 19, Junction City police cited Brumley, a homeless artist, for a curfew violation.

The trendy bottled water you’re drinking is often just tap water in disguise. In the case of a young company here in Eugene, it’s actually out-of-state tap water. Emerald Valley H2O is marketing an “eco-friendly” brand of bottled water that uses plastic bottles made from 100 percent recycled materials, with some of its water sourced from Southern California municipal water.

A new project is on the way to open a LGBTIQ community center in Lane County. The original Q, the nonprofit Queer Resource for Social Change, closed its doors in December 2009.

Since the community center closed in 2009, Q has been hosting an online community resource that highlights cultural events focusing on building community for LGBTIQ people (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning). Q has been using art as a way to create a safe space in the world for trans people since 1997.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent a notice of noncompliance to Cascade Pacific Pulp LLC on July 19 for a hazardous waste violation at its Halsey facility, specifically for storing waste without a permit. Comments on stormwater plans for Schnitzer Steel, BJB Milling & Lumber, Ideal Steel and Seneca Sawmill Company are due to DEQ by 5 pm Sept. 5. Visit goo.gl/ScwdH to see stormwater plans, and goo.gl/iMDQb to comment.

Although many of the animals that come through Greenhill Humane Society and 1st Avenue Shelter are expected to be adopted relatively soon after they have been attended to, some have a much more murky future. 

Emma is one of those cases.

“She was found in Junction City and brought to the 1st Avenue Shelter on May 28. She was extremely neglected and malnourished,” says Sasha Elliott, communications manager of Greenhill Humane Society. In a case like Emma’s, hand feeding was necessary, which helped her gain 20 pounds. 

A train disaster can stem from something as small as a leak — chlorine gas can be fatal when inhaled — or as massive as an ethanol or crude-oil fed fire. An environmental disaster can stem from something as simple as a train derailment or as complex as the massive amounts of fossil fuels and hazardous materials that are turning Oregon into an energy-industry gateway.

 Former Lane County administrator Liane Richardson was fired after an investigation stemming from changes she made to her pay, and now questions arise over the pay stubs of County Counsel Stephen Dingle, who has been intertwined with the Richardson controversy.

James Chastain’s tent sat by Ferry Street Bridge for a week. He pitched camp and others followed — three, then five, then 20. “It became a neighborhood,” he says. Homeless advocates say a neighborhood — or at least a safe place for the many homeless people in Lane County to sleep — is still needed.

Federal Judge Ann Aiken of Eugene has joined 86 other federal district court chief justices in a letter to Congress calling for an end to sequestration, the mandatory 10 percent federal budget cuts that have followed years of flat funding. The federal judiciary, facing budget cuts of $350 million in 2013, has lost more than 2,000 staff members, reducing personnel to 1999 levels at a time when workload has increased. In addition, furlough days due to sequestration are expected to total 8,600 by the end of this year.

• Giustina Land & Timber Co., 345-2301, plans to hire Western Helicopter Services Inc, (503) 538-9469, to aerial spray 125 acres near Crow, Norris and Coyote Creeks with Get Wise, Aminopyralid, Glyphosate, Imazapyr, Metsulfuron Methyl and/or Sulfometuron Methyl. See ODF notification 2013-781-00697 for more information.

Opportunity Village Eugene’s ribbon is snipped, and now it’s time for construction. Following the Eugene Celebration Parade Saturday, Aug. 24, residents and volunteers will head to the site at 111 N. Garfield and begin constructing its shelters. “When this succeeds, this can go nationwide,” future resident Mark Hubbell says.

At the ribbon cutting, organizers reported that in addition to the construction, they’re working on even more service-related plans for the village, including an educational program called “The Academy.”

Eugene’s bike traffic may move a little differently soon. Changes that could be put into the city’s code include a larger zone excluding bikes and skateboards on sidewalks downtown, allowing skateboards to travel in bike lanes and quiet electric-assist bikes allowed on off-street paths, where they’re now banned. The city is seeking input from Eugeneans to establish whether residents want the changes, which could make sidewalks and streets safer and more accessible.

Whither Civic Stadium? After a two-year moratorium, the site’s future is once more a live question, and Eugeneans might wonder what part the public can play in answering it — and whether they prefer a big box store or a soccer team.

According to Eugene 4J School Board Chairperson Mary Walston, the board is soliciting comments at its 7 pm Aug. 28 meeting at César E. Chávez Elementary School. The board welcomes both oral and written testimony, and the public comment period is early on the meeting’s agenda.