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News Briefs

Hang onto your cash, bus riders. While the bus routes to the Oregon Country Fair have always been free, this year the entire LTD system will cost nothing for the duration of Fair, which runs July 12-14.

“It’s the first time that anybody’s bought out the entire system,” says LTD spokesperson Andy Vobora. The Fair, which has long emphasized sustainability and public transit, paid $32,370 to sponsor all of LTD’s routes during the three-day event.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assessed a penalty of $15,600 against Christopher John Bartels on June 20 for illegally discharging wastewater from his meat processing and packing facility to ditches flowing to wetlands on two occasions in 2011. The facility is located on Central Road, south of Perkins Peninsula Park. According to DEQ, Bartels has made significant improvements to his wastewater treatment and disposal system since the 2011 violations.

Though the Oregon Legislature is still tied up in session, Oregon dogs will no longer be tied up on short leashes or for long periods of time, thanks to an anti-dog-tethering bill. That’s just one of several animal-oriented bills that came up this session. Animal advocates are cheering the ones that have passed (and cheering some that died) and expect some more good news for the beasties to come through before the session ends.

Children can enjoy free lunches through the Summer Food Service Program, a federally funded nutrition program open to all kids ages 1-18. In addition to lunch, some sites also offer breakfast and snacks to accompany a day of activities.

Successes in Native American forestry, despite huge financial challenges, are proving a model for future stewardship, according to the Indian Forestry Management Assessment Team (IFMAT).

“The tribes have been here for thousands of years,” says George Smith, executive director of Oregon’s Coquille Tribe. “They have a direct connection to the land and the long-term consequences of its management.”

The White Castle pilot project is an unusual kind of logging proposal and it’s led to an unusual forest defender vs. forest scientist dynamic. When forestry professor Norm Johnson of OSU, who created the project along with Jerry Franklin of the University of Washington, found out that the Cascadia Forest Defenders (CFD) had taken to the trees last week to stop the proposed logging, he decided he would head out to the site near Roseburg and talk to the protesters.

Gold mining and all its negative environmental effects have made their way to the waterways of Lane County. River guide Frank Armendariz was out walking his dog early in May in an open section of Armitage Park when he says he saw a Jeep parked inside a portion of the park still locked behind gates and a man digging away at the riverbank. Gold mining in southern Oregon has led not just to the degradation of rivers but also to shootings and legal battles, but, until now, it has not been much of an issue on the McKenzie River. 

In objection to the planned West 11th EmX extension, perennial bus-rapid-transit-opponents Our Money Our Transit (OMOT) filed a lawsuit against the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) June 11, calling for the project to be halted pending further review. The suit claims that the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) that the FTA issued after reviewing the expected effects of the LTD project’s impact was improper, but LTD says that it thinks the FONSI will hold up in court, and there’s not much chance that the EmX extension will be delayed.

After a brief but vociferous debate, the Eugene City Council voted 5-3 June 17 to grant Core Campus, a Chicago-based developer, approximately $4.5 million in tax exemptions over 10 years for a planned 12-story student apartment building. In response, neighborhood advocate Paul Conte announced that he would file a ballot initiative petition to abolish any Multiple-Unit Property Tax Exemptions (MUPTEs) granted after April 2013.

One bunny had a broken jaw and was missing its tail. Three more wound up at the home of a Cottage Grove employee after a co-worker said her kids couldn’t keep them. Heather Crippen of Red Barn Rabbit Rescue says that those were a few of the results of a previous “animal scramble” at the Cottage Grove Rodeo.

If the Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) wins its appeal before the Oregon Supreme Court, Lane County could get $7.2 million from communications giant Comcast in taxes. If the state loses, then Lane County Tax Assessor Mike Cowles says at least the county won’t owe any money, thanks to a bill that was passed in the 2011 Legislature after the Comcast dispute began in 2009. Ten Oregon counties are affected by the dispute: Lane, Multnomah, Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Linn, Marion, Polk, Washington and Yamhill.

Love your “I love My Ducks” T-shirt? John Henzie of Triangle Graphics is worried that with the UO’s new request for proposals (RFP) for apparel licenses asking for a half million dollars as a “minimum annual guarantee,” small, local businesses like his won’t be able to compete and make spur-of-the moment T-shirts anymore. The RFP does not affect Nike.

A week before the school year ended, students at Edison Elementary held a protest after being cut off from bento boxes. For most of the year, Ume Grill’s Helen Nahoopii had been delivering the single-portion lunches packed in boxes to kids at Roosevelt Middle School and Edison Elementary after their parents ordered the boxes online. She says the district ordered her to stop because providing the food violates the district’s contract with food service giant Sodexo. 

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assessed another fine against local residents for pollution from a leaking septic system last week, this time on Tioga Drive in Cottage Grove. DEQ assessed a civil penalty of $11,857 against David and Laura Pendergrass after Lane County discovered the leaking septic in January, and the Pendergrasses failed to respond to three separate letters from DEQ and the county. The discharge appears to be continuing, and DEQ’s order requires it to be eliminated immediately.

After an opening win against the Bend Timbers at home, the EMFC Azul head onto the road for a collection of games head coach Jürgen Ruckaberle isn’t taking lightly. The team faced Bend on Tuesday, June 11. Azul won 2-1, and a few changes were in store. Italian midfielder Eleonora Petralia made her debut in return from injury, as did UO’s Achijah Berry. 

It’s not pot! That’s one of the main messages behind Hemp History Week, says Eugene hemp activist Michael Moore, better known as Papa Hemp. Eugeneans will gather for a free educational event from noon to 10 pm Saturday, June 8, at 267 Van Buren St. across from Ninkasi, and learn more about the plant that can’t get you high.

With thick fur and paws that work like snowshoes, the Canada lynx is a cat specialized for hunting in the snow. Already decimated by habitat destruction and overhunting, lynx are now facing the added danger of climate change, which may diminish their snowy habitats. 

The Eugene Metro Football Club (EMFC) Azul took on and defeated the Bend Timbers by a score of 4-1 in front of 700 patrons packed in bleachers above the South Eugene High School soccer field. In this season-opening game, fans and head coach Jürgen Ruckaberle got their first peek of Gaia Mastrovincenzo, a touted forward and midfielder from the prestigious Serie A’s Riviera di Romagna in Italy, who stood out in leading her new team to victory.

It’s been more than half a century since packs of gray wolves wandered the rim of Crater Lake and the Three Sisters Wilderness, but conservationists say that their howls may soon be heard again in those areas, once they disperse into western Oregon. Due to a recent settlement between several conservation organizations, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, wolves are now granted increased protection by Oregon law, easing their transition as they recover their population.

Eugene and deserts sound like an unlikely combination, but the USDA lists four Eugene food deserts, census tracts that contain a high percentage of low-income people living in areas with low access to fresh, healthy food. For a year, students from the UO Architecture School’s Digital Media Collective (DMC) studied public use of private space and accessibility of healthy food throughout the city, and their final project is the fabrication of food shelving that’s adaptable enough for “pop-up” markets.

UO architecture students aren’t just taking classes and making floor plans, they’re using their degree-earning time to rebuild a house — with a special focus on the marriage of design and sustainability. The Center for the Advancement of Sustainable Living (CASL, sounds like “castle”), at 1801 Moss St., is re-creating and adding onto the house where it’s based, while inviting the local residents inside to brainstorm about their own projects.

After some delays and years of planning, the curtain is rising on the newest theater downtown — the Bijou Metro. Saturday, June 1, the art house cinema will open to the public with screenings of the Japanese anime film From Up On Poppy Hill, The Angels’ Share (a whiskey flick), The Rep (a movie about indie cinemas with an appearance by the Bijou’s owner-booker Ed Schiessl) and a midnight showing of a cult classic (TBD).

It came to a grand total of $550,000 to bring the Dalai Lama to Portland in May, but what it cost to bring him to Eugene is not yet known. His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, spent most of his Oregon visit in Portland, with a stop in Eugene for his May 10 lecture, “The Path to Peace and Happiness in the Global Society.” 

UO spokesman Phil Weiler says the UO has not yet done a final accounting of the Eugene event, with some big-ticket expenditures still coming in, but that the UO’s “expectation from the beginning was that expenses would exceed revenues.”

• Walton Hylomorphia plans to ground spray 175 acres near the Siuslaw River with Glyphosate, Triclopyr Ester and Glyphosate Amine.

• ODOT spring spraying plan: the week of May 13, the Veneta section including 126 west of Eugene, Hwy. 36 and Territorial Highway; the week of May 20, the Florence section of Hwys. 126 West, 36 and 101. Spraying began at the beginning of May, call Tony Kilmer at ODOT District 5 (Lane County area) at 744-8080 or call (888) 996-8080 for herbicide application information.