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News Briefs

Attorneys for a mentally ill homeless man say Lane County refuses to turn over documents related to a case against the county that alleges officials violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and violated Mark Andrew Kemp’s constitutional rights.

Gumby is back, he’s in Lane County and he’s green. The clay animation character was always green in color, but after more than a decade of quiet living outside Cottage Grove, Gumby’s only authorized impersonator — Michael West when he’s not in his Gumby suit — wants to bring Gumby back out and embrace the environmental movement.

The Eugene Peace Team will join the international Culture of Peace Initiative to observe the 2012 U.N. International Day of Peace Sept. 21 with a series of events.

From 7 to 8:30 am Friday at the Eugene Hilton will be an interfaith community breakfast with Anita Weiss, Ph.D., speaking on “Understanding Women’s Rights in Islam.” Cost is $5-$25.

• ODOT plans to do herbicide spot and structure (guardrail) spraying along Highway 36 for noxious weeds from Sept. 24 through Oct. 5. They do not plan to do any spraying in the section from milepost 24 to 32.2 at Amy Road in the Beyond Toxics Adopt-A-Weed program.

• Giustina, 245-2301, is hiring Washburn Contract Services, (503) 831-1593 to do roadside and other spraying on many miles near the Long Tom River, Owens Creek, Jones Creek and Swartz Creek. See ODF notice 2012-781-00659.

Big changes are coming with the implementation of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and some local midwives are worried that low-income clients from the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) will be lost in the shuffle. OHP services in Lane County have historically been provided through Lane Independent Practice Association and LaneCare, but beginning Nov. 1, those services will be provided by Trillium, Lane County’s new coordinated care organization (CCO). 

Nothing’s worse than science getting in the way of a good clearcut. On Aug. 13, timber industry, livestock and off-road groups filed a case in federal court alleging that a planning rule for federal lands unlawfully establishes “ecological sustainability” as a primary purpose of national forest management. Conservation groups say the industry suit aims to drastically limit the use of science in managing national forests.

Local homeless people and homeless advocates have long complained of difficulties when they seek justice for those who have been assaulted or harassed. Two travelers and a Eugene resident allege that a local food vendor isn’t being charged with an assault that left the Eugenean with a fractured face. Social justice advocate Carol Berg-Caldwell says the vendor has a history of violence and one Eugene bias crime conviction for a 2007 assault on a black man.

What’s the first thing you should do when you commit to living a more sane and energy-efficient life? “Inventory your possessions” and figure out what you can live with and what you can’t live without. That was the painful advice home designer and artist Michael Pease gave to empty-nesters Alan Dickman and Sue Burden-Dickman, who downsized from a large conventional house to an efficient new 1,300-square-foot living space in June.

This summer’s “animal scramble” at the Cottage Grove Rodeo appalled animal lovers, who say the rabbits used in the event can be hurt or even killed. The Cottage Grove Riding Club, which puts on the scramble, said at a Sept. 10 board meeting that the event prevents the rabbits from being slaughtered for meat.

The Eugene City Council is readying for another public forum on the Downtown Public Safety Zone, often called the downtown exclusion zone, in advance of an Oct. 8 vote on whether to renew it. Occupy Eugene police liaisons and attorney Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center say the Eugene Police Department stonewalled their public records request until the last minute. Now the EPD is suggesting that the city pay $15,000 for legal representation for the accused rather than do away with the exclusion ordinance.

Those trees lining the streets of Eugene are more than just urban decoration. They could help the city deal with climate change. Friends of Trees (FOT) is an organization that brings people together to plant and care for trees and green spaces. The group hopes to begin a community-wide conversation about creating a resilient urban canopy to help mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Eugeneans who don’t want their tax dollars used to investigate and raid medical marijuana facilitators have a lot to complain about in the latest Oregon raid.

Canola (aka rapeseed) opponents are celebrating the announcement that canola will not be planted in the Willamette Valley this year. The Oregon Court of Appeals has put a stay on a temporary rule that would have allowed the controversial crop to be planted in an expanded area this fall on about 480,000 acres in the valley.

Forget cut-offs, streetlights and looking both ways before crossing the street. This weekend the city of Eugene is allowing South Eugene neighborhoods to take back the streets for a day.

Last year’s event took place in the Whiteaker and downtown, closing a mile-long stretch of road on 5th Avenue between Pearl and Blair Boulevard. It drew close to 2,000 people and garnered a lot of positive feedback from the community, according to city Transportation Coordinator Lindsay Selser. 

It’s almost fall, blackberries are ripening, and it’s harvest season. But for the rural communities around Triangle Lake, that also means it’s pesticide spray season. Eron King, a mother and farmer, says while an Oregon Health Authority (OHA) investigation into the toxic sprays by the timber industry appears to be on hold, the fight against them sprays is not. 

Retired Portland mail carrier Jaime Partridge put the finishing touches on his monthlong “postal road warrior trip” when he visited Eugene Aug. 27. Partridge has been visiting Oregon U.S. Postal Service (USPS) processing centers and post offices on the chopping block in the coming year to help communities organize to save them. While here, he met with members of the Eugene/Springfield Solidarity Network (ESSN), a local labor and civil rights organization that will continue the fight to save the Gateway processing center in Springfield. 

Congressman Peter DeFazio has weighed in on the coal export debate that is raging in the Northwest. He says, “I’m not a big fan of coal; I wish we didn’t burn coal at all.” However, he says that the Powder River Basin coal that would be exported via Coos Bay under the current proposal is a cleaner burning coal than what is being currently burned in Korea. “In this isolated instance, my understanding is this is to displace dirtier coal,” already burning in existing coal plants, he says, as opposed to proposals along the Columbia that would ship coal to new power plants in Asia.

Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon (PPSO) is busy moving into its new regional Health & Education Center at 3579 Franklin Blvd., in Glenwood, and will open its doors to the public at 10:30 am Tuesday, Sept. 4. The long-awaited new facility consolidates the Eugene High Street center, the Eugene administrative offices and the Springfield Q Street center, but other sites, including the Bethel Express Health Clinic, will remain open.

Lost Valley Educational Center in Dexter is having its annual open house Sept. 8, and this year the proceeds will benefit both Lost Valley and the fight to save nearby Parvin Butte. Lost Valley is a learning community that hosts courses, workshops, events, a conference center and the Meadowsong Ecovillage residential community. The Lost Valley Fest starts at 4 pm and will feature music by the Conjugal Vistors, tours and treats. See lostvalley.org for directions.

When Susan Lynette Hughes felt a sting on her buttocks while she stood near East 11th and Mill July 10, at first she thought it was a bee sting. Then the men she was talking to started feeling stings, and she realized they were being shot with BBs.

Hughes, who is unhoused, says she had heard of college students shooting homeless people with BB guns, but she and the men standing with her were still shocked and angry. The men and the shooter exchanged shouts, and Hughes says she wanted to prevent the situation from escalating.

A cut-and-paste error by an attorney was enough to send the conservative members of the Lane County Board of Commissioners into a tailspin and reportedly briefly lock progressive Commissioner Pete Sorenson out of his office. Fellow liberal Commissioner Rob Handy had been locked out of his office for more than 80 days and was only recently let back in, long after an investigation into allegations of financial impropriety by the Oregon Department of Justice had released the office. 

The “war on drugs” — particularly on marijuana — has already played a big role in Oregon politics this year, garnering national attention during the Oregon attorney general race. Despite that attention, Libertarian vice presidential candidate James P. Gray, former presiding judge of the Superior Court of Orange County, Calif., said during a visit to EW that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are rolling out any new ideas when it comes to the failed drug war.

Anti-pesticide activist Day Owen believes the forestry herbicides that drifted onto his organic farm and onto his skin from a nearby helicopter spray in October 2007 may have given him skin cancer.

In the historic Mabel Schoolhouse lies an all-but-forgotten organization of farmers and community, the Mohawk Valley Community Grange in Marcola. While the history of these community buildings is long, this grange is taking on a new role as one of the community’s oldest backbones. 

“The spirit of the grange is opening up the community,” Grangemaster Tom Baratta says. “We try to open the doors through volunteerism, planning community events, fundraising and renting out the facility.”