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The question of whether a local air agency like Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) is better for Lane County’s air quality than moving to a state agency was the topic Commissioner Pete Sorenson wanted to see addressed at the County Commissioners’ LRAPA work session Nov. 27. Sorenson says the agenda set for the meeting, which was called at the behest of Commissioner Jay Bozievich, was all about the agency and not about the air.

Industrial stormwater discharges are one of the most commonly permitted discharges under the Clean Water Act in Oregon. Statewide, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has permitted about 700 such discharges (with 119 of those discharges in Lane County, and 86 of those Lane County discharges are located in Eugene). Last year, DEQ issued a new industrial stormwater permit that’s generally more stringent than the old permit, and is currently in the process of assigning facilities to the new permit, which includes accepting public comments on stormwater plans.

Is a small, speedy potato-shaped seabird the new spotted owl? If it wasn’t already clear before: Clearcutting on hundreds of acres of coastal old-growth forests that are habitat for the threatened marbled murrelet is definitely at a standstill, this time thanks to a Nov. 19 ruling by federal Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene. 

Michael Hogan has stepped down after 39 years as a judge in federal courts, and the $100,000-plus privately funded retirement bash planned in his honor has been downsized at his request. The change in plans also follows a story in Willamette Week Nov. 21 that quotes Portland attorney Michael Esler saying “The ostentatiousness makes us lawyers look even worse than we already look.”

Tsunami Books will be home to readings by local writers and poets “committed to narrative and lyrical art” at 7 pm Sunday, Dec. 2, according to Michael Copperman, one of the event’s nine writers who graduated from the UO’s MFA program in creative writing. The readings, in honor of the departure of poet and fellow MFA grad Michelle Penaloza, mark the inaugural gathering of the Oregon Writers Collective. 

We wrote about The Barn Light in this column back in August and its plans to open a new bar and coffee shop in September. The classy new watering hole finally opened the evening of Thanksgiving Day at 924 Willamette, in the newly rebuilt Broadway Commerce Center. Owners are Thomas Pettus-Czar and Dustin Kinsey, who met and worked together at a popular bar and coffee shop in Lawrence, Kan. “We look forward to participating in the rebirth of a thriving, vibrant center of commerce and community in downtown Eugene,” says Kinsey.

EmX funding still has more public process to go through and the deadline for written testimony is Dec. 2 for pending action by the Central Lane Metropolitan Planning Organization. The MPO will be looking at whether to earmark Oregon Lottery funds to help finance EmX expansion. Send comments to mpo@lcog.org 

In Afghanistan

• 2,151 U.S. troops killed* (2,147)

• 17,992 U.S. troops wounded in action (17,992)

• 1,263 U.S. contractors killed (1,263)

• 12,793 civilians killed (12,793)

• $588 billion cost of war ($585 billion)

• $173.6 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($172.8 million)

 

In Iraq

Eco-saboteur Daniel McGowan, the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary film If a Tree Falls, will be released from the secretive prison where he has been held for the past several years on Dec. 11. The Civil Liberties Defense Center, which has worked to expose and oppose the Communications Management Units where McGowan was held, is sponsoring a fundraising event at Cozmic Friday, Nov. 23, support to help McGowan after he is released.

The news that clearcutting would be suspended on 914 acres of the Elliott State Forest came to logging opponents through a September memo that was posted on the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) website, Josh Laughlin of Cascadia Wildlands says. He says this was welcome news for an endangered sea bird that nests in Oregon’s coastal old-growth forests. Cascadia Wildlands and other groups filed a suit in federal court in July to try protect the threatened marbled murrelet and its habitat, and that suit has led to the temporary cease in clearcutting.

Finding a tree to hug is an easy task in arboreal Eugene, and Friends of Trees aims to make it even easier by adding to the urban forest. The group’s next planting opportunity to is Dec. 1 at Washington Park. Volunteers will break into teams and plant street and yard trees in several south Eugene neighborhoods. The event begins at 9 am.

Two Occupy Eugene protesters got cold and in trouble for calling attention to homeless people who are cold and in trouble. The activists received citations for criminal trespass in the second degree around 1:30 am Monday after scaling the chain-link fence that blocks off Eugene’s City Hall. The Occupiers were protesting the city’s lack of action in providing homeless people with a safe place to sleep during the winter.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) records indicate that Junction City has now paid the water pollution penalty mentioned in Nov. 15’s Pollution Update.

The City of Eugene’s Stormwater Annual Report is now online, and public comments are being accepted until 5 pm on Nov. 30.  Go to wkly.ws/1e4

In 1990 President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” The irony is that this falls around the same time as Columbus Day, marking the “discovery of America” and beginning of colonization.

Protesters in Texas have put up treesits and locked themselves to machinery to stop the Keystone XL pipeline; thousands of activists gathered around the White House Nov. 18 to call on President Obama to reject the controversial tar sands conduit; and here in Eugene, as part of a week of solidarity actions, local activists faced high winds and rain to voice their concerns about tar sands oil. 

Amy Schneider

 et al.

A downpour of rain and a lack of media attention did nothing to stop a group of protesters from picketing at 7th and Pearl in downtown Eugene on Saturday, Nov. 16. Members of the Tea Party-related Lane County 9-12 Project and other conservative groups say it’s the lack of local media attention that has led them to protest local media. 

The activists decked out in rain jackets and umbrellas gathered to express their dissatisfaction with the media’s coverage of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. 

MECCA, the Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts, is expanding its store hours at 449 Willamette St., next to the Amtrak station. MECCA will now be open afternoons and early evenings, and will be celebrating its new hours with a public ceremony at 11 am Saturday, Dec. 1. Officiating will be MECCA Executive Director Jija Adrade and Slug Queen Sadie Slimy Stitches. The nonprofit store acts as a clearing house for scraps and discards that can be used creatively and sold at low prices to artists, teachers and others.

• A beach clean-up day in the Florence area is planned for 10:30 am Sunday, Nov. 25, by the Surfrider Foundation. See oregon.surfrider.org/events or email jonandjaine@bmi.net or call (800) 743-SURF.

• A petition From Cascadia Wildlands at wkly.ws/1e0 urges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to maintain federal protections for wolves in the Pacific Northwest. Wolves, even those with collars, are being hunted and killed in Northwestern states. See more information at the Forest Web of Cottage Grove Facebook page.

If your soul is feeling like a frozen sea within you, Franz Kafka would recommend you read a book to serve as an axe for the ice — and Eugene-based nonprofit Books to the People wants to be there with a carefully selected collection of axes for you to choose from at no cost to you. 

Heidy Hollister, a former Lane County Animal Services veterinary technician who then went on to work for Greenhill Humane Society after it took over the LCAS shelter, has filed a $700,000 suit against Greenhill that says she was subject to “unwarranted criticism and reprimands” and her contract terminated after she complained “that many of the animals were injured, sick and diseased and defendant [Greenhill] did not provide them with adequate or any medication or hygienic care to relieve their pain and suffering.”

In early September, DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) assessed a penalty of $1,500 against SFPP, L.P. for Clean Water Act violations at its bulk petroleum facility at 1765 Prairie Rd. (just south of Lane Forest Products and north of Maxwell Road). The violations consisted of multiple oil and grease limit violations, and multiple failure-to-monitor violations. The Prairie Road facility is the southern terminus of a 114-mile pipeline from Portland, and has a storage capacity in excess of 700,000 barrels.

Holiday Market, an extension of Saturday Market that includes fine arts and crafts from around the region, plus food and music, kicks off from 10 am to 6 pm Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Fairgrounds. The market runs weekends through Dec. 24. See holidaymarket.org

Dutch Bros. Coffee is planning to open its first Cottage Grove location at 1534 N. Gateway Blvd. at a date in November to be announced. The coffee chain gives away free drinks when it opens new stores, always leading to long lines.

• “The PERS Picture in Oregon and Springfield” will be the topic at Springfield City Club at 11:45 am Thursday, Nov. 15, at Willamalane Center, 250 South 32nd St., Springfield. Panelists will include John Thomas, Brett Yancey and Bob Duey. 

In Afghanistan

• 2,143 U.S. troops killed* (2,142)

• 17,939 U.S. troops wounded in action (17,887)

• 1,263 U.S. contractors killed (1,263)

• 12,793 civilians killed (12,793)

• $584 billion cost of war ($581.7 billion)

• $172.5 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($171.8 million)

 

In Iraq