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May 1, 2014 03:06 PM

It's endorsement time — ballots for the primary election here in Oregon get mailed tomorrow — and newspapers are putting out their endorsements, as well as printing page after page of stories, interviews and viewpoints on who's running and what we think of them. Sometimes the backstory is more fun than the endorsements.

Like when a karaoke-singing climate change denying Senate candidate calls out a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for writing "blah blah blah in his notebook." (And yes, good reporters still take notes). 

EW's recs on who you should cast your ballot for will come out in next week's paper, but Portland's Willamette Week published its endorsements yesterday. Today, media blogger Jim Romenesko calls attention to what some might call a gaffe by Pulitzer Prize-winner Nigel Jaquiss during a lengthy endorsement interview.

I don't call it a gaffe, I call it what we all want to write when a politician drones on and on and on. 

Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Republican Senate candidate Jo Rae Perkins was on the phone rambling on (you can watch the whole thing here, or just start at around 1 hour and 6 minutes in, aka the fun part). Perennial candidate Mark Callahan was sitting across the table from Jaquiss and angrily pointed out that he could see what Jaquiss was doing: 

"I see what you’re writing down there. You just wrote down 'blah blah blah blah' for everything that Jo Rae said. Jo Rae is a respectful woman. Why are you not respecting her by writing 'blah blah blah blah' in your notepad?"

Callahan, still grumbling about Jaquiss' notes settles down enough to move on to the next question, which was  about climate change. “It’s a myth,” he says.

Jaquiss, who was already winning with the blah blah thing, then mildly asks, "Where are you on the Easter Bunny?"

Callahan, who had previously been called out for his behavior earlier in the interview, then begins to angrily object to the question and to what he calls a lack of respect. The moderator then tells him he has had two strikes and will be asked to leave. "Who do you think you are?" he asks Willamette Week.

"This is neither a fair nor balanced meeting," he's told, as it's pointed out to him this is an endorsement interview. Callahan calls WW disrepectful thin-skinned liberals before announcing he has better things to do with his time and leaving. 

Willamette Week did not endorse Callahan in the Republican primary, instead the Portland alt weekly endorsed Oregon Right-to-Life candidate Jason Conger, which as they say, is a whole 'nother issue. Conger tells Willy Week that he doesn't really have a firm conviction either way on the "climate change debate." He calls both sides "incredible."

EW hasn't covered Callahan's many campaigns very much (and I'm pretty sure we won't be endorsing any climate change deniers) but we did cover his karaoke singing in some detail back in 2010 in a story by Rick Levin when Callahan was running for Lane County Commissioner. 

At the more uplifting end of the karaoke spectrum is the story of Eugene native Mark Callahan, who sang Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” the same night I butchered Tom Petty. Callahan, a graduate of Sheldon High School and OSU, is in his early 30s, married, with two young daughters. What makes him remarkable, and perhaps unique, as a karaoke singer is that he flies completely solo — meaning that, instead of making karaoke a social outing, Callahan chooses to go to the bar alone, stay sober as a jaybird and sing as many songs as he can get in.

Callahan says he was introverted as a kid, and though he outgrew his shyness in college, he doesn’t consider himself an exhibitionist. In fact, his Saturday night outings provide him with a means of overcoming, via karaoke, any lingering social anxieties. “This has actually really helped me to build up my confidence. I actually used to have a kind of nervousness talking in front of people,” he says.

“I think I just want to be more open,” says Callahan, noting that he usually feels pretty good upon finishing a song. “It’s almost like coming down off some kind of high. It’s almost like pure joy.”

And here’s the corker: Callahan recently tossed his hat in the ring for Lane County Commissioner, vying in the District 2 slot being vacated in November by Bill Dwyer. Callahan considers entering politics to be a natural evolution of his upbringing in the Boy Scouts, an organization that acted “like a surrogate father” after his parents divorced. The Scouts, he says, proved that making a difference in people’s lives is both desirable and possible.

Is it too much of a stretch to conclude that, for Callahan, the challenge of singing karaoke gave rise to a desire for political office? Why not? Just as Kennedy’s cathode-charismatic crushing of a perplexed, pasty-faced Nixon during the 1960 presidential debate ushered in the era of televised politics, could Callahan be a harbinger — our first karaoke commissioner?

“The main reason I do [karaoke] is to be up in front of people,” Callahan says. “If I can combine that confidence with my desire to help people, I think that’s going to work out good for me.”

May 1, 2014 11:01 AM

Reading legal documents is a key part of covering certain news stories. Sometimes it's fascinating. Sometimes I wish lawyers would stop capitalizing every other word (I know, it's a legal thing, but seriously people it's city, not City). 

Reading legal transcripts is more of the same. Sometimes fascinating, sometimes a morass of legal confusion. But The New York Time's new Verbatim series that is "dramatizing" legal transcripts takes things to a whole new level. This deposition is frustratingly brilliant.

Without giving to much away, here's the NYT's description of the case:

The Case: Ohio Supreme Court Case 2010-2029

In 2010, the Cuyahoga County Recorder’s Office in Ohio changed their policy about copying records. Digital files would no longer be available, and the public would have to make hard copies of documents for $2 per page. This would prove to be prohibitively expensive for Data Trace Information Services and Property Insight, companies that collect hundreds of pages of this public information each week. They sued the Recorder’s Office for access to digital versions of the documents on a CD. In the middle of the case, a lawyer representing them questioned the IT administrator of the Recorder’s Office, which led to a 10-page argument over the semantics of photocopiers.

April 25, 2014 03:59 PM

The world of social media has noticed that not only does Lane County inspect local restaurants, it posts them online in a searchable database. For those of you who haven't had the scores posted and reposted on Facebook, Twitter and the like, you can find them here. 

To make it easier, the restaurants that received failing scores — below 70 — and need to be inspected again in 30 days are highlighted in red. You can search by city, score and/or restaurant name. 

As of today, of  Eugene's 563 restaurants listed only five earned the red highlights.

Springfield showed 196 restaurants and none with a score of 69 or less — that includes strip clubs that serve food, like Sweet Illusions, for those of you who wonder about such things.

April 24, 2014 01:20 PM

Is Portland powered by Canadian corpses? The Associated Press is reporting that "The Marion County Board of Commissioners in Salem has ordered an incinerator to stop accepting boxed medical waste to generate electricity after learning the waste it’s been burning may include tissue from aborted fetuses from British Columbia."

It sounds like the issue for the commission is that there might be some tissue from fetuses in the sealed boxes that are being sent to Salem from British Columbia.

Right, squeamish commissioners, never mind the other leftover body parts that have apparently been generating power in Oregon: "Kristy Anderson, a British Columbia Health Ministry spokeswoman, told The Associated Press that regional health authorities there have a contract with a company that sends biomedical waste, such as fetal tissue, cancerous tissue and amputated limbs, to Oregon, where it’s incinerated in the waste-energy plant."

The AP story continues:

 "The facility is owned and operated by Covanta in a partnership with Marion County. According to its website, it processes 550 tons per day of municipal solid waste, generating up to 13 megawatts of energy sold to Portland General Electric.

Marion County estimates that the facility processes about 700 tons of in-county medical waste each year and about 1,200 tons from elsewhere, making it a small percentage of the total waste burned. Out-of-town medical waste is charged a higher fee."

Yes, Portlandia, you are running your iPhones on renewable energy powered by amputated limbs and cancerous tissue. 

I feel like this could be taken to a whole new level. Why get cremated or have a green burial when you could send your body to Marion County and become electricity instead? I see a whole new renewable energy industry in Oregon out of this, if we can just make sure all those burning bodies and body parts don't affect our clean air. I can see the slogans now: "When your lights go out, ours go on!"

As the Schoolhouse Rock song goes, "Where do you think it all comes from? Electricity, electricity."

April 18, 2014 04:20 PM

UO law prof Rob Illig got a little hot under the collar the other day and his series of emails went viral. As The Oregonian puts it, it's not "cute-puppy viral" either. UO econ prof Bill Harbaugh called attention to rants (and lists the sites that have picked up the story) the on his UO Matters blog

According to the Oregon Law Blawg, in its response to the brouhaha, the issue was a proposal that a group of law faculty came up with — " to divert the law school’s portion of the faculty merit pay funds to a post-graduate fellowship program for new law grads, in lieu of accepting a pay increase."  

In other words, because it is hard for law students to get a job after they graduate, the faculty wanted to help them out. According the website Above the Law, which calls itself "a behind the scenes look at the world of law," only 57 percent of 2013 law school graduates are  "employed in full-time, long-term jobs that require bar passage."

Illig's posts about the proposal made at a meeting that he did not attend contain gems like "Is this some kind of faculty version of white-man's guilt?" 

He writes, "As I learn more of the details of Friday’s proposal, I am even more perplexed by its logic and frightened by its poison," and continues:

"Voting on this important a decision without notice and without serious consideration was a gross breach not only of procedure but of TRUST.

What did the agenda say? “Discussion of Graduate Fellowships.” Pardon my French, but this is absolute bullshit. Colleagues do not ambush one another like this.

How can I trust the administration or any of my faculty colleagues? No wonder we’ve become a third-tier law school. Who’s going to want to come here to study or teach in this kind of poisonous atmosphere?"

You can read them all here.

The Above the Law blog writes Illig's emails "are simply wondrous," and says Illig sounds like "an entitled baby." 

Above the Law also says that Illig has point, if phrased poorly:

"While we agree that it may be unfair for the school to cancel professors’ raises, this is the kind of educational crisis that requires everyone involved to give a little bit more, lest they find themselves on the receiving end of a faculty buyout offer or, worse yet, a layoff.  It’s not like this hasn’t happened at many law schools already. Unfortunately, like the honey badger, Professor Illig doesn’t seem to give a s**t."

In the end, the faculty plan, Illig's viral rant notwithstanding, got shot down, according to the post by Jen Reynolds on the Oregon Law Blawg:

"Last Friday, this group brought this idea as a resolution (included below) to the regularly scheduled faculty meeting. A wide majority of those present voted to approve the resolution—in addition, a majority of the full faculty support the resolution.

We brought the matter to the Provost and although he is supportive of our goals he cannot bend the University rules to make this creative idea happen. However, we remain committed to finding ways to fund post-graduate opportunities and address other employment issues facing our graduates."

April 10, 2014 05:46 PM

Internships! We have them.

Eugene Weekly is looking for news and arts interns with a time commitment designed to fit into a school schedule and the opportunity to publish every week in a newspaper with 40,000 print circulation and an audited circulation of more than 80,000 readers.

Eugene Weekly interns have gone on to jobs at The Oregonian (reporter), Portland Mercury (staff writer/freelance), The Daily Astorian (reporter), Sacramento News and Review (managing editor, special publications) and more and of course at EW itself, as well as internships at other news sources such as CNN, Willamette Week, and The Register-Guard, to name a few. Ideally when interns finish up at EW, they also begin doing paid freelance work for us if they so desire.

Unlike other internships, our interns don't run errands or stay in the background, an internship with Eugene Weekly means writing weeklys news briefs or music reviews as well as the chance to write in-depth features and to pitch (and write) a cover feature. Recent interns have done stories on and interviewed everyone from Arun Gandhi to nationally touring pop stars.   

EW's internship is designed to give interns an education on writing on deadline, writing for an alt weekly and working for a newspaper. Interns get feedback on their pieces, and editing and proofreading experience of their own. The focus of our intern program is on getting students the clips and experience they need to get jobs in the competitive and ever-changing journalism world. We work with our interns' school schedule and schedule intern hours accordingly. The internship is unpaid, though we do try to give perks in addition to the focus on learning such as tickets to shows. 

Internship applications are accepted quarterly and we prefer interns who have taken Reporting 1 or have the equivalent training in basic interviewing skills, writing and the ethics of journalism.

Deadlines for applications are:

Nov. 10 For internships starting winter term.

February 10 for internships starting spring term

April 10 for summer term 

Sept. 10 for fall term.

Internships run the equivalent of two 10-week terms spring-summer, summer-fall, fall-winter etc). Interns are asked to come in to the office twice a week for 2 hours during the work day and are expected to committ about eight more hours a week maxium doing interviews, writing etc. out of the office. 

We are looking for interns in the areas of hard news, environment reporting, politics, sports, arts, music, books and more. The ideal intern is dedicated, loves journalism, fun and willing to throw him/herself into a story. 

To apply please send a cover letter, resume and three clips (articles written for class are fine) to camilla@eugeneweekly.com.

April 10, 2014 12:37 PM

Last week, Kathy Jones of Seneca-Jones timber told The Oregonian that the timber company wants to log the Elliott State Forest for " personal reasons" and says of CFD members "“They’re elitist environmentalists, they’re sent from Washington D.C., they’re not about doing anything reasonable.” 

This leaves EW wondering if Jones has ever actually seen a CFD member in person?  Jones was responding to a letter from CFD vowing to put lawsuits on desks and protesters in trees if timber companies bid on parcels of the public Elliott forest that the state is looking to sell into private hands.

The Oregonian writes:

Seneca Jones Timber Co. on Wednesday announced it bid on land for sale in the Elliott State Forest to deliberately challenge environmental groups that warned they would sue to block the state from divesting forestland potentially housing the threatened marbled murrelet seabird.

Kathy Jones, Seneca Jones’ co-owner, said her company didn’t bid on the land because her mill needs lumber but because she and her two sisters refused to be bullied by “eco-radical” environmental groups and believed no other timber companies made an offer.

“It was just like: No, we’re not going to lay down for this,” Jones said. “We’re taking a stand. It’s very much a personal decision. We just decided we were going to do this based on principle and bring it to the public’s attention.”

Like the spotted owl before it, the murrelet has become a cornerstone species for environmental groups seeking to curtail logging in Oregon. The bird’s population in Washington, Oregon and California has steadily declined over the last decade.

This week, the Cascadia Forest Defenders offer an abject apology (OK, not really).

Cascadia Forest Defenders, an organization composed of dozens of community volunteers, would like to express our apologies for causing the owners of Seneca Jones timber company, who are some of the richest and most powerful people in Lane County, to feel so bullied. In this day and age, when many of us are separated from the 1% by dramatic differences in the way we experience daily life, it can be hard for us to remember just how threatened the rich and elite can feel when challenged by those so far below them. We recognize now that a company like Seneca Jones, a company that admittedly can afford to spend millions of dollars out of spite by bidding on a land sale in the Elliott Forest because they "refuse to be bullied " must find it terrifying to have a group of community organizers suggest that people and planet should come before profit and property lines.

However, there are some things that we are confused about. If Seneca Jones wants to clearcut ecosystems for "our children's well-being", why is the company's biomass plant, which pumps an estimated 14 tons of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and other chemical goodies, located within three miles of three separate schools? Folks within that Eugene zip code have almost twice the rate of asthma as the rest of town - that same zip code also has the highest percentage of people living below the poverty line. If Seneca Jones is submitting a bid on the Elliott "for all Oregonians", why does it seem like the wealthiest are profiting at the expense of the poorests' physical health?

Additionally, the United States Forest Service states that only 5% of Oregon original coastal forests remain intact. Obviously, it was naive of us to think that killing most of an ecosystem could ever be enough, that the millions and millions of dollars in profit could ever be enough. Jones family, we are sorry that we may have to prevent your family from owning yet another million dollar racehorse, which is obviously more important then clean drinking water, critical fish habitat, and resilient, healthy forests. 

We really owe you one, Seneca. Something about your recent media comments has activists flocking in, hoping to meet you in the woods. Perhaps it was publicly admitting you intend to clear-cut old growth in East Hakki, which according to the Oregon Department of Forestry has "trees more than 300 years old" which "contain platforms that are suitable for marbled murrelet nests." Perhaps, it's our own excitement, generated by the group of people that saved most of the Trapper Timber sale (remember, that old growth you tried to log in the Willamette National Forest?). Perhaps it is all the neighborhood residents who can no longer breathe in their backyards due to your dirty power plant spewing toxic fumes all over the neighborhood. 

We don’t know what it is Seneca Jones, but people sure are hoping you win that bid.

April 3, 2014 02:35 PM

Bob Keefer wrote about art and artists for most of the 30 years he worked for The Register-Guard. He retired in 2013 to concentrate on his photography, but continued to freelance arts stories for the R-G. On April 3, a couple days after rounding up support for a well-wishing for Serena Markstrom Nugent after she was fired from the paper, Keefer was informed  in a one-sentence email: "We won't be needing your freelance services anymore.”

Markstrom Nugent, who was fired for checking her email while on pregnancy disability, was not allowed by R-G management to come in and clean out her desk, so employees past and present as well as members of the community were invited to celebrate her and her baby. Keefer sent out this message through a public post on his Facebook page on March 27:

Arts world people: As some of you may know, my former colleague and now very pregnant Serena Markstrom Nugent, the pop music writer for many years, has just been fired from the Register-Guard -- while on medical disability leave! -- after committing the sin of checking her work email from home. Friends are going to assemble in front of the newspaper at 3:30 p.m. today to wish her well as she arrives to clean out her desk. Y'all come!

Today Keefer posted:

Arts world friends,

I've been fired by the Register-Guard. Since I retired from full-time work in July, I've been contributing a couple art reviews to the Arts section each month as a freelancer. But according to a one-line email I just received, “We won't be needing your freelance services anymore.”

There was no explanation, but this follows closely on my public support of former colleague Serena Markstrom Nugent, who was fired by the paper last month, while on medical leave, after working there 13 years. See today's Eugene Weekly for details on that story.

Let's just say I'm not devastated. Of course I'll miss the opportunity to review more art shows around town, but it's time to concentrate on my photography and writing projects, as well as working with Wordcrafters writing conference and Lane Arts Council.

See you on the Art Walk!

Bob

The R-G seems determined to cut off its nose to spite its face — Keefer and Markstrom Nugent have been strong and vibrant supporters of the arts and music community. Nobody wants to see a locally owned daily news source go under. Anyone have any advice for the R-G

March 28, 2014 02:46 PM

The Oregonian, that venerable Portland paper, has been heavy on the reader surveys lately, and stories about fat cats (the feline, not political kind) and cute videos. It's all about the reader clicks when a newspaper goes digital-first. Willamette Week has a story out about how the clamor for clicks by The O's owner, Advance Publications is affecting the newsroom; WW writes "Internal documents show the newsroom’s staff faces steep new quotas for feeding the website. The documents, reported by wweek.com March 23, say 75 percent of reporters’ job performance will be measured by Web-based benchmarks, including how often they post to Oregonlive.com. The most productive reporters at meeting their goals will have a chance at earning merit pay."

I appreciate The O's continued work on covering oil trains and coal, but like others, I  wonder if focusing on how often a reporter posts could affect his or her ability to do in-depth reporting?

Posting things fast and furious isn't great for copy editing either. We all have a typo sneak into the paper here and there — what journalist hasn't reported on a pubic meeting when she meant public? But the irony of a basic typo (it's versus its) on a survey about readers think about the content on OregonLive is duly noted in the context of concerns that the O is valuing speed and clicks over content. 

You can find the survey on OregonLive in the same editor's section where you can read soon-to-be former editor Peter Bhatia's discussion of the paper via Twitter posts. 

March 27, 2014 12:05 PM

The Register-Guard has fired popular entertainment reporter Serena Markstrom Nugent, and according to an email sent out by her former colleague, Bob Keefer, her friends and colleagues will be convening to wish her well today at 3:30 pm on the sidewalk in front of the R-G at 3500 Chad Drive. Markstrom Nugent will be going to the R-G to collect her personal items from her desk.

EW is going to go out on a limb here and say this well-wishing is going to be more of a protest and will be heading out there to cover it.

The R-G has lost many of its experienced long-time reporters over the past several years. Readers may have noted that Markstrom Nugent hasn't been writing about entertainment lately, as she did for most of her 13-year stint at the R-G.  She was moved off entertainment and began covering a rural Lane County beat. That move surprised many of  Markstrom's readers — she has built a following for music and entertainment through not only her stories, but via frequent social media posts on Facebook and Twitter as well as her blog. Moving writers to beats they are unfamiliar with is often seen as a strategy to get rid of experienced, higher-paid writers and replace them with newer reporters at a lesser pay scale.

According to social media posts, Markstrom Nugent, who is pregnant, was fired for checking her email while on medical leave. 

March 24, 2014 01:25 PM

Is it the pauses? The hand gestures? The awe at colors making white light? Watching astrophysicist and Cosmos host Neil DeGrasse Tyson in slow-mo, thanks to a science-loving YouTuber, is like talking to a dude with dreads at Saturday Market. 

Gawker reports Tyson thinks the video is funny, and showed it at a lecture this weekend. 

March 20, 2014 03:08 PM

Press release of the day goes to DOGAMI, for cheerfully mixing spring break with earthquake and tusnami advice. Don't just get ready for a trip this spring break, get ready for disaster!

BE READY FOR AN EARTHQUAKE, WHEREVER TRAVEL TAKES YOU

News Release from Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries

OREGON - Exploring Oregon during spring break? Take time to plan for an earthquake or tsunami before setting off on your adventure. 

"A Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake could happen anytime - even during vacations," says State Geologist Vicki S. McConnell. "Plan now to be ready no matter where you are." 

March is Earthquake and Tsunami Awareness Month in Oregon, and also marks the anniversaries of two eye-opening disasters for the state: the March 11, 2011 Tohoku, Japan earthquake and tsunami and the March 27, 1964 Alaska earthquake and tsunami. 

"Oregon's tectonic setting is a mirror image of Japan's," says Yumei Wang, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) geotechnical engineer. "The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami showed us how destructive a Cascadia earthquake and tsunami could be, and emphasized the need to prepare." 

Preparing for a major Cascadia earthquake also gets Oregonians ready for other types of earthquakes. The most damaging Oregon earthquakes of the past century, the magnitude 6.0 and 5.9 Klamath Falls earthquakes and magnitude 5.6 Scotts Mills earthquake, were caused by shallow crustal faults. 

WHERE ARE YOU HEADED? 

The Oregon Coast: A Cascadia earthquake will generate a tsunami, so know where high ground is and how to get there. The Oregon Tsunami Clearinghouse, www.OregonTsunami.org, is a one-stop resource for all essentials, including evacuation brochures, evacuation route maps, and preparedness kit checklists. 

A city: If you're outside, move to an open area. Glass, bricks and other debris may fall from buildings, and utility poles and wires, signs, and street lights may topple. If you're inside, "drop, cover and hold on" under a study table or desk, and don't go outside until the shaking stops. 

The mountains: During an earthquake, move away from cliffs and steep slopes where debris may fall, or a landslide may occur. Be alert for falling rocks and trees. 

Road trip: If you're driving when an earthquake hits, stop the car away from buildings, bridges, overpasses, trees and utility lines. Put your parking brake on, and stay in the car until the shaking is over. 

BEFORE LEAVING HOME 

- Create a travel version of your emergency plan. Identify an out-of-state relative to check in with during a disaster. (Be sure to choose someone who's not traveling at the same time.) Pick a safe meeting place at your destination - consult evacuation brochures and local maps - and make a plan for reuniting after a disaster. "Having a conversation about who you'll call and where you'll meet is an easy step that's so important," says McConnell. "Discuss as you're packing, or when you're all in the car together." 

- Build an emergency kit for your car. Include necessities such as bottled water, high-calorie snacks, first aid kit, flashlight, road maps, emergency contact list and emergency cash. Checklists for car, home and personal kits are available at www.oregongeology.org/sub/emergencykit.htm

March 16, 2014 09:31 AM

"Let's do 71-pound cannonballs in mud puddles then chase squirrels!" 

Someone needs to adopt this dog who "sports the very particular features of her watchdog ancestors but none of their discipline."

Bindy is adoptable through Greenhill Humane Society and the ad is pure puppy genius.

The ad ran in the Sunday Register-Guard and I'll confess if we also ran in in EW this week, I missed it as I'm out of town and found this on Facebook via CyclePsycho Motorcycle Recycling.

March 10, 2014 02:40 PM

Lane County horse owners have been worrying ever since the news began to filter out on social media over the weekend that a horse in Pleasant Hill had died of equine herpes virus. The state veterinarian has issued a press release saying there is no indication the virus has spread beyond the stable where the EHV-1 cases were first confirmed. EHV-1 does not yet have a fully effective vaccine and can be fatal to horses; it is not transmissable to humans. A 2011 outbreak at a cutting horse competition in Utah spread to 88 horses in six Western states.

 

Lane County horses test positive for Equine Herpes Virus

March 10, 2014... One Lane County horse has died and four others from the same stable have tested positive for a neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1). All horses on the property have been quarantined and those showing symptoms of the disease are being treated. There is no indication that the virus has spread to other horses beyond those being quarantined. The State Veterinarian is praising quick work by local veterinarians and Oregon State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (OSU-VDL) in detecting the virus quickly and taking steps to limit any spread.

“At this point in time, the investigation shows that this is an isolated incident confined to the animals now under quarantine,” says State Veterinarian Dr. Brad LeaMaster of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. “Equine veterinarians in the state are well aware of this virus and are trained to take the proper steps when a horse is showing symptoms.”

LeaMaster says the horses in Lane County exposed to the virus have not been moved from the property in more than two months, well before EHV-1 was detected.

EHV-1 is not transmissible to people. The virus is naturally occurring and widespread in the equine population. It is a common virus that may lie dormant for long periods of time and then re-activate during a period of stress, which can result in clinical disease. EHV-1 can cause respiratory disease, abortions in pregnant mares, neurologic disease, and, in severe cases, death.   The most common way for EHV-1 to spread is by direct horse-to-horse contact. The virus can also spread through contaminated equipment, clothing, and hands. Symptoms include fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy, and the inability to rise. While there is no cure, the symptoms of the disease may be treatable.

There are 10 horses at the Lane County stable, with four of them confirmed as having the virus. The horse that died had originally been purchased from an owner in Benton County. The previous owner has been contacted and reports no signs of illness in any of their horses. 

“The Lane County stable owner and all horse owners have been very cooperative and supportive of the disease control actions taken” says LeaMaster. “A neurologic EHV-1 diagnosis certainly gets the attention of equine veterinarians and horse owners. We have had occurrences of the disease in Oregon in the past. I’ve noticed what seems to be a higher degree of awareness of the EHV-1 disease with horse owners than there was just a couple a years ago.”

Concerned horse owners are strongly advised to contact their veterinarian if they have questions and to develop an appropriate prevention plan, including vaccination. Vaccination must go hand-in-hand with the use of best management practices. Horse owners should practice basic everyday biosecurity to protect their horse(s) from being exposed to this virus as well as other highly contagious pathogens.

Veterinarians are asked to call the State Veterinarian’s Office with any suspected cases of EHV-1.

For more information, contact Dr. Brad LeaMaster at (503) 986-4680.