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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.

March 10, 2014 05:55 PM

Only in Portlandia would a large fluffy cat attack a family and hold them at bay in a bedroom, leading  them to call the police for help.

Listen to the 911 call. 

My favorite part starts about 2:30 minutes in."He's kind of a violent cat already … He's charging us; he's at our bedroom door." Meanwhile the shrieks of the 22-pound Himalayan cat are audible in the background.

The Oregonian, which broke the cat-attack news, reports that the fur started to fly after the cat scratched the couple's seven-month old baby and "I kicked the cat in the rear, and it has gone over the edge. He's trying to attack us — he's very hostile. He's at our door; he's charging us," the caller tells 911.

The 911 operator checks with her supervisor to make sure it's OK to send the cops out on this call and stays on the phone while law enforcement is dispatched. She periodically sounds like she is trying hard not to crack up.

The O continues:

When officers arrived, they entered the residence equipped with a dog snare and watched as the large Himalayan cat darted into the kitchen where it jumped on top of the refrigerator.

Using the snare, officers were able to wrangle the ferocious feline (perhaps jealous of said baby?) into a pet carrier. No one was injured in the fracas, including the baby.

According to a cat breeder website Himalayans, or "Himmies," are "perfect indoor companions but they possess a playful side."

February 27, 2014 06:08 PM

In a press release that kicks off with sentences like " Religious freedom upholds stability in a diverse society,"  the Protect Religious Freedom Initiative has kicked off its petition campaign to get a measure on the Oregon ballot that would  "exempt a person from supporting same-sex ceremonies in violation of deeply held religious beliefs."

The release says:

Friends of Religious Freedom filed the Protect Religious Freedom Initiative today in order to safeguard religious freedom in Oregon and to allow conscientious objectors or persons with deeply held religious beliefs to decline to participate in same-sex ceremonies. Oregonians will have the opportunity in 2014 to protect religious freedom and individual conscience rights now and for future generations of Oregonians. We are confident that Oregonians will rally behind this cause to protect religious freedom and individual conscience rights.

The measure is supported by the Oregon Family Council, which proudly discusses its role in enacting Oregon's 2004 gay marriage ban (the same one the Oregon DOJ recently announced it will not defend in court).

In March of 2004 Oregon Family Council, Inc. founded the Defense of Marriage Coalition to orchestrate the YES on 36 Campaign. With support from numerous organizations, pastors, churches and individuals, 57% of Oregonians amended the Oregon Constitution to define marriage as only between one man and one woman. Oregon Family Council, Inc. realizes Measure 36 was simply one battle in a much larger culture war. That’s why Defense of Marriage Coalition will continue its mission to secure, maintain and strengthen traditional marriage in Oregon.

The Oregon United for Marriage campaign immediately put out a statement from campaign manager Mike Marshall:

 "Like Arizona, Oregon is facing a discrimination initiative that would allow businesses to deny commercial services to people because of who they are and who they love. Treating people differently based on who they are is discrimination."

"At a moment when Oregonians should be celebrating the imminent end of discrimination against loving, committed couples, we’re gearing up to fight this effort to write discrimination back into our laws. This hurtful measure weakens our current anti-discrimination laws so that corporations and commercial businesses can discriminate against gay and lesbian couples by denying them services on their wedding day. Freedom means freedom for everyone, and it is wrong to treat people differently because of who they are and who they love."

The full measure proposal for the Novermber ballot is here. In order to be on the ballot the group would need to collect 87,213 signature by July 3, and cannot begin collecting signatures until the measure has a ballot title. The Oregonian reports the title AG Ellen Rosenblum proposed was "Exempts religious opposition to same sex marriage/civil union/domestic partnership from penalties for discrimination" while Friends of Religious Freedome prefers "Protects persons choosing non-participation in same-sex ceremonies based on conscience or religious belief from penalization."

February 20, 2014 03:10 PM

Below is a statement from Oregon's AG on why Oregon won't defend it's gay marriage ban (yay!)

My favorite part is this quote "The law in this area is developing and it is now clear that there is no rational basis for Oregon to refuse to honor the commitments made by same-sex couples in the same way it honors the commitments of opposite-sex couples. Marriage is the way that loving couples become family to each other and to their extended families, and there is no good reason to exclude same-sex couples from marriage in Oregon, or from having their marriages recognized here.

Because we cannot identify a valid reason for the state to prevent the couples who have filed these lawsuits from marrying in Oregon, we find ourselves unable to stand before federal Judge McShane to defend the state’s prohibition against marriages between two men or two women."

 

STATEMENT OF OREGON ATTORNEY GENERAL ELLEN ROSENBLUM ON THE SUBJECT OF PENDING LITIGATION CHALLENGING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BAN

Good morning. As many Oregonians are aware, four couples have brought suit against the state, asking a federal court to find that Oregon’s ban on marriage by couples of the same sex violates the right of equality enshrined in the United States Constitution. I am named as a defendant in the lawsuits, along with the Governor, and it falls on my office to appear on behalf of the state before the court and answer the couples’ claims.

Usually — though not always — my office defends the state in litigation. As Attorney General, I have sworn an oath to uphold our state’s constitution. The lawyers in my office have sworn the same oath. The oath we took also requires us to uphold the Constitution of the United States – which is the supreme law of our land. Of course, we all take these oaths very seriously.

So it is after much careful study and consideration that I stand before you today to announce that the Oregon Department of Justice will not defend the prohibition in our state's constitution against marriages between people of the same sex. A document called an “answer” filed with the court earlier this morning informed Judge McShane of our decision. Copies are available for you.

Because our office also represents the people of Oregon, a brief explanation is in order.

The Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution gives people the right to be treated equally by their government, unless there is a good reason for unequal treatment. That is, any time the government establishes different sets of rules or laws for different sets of people, there must at least be what the law calls a “rational basis” for those differences.

The law in this area is developing and it is now clear that there is no rational basis for Oregon to refuse to honor the commitments made by same-sex couples in the same way it honors the commitments of opposite-sex couples. Marriage is the way that loving couples become family to each other and to their extended families, and there is no good reason to exclude same-sex couples from marriage in Oregon, or from having their marriages recognized here.

Because we cannot identify a valid reason for the state to prevent the couples who have filed these lawsuits from marrying in Oregon, we find ourselves unable to stand before federal Judge McShane to defend the state’s prohibition against marriages between two men or two women.

We will be explaining our legal reasoning to Judge McShane as this case proceeds. Those of you who are interested will be more than welcome to review our pleadings as they are filed. Legal papers that are due by April will fully address our analysis and that of the other parties in the two cases that are now consolidated.

Thank you.

 

Oregon Department of Justice

February 17, 2014 06:22 PM

Occupy Eugene and the SLEEPS (Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep) campaign bring you an informational video on how to stay warm in the winter. Think of threes: "Those three things will keep you warm warm, so I can be out here functioning, no problem," Griml says in the video. SLEEPS has been occupying the old Federal Building for the last four months fighting the camping ban.

 

January 30, 2014 05:52 PM

This is the update from Oregon Department of Environmental Quality today. Irony duly noted.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued a penalty totaling $12,089 to Northwest Hazmat Inc. for storing hazardous waste without a permit and failing to transport hazardous waste to the intended disposal facility. A portion of the penalty reflects the fact that Northwest Hazmat is a professional hazardous waste transporter and provides hazardous waste cleanup services, and consulting and training in hazardous waste management, and therefore is expected to know the regulations.

January 29, 2014 06:22 PM

The Eugene City Council voted 6-2 today to allow the Whoville camp for the unhoused at the corner of Broadway and Hilyard to remain for another 30 days. 

Homeless advocate Alley Valkyrie of the Nightingale Public Advocacy Collective attended the meeting and took a rather puzzling photo of Councilor George Poling.

Valkyrie posted the picture to her Facebook page and writes:

This was no coincidence, no slip of the finger, so to speak. Councilor Poling, the only councilor who openly and regularly expresses bigoted and prejudiced views towards the homeless, held his finger up in this position at an audience full of homeless advocates for a significant portion of the discussion about Whoville. I saw his finger up for at least 15 minutes, and at one point he moved his hand to scratch his face and then deliberately put his finger up again.

City Council meetings can be watched live or via Metro TV here.

Update: 

According to Jan Bohman, community relations director for the city of Eugene, Councilor Poling "often rests his head on his hand" in this particular position, and he can be seen earlier in the webcast of the meeting during the discussion of the Amazon Headwaters with his hand and finger in the same position, she says. She calls EW "irresponsible" for posting Valkyrie's photo.

January 24, 2014 05:21 PM

The West Wing fans rejoice (and Obama haters, go ahead, crack a smile this is fun): With a hat tip to both President Andrew Jackson's 1837 1,400 pound block of cheese and to The West Wing episode in which interest groups who didn't normally get White House access got heard, on Jan. 29, "White House officials will take to social media for a day long 'open house' to answer questions from everyday Americans."

According to the White House Blog, "dozens of White House officials will take to social media for a day long 'open house' to answers questions from everyday Americans in real-time on Twitter,FacebookTumblrInstagram and via Google+ Hangout."

The White House announced this plan with a video starring Bradley Whiford  (Josh Lyman) and Joshua Malina (Will Bailey). I was always a Sam Seaborn fan, but Josh had his boyish charm, back then.

 

January 23, 2014 06:39 PM

The Eugene Human Rights Commission has weighed in on the city's plan to shut down and fence off the Whoville homeless camp, according to an email circulating on Facebook pages that call for aiding the unhoused of Eugene.

January 22, 2014

Dear Mayor, CIty Councilors, and City Manager,

The Eugene Human Rights Commission (HRC) is very concerned with the health and safety of the 40 to 50 residents of Whoville at Broadway and Hilyard. We understand at EPD plans to close the protest camp down and disperse its residents. Among Whoville's residents are people who are disabled, some in wheel chairs, as well as people who suffer from severe mental health issues and substance abuse problems. Such people are often not readily accommodated by shelter services even when beds are available. It is not clear where the residents will go if the camp is shut down.

The HRC unanimously recommends that the following immediate action be taken: Rescind current plans to close Whoville and allow those who presently reside there to remain. This could be done in a number of ways, including a mayoral declaration of a housing emergency that would allow people to stay at Whoville legally. We believe the Whoville residents should be permitted to remain until adequate and accessible alternatives are available.

We also recommend that the City expand the number of operating Rest Stops to at least four. On sis already open. However, specific reasons cited at our HRC meeting by the unhoused and their advocates regarding the City-approved Northwest Expressway site make it unviable as a second site. We believe three additional Rest Stop sites should be established including the site at 8th and Mill favored by advocates for the homeless before closure of the Whoville location is considered. Inclusion of such advocates in the selection of additional sites may expedite the selection process.

From a human rights perspective, a perspective mandated by Eugene's revised Human Rights Ordinance and to which the HRC is highly committed, the recommended actions fall short of fulfilling the human right to housing. However these actions are important steps toward recognizing the basic human right of every person to life, health, and personal security.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew Thomson, Chair

Chris Nunes, Vice Chair

Eugene Human Rights Commission

The HRC is recuiting for four new members to serve on the commission, the application period ends March 28.

January 22, 2014 01:01 PM

A little musical primer on coal trains in the Pacific Northwest and grassroots effort to stop them performed by Counterfeit Cash.

January 20, 2014 07:17 PM

Celebrations of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in Springfield and Eugene had big turnouts today, but it looks like you can't celebrate MLK without a racist-type or two showing up. A bagpipe-playing kilt-wearing couple serenaded Springfield while wielding a sign saying "'Diversity' is a code word for white genocide." 

EW has heard allegations that this is the same man who hung the banner over I-5 in Springfield in September 2013 that read "Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white" and that the man in question intends to run for mayor. Anyone know if those allegations are true?

Photo credit: Dana Jo Cook