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August 28, 2013 02:56 PM

Rick Dancer is pretty darn sure that having a safe place to sleep is not a human right. He doesn't want to be "insensitive" he says in the video, but as he writes in the comments of his Facebook page where he posted his "driving while videoing" musings, "I agree it would be nice if we all had a safe place to sleep but that's not a right, that is what we call a privilege."

He then continues in the sort of "I'm not a racist; I have black friends" vein with how he showers with homeless people in Springfield all the time: "I met them in the showers at Willamalane Pool. In Springfield Willamalane lets these guys shower for 50 cents and we all know them and talk with them."

You can also watch the video here on Dancer's Facebook page to get the full benefit of the comments and responses.

Hey, Rick Dancer, we have a challenge for you: Why don't you spend three days outside with nowhere to sleep? Downtown Eugene, downtown Springfield (you know, so you can shower), either one is good. Then let's check in and decide whether a safe place to sleep is a right or a priviledge. 

India's Supreme Court ruled that "a citizen has a right to sound sleep because it is fundamental to life" in 2012, and the BBC says sleep deprivation has been used as torture around the world.

Studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to a higher mortality rate, and to quote the National Institutes of Health, "Sleeping is a basic human need, like eating, drinking and breathing."

August 21, 2013 12:31 PM

Is it just me, or is the Eugene Celebration website not working right now? Don't worry gentle reader, EW's Celebration issue and guide comes out tomorrow. (Technically the web version comes out tonight, late, or very very early tomorrow morning for the EW web junkies who sit and hit refresh until it comes up and they can start reading the articles, or, alternatively, trolling the comments section). 

Until we hit your screens and the streets, in our little red boxes, here's a Eugene Celebration video to tide you over.

August 21, 2013 11:47 AM

Feral pig, "wild" turkey, bullfrog, dandelions and more will be served up this weekend, 7 pm Aug. 25, at the annual Invasive Species Cook-off in Philomath, Ore., just outside Corvallis, at Chintimini Farm. The event is put on by the Institute for Applied Ecology (IAE) and features top chefs and music by EW's Next Big Thing sem-finalists Edewaard. 

Food catered by Matt Bennett of Sybaris Restaurant

Music by classical guitarist Gina Machovina and the band Edewaard to move to!

Willamette Valley wine and beer

A cook-off between local chefs using invasive ingredients

Live auction with great items, such as kayak trips, wild mushroom hunt and dinner, wine cellar, yoga and pilates, etc!

Games and more!

Kids play area

Mmmm: dandelion greens

According to Eradication by Mastication the Invasive Species Cook-off started in 2012 and "Top 'Cook-off' honors went to pulled nutria, popcorn sparrow and Cajun bullfrog legs."

The fundraising dinner not only benefits the Intitute for Applied Ecology, it's also outreach on the invasives issue: "Invasive species threaten our native species and habitats, costing the U.S. more than $138 billion every year. IAE is ready to take them on. We are bringing people to the table to spark conversation and advance action, one edible invader at a time."

For price, tickets and other details go to eradicationbymastication.org.

August 20, 2013 06:18 PM

Oregon University System (OUS) workers represented by SEIU Local 503 will be voting on whether or not to strike  Sept. 9, 10 and 11. The union, which represents classified employees at the University of Oregon and other schools, posted on its website on Aug. 19 that "management’s proposals still do not fit with our vision for the kind of university system Oregon needs." Classified employess include nurses, office specialists, analysts and more. As the UO's human resources page says, "Classified employees carry out work that supports the academic work of the university faculty and researchers, enriches the student learning experience, and enhances the beautiful campus environment."  

SEIU writes of why it has declared an impasse and is calling for a strike authorization vote:

1. OUS shouldn’t be a poverty-wage employer. Management’s wage proposal leaves more than 1,200 classified workers eligible for food stamps.

2. OUS should honor the sacrifices of classified workers over the last four years, rather than insisting on cutting down the step system and offering miniscule raises. Instead of taking financial pressures out on classified employees and students.

3. OUS should recover lost income from the banks who helped crash our economy with misleading and fraudulent financial practices.

4. OUS should focus resources on classrooms and student and faculty services instead of high-salaried administration.

 Declaring an impasse doesn't stop bargaining and mediation, it's a required step before a strike. The next bargaining session is Aug. 22 and 23 at Oregon Tech. SEIU says that more than 200 members, students, and faculty came out for a Solidarity Rally at UO.

To raise money for the Strike Hardship fund, a classified worker from Southern Oregon University Anne Wadley is raffling off an Oregon-themed quilt. Go here for more info and where to buy tickets.

August 19, 2013 04:46 PM

It's not getting much press outside of Madison, Wisc., but the unions there are still protesting Governor Scott Walker. The daily Sing-Along at the Wisconsin Capitol has been generating arrests since July 24 — 300 have been arrested and given $200 tickets, and the Wisconsin State Journal says the number of protesters, who chant "We're still here," at 1 pm each day is growing. 

Protests in Madison made headlines in 2011 when Walker announced plans to eliminate collective bargaining for most public workers. Unions haven't given up on changing how labor is being treated in that Midwestern state. Recent arrests include firefighters, Matt Rothschild, editor of The Progressive magazine, an elected city official, a 14-year-old girl and three members of the Raging Grannies.

August 19, 2013 03:23 PM

It remains to be seen if splititng up Oregon's state schools is going to pan out for the benefit of all the schools or just the ones with big donors (aka "Uncle" Phil Knight, who pulled himself from the list). But for the long-term good of higher ed or not, the boards are announced. Some commentary in italics, please feel free to jump in.

Gottfredson says in his email to the UO:

The university received gift commitments totaling $200,054,995, the second highest one-year total in the UO’s history. Of the total, $85,772,471 was designated by donors specifically to support faculty and academic programing, research activity, and student aid and scholarships, representing a significant increase in giving in these key categories. Commitments of $48.3 million were designated for the university’s endowment, which provides the institution with a stable source of ongoing funding. As of June 30, the endowment stood at an all-time high market value of $550 million—the largest endowment at any of Oregon’s universities—and saw a 13.8 percent return for the fiscal year.

But UO Matters points out that "… it appears that about 57% of the donations to the Foundation went to the jocks. If you count the $140M or so Knight spent on the football sweat shop - and it's hard to ignore - the jocks got about 75%."

Onto the the new governing boards:

UO's board (via email to staff and students, still waiting on a press release …)

Allyn Ford, Roseburg (president and CEO, Roseburg Forest Products) (Timber money, the enviros just LOVE this.)

Andrew Colas, Portland (principal, R&H Colas Construction)

Ann Curry, New York (television personality and journalist, UO alum)

Chuck Lillis, Castle Rock, Colo. (communications businessman, UO donor)

Connie Ballmer, Bellevue, Wash. (wife of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer) (Umm this day and age do we really say the most important thing about someone is that she's a "wife"?)

Ginevra Ralph, Eugene (Co-founder of The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts)

Joseph Gonyea III, Springfield (chief operating officer of Springfield-based Timber Products Co.) (Oh yay! More timber money!)

Mary Wilcox, Portland, (UO Alum and principal in various family investment companies)

Peter Bragdon Portland (general counsel, Columbia Sportswear, Portland)

Ross Kari, Sisters (UO Alum and executive vice president and CFO of Freddie Mac)

Rudy Chapa Portland (businessman, former UO track star)

Sam Dotters-Katz, Eugene (UO student)

Susan Gary, Eugene (UO faculty member)

Kurt Willcox, Eugene (UO staff member)

And OSU's board (via informative press release)

Mark Baldwin, of Albany, Ore., is an analyst and programmer in OSU’s Information Services division. He has had a long and successful career in information systems and technology in higher education and the private sector. Prior to joining the OSU staff, he worked at Western Oregon University and a number of private sector firms. As specified in SB 270, he represents the staff at Oregon State.

Patricia Bedient, of Sammamish, Wash., has been executive vice president and chief financial officer of Weyerhaeuser Company since 2007. She began her career and worked for 27 years with Arthur Andersen LLP, becoming partner in 1987. She serves on the boards of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, and has served two terms on the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees. She also is on the World Forestry Center board. (The dominance of timber money is less surprising at OSU, given it's got a forestry school).

Rani Borkar, of Portland, Ore., is corporate vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Development Group for Intel Corporation. She leads numerous global engineering teams that are responsible for the development of a full range of processors for server, client, and handheld devices. She has been with Intel since 1988 and earned the Intel Achievement Award in 2002.

Darald “Darry” Callahan, of San Rafael, Calif., is former president of Chevron Chemical Company, and served as executive vice president of Power, Chemicals and Technology for ChevronTexaco Corp. from 2001 until his retirement in 2003. He also has served as president of Chevron Oil Bahamas Limited and president of Warren Petroleum Company. He is a former chair of the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees. (Chemicals and oil, yup.)

Michele Longo Eder, of Newport, Ore., is an attorney whose practice includes an emphasis in marine and fisheries law. In partnership with her husband, Bob Eder, she is a shareholder in Argos Inc. and is president of Eder Fish Company, a wholesale fish dealer for domestic and foreign buyers. She is a member of the NOAA Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee and former commissioner of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission.

Elson Floyd, of Pullman, Wash., has been president of Washington State University since 2007. He was president of the University of Missouri from 2003-07, and Western Michigan University from 1998 to 2003. He began his career at University of North Carolina, where he held several executive positions. He is on numerous national boards including the Washington STEM Center Board, Association of Public Land Grant Universities Board, and the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

Orcilia Zúñiga Forbes, of Portland, was appointed to the State Board of Higher Education in July 2012; her term expires in 2014. She retired from OSU in 2004 as vice president of University Advancement, and has served as a trustee for the Meyer Memorial Trust since 1999. She is also serving on the boards of the Chalkboard Project and the University of New Mexico Foundation.

Paul Kelly, of Portland, Ore., was named to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education in 2007 and served as president from 2008-11. He recently retired from the law firm Garvey Schubert Barer. From 1987 to 2005, he served in several positions at Nike, Inc., including general counsel and global director of public affairs. He is on the Oregon School Funding Defense Foundation board and Legal Aid Services of Oregon board, among others.

Brenda McComb, of Corvallis, Ore., is dean of the OSU Graduate School and a former forest habitat researcher. Before being named dean of the graduate school in April of 2011, she led the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society in the College of Forestry. Her research has focused on the effects of land management practices on animals and natural habitats. As specified in SB 270, she represents the faculty at Oregon State.

Laura Naumes, of Medford, Ore., is vice president of Naumes Inc. The company has orchards in California, Oregon and Washington and is a leading producer of pears. It also produces several varieties of apples, along with cherries, Asian pears and persimmons. She is a former member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco advisory council and began her first term as trustee on the OSU Foundation Board in 2012.

Patricia “Pat” Reser, of Beaverton, Ore., is board chair of Reser’s Fine Foods, Inc., a family-owned fresh refrigerated food company. She previously served as corporate secretary for 13 years, and is a retired employee of the Beaverton School District. She is one of three co-chairs of OSU’s Capital Campaign Steering Committee and is serving her third term as an OSU Foundation Trustee.

Taylor Sarmon, of Corvallis, Ore., is a sophomore majoring in political science at Oregon State and is executive director of government affairs for the Associated Students of OSU. In that role, he oversees ASOSU’s local, state and federal lobbying efforts. The graduate of Union High School in eastern Oregon served as an intern during the 2013 Oregon Legislative session, and is a past president of the national Future Business Leaders of America. As specified in SB 270, he represents the students of OSU.

Kirk Schueler, of Bend, Ore., is chief administrative officer for St. Charles Health System. Previously, he was president of Brooks Resources Corporation, a real estate development firm in Bend. He was appointed to the State Board of Higher Education in 2009; his term expires in 2013. He serves on the boards of the Bend Foundation, Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation, and the Jeld-Wen Tradition Foundation.

John Turner, of Pendleton, Ore., retired as president of Blue Mountain Community College in June. He joined the college in 2003 as executive vice president and provost, becoming president in 2005. He retired from the U.S. Marine Corps as a colonel with more than 28 years of service, including a stint as president of the Marine Corps War College in Quantico, Va. He serves as a commissioner of the Port of Umatilla.

For the official list from the governor, Portland State and the Higher Ed Coordinating Commitee go here.

August 13, 2013 03:02 PM

The Oregon Legislature may have banned roping horses to trip them in the last session, but the horse tripping issue hasn't gone away. The Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo is alleged to have said it will continue the event, despite the law and public outcry, and a recently released recording shows police in Malheur County discussing the fact the rodeo board compelled them to pull over an animal rights activist.

The rodeo is scheduled to take place again May 17-18, 2014. The description of the Big Loop event has not changed on the rodeo's website.

The video of the police, taken from their own cameras, was obtained by SHARK — Showing Animals Respect and Kindness — which brought attention to the cruel event by videoing the horses galloping and then being roped by the neck and legs before crashing to the ground in 2012 and 2013. SHARK says that the Malheur County Sheriff's Department  has financial and personal ties to the rodeo.

Eugene attorney Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center is defending one of the SHARK videographers who was charged with a misdemeanor in Malheur County for videoeing the horse tripping.

In the video below, SHARK President Steve Hindi, who filmed the event after the SHARK volunteer was arrested, recounts the incident. 

Warning: The cop part is pretty funny, the video of the horse tripping is not. 

 

The full dashboard cam and body cam can be seen here: Malheur bodycam and Malheur County dashcam.

(We are going to forgive Hindi for calling Malheur (Mal-yur) County "Malure" County because he clearly cares about animals.)

August 7, 2013 10:52 AM

The first thing I thought when I saw Lane County Commission Chair Sid Leiken's video statement on firing Liane Richardson was "Someone needs to Songify this."

(OK, actually my first thought was more like "Wow, they just made a video that basically says: 'There has been a lot of speculation in the media. I want you to know we hired an investigator. Who uncovered facts. Facts I'm not going to tell you. There! That should take care of the speculation.'"')

But until The Gregory Brothers start songifying local politics or I figure out how to make their app work on a YouTube video, you can watch the latest version of Songify the News.

August 7, 2013 08:59 AM

Type UniversityofNike.com into your browser and see where it goes. Hat tip to UO Matters for pointing it out.

Hard to say whether that is actually the UO embracing its worship of Phil Knight or someone playing tricks on the Knight School, as the R-G quoted earlier this week:

“We are the University of Nike,” said Jeff Hawkins, the senior associate athletic director of football administration and operations. “We embrace it. We tell that to our recruits.”

Oh, sorry it wasn't the R-G. The local paper had to run a story from The New York Times because local media got shut out

August 6, 2013 12:13 PM

The county continues to remain silent on the firing of Liane Richardson, citing legal concerns. The lates press release is below.

Commissioner Sorenson issued a statement: "Today Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson voted in favor of a motion to terminate the Lane County Administrator. The vote was 5-0. Because of advice from legal counsel for the Board of Commissioners, I have no further comment on this matter at this time."

And Board Chair Sid Leiken concludes the board chair's statement saying, "I am profoundly disappointed by the facts that have brought us to this point. These actions do not reflect the values or judgment consistent with work here at the County."

 

County Administrator Liane Richardson’s Contract Terminated Following Investigation

Today, the Lane County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to terminate the contract of County Administrator Liane Richardson following an independent investigation into issues around Richardson’s compensation.

The decision came after lengthy deliberation and review of the independent investigation’s findings. The investigation found that Ms. Richardson violated county policy. As per the terms of Richardson’s contract, Richardson is entitled to two weeks pay and time management payouts as set out in the Lane County Administrative Procedures Manual (Ch 3, Sec 34 (IV)(c)).

Alicia Hayes will remain as acting County Administrator until further notice from the Board of Commissioners.

County Board Chairman Sid Leiken released the following statement on behalf of the Board:

Today, the Lane County Board of Commissioners reviewed the findings of the independent investigation regarding County Administrator Liane Richardson’s compensation. After this review, the Board has unanimously approved the termination of Ms. Richardson, effective today.

The independent investigation thoroughly examined all of the evidence. The independent investigation was conducted with urgency, but also with careful consideration of the confidentiality needed to protect the rights of all individuals involved. We continue to understand and respect these rights, and, after careful consideration with County Counsel, we cannot comment on the investigation itself.

I am profoundly disappointed by the facts that have brought us to this point. These actions do not reflect the values or judgment consistent with work here at the County.

August 6, 2013 11:50 AM

Lane County is being close-mouthed over today's vote to fire embattled now-former County Administrator Liane Richardson after a whistleblower called attention to apparently unauthorized changes that Richardson had made to her pay. Here is the letter that Board Chair Sid Leiken sent out to county employees.

Dear County Employees,

Two weeks ago, I wrote you that County Administrator Liane Richardson had placed herself on administrative leave after issues surrounding her compensation were brought to the attention of the Board of Commissioners, County Counsel and Human Resources. Today, I am writing to let you know that the Board of County Commissioners voted this morning in a public session to terminate Ms. Richardson’s employment with cause pursuant to section 1.1(c) of her contract of employment.

The Board took this action after the following steps were taken:

1. The Board directed County Counsel Stephen Dingle to oversee the hiring of an independent and outside agency to investigate issues regarding Ms. Richardson’s compensation.

2. The thorough, independent investigation was conducted over the past week and a half, finalized, and delivered to the Board of Commissioners last Friday.

3. The Board discussed the independent investigators’ report in executive session this morning.

The firm hired to do the investigation, USO Consulting, completed a comprehensive investigation into the issues. The investigation was done with the utmost urgency but also with careful consideration for the confidentiality of the process. All comments involved in the investigation are confidential and will be protected to the greatest extent permitted by law. We will protect the rights of any County employee who brings up issues of concern to our attention without any retribution.

After discussion with legal counsel, and out of respect of the rights of all individuals involved, we cannot make additional statements or release additional information at this time. Once the due process rights of the individuals involved have been honored, we will release additional information as permitted by law.

In the coming days, you may read speculation in the media about this issue. While we understand the interest of the public for transparency, and the media’s interest in getting a story, we also respect the rights of the individuals involved who brought this issue to the attention of the Board. We will defend the confidentiality of their comments. 

If you have concerns or are contacted by the media, please don't hesitate to reach out to any of the Board members, acting County Administrator Alicia Hays, Madilyn Zike or our Public Information Officer, Anne Marie Levis. Anne Marie may be reached at 541-915-4659. Our public information officer will direct media inquires as appropriate to ensure the media have the proper facts and understanding of the issues.

All of our employees have and continue to show incredible dedication to our community. I am proud of the work we do serving Lane County residents. 

Sincerely,

Sid Leiken

Board Chair

August 6, 2013 06:13 PM

When the megaloads came through last night, despite the objections of the Nez Perce tribe and the U.S. Forest Service, protesters were there to try to block them. Elders of the Nez Perce tribe were among those arrested as they tried to stop the massive loads of tar sands equipment. According to Borg Hendrickson of The Rural People of Highway 12  — Fighting Goliath, the Nez Perce Drum Circle and the Aug. 5  blockade "held back the Omega Morgan megaload for almost 2 hours at the boundary of the Nez Perce Reservation about 4 miles east of Lewiston."

Video by Tom Hansen of Moscow, Idaho

Hendrickson writes in an email: 

Approximately 150+ blockaders participated, mostly Nez Perces but some whites, mostly members of Idaho Rivers United and Friends of the Clearwater and FightingGoliath activists.

The megaload transport had launched about 45 minutes late, at 10:45.  For some unknown reason, it sat parked for some time a couple miles west of the blockade site.  As it approached the reservation boundary at about 12:40, the blockaders walked out onto the pavement to fully block 1/2 of the, at that point, 4-lane highway.  The blockaders succeeded in holding back the megaload convoy of about 20 vehicles for almost 2 hours, when blockaders had begun moving to the side of the highway in order to avoid arrest.  The megaload, whose target for the night was Hwy.12 Milepost 38.8, only managed to travel 3 more miles west of the blockade.  It's total miles for the night:  11   —  27.8 miles short of its target.

That means that what was to be a 4-night Lewiston to Lolo Pass transport will now likely be (at least) a 5-night transport.  That also means, that its entry into the Clearwater National Forest and Lochsa-Clearwater Wild & Scenic corridor, which had been scheduled for Wednesday night, will likely be Thursday night.

Every member of the Nez Perce Tribe Executive Committee, the top governing leaders, was arrested.  Several other Nez Perce men and women were also arrested and driven off in paddy wagons.

Undaunted, another protest is planned for tonight ,according to Wild Idaho Rising Tide, which participated in last night's blockade, as did Idle No More. 

Rising Tide says on its Facebook page:

Our allies among the Nez Perce Tribe, Idle No More, and several conservation groups opposing tar sands megaload transports on U.S. Highway 12 are calling on Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) to participate in protests again tonight, Tuesday, August 6, as the Omega Morgan-hauled evaporator and its convoy depart the Arrow Bridge vicinity at 9 pm. A carload of WIRT activists is departing the sidewalk outside the Friends of the Clearwater office (116 East Third Street in Moscow) with the WIRT banner at an unknown time. Please call 208-310-1790 for more information about carpools and join us!

August 6, 2013 05:56 PM

The county has issued a statement to employees, a media statement and now a video, but really hasn't said anything of substance on the firing of Liane Richardson, citing legal concerns. The results of the investigation have not been released. The employee statement that was emailed out this morning warns county workers not to talk to the media. 

Interestingly enough, though only one whistleblower has been mentioned in letters and documents EW has seen, Board Chair Sid Leiken says in the video statement below, "We've seen a lot of brave employees come forward, and I want to say thank you to all of them."

We're hoping the county didn't spend any money on the video — remember when Richardson hired former TV anchor Rick Dancer to make videos for $50,000 after the commissioners voted against spending money on an award-winning videeo series?

Statement from Sid Leiken, Chair of the Lane County Board of Commissioners from Lane County Government on Vimeo.

August 5, 2013 04:24 PM

It's been all over Facebook, newspapers and TV stations have picked it up. Eugene is the number one hippie city  (and Madison, Wisc., Missoula, Mont., and others on the list all made the news in their respective states.) 

Thanks real estate blog Estately. You made a cool list, and everyone got excited. Seattle-based Estately, a real estate brokerage company, sure knows how to market and get headlines.

How was this grand number one position chosen? Estately says, "To determine this we used a formula based on marijuana availability and legality, number of stores selling hemp, local counter-culture icons, tie-dye availability, hippie festivals, progressive government, intensity of Occupy protests, and a Facebook poll. In the end, we determined these places are the 17 Best U.S. Cities for Hippies…"

Pot, sure, especially if you count medical marijuana. Hemp well, Saturday Market and Sweet Potato Pie to name two. Occupy, Ken Kesey, Oregon Country Fair … progressive city government? Looking at the city, what do people think? How are the mayor and City Council on issues such as homelessness, police misconduct, parks and small, local business support? And since it doesn't say "progressive city government" but just government, let's factor the Lane County Commission in, too. Thoughts?