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September 18, 2015 03:21 PM

Friends of Family Farmers says that it "received confirmation this week of Governor Kate Brown’s intent to appoint the general manager of Oregon’s largest factory farm to Oregon’s Board of Agriculture."

The groups says that appointing a representative of a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) could have repercussions for family farmers, whose numbers are decreasing even as the numbers of cows are increasing.

FoFF says in a press release:

Marty Myers, Brown’s pick, is the general manager of Threemile Canyon Farms, a factory-scale dairy operation with corporate headquarters in North Dakota. Threemile houses over 50,000 dairy cows in confinement in Eastern Oregon, but has state-issued permits to expand to over 90,000 dairy cows. The factory farm, located near Boardman, produces twice the biological waste of a city the size of Salem, is one of the nation’s largest factory dairy operations, and likely Oregon’s single largest source of agricultural air pollution.

According to OPB, Threemile Canyon supplies Tillamook Dairy with the milk for its cheese. And according to the United Farm Workers, in the past the company has had labor issues, health and safety violations and gender discrimination allegations.

"In contrast to the vast majority of farms in Oregon, nearly 85 percent of which are family owned and operated," FoFF says, "Threemile Canyon Farms is owned by an out-of-state corporation, R.D. Offutt. Also in contrast to more typical Oregon farming operations, open manure cesspools at Threemile exceed 40 acres in size and release up to 2850 tons of ammonia gas each year. A U.S. Forest Service study in 2005 found these manure cesspools were a contributing source to acid rain and haze in the Columbia River Gorge."

Threemile Canyon Farms, LLC

Cows at Threemile Canyon Farms. Photo by Friends of Family Farmers.

The nonprofit farm group says in appointing Myers, Brown has passed over "dairy producer Jon Bansen, who also applied for the position. Bansen, owner of Double J Jerseys in Monmouth Oregon, raises 300 dairy cows on pasture and produces organic milk for the cooperative Organic Valley."

The Board of Agriculture is made up of 10 members and, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, it advises ODA "on policy issues, develops recommendations on key agricultural issues, and provides advocacy of the state's agriculture industry in general. In addition, the board issues a biennial report to the governor and Legislative Assembly regarding the status of Oregon's agriculture industry."

Friends of Family Farmers says that the board, "is currently exempt from oversight by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. In addition, its members are selected by the governor, but are not confirmed by the Oregon Senate," which the group says raises transparency and conflict of interest concerns.

September 18, 2015 02:30 PM

The House of Representatives voted to freeze funding for Planned Parenthood with a largely party-line vote of 241-187. According to Mother Jones:

Planned Parenthood is barred by law from using federal funds to provide abortions. The $500 million or so it receives each year from the government allows the group to provide family planning and other reproductive health services to mostly poor women on Medicaid. Ahead of the vote, conservative activists and lawmakers circulated a list of thousands of other family planning providers that could replace Planned Parenthood for the thousands of poor women who use its services. There is ample evidence to suggest that these alternatives to Planned Parenthood do not have the capacity to treat the group's patient.

The congressional kickback is largely in response to undercover videos that purported to show Planned Parenthood profiting from selling fetal tissue — allegations several investigations have shown to be unfounded. 

Today the House also passed H.R. 3504, the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, with a vote of 248-177 — with the exception of Rep. Greg Walden, the Oregon delegation voted against it. 

According to Oregon Right-to-Life, the bill "would require abortion clinics provide the same standard of care afforded to prematurely born infants. A failure to do so would become a federal crime. H.R. 3504 would also strengthen the penalties against an abortionist who overtly tried to kill an abortion survivor."

Planned Parenthood is calling for a "national pink-out day," posting on its Facebook page: "Had enough of the outrageous attacks? Join us on September 29 for ‪#‎PinkOut‬ Day! We're turning the world PINK in a massive show of strength and solidarity for reproductive health and rights. Visit istandwithpp.org."

Planned Parenthood provides affordable  reproductive health care, sex education and information to people across the U.S. and the world. 

September 17, 2015 12:43 PM

This just in from BoltBus: more trips to Portland and a route to Seattle.

Affordable premium bus carrier launches direct service between Seattle and Albany/Eugene, adds frequency from Portland

DALLAS (Sept. 17, 2015) — BoltBus, the popular bus line featuring premium onboard amenities and $1 fares, today announced it will expand service in the Pacific Northwest. Beginning today, BoltBus will offer direct service between Seattle and Albany, Ore., and continue to Eugene, Ore., providing customers with more travel options in the region. Prior to today, the Albany and Eugene markets were just served by Portland.

“We’re excited to offer direct service between Seattle and Albany, Ore. with continuing service to Eugene, as we’ve seen an increase in demand, especially from the large college population in the area,” said David Hall, general manager, BoltBus. “Seattle, Albany and Eugene are all popular destinations in the Pacific Northwest, and providing direct service between them allows customers to travel safely, affordably and reliably to these locations.”

In addition to launching direct service between Seattle and Albany/Eugene, the company has also increased frequency to Albany/Eugene from Portland, Ore. from five days a week to seven days a week. The daily schedules allow college students and residents to have more flexibility when traveling, and more convenient schedules to choose from. 

To travel on BoltBus from Seattle or Portland to Albany/Eugene, customers can conveniently board at the following locations:

  • Seattle: 5th Ave. South @ S. King St.
  • Portland: SW Salmon St. (between 5th and 6th Ave.)
  • Albany: Albany Transit Center at 112 SW 10th Ave.
  • Eugene: 5th Street Market at290 E. 5th Ave.

On BoltBus, customers experience free Wi-Fi, power outlets, leather seats and extra legroom while they travel. Bolt Rewards, a loyalty program, is also available to reward frequent riders with free travel. Riders who take eight trips on BoltBus are eligible for a free one-way ticket trip. For fare and schedule information, or to purchase tickets, visit BoltBus.com. 

September 17, 2015 01:22 PM

The University of Oregon has faced heavy criticism for taking the student counseling records of survivors who have sued the school — or even just threatened to sue the school — for mishandling their rape cases. While the Oregon Legislature has worked changed that, loopholes remain open. Oregon lawmakers are now taking the issue up on a federal level, according to today's press release.

Wyden, Bonamici Release Draft Bill to Protect Student Privacy

Oregon Lawmakers Ask for Input on Legislative Proposal to Protect Student Health Records

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., today released draft legislation to better protect student privacy on college campuses in Oregon and across the country. 

The draft bill would change portions of the federal law that governs student records by putting additional privacy procedures in place before a school’s lawyers can access a student’s personal information, including medical records. The current law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), allows educational institutions a significant amount of discretion in accessing student records without the knowledge or consent of the student.

The draft bill, the Campus Litigation Privacy Act, is modeled after guidelines released in August by the U.S. Department of Education that encourage colleges and universities to put individual policies in place to protect student privacy on campus. The department’s draft guidelines are not binding, and once finalized, schools can choose whether or not to adhere to the recommended best practices.

“The Education Department has issued important guidelines on this issue, but protecting student privacy shouldn’t be voluntary,” Wyden said. “Representative Bonamici and I are working together to ensure heightened protections become the law of the land and we are seeking input to make this proposal even stronger. Students should be able to seek health and mental health care on campus with confidence that their private records will be kept confidential.”

“Students’ health records are not adequately safeguarded, and if students don’t trust the confidentiality of campus-based services, we run the risk of discouraging students from seeking care,” Bonamici said. “I look forward to receiving feedback on this proposal and advancing legislation to strengthen privacy protections for students. I am pleased to be working with Senator Wyden on this important issue.”

FERPA governs student education records, including on-campus health treatment records, while off-campus health care providers must adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In legal cases, HIPAA includes additional protections, such as patient authorization, for patient medical records when the records are disclosed.

Earlier this year, Wyden and Bonamici asked the Department of Education to clarify the privacy protections for students on college and university campuses regarding access to their health records.

A summary and text of the draft bill are attached. Submit comments until October 17 here.

September 16, 2015 04:02 PM

Local birder Noah Strycker has set a world record for most species of birds spotted in one year.

New World Record for Most Species of Birds Seen in One Year

Audubon Blogger Noah Strycker Notches 4,342 Species, Will Continue through 2015

THATTEKAD BIRD SANCTUARY, India (September 16, 2015) – Today, globetrotting birder and Audubon blogger Noah Strycker (@NoahStrycker) entered the record books with the most species of birds seen in the same calendar year. He surpassed Alan Davies and Ruth Miller’s previous record when he spotted a Sri Lanka Frogmouth for bird number 4,342. Noah began his “Big Year” on January 1 in Antarctica and is expected to reach his goal of 5,000 birds well before December 31. He has been recording his journey for the National Audubon Society in a blog called “Birding Without Borders” as well as marking his findings in eBird. His full list of species seen so far can be found here.

“It has been amazing to connect with birders through the Audubon blog,” wrote Strycker. “I've been blown away by the feedback and response it has received! There are millions of bird lovers all over the world. In 2016, I get to relive the whole adventure while writing a book about the experience. Instead of a travelogue, the book will be a reflective, fun narrative about birders and our place in the world.”

Countries visited: 27 and counting

First bird seen: Cape Petrel, January 1, Trinity Island, Antarctica

Most memorable sighting: “In Brazil, near the Pantanal, I visited a Harpy Eagle nest and waited four hours until one of the eagles showed up. When it arrived, it was carrying half a coati (a raccoon-like animal) in its dinner-plate-sized talons. Seeing that eagle swoop in was one of the most dramatic and memorable birding moments of my life.”

“Noah’s big year shines a light on the beauty and wonder of birds – and on all the threats they face in a rapidly changing world,” said Audubon VP for Content Mark Jannot. “One out of every eight birds worldwide is globally threatened, and we hope Noah’s blog will inspire more people to help save them.”

According to BirdLife International, one out of eight birds across the globe is threatened, with up to 200 species facing imminent extinction. Habitat loss, invasive species, pollution and increasingly the effects of climate change have resulted in the decline of birds everywhere. Bird populations tend to reflect the health of their ecosystems at large due to their heightened sensitivity to the quality of their surroundings.

Follow the rest of Noah's journey at audubon.org/noah.

The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

September 14, 2015 10:19 AM

Advocates for the unhoused in Eugene are rallying at Wayne Morse Plaza (8th and Oak) and care oming before the City Council tonight. They point to a recent statement of interest filed by the U.S. Department of Justice that says "making it a crime for people who are homeless to sleep in public places, when there is insufficient shelter space in a city, unconstitutionally punishes them for being homeless."



SEPTEMBER 14, 2015



The US Department of Justice on August 6, 2015 exerted new federal muscle against local governments that criminalize homelessness .   In a United States Letter of Interest in a Boise Idaho case, DOJ stated unequivocally that enforcement of anti-camping laws when there is inadequate shelter is unconstitutional.

Lane County’s One Night Homeless Count has repeatedly validated that Eugene has hundreds of unsheltered homeless citizens. The city's official website confirms this.  Consequently, Eugene's enforcement of its anti-camping law, 4.815,  is unconstitutional.

In the DOJ "Conclusion" in the Boise case, US Attorney Sharon Brett stated, " If the Court finds that it is impossible for homeless individuals to secure shelter space on some nights because no beds are available, no shelter meets their disability needs, or they have exceeded the maximum stay limitations, then the Court should also find that enforcement of the ordinances under those circumstances criminalizes the status of being homeless and violates the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution."

"Thus, criminalizing homelessness is both unconstitutional and misguided public policy, leading to worse outcomes for people who are homeless and for their communities," admonished the DOJ. 

Citizens, both housed and unhoused will attend the 7:30 PM Monday, September 14, 2015 meeting of the City Council to demand  a moratorium on 4.815, Eugene’s anti-camping ordinance and that all outstanding tickets be suspended or dismissed.  The group will also demand a moratorium and suspension of 4.807 Criminal Trespass 2, a "quality of life" charge, and of the Parks Exclusion (Restricted Use) which is given without judicial review in violation of the 4th Amendment "due process' clause.  

The final demand is to put a moratorium on interrupting anyone who is settled to sleep on public land who is not blocking pedestrian or vehicular traffic from dusk to dawn  It is intended that the moratoriums remain in place until Eugene develops laws, policies and practices that comply with the US Constitution,  Oregon Law and International Law.  

August 28, 2015 04:05 PM
Photo by Amber Hogan
Photo by Amber Hogan

On March 27, 2014, journalist Serena Markstrom stood outside the Register-Guardnewspaper, pregnant and unemployed.

Today, Aug. 28, 2015, she filed a complaint against the paper in Lane County Circuit Court seeking economic and non-economic losses of $525,000. The case centers on claims of gender discrimination, hostile work environment, retaliation and violating the Oregon Family Leave Act. You can read the full document below.

Markstrom, who also goes by her married name Serena Markstrom Nugent, was fired from the paper where she had worked for 12 years and instead of a baby shower, former fellow employees at the R-G gathered to say goodbye on a rainy sidewalk in front of the newspaper’s Chad Drive offices.

Markstrom had worked at the daily paper in Eugene, Oregon since college and was well known in the community for her lively entertainment reporting and social media presence.

In the months before the paper fired her, Nugent had been pulled from her longtime music and entertainment beat, a beat the court filing says “for which she was recruited, trained, experienced and exceptional” and put on newsroom beat that covered all of rural Lane County. As EWwrote at the time of the change in her beat:

Such switches, as well as downsizing of newspaper newsrooms, have become more common in recent years as print newspapers deal with a changing world of internet publishing and social media. 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 lower pay scale.

The complaint goes on to say that The Register-Guard failed to provide Markstrom any “meaningful help,” for more than seven months, but her editors were nonetheless supportive until “all of that changed dramatically when she notified The Register-Guard of her need for pregnancy related family leave.”

The court document does not say that Markstrom never made any errors in her time at the R-G and in fact points several of them out, rather the argument is that the newspaper “precipitously re-characterized any of Ms. Markstrom's mistakes in the months before  her pregnancy as serious performance deficiencies.”

After the R-G presented Markstrom with a “lengthy performance improvement plan that threatened her with termination in the very near future over issues that it had never previously brought to Ms. Markstrom's attention as sufficiently problematic to justify discipline, let alone termination” her doctor removed her from the workplace for the rest of her pregnancy, the court filing says.

After Markstrom submitted her request for Oregon Family Leave Act intermittent leave to deal with pregnancy related illness, the complaint says that Wendy Baker — a member of the Baker family, which owns the R-G, who is legal counsel and director of human resources at the paper — instructed Markstrom’s editor to “promptly document any and all of Ms. Markstrom's conduct &rdquo that the editor, Ilene Aleshire, “could be critical of because, according to Ms. Baker, The Register-Guard ‘needed to get this  done soon,’ before Ms. Markstrom "got into her pregnancy and … claimed pregnancy discrimination."

Ultimately Markstrom was fired for being "dishonest, insubordinate and having destroyed company property” after checking her email while on pregnancy related disability leave.

According to the complaint, Aleshire told Markstrom that she could not ‘do any work, including checking emails and voicemails,’ while she was on disability leave.

However, Markstrom's complaint says she understood this to mean that she could not work — which might include checking work-related emails and voicemails. “She did not understand this to be a total prohibition against accessing her email account for personal matters.”

The R-G and its union — Eugene Newspaper Guild Local 37194 of the Newspaper Guild/Communication Workers for America — had previously been in a legal battle that the complaint says “led to a judgment authorizing Guild members to use their Register-Guard emails for union and personal matters.”

Markstrom still writes and currently freelances a parenting column for a local start-up lifestyle magazine, Lane Monthly.

EW has contacted Wendy Baker and Dave Baker at the R-G for comment. Wendy Baker says she may comment after she has seen the lawsuit. EW will be updating this blog online if more information, including a response from the R-G arises, and following up with an news story in print.

Update: the R-G has done a story on the lawsuit. EW will be coming out with a print news story on Thursday.

Full disclosure: Camilla Mortensen attended Serena Markstrom's wedding and the writers are friends.

August 27, 2015 12:55 PM

Ever notice that the Register-Guard writes a lot about Duck football? Like three stories a day. R-G readers must like football (and crime and the weather, based on an informal survey of what shows up on the web).

Last week the web editors must have gotten just a wee bit football crazed, what with a game coming up Sept. 5 and all.

August 26, 2015 04:32 PM

Back in 2008, some UO students and other local groups held a rally downtown to celebrate that the Lane County Commission was limiting use of pesticide sprays. Seven years later, the Oregon Court of Appeals has handed down a ruling in a case related to an arrest at that rally, an arrest that was later appealed and has been making its way through the court system ever since.


At the time of the rally and arrest there was a little, shall we say, confusion between Homeland Security and the Eugene Police Department. 

Ian Van Ornum, then an 18-year-old college student was performing street theater dressed in a fake Hazmat suit and carrying a fake pesticide spray bottle — actually a large spray bottle of water with a skull and crossbones Sharpied on to it. A Homeland Security officer, according to police reports at the time, called the Eugene police, specifically naming Van Ornum.

As EW wrote back in 2008:

According to the police reports, Federal Protective Services (FPS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, was made aware of the rally in support of Lane County’s no-roadside spray policy by the EPD on May 22. That is the day EW published an article on the planned rally, featuring a photo of Ian Van Ornum, one of the leaders of “Crazy People for Wild Places,” the student group that organized the rally. Van Ornum was Tasered twice and arrested with [Day] Owen and UO student (and Eagle Scout) Tony Farley.

Day Owen, who spoke at the May 22, 2008 rally, was a member of the Pitchfork Rebellion — a group of organic farmers working to end pesticide sprays, and according to the documents, Homeland Security had been monitoring the Pitchfork Rebellion.

According to today's ruling (and the court's account of the incident is worth a read):

As the demonstration was winding down, Keedy, a federal Homeland Security officer, arrived at the demonstration, concerned because one of the other speakers had previously threatened acts of civil disobedience at federal buildings. Keedy called Solesbee of the Eugene Police Department to let him know that he was at the rally and that the rally was peaceful. Keedy described a couple of people dressed up in “exterminator costumes” who were spraying something around planters, but stated that it seemed innocuous and that he could not see “anything wrong” with what they were doing.

Eugene police came anyway, and Van Ornum was soon Tasered while prostrate on the ground. 

On Dec. 27, 2013, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that Van Ornum could continue to pursue his appeal of his conviction for resisting arrest. As EW wrote at the time:

The state Supreme Court ruling centered on the judge having proposed instructions to the jury that said a police officer should determine the appropriate use of force. Van Ornum’s attorney proposed that that the jury should consider unreasonable force from the point of view of the person being arrested. Van Ornum was convicted but as he began his appeals process there was another case of a person resisting arrest after being pepper sprayed and punched by police. In that case, the Oregon Supreme Court instructed judges to tell juries to consider the issue from the point of view of the person being arrested, and that affects Van Ornum’s case.

Today, Aug. 26, 2015, the Oregon Court of Appeals wrote  that 

The court then concluded that the trial court’s use of the Uniform Criminal Jury Instruction (UCrJI) 1227 (describing when a person is allowed to use physical force for self-defense in response to an officer’s use of unreasonable force when making an arrest) was plain error, and remanded for us to determine if we would exercise our discretion to review the error. We conclude that the gravity of the error and the ends of justice require us to exercise our discretion to correct the error and, accordingly, reverse and remand for a new trial.

In other words, seven years after his orignal arrest and Tasering, Van Ornum can have a new trial. He now plays mandolin in the Ashland-based band Patchy Sanders.

Update: KLCC is reporting that the DA has declined to retry the case.

August 25, 2015 06:08 PM

Planned Parenthood keeps getting hit with undercover videos from the anti-abortion group, "Center for Medical Progress," trying to discredit the reproductive health care provider and defund it. 

On Saturday, Aug. 22 Oregon Right to Life coordinated anti-Planned Parenthood protests in Eugene and at clinics around the state. Planned Parenthood countered with a peaceful pink protest of its own. 

Jimmy Radosta of Planned Parenthood advocates of Oregon tells EW:

Despite these protests, defunding Planned Parenthood has been and continues to be an extremely unpopular idea. The vast majority of the public rejects this extreme political agenda and rejects the fraudulent campaign behind it, because Americans know that Planned Parenthood provides high-quality health care in communities across the country.

Planned Parenthood is the most trusted women’s health care provider in this country. Highly trained doctors, nurses and other professionals have provided birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, safe abortion and other high-quality health care for 99 years. One in five American women reports having been to Planned Parenthood for care.

Extremists who oppose Planned Parenthood’s mission and services are making outrageous and completely false claims. These videos are a fraud intended to deceive the public, and the real agenda of these attacks has become totally clear: to ban abortion and limit women’s access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood. The group behind these discredited videos has close ties with organizations and individuals who have been linked to firebombing abortion clinics and threatening the physical safety of doctors who provide abortion.

August 24, 2015 01:53 PM

You can be part of one of those moments that make Eugene the awesome and unique city it is tomorrow at when the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce hosts an official ribbon cutting at As You Like It: The Pleasure Shop tomorrow, 12 pm Aug. 25. Mayor Kitty Pierce checks out "Eugene’s new and premiere sex-positive resource center, retail shop, and producer of sensual organic body products" at  2 pm. 

The event is at 1655 W 11th Ave., in Eugene.

As You Like It "is stocked exclusively with body-friendly, high-quality products and works tirelessly to provide workshops, symposiums, speakers and community events designed to enlighten, educate, and broaden perspectives." Shop owner Kim Marks says in her press release. She writes,  that the pleasure shop "features a staff of trained sex-educators, a focus on gender inclusivity and a commitment to supporting other local businesses and craftspeople."


Gail Karuna-Vetter, Kim Marks and Oblio Stroyman. Photo by Alex V. Cipolle.

Gail Karuna-Vetter, Kim Marks and Oblio Stroyman. Photo by Alex V. Cipolle

The full press release is below.

On Tuesday, August 25th at noon the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce will host an official ribbon-cutting ceremony and a celebratory launch of our new certified organic product lines. At 2 pm Mayor Kitty Piercy welcomes As You Like It: The Pleasure Shop to Eugene. Many community supporters like the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, Wayward Lamb, NW Community Credit Union and others will be there to help usher in Eugene’s new and premiere sex-positive resource center, retail shop, and producer of sensual organic body products.

New to Eugene this year, As You Like It, located at 1655 W. 11th St., is a different kind of shop for adults. Our mission is to create a space that is safe for your body and the environment. As the very first adult toy storefront to earn certification from Green America, we go beyond ‘talking the talk’ to ‘walking the walk’ with the creation of As You Like It Organic’s new Oregon Tilth and USDA Organic certified, locally made massage oils, lotions, and kissable body butter.

As You Like it is stocked exclusively with body-friendly, high-quality products, and works tirelessly to provide workshops, symposiums, speakers, and community events designed to enlighten, educate, and broaden perspectives. As You Like It: The Pleasure Shop features a staff of trained sex-educators, a focus on gender inclusivity, and a commitment to supporting other local businesses and craftspeople.

Student groups at both the University of Oregon and Lane Community College have partnered with As You Like It to promote inclusiveness, sex-positivity, and shared information around sex and sexuality. Working with The Wayward Lamb, Naughty Morsels Bakery, and other local businesses, we recently sponsored an expansion of the annual Eugene Pride Celebration for an extra day we called Pride Day Too.

As You Like It: The Pleasure Shop proudly sells products from local manufacturers such as Terra Firma Botanicals, We are also a proud member of the Eugene Chamber of Commerce”. In addition to our regular store hours and our online presence, As You Like It offers options for private shopping and either in-home or after-hours private parties. To learn more about As You Like It, visit: www.asyoulikeitshop.com

August 19, 2015 04:25 PM

The McDougal brothers, who have faced criticism over they years for their involvement in projects such as mining scenic Parvin Butte or trying to get a water right on the McKenzie River, are applying for a fill permit for "0.76 acres of emergent and scrub/shrub wetlands" near Green Hill Road in West Eugene.

(In a separate project, the McDougals are also currently planning a subdivision in Veneta, the R-G reports.)

According to the public notice from the Army Corps of Engineers the wetlands the McDougals seek to fill are "adjacent to Amazon Diversion Canal/Amazon Creek. "

The project description, which you can read in full here, says the filling in of the wetlands is for a rail loading facility that would:

"… facilitate the development of the area as a rail loading facility. The rail siding would allow train cars to enter the Gregory Mill site and be loaded with timber products from both sides of the siding. The siding would enter the site from a switch on the CBR rail line (west switch). In order to provide workers with access, a road would be constructed parallel to the track. The applicant has stated that stormwater runoff from the site after construction could migrate to existing ditches but would be minimal since the gravel foundation of the rail siding would allow infiltration of stormwater. Project construction would result in approximately 6.3 acre of ground disturbance."

The Army Corps, which is seeking public comment on the proposed filling of the wetlands, says the purpose of the project is to create a distribution hub for construction materials.

"The applicant has stated that the site is highly suitable as a distribution hub for construction materials due to its location immediately adjacent to the Port of Coos Bay Rail Link rail line. The proposed rail siding would allow train cars to enter the Gregory Mill site and be loaded with timber projects from both sides of the siding, for delivery to the Port of Coos Bay."

To mitigate for the loss of 0.76 in wetlands, the McDougals are "proposing to purchase 0.76 credits from the City of Eugene’s Wetland Mitigation Bank."

Comments on the project are due within 30 days, should reference US Army Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2013-141/1 and should go to:

Heidi Firstencel, Project Manager U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Eugene Field Office 211 E. 7th Avenue, Suite 105
Eugene, Oregon 97401-2722
(541) 465-6765


August 18, 2015 06:02 PM

The Environmenal Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW) is asking for the public's help writing emails and advocating for freeing Eduardo Arturo Mosqueda Sánchez, a young human rights and environmental lawyer who has been imprisoned without bail in Mexico. The full call to action is below.

A terrible injustice is unfolding in Mexico. Eduardo Arturo Mosqueda Sánchez, a young human rights and environmental lawyer, was imprisoned without bail on July 22 while working to defend the Nahua people in Jalisco State. 

Eduardo is currently being held in a high security cell at Colima's Detention Center.

We urge you to write to President Peña Nieto and the Governors of Jalisco and Colima States, asking for Eduardo's immediate release. 

Find contact information below.

Eduardo works for ELAW's partner organization, Instituto de Derecho Ambiental (IDEA), a grassroots organization in Guadalajara founded by award-winning attorney and long time ELAW partner Raquel Gutiérrez Nájera.

Eduardo's arrest is tied to IDEA's work on a lengthy land dispute that the Nahua people, in Ayotitlán, Cuatitlán, have with an iron mining company (Consorcio Minero Benito Juárez Peña Colorada S.A.)

In 2013, the community filed a constitutional petition known as an amparo asking the court to recognize the community's rights over the land. An administrative and labor judge from the 4th District issued an injunction, granting community members free access to all of the lands and suspending the mining company's use of the lands until the case is resolved.

On July 22, Eduardo and hundreds of community members toured the contested lands. Some community members, including women and children, were assaulted, and 33 community members and Eduardo were detained. 

The community members have been released, but Eduardo remains imprisoned on trumped-up, false criminal charges.

ELAW partners around the world stand up to powerful interests who seek to gain from polluting and destroying natural resources. ELAW U.S. moves quickly when one of our partners is in danger.

ELAW and IDEA have contacted the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico

We now ask for your help. Please post a message to President Peña Nieto, and the Governors of Jalisco and Colima, asking for Eduardo's immediate release. 

President Peña Nieto 

Jorge Aristóteles Sandoval Díaz, Governor of Jalisco State aristoteles.sandoval@jalisco.gob.mx

Mario Anguiano Moreno, Governor of Colima State


For more information, visit Justicia para Eduardo Mosqueda.

Thank you.

Bern Johnson

Executive Director

Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide 

August 14, 2015 02:14 PM

It's 1892 and Abigail Rook is looking for a job in New Fiddleham, New England. No sooner has she gotten off the ship she took from Europe than she meets the peculiar detective R.F. Jackaby. He uses Sherlockian deduction mixed with some Harry Potteresque crytozoological beings to determine Abigail has recently been in Eastern Europe. Not that long after their chance encounter, the intrepid Abigail enters into his employ and meets the supernatural residents of his home.

Billed as Doctor Who meet Sherlock Holmes, the young adult novel Jackaby (Algonquin Young Readers, 2014) and its sequel Beastly Boneswill appeal to the YA readers who are Harry Potter and mystery lovers, and judging from videos like the one below, as well as a plethora of YouTube reviews (which are apparently a thing) the novels have gotten a loyal following.

Local readers will notice that there is a certain Lane County flair to the books, despite their New England setting. Ritter lives in Springfield, and one of the characters a homeless woman with a hint of supernatural powers, Hatun, bears a strong resemblance to Hatoon Victoria Adkins, an unhoused woman who made her home near the University of Oregon bookstore, where a shrine to her remains. Adkins was hit by a care and died in 2005 and was mourned by the many who knew her around campus.

Ritter writes of Hatun:

Jackaby hesitated, and when he spoke, his answer had a soft earnestness to it. “Hatun sees a different world than you or I, a far more frightening one, full of far more terrible dangers, and still she chooses to be the hero whom that world needs. She has saved this town and its people from countless monsters countless times. That the battles are usually in her head does not lessen the bravery of it. The hardest battles always are.”

Kirkus gives Beastly Bones a starred review:

[A] fast-paced sequel to Jackaby…As bones go missing—and then small livestock—methodical investigation and scientific experimentation yield to madcap chases, slapstick humor, and romance. Ritter's blends—fantasy and mystery, action and tension, oddball detective and able sidekick—employ but exceed their stock elements. With one case closed but two unsolved, the well-matched, well-written duo will undoubtedly return to fight a more fearsome foe. A witty and weird adventure equal parts Sherlock and Three Stooges.

The Corvalis-Benton County Public Library hosts Will Ritter 6 pm Aug. 18. 645 NW Monroe Avenue, Corvallis.