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August 22, 2017 12:07 PM

More than 600 fire fighters are stationed in Lowell, Oregon to fight the Jones wildfire, which has burned more than 5,400  acres in the Willamette National Forest near Fall Creek since Aug. 13. On Aug. 20, mountain winds blew the fire over Forest Service Road 18, in the direction of the Fall Creek Reservoir.

Lundy Elementary School in Lowell and the Dexter Park marina are hosting hundreds of firefighter tents for the duration of this wildfire.

Multiple campgrounds and roads throughout the Willamette National Forest are closed because of the Jones Fire, the Whitewater Fire (8,400 acres) and the Rebel Fire (2,600 acres).

The fire is 9 miles east of Fall Creek Reservoir, which is about a 4o minute drive from Eugene. See our story in an upcoming print issue and get more info here. 

August 18, 2017 01:50 PM

While backpacking around Europe before college, my friend 18-year-old Laphoenix Warner-McDonald and I found ourselves experiencing the effects of a terror attack in Barcelona, Spain. Being far away from home while this is happening is intense. My first thought was “How quickly can I get home?”

Stuck in hostel on a blocked-off road in Barcelona, Laphoenix and I are trying to make the best of our situation. The hostel is crawling with people. We all play board games — chess and Clue — and offer each other chips from the singular vending machine.

It’s 1:30 in the morning as I write this. People are exhausted from mental and physical trauma, yet few are asleep. The hostel employees are visibly distressed. They snap at each other in English and Spanish.

We look out the window and see the hundreds of people barricaded from where they need to be. The police tape is stretched and pulled by anxious adults, and parents sit under it with children stretched on their laps.

The police allow five or 10 people to leak out of the barricade every few minutes. They rush down the empty street towards their accommodations.

I was asleep when the attack happened. A van, two streets over from the hostel, drove intentionally through a huge crowd of tourists. When the van hit a newspaper kiosk, the unidentified driver escaped on foot. Police were quick to barricade the area. I woke to sirens and disorientedly reassured my worried loved ones from Eugene that Laphoenix and I were safe.

Laphoenix was also napping until moments after the attack.

“When I woke up, I read a message from someone I met yesterday,” Laphoenix explained. “She asked if I was alright, and told me that there was a bus accident. She said something about it being an attack. I looked outside — went outside actually, and saw all the police. There was tape blocking our hostel off from the street. Every 30 seconds, an ambulance would go shooting down the road.”

The scene outside the window

A few individuals ended up at our hostel unexpectedly. James Allman, 15, of England, was rushed into the hostel during the chaos after the attack.

 “I saw everyone running towards the barricades,” he says, “back towards where it happened. I just went with them, and ended up here.”

James talks of his uncle, who is stuck at a hotel a few blocks away. “I think he saw it, or heard the gunshots. He was on the roof of the hotel. He saw, I think, dead bodies on the ground.”

James Allman waits at the hostel in Barcelona

With 13 people confirmed as dead, and about 100 more injured, Barcelona is aching. An American man, Jared Tucker, 43, from California, is among those injured. As I write this, the man who hit the victims has yet to be found, but police are continuing to search relentlessly. Countries all around the world are responding to this tragedy with love and expressing their support.

And now, rather than thinking about how soon I can go home, today my mind has been altered by the time I've spent caged up with these traumatized people. They refuse to collapse in fear. Instead, they are attentive, they are endlessly supportive, and they do as much as they can to positively impact the situation. Because of them, I don't want to run home anymore. I won't hide from uncontrollable situations. They happen, and all I can do is decide how to react, whether that be with fear or with grit, grace and strength.

Eugene resident Fiona Corrigan is backpacking through Europe before starting college in the fall. 

August 16, 2017 06:17 PM

Dino Costa, the sports shock jock who earlier this summer called for Black Lives Matter protesters to be run over is no longer with Alpha Media and its Portland station 750/102.9 The Game.

Randi P'Pool, vice president of marketing for Alpha Media, has issued a statement saying:

After further review, Alpha Media has decided to cut ties with Dino Costa. Additional information is not available at this time.

EW reported on Costa's June 7 remarks in light of the recent death of a Heather Heyer, a counterprotester in Charlottesville, Virginia, who was run over and killed by a car that ran into the crowd as police dispersed the crowds at the site of a planned “Unite the Right” rally of white supremacists. In addition to Heyer’s death, 19 other people were injured.

Costa said, in reference to an incident in Minnesota where protesters shut down a highway: “You know these protests where they shut down the road, they lie in the road? If I’m the cops, I wave the traffic on." He clarified during his diatribe that his remarks pertained to Portland as well.

Costa continued, "Listen, as soon as one or two of these sumbitches are run over you’ll see the entire, in unison, everybody be up off the street. When people are being killed by 18-wheel trucks coming by, pickups, cars. Run ’em over!”

EW asked the University of Oregon Duck athletics for comment on the remarks, in light of Charlottesville. Costa's now-fomer station KXTG (750/102.9 The Game) is listed as a "flagship" station broadcasting Ducks games and says on its website that is "Your 2017 Home Of Ducks Football." The UO  has a multi-media license agreement with IMG Media, which then gives radio stations like KXTG multi-media and sponsorship rights. 

Jimmy Stanton, UO's senior associate athletics director, responded: "We were just made aware of these comments. We certainly don’t condone them, and we find them disgusting and reprehensible. We are raising our concerns with IMG and the station."

IMG's contract with the UO has a morals clause that says:

IMG represents, warrants and covenants that it will not, and will not permit IMG's employees or subcontractors or anyone else to, (i) use the Licensed Marks or other licensed property in a manner that harms University's reputation or (ii) violate laws or engage in conduct involving moral turpitude that negatively impacts the value of this Agreement. In the event of any violation of this Section 6.03, in addition to IMG's attempts to cure in accordance with Section 3.05, IMG agrees to use best efforts to immediately cease any such violation, including without limitation, if requested by University, terminating such third party's rights to use University's marks or other licensed property or any other rights to sponsor or otherwise associate with University.

Willamette Week picked up the story and the Portland Timbers soccer team also issued a statement saying it would review its contract with Alpha Media at the end of the 2018 MLS season.

On his Aug. 14 show, after  Heyer's death, Costa discussed the Charlottesville rally and death, saying he didn't want any rallies or protests to culminate in people getting hurt, people getting maimed or losing their life as a result. He did not refer directly to or apologize for his previous remarks in the broadcast.

August 14, 2017 06:11 PM

Update: EW received this statement from Randi P'Pool, vice president of marketing for Alpha Media, which employed Dino Costa: 

After further review, Alpha Media has decided to cut ties with Dino Costa. Additional information is not available at this time.


A Portland area shock jock, whose radio station calls itself “Your 2017 Home Of Ducks Football,” called for protesters to be run over on his sports radio show in June. The University of Oregon calls the comments "disgusting and reprehensible."

On radio KXTG (102.9 The Game) Dino Costa was discussing Black Lives Matter on his June 7 show when he called Black Lives Matter the “latest and most dangerous face of well-funded socialist communist organizations that have been agitating Americans for decades."

Referencing an incident in Minnesota where protesters shut down a highway, he said, “You know these protests where they shut down the road, they lie in the road? If I’m the cops, I wave the traffic on. Listen, as soon as one or two of these sumbitches are run over you’ll see the entire, in unison, everybody be up off the street. When people are being killed by 18-wheel trucks coming by, pickups, cars. Run ’em over!”

He clarifies before the comments that his remarks pertain to Portland as well.

Heather Heyer, a counterprotester in Charlottesville, Virginia, was run over and killed by a car that ran into the crowd as police dispersed the crowds at the site of a planned “Unite the Right” rally of white supremacists, according to media reports. In addition to Heyer’s death, 19 other people were injured. The incident has reverberated across the country, at a time where the election of Donald Trump has been seen as an endorsement of the so-called "alt-right" and "white nationalist" movement and heightening racial tensions.

A rally, "Hate Is Not Welcome in Lane County #SolidarityWithCharlottesville," is taking place Aug. 14 in Eugene.

Men’s Journal called Costa “the angriest man on the airwaves” in a 2012 article. In 2015 he told the far-right Breitbart Sports that “my show is where political correctness goes to die.”

According to a UO website, KXTG — 750 AM/102.9 FM — is a “flagship” station for the UO Ducks, and on its site, 102.9 says it is a "broadcast partner" of Oregon IMG Sports Marketing, which “provides sponsorship opportunities with Oregon Athletics.”

The diatribe can be heard here, at about 1 hour and 15 minutes into the program.

Jimmy Stanton, UO's senior associate athletics director, tells EW, "We were just made aware of these comments. We certainly don’t condone them, and we find them disgusting and reprehensible. We are raising our concerns with IMG and the station."

EW also reached out to KXTG and is still awaiting comment.


Update: The Portland Timbers soccer team, whose games are aired by 102.9, which also hosts a Timbers talk show, has issued a statement on Dino Costa's remarks.


Alpha Media and its station 750/102.9 The Game have been partners of the Timbers since our start in Major League Soccer in 2011.

The Game airs our live matches and our weekly Talk Timbers show. None of the opinions expressed on their other shows or other Alpha Media radio stations, specifically The Dino Costa Show, are those of the Portland Timbers. Nor do the Timbers have any say or input on the hires The Game chooses to make for its non-Timbers-specific live game programming.

The Timbers have and will always stand for tolerance, acceptance and diversity, and we understand the reaction that many of our fans have had to some of the offensive and insensitive views and opinions expressed on The Dino Costa Show. In no way do we condone those views, as they go against our fundamental values and beliefs as a club.

We are under contract with Alpha Media through the end of the 2018 MLS season. We will carefully evaluate our radio home at that time.

Meanwhile, Randi P'Pool, vice president of marketing for Alpha Media, issued this statement:

Alpha Media holds the relationships with the Portland Timbers and the University of Oregon in high regard. 750/102.9 The Game management team took immediate and aggressive action with Dino Costa regarding the comment made during his June 7th broadcast.

In his Aug. 14 broadcast, Costa discussed the Charlottesville rally and death, saying he didn't want any rallies or protests to culminate in people getting hurt, people getting maimed or losing their life as a result. He did not refer directly to or apologize for his previous remarks. 

August 11, 2017 12:51 PM

Armageddon The Total Solar Eclipse (or partial if you stay in the Eug) is Monday, Aug. 21, starting around 9:04 am. Oregon has mobilized the National Guard. The Red Cross suggests you camp out this weekend to prep for possible disasters like a 9.0 Cascadia earthquake … or the eclipse. 

In the spirit of possible disaster, what businesses plan to close down that day? EW is planning a half day to give employees a chance to watch the eclipse and not worry about traffic (don't worry, our reporters will be working and covering the phenomenom and any craziness that might happen). 

Does your workplace plan to close for the eclipse? Know any businesses that are holding "eclipse hours"? Drop us a note at Editor@eugeneweekly.com.

August 3, 2017 04:52 PM

A public Facebook note by local comedian and writer Leigh Anne Jasheway has been getting posted and reposted — sometimes uncredited — and getting lots of laughs for its take on the coming eclipse.

The piece starts off: 

Word is that three-quarters of the entire population of Earth plans to arrive in Oregon during the fourth week in August in order to get a good seat for the solar eclipse. We native Oregonians (defined as “people who moved here at least 10 years ago”) are not thrilled with the idea of sharing our wide open spaces with people whose primary experiences with the outdoors have been limited to hailing a cab or running quickly from a raccoon while taking out the trash.

In order to make sure you don’t tick off the residents of the Beaver State (oh, stop it! What are you, still in 7th grade?), here are some things you should know before arriving:

• Spots in state parks are booked up three years in advance even in non-solar-eclipse years, so no amount of whining is going to change that. A better option is to pay an Oregonian a small fortune to rent a spot in their yard. If you check Craigslist (yes, we do have Craigslist out here; thanks for asking), you’ll find lots of us who are willing to put up with your shenanigans for one or two nights for a couple thousand dollars. We have mortgages on our weed dispensaries to pay.

• On the west side of the Cascade Mountains, you’ll find more hippies than rednecks. On the east side, the reverse is true. Do NOT get this confused.

• Our motto is, “She flies with her own wings.” Our governor is a woman. Our attorney general is a woman. Leave your sexist t-shirts and ball caps at home. Oregon women aren’t shy about telling you to shut your trap. Also, many of us have chainsaws.

• Whatever you bring into our state, take it back with you when you’re gone. Don’t leave garbage or unwanted members of your family behind. While we have great animal rescue programs, they will not take your in-laws.

For the full post go to Jasheway's Facebook page here.

July 31, 2017 04:55 PM

With temperatures predicted to rise above the 100 degree mark this week, Eugene Weekly asked the the city of Eugene and Lane County if they will be opening cooling centers to provide relief, particularly for those who don't have a way to get cool or are homeless.

Eugene's places to get cool are below, and Lane County tells EW they will send information on staying cool from Public Health in the morning.  Lane County has supplied a list of cooling centers across the county from Junction City to Cottage Grove here.

Beat the Heat at City Facilities

As temperatures rise this week, the City of Eugene invites individuals to cool off in air conditioned libraries, community centers, swimming pools and parks.

All three Eugene Public Library locations are air conditioned.

The current hours of operation are:

• The Downtown Library, 100 West 10th Ave., is open 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., M-Th, and 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. F-Su  

ª The Bethel Branch Library, 1990 Echo Hollow Rd., and Sheldon Branch Library, 1566 Coburg Rd., are open 12 p.m - 8 p.m. Tues, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. M,W,Th,F & Sa; closed Sundays.

 Lap swim and rec swim times over the weekend are as follows:

• Amazon Pool:

    Lap Swim: Monday-Friday 5:30-9 a.m. and 10:50 a.m.-6:15 p.m.; Saturday 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 2-5 p.m.; Sunday 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 2-5 p.m. Rec Swim: Daily 2-5 p.m., Monday and Wednesday 6:30-8:30 p.m. 

    Parent/Child Swim: Daily 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Monday-Thursday 5:30-6:30 p.m. 

• Echo Hollow Pool:

    Lap Swim: Monday-Friday 5:30-8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

    Rec Swim: Monday-Friday 1:15-3:15 p.m. and 7-8:30 p.m.; Sunday 1:15-3 p.m.

• Sheldon Pool:

    Lap Swim: Monday-Friday 5:30-6:30 a.m., 7-8 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 5:15-6:30 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

    Rec Swim: Monday-Friday 1:30-3:30 p.m.; Monday and Wednesday, 7:35-8:30 p.m.; Friday 7:30-8:30 p.m.; Saturday 12-2 p.m.

• The City operates five community centers Monday through Friday that are air conditioned.

The hours of operation and locations of those centers are:

    Amazon Center, 2700 Hilyard St., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., M-F

    Campbell Center, 155 High St. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., M-F

    Hilyard Center, 2580 Hilyard St., 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., M-F

    Petersen Barn Center, 870 Berntzen Rd., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., M-F

    River House Center, 301 No. Adams St., Noon-4 p.m., M-F

• Spray play areas in City parks are a cooling resource, as well. Spray play areas are located in the following parks:



    Skinner Butte

    RiverPlay Playground


Update: Willamalane in Springfield has posted its list of places to cool off as well. 

For the public’s safety and well-being, Willamalane has also designated both the Bob Keefer Center and Willamalane Adult Activity Center as cooling centers.

   Bob Keefer Center, located at 250 S. 32nd St., features a large lobby area for people to sit and relax while they cool off. The center is open from    6 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday – Friday; 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday; and 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday.

    Willamalane Adult Activity Center also has a large lobby area with ample seating accommodations and cooling air conditioning. The Adult         Activity Center, located at 215 W. C St., is open on 8 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday – Thursday; 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Friday; and 9 a.m. – noon on Saturday.

In addition to the cooling centers, Willamalane’s two pools provide additional options to beat the heat, while enjoying a refreshing swim, or a fun day with the family

    Splash! at Lively Park, Splash! offers Waterpark swims, which includes a wave pool, water slide, family activity pool, hot tub, lap pool and kiddie pool on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. – 8 p.m., and Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Additional hours in the mornings and evenings are available for lap swimming and water exercise. Splash! is located at 6100 Thurston Road in Springfield.

    Willamalane Park Swim Center is also a great place to cool off and fit in some exercise. The Swim Center features an eight-lane, 25-yard lap pool, an accessible deep-water pool with diving boards and a shallow wheelchair accessible play and exercise pool with a waterslide. For exercise, the Swim Center is open 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Monday – Thursday; 5:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Friday; and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. For recreation swims, hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. The Swim Center is located at 1276 G Street in Springfield.

For more information, go to willamalane.org.

July 28, 2017 12:02 PM

 Markalo Parkalo

The 36th annual SLUG (Society for the Legitimization of the Ubiquitous Gastropod) queen coronation is coming up Aug. 11 and if you've always wanted to be a raining SLUG queen of Eugene, now is your chance! Applications are due Aug. 4.

The SLUG queen Facebook page describes the positon as: "campy Eugene tradition; The SLUG Queen rules the Land of Lane with compassion and slime for all. Politically savvy, wickedly witty or garishly garbed--the SLUG queen has her pulse on the needs and desires of her fiefdom. As Eugene's good will ambassador, the SLUG Queen presides over parades, supports local charities, businesses and art, and throws an annual ball--of course you are invited darlings!"

Competition information is below (ignore the reference to the Festival of Eugene, which no longer exists) and you can find the application here:


•The selection of the 2017 Queen is entirely at the whim of the assembled old S.L.UG. Queens and celebrity judges.

•Judging is made in three categories: Costume, Talent Act and The Question. Your “talent” act will be limited to three minutes. Really! It will! First Lady in Waiting Kim will contact you to go over any sound/technical needs you may have.

•Contestants must be 21 or older, but there are no other restrictions of any kind with regard to sex, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, race, disability, creed, species, etc. The S.L.U.G. Queen embodies the spirit of diversity.

•Contestants must enter in the spirit of fun and may be tastefully tacky, but not gross and disgusting.

•Bear in mind that this is a family event, therefore overt, strong references to sex, drug or alcohol use and other “adult” themes are inappropriate and will disqualify you. Local politics and rock & roll are fair game, though.

•Contestants should understand the duties of the S.L.U.G. Queen. Being the most flexible creatures on Earth, we SLUGS are making up our own fun as we go along, supporting and collaborating with each other as we re-envision the “Rain” of a S.L.U.G. Queen in our fair Realm. We don’t have an official relationship with the Festival of Eugene folks, but they seem open to collaborations and appearances. The Queen is also expected to make herself available for events of royal merit throughout the year of her reign and to participate in the organization of the 2017 coronation, to pass on her wealth of experience and stash of slime.

•Bribing the judges is acceptable before and during the competition, First Lady In Waiting Kim can provide you with a list of Queenly email addresses if you would like to pursue bribery in advance of the competition.

•Being crowned S.L.UG. Queen escalates one into the public realm and requires appearances before people of all ages; appropriate attitude is required.

•Do not hesitate to contact First Lady in Waiting Kim with any questions you may have. Call her at 541-521-7125 or email firstladykim@cottageevents.com.

July 26, 2017 12:52 PM

At a July 26 Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing, the Forest Service under the Trump administration endorsed wilderness protection for the Devil’s Staircase and the Wild Rogue in Sen. Ron Wyden’s Oregon Wildlands Act, S. 1548.

In his statement to the committee, Glenn Casamassa, associate deputy chief of the National Forest System, U.S. Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture, says:

“The proposed Devil’s Staircase Wilderness provides an outstanding representation of the Oregon Coast Range and would enhance the National Wilderness Preservation System. There is an existing road within the proposed boundary of this wilderness that would require decommissioning by heavy equipment prior to designation as wilderness or allowance for use of mechanized equipment for this purpose after the enactment. USDA supports the designation of the proposed Devil’s Staircase Wilderness.”

And of the Rogue, he states, “Section 301 of the bill would designate 56,100 acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and by the Forest Service as an addition to the Wild Rogue Wilderness. USDA supports this addition of wilderness on National Forest System.”

Andy Stahl of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (FSEEE) points out that the BLM’s prior pro-Devils Staircase position appears to remain unchanged.

In a July 13 statement on the bill, Wyden said, 

“When it comes to recreation opportunities in some of the world’s most uniquely beautiful places, Oregon has it all. It’s time for Congress to listen to the voices of Oregonians from every part of our state who have spoken in favor of protecting these unmatched natural treasures for years to come.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley, who introduced the bill with Wyden, added, “These Oregon jewels deserve to be protected for future generations of Oregonians and Americans,” Merkley said. “With this bill, we will not only preserve some of Oregon’s unique and most special places, we will also boost local economies and help cement Oregon’s well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s greatest recreation destinations.”

You can read Casamassa’s full statement here.

July 25, 2017 05:35 PM

If you’re nervous about traveling by bike around Eugene, the city is hosting an event that will allow you to navigate some streets without worrying about cars. Now in its seventh year, Sunday Streets will be held 10:30 am to 4 pm Sunday, July 30, with an after party in the Park Blocks from 4 until 8 pm. Also part of Sunday Streets is a nod to the old Eugene Celebration parade. The EUG Parade is at 10:30 am. 

People will have the opportunity to walk, bike, roller skate and try different fitness classes for free in an outdoor environment free of cars.

Sunday Streets coordinator Emily Farthing says the city began holding one event per year and now hosts two.

“In future years, look for more. It is a big event, so it does take a lot of volunteers and people power to put it on so that’s one of the reasons it’s only twice a year now,” Farthing says.

Though Eugene has several bike lanes and paths, feeling safe from cars is still a concern, especially for people who are new to cycling. In EW’s “Bike Dreams,” it was reported that Eugene ranks 12 nationally for people who bike to work, but the number of people who bike to work in the city is only 6.8 percent.

One of the goals of Sunday Streets is to help make Eugene more bike friendly. “This is an event that is out of transportation options because our goal is to provide resources to people like free helmets and bike maps and things like bike test rides in an open space for people to get around and feel comfortable walking or biking,” Farthing says.

For starters, if you’re new to biking getting a helmet is an important first step, Farthing says. Secondly, pick up a bike map and plan out your trip before you hit the streets. “If you’re nervous about going on a busier streets, just try riding the bike path, and that’s good any time of day,” she says. Farthing suggests small steps like gradually riding of the bike path onto streets. “I would even say switching one daily trip or weekly trip that you might take to the store — like route something that you do on a regular basis to see how many miles it is.”

A bigger step for making Eugene more bike-friendly is on the horizon with the adoption of the Eugene 2035 Transportation System Plan by Eugene City Council on June 26. The TSP calls for improvements to bicycle lanes and paths to follow the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, which highlights the importance of accessibility to safe bikeways and pedestrian paths because it serves as the only way the elderly, poor and young people commute.

Sunday Streets will kick-off with an all-human powered parade. “We have a lot of entries that are totally bike powered and we’re talking major floats constructed on bicycles so that should be quite the show,” Farthing says.

More than 75 vendors are expected in the downtown core and in and around Kesey Square.

“I think that you’re seeing … that kind of synchronicity of like a perfect beautiful storm of downtown revitalization, downtown programming, great downtown businesses and then the desire for that celebration vibe of years past like the parade, like the late night live music, and I think this event is going to capture all of that,” Farthing says.

Sunday Streets begins at 10:30 am on July 30 and events go until 8 pm. Several miles of streets will shut down from Monroe Park to the downtown Park Blocks. The event is free. https://www.eugene-or.gov/2741/Sunday-Streets-2017 .

July 21, 2017 11:52 AM

A 44-year-old Eugene man charged with threatening to kill worshippers at a Eugene mosque last spring escaped prison time when a judge approved a plea deal in court on Friday, July 21 that gave him 36 months’ probation.

Chad Everett Russell could have faced a year in prison for second-degree intimidation and a $6,000 fine for each of the charges he pleaded guilty to.

His release drew sharp criticism from his victims. “We’re just really concerned because it seems like there are two systems of justice that are being practiced — one against people of color and one against white individuals in this state,” said Zakir Khan, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Russell appeared for his sentencing hearing in Lane County Circuit Court and accepted a deal dismissing two counts of menacing. He pleaded guilty to two counts of intimidation in the second degree and harassment. Russell walked into the Eugene Islamic Center on May 8 and threatened to kill its worshipers, according to Eugene police. On May 9, he was seen urinating in Monroe park and reorded in a video becoming aggressive and making threats against people in the parks in front of children. 

Prosecutor David Mintz recapped Russell’s actions in May. “He threated to blow his (the victim’s) head off,” Mintz said of Russell’s actions in Monroe Park. Mintz added that this has “affected the entire Islamic Community and caused great fear and concern."

At the hearing, Aaron Martin, a victim of Russell’s threats, said the “charges did not fit the crime.”

“Every day my kids ask me, ‘what happened to that guy?’ What am I supposed to tell them?” Martin said. “Today is a sad day. I fear for my life, and I fear for my kids’ lives.”

Khan also said he was displeased with the plea agreement. “I’ve talked to many victims. Many of the women fear for their lives.”

Russell’s attorney, Allison Knight, told the court that Russell has “a very significant history of head trauma” from serving in the military. In 2014, she said, Russell was hit by a car and lost consciousness for a significant period of time. A physician’s evaluation of Russell found he has “ongoing and permanent brain damage,” and the damage to his frontal cortex affects his impulse control as well as his ability to make judgments and control his anger management, according to his attorney.

Russell, who served 74 days in jail before his release, is prohibited from contacting the victims or visiting the mosque and is not allowed to possess weapons or consume alcohol. A gun was found in his home and he had a knife when he was arrested May 9.

Alex Reasoner, a member of the Eugene Islamic Center, said the DA didn’t notify members of the mosque about the deal until Thursday, July 20. “We did not have an opportunity to create a statement; we did not have an opportunity to speak to the community members; the community member who was listed as a victim was notified last night and was not able to get off work today, so he couldn’t attend this himself,” Reasoner said. “So he couldn’t speak in his own defense.”

“On behalf of the council on American Islamic Relations Oregon as well as the Eugene Islamic Community, we’re greatly displeased by the verdict in this case,” Khan said.

“What we needed today was a DA who was willing to, one, be courageous in the face of this case and not just plead this case out but take it to trial like he told us he would. And, second, like he told the Muslim community that he would make an example out of this individual so the rest of the state could see that these types of hate crimes are unacceptable.”

Eugene Weekly first reported that the FBI was working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the EPD on this case. Kevin Sonoff, a spoeksman for the U.S. Attorney, said after the hearing that his office had no comment about ongoing investigations. Mintz had no comment after the hearing.

July 10, 2017 12:53 PM

In a press release (see below) the city of Springfield has announced that it is “taking steps to address a shortage of affordable housing by making it easier to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs).” ADUs are also known as secondary dwelling unites, granny flats and mother-in-laws.

To that affect, the the Springfield City Council passed a resolution to reduce the costs involved by “temporarily waiving the transportation, stormwater and local wastewater system development charges on newly permitted accessory dwelling units.”

Springfield defines ADUs as “secondary dwellings included on a property with an existing, larger home. An ADU can be either attached to the existing dwelling, for example a basement or attic space converted into an apartment, or a detached structure such as a backyard cottage.”

 The temporary waiver started on July 1, and continues for two years until June 30, 2019. “This waiver will reduce construction costs for a typical ADU in Springfield by an estimated $5,000 to $6,000.”

The full press release is below.


Springfield Temporarily Waives System Development Charges for Accessory Dwelling Units

The City of Springfield is taking steps to address a shortage of affordable housing by making it easier to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The Springfield City Council passed a resolution to reduce the costs involved by temporarily waiving the transportation, stormwater, and local wastewater system development charges (SDCs) on newly permitted accessory dwelling units. The temporary waiver started on July 1, 2017 and continues for a two-year period through June 30, 2019. This waiver will reduce construction costs for a typical ADU in Springfield by an estimated $5,000 to $6,000.

ADUs are secondary dwellings included on a property with an existing, larger home. An ADU can be either attached to the existing dwelling, for example a basement or attic space converted into an apartment, or a detached structure such as a backyard cottage. Note that SDCs imposed by the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission and Willamalane Park and Recreation District are still in effect.

The City sees several benefits of having more ADUs in Springfield, primarily to increase the supply of small rental units for which the vacancy rate is lowest. Additional ADUs will also increase the number and type of affordable housing units without consuming the limited supply of undeveloped land. Residents that build ADUs on their properties can benefit by having an extra source of income in the form of rent, allowing for multiple generations to live in close proximity, and providing housing for on-site assistance or caregivers to help people live independently on their property. Economic development will also be bolstered by generating work for local builders and contractors.

The supply of housing in Springfield is limited at all levels, with rental vacancy rates at less than 1 percent. Housing costs in Springfield are increasing faster than household incomes. Last year, the Springfield City Council directed staff to evaluate housing needs and to build on strategies to both increase the supply of housing and the accessibility of affordable housing throughout the housing continuum.

There are several design standards and required permits to construct an ADU. Those interested in learning more can visit www.springfield-or.gov, or contact the Development and Public Works Department, 541.726.3753.

The City is also considering amendments to the development code that would make it easier and potentially less expensive for homeowners to add an ADU to their property. The Planning Commission will hold a work session on July 18 to discuss this, which community members are welcome to attend. The work session begins at 6 p.m. in the Jesse Maine Room at Springfield City Hall, 225 Fifth Street.

July 6, 2017 10:39 AM

Apparently someone gets a kick out of Eugene Weekly.

In all seriousness, on the evening of July 5, someone kicked in EW’s employee door, scattering the glass more than 10 feet into the building.

According the Eugene Police Department, at 7:44 pm on July 5, a man who was riding his bike on West 12th “heard glass breaking and rode in that direction. He saw a man pulling his leg from Eugene Weekly’s broken glass door. The man became aggressive toward the bicyclist, who was trying to take his picture. So the bicyclist backed away.”

The witness was able to get a photo.

EWand the Eugene police would appreciate help in identifying the subject. The case 17-11100.  To report a crime call 541-682-5111. To leave a tip, please call 541-682-8888.

You can also call Eugene Weekly at 541-484-0519.

Here is EPD’s description. “The suspect is a white male adult, with a thin build, short blonde straight hair, and a scruffy beard. He was last seen wearing a black and gray jacket, tan pants, brown shoes and a black backpack.”

EW very much appreciates the witness who reported the crime and EPD’s prompt and courteous help in responding to the situation. 

EW's employee entrance.

Full photo of the suspect

July 5, 2017 05:17 PM

On Wednesday, July 5, a few hundred people gathered at the steps of the Federal Courthouse in Eugene to listen to Rep. Peter DeFazio and sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. Constituents who came to support Oregon’s U.S. representatives’ opposition to the current Senate health care bill held signs supporting Planned Parenthood and universal health care.

Before the rally a dozen people laid on the ground with cardboard tombstones reading “coverage denied, denied and died and 23 million reasons.”

Ralliers with cardboard tombstones call attention to health care.

Steve Lehman with Indivisible Eugene said the organization was there to rally with their members of Congress and was part of the “tombstone visual.” “We just want to make sure people know this is not over, people will die if this is repealed and that we need to get the message out,” Lehman says. “We would like to actually see improvements to health care. So at a minimum, stop the repeal, keep what we have and then look at a way to improve upon what we had instead of making it worse.”

Sen. Wyden began by thanking the crowd for showing up. “Friends, there is one reason Mitchell McConnell had to pull his horrible health bill from the senate last week — all of you and your allies made him do it. You showed that political change isn’t trickle down — its bottom up.”

Wyden lambasted Trump and the proposed Senate health care plan.

“Donald Trump, you may be able to bankrupt a casino but you aren’t going to bankrupt the American health care system,” he said.

Wyden also added “Two-thirds of the patients in nursing homes have their care paid for by Medicaid. This bill has a double age tax. If you’re between 55 and 64 you have to pay five times as much as a young person and you get fewer tax credits.”

Sen. Merkley began by saying he was inspired by the signs in the crowd and said Trump has broken all of his promises about affordable health care.

“How about we make a promise that we can keep — like universal totally affordable quality health care just by the fact that you are an American citizen — how about that,” Merkley said.

 He continued, “FDR said the test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much but whether we do enough for those who have little. Well, this is my question is it progress to throw 22 million off of health care? Is it progress that just in a single year, 15 million Americans would lose health care? That’s why we are fighting to stop this Trump care bill.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley

Rep. Peter DeFazio spoke to Eugene Weekly after the rally. He says that it is “absolutely” time for a single-payer health care system in the U.S.

“The Republicans are saying we’re in a crisis because some people, some counties there’s no health care plans offered. Well, if we had a national exchange plan sponsored by the government not for profit with good benefits, everyone in America would have that option, and I believe that would pave the way to an agreement that single payer is the best least expensive way to go,” DeFazio said.

Linda Pond said she attended the rally as a mother, nurse and a woman. “The current health care plan that’s on the table is not the appropriate health care plan for the American people. It leaves way too many people out, it will totally decimate women’s health care as we know today,” she said.

“Single-payer health care is the way to go. Insurance companies have to get out of the picture.”