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May 2, 2013 12:39 PM

The League of American Bicyclists has released its annual rankings of bike-friendly states, and Oregon is up to number three in 2013 from number five in 2012. Hooray for us!

Oregon scores high in the categories of legislation and enforcement, policies and programs, and education and encouragement. Our biggest weakness is in the area of infrastructure and funding.

April 25, 2013 12:22 PM

Fossil Fool

UO's Bike Music Festival returns for the fifth time Friday, April 26. If you've never seen a pedal-powered stage, head down to the EMU Amphitheater or to Cozmic.

Events on campus start at 3 pm with slam poet Jared Paul, and the event rides on to Cozmic at 8 pm with Fossil Fool (pictured above), "the only MC who can rock a mic while he rides his bike," performing en route, according to the BMF's press release. "He is the inventor and producer of the Soul Cycle — an on-board audio system for bikes — and founder of Rock the Bike."

To find out when and where Gritt & Grizzle, My Goodness, Marv Ellis, Grey Matter Jugglers, Eleven Eyes and Medium Troy perform, check out the UO's page.

April 17, 2013 05:36 PM

We found out about Bike In Shapes just a little too late for our bike-themed Earth Day issue, but this event looks geeky and fun in all the right ways. They're meeting at the new Bier Stein at 7:45 pm on Thursday, April 18 — and ending there, too. Be there or be not-a-fractal.

Neatomapsquito!

April 5, 2013 05:22 PM

Two city councilors have informed us that Councilor George Brown, who initially supported the city fee measure that will appear on the May 21 ballot, has changed his position and will now oppose the measure. Brown told EW earlier this week that he was considering changing his mind, but he needed more time to weigh both arguments.

Councilors Brown, Mike Clark, George Poling and Betty Taylor oppose the measure. Councilors Chris Pryor, Claire Syrett, Alan Zelenka and Mayor Kitty Piercy support it.

To EW's knowledge, Councilor Greg Evans has not yet taken a public position; we sent an email inquiry today to confirm this and will update this post when we hear back. Brown has not yet responded to messages left at his home and business.

[Update: 8:50 pm April 5]: Evans responded that he opposes the fee proposal because he is not satisfied with the options presented by the staff to close the budget shortfall. He voted to place the issue on the ballot so that citizens could decide whether they wish to pay the fee, and he doesn't believe it will pass.

March 27, 2013 06:58 PM

Not too long ago, a friend and I had a conversation about how much the societal conflict between the religion he holds dear and the fact that he's gay made him feel like crap for a long time. He said that feeling like he had to choose between two parts of himself that felt equally true was one of the darkest times he's ever had. His happy ending to that conflict, luckily, was meeting a wonderful man who was already connected to a community that embraced them both.

If you're so inclined, please share these links so that anyone who happens to be gay and struggling with something similar might have that struggle cut shorter.

Christianity

Islam (but not with local links)

Judaism

Religious Response Network contact info (Eugene)

Please add additional links in the comments if you know of them -- I'm certain that there's more out there. I don't know a lot more than the Cliffs Notes versions of most religions (and Google was none too helpful, just telling me that Buddhism is generally nice to gay folks), but there are awesome people of all kinds, right?

March 22, 2013 10:18 AM

Solidarity! Supporters of marriage equality will rally 5 to 7 pm Tuesday, March 26, at the federal building at 211 E. 7th Ave. They're gathering to express solidarity during U.S. Supreme Court deliberations on the right of gays and lesbians to marry. Oregon United for Marriage organized the event, and speakers include Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy and City Councilor Claire Syrett.

More info here

March 20, 2013 02:46 PM

An audit of the Eugene Police Department’s Property Control Unit (PCU) has revealed 1,116 items missing from its storage rooms, including guns, drugs and jewelry. Internal affairs and Oregon State Police are investigating three EPD employees, who have not yet been named.

Evidence Control Systems’ EPD audit criticizes the PCU for not have clear policies for dealing with property and for underutilizing technology in tracking the items. Among other problems, it says that there is no written policy on how to proceed when evidence is determined to be missing, no statistical review of the inventory and no formalized policy that mandates an annual review of the entire inventory for purging. The number of items in the PCU grew by about 29,000 items to a total of 91,000 items between 2007 and 2012.

In addition, the report says that evidence lockers aren't entirely secure: "a slender person could easily stand inside the tall locker and basically reach behind the locker and remove evidence from at least a dozen lockers ..."

Since the audit was completed in August, EPD has doubled the staffing in the PCU from five to 10. “Both during the audit process and after receiving the ECS report, Eugene Police staff began to implement corrective measures, write new policies, and create new standard operating procedures,” an EPD press release reads.

“The present supervisor has a complete understanding of what needs to be done,” the audit reads, but his role as supervisor of the forensic unit takes away from his supervision of the PCU. The PCU supervisor requested the audit. In January, the EPD added a tenured full-time supervising sergeant to the unit.

A memo from the PCU supervisor to Chief Pete Kerns states, “Mr. Latta also commented that this audit was the most difficult audit he has performed in his 60 plus audits due to the lack of procedures and consistency in tasks performed. He said to make sure that I mention that ours is not the worst, just the most difficult.”

February 28, 2013 11:41 AM

The tide keeps on turning! From the AG's office:

 

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today announced that Oregon has joined two historic briefs in the United States Supreme Court supporting same-sex marriage. 

In Hollingsworth v. Perry, Oregon joined a brief prepared by Massachusetts urging the United States Supreme Court to strike down California’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.  Same-sex couples challenged the 2008 provision, arguing that it violated their rights under the federal constitution.  The trial court found no support for the proponent’s argument that a ban on same-sex marriage was necessary to protect children.  Supporters of the ban appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the district court’s decision. 

In addition, in United States v. Windsor, Oregon joined a brief prepared by New York and Massachusetts urging the Court to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  That federal law bans the extension of hundreds of federal benefits and protections to marriages validly recognized under state law.

In both cases, the amicus briefs argue that neither states nor Congress can justify discrimination against same-sex relationships based on assertions that unequal treatment is necessary to promote “responsible procreation” and child rearing by different-sex biological parents.  As the California trial court found after hearing the testimony of experts and reviewing hundreds of pages of material, there simply is no support for the notion that banning same-sex marriage does anything other than harm our citizens and their families.  The same is true for thousands of Oregonians.

“Having filed a ‘friend of the court’ brief in the United States Supreme Court in the 1990’s in the important civil rights case of Romer v. Evans, I am pleased that Oregon’s Department of Justice continues to play a significant legal role in a long tradition of supporting equality for all.  Our position in these cases isn’t about politics or popular opinion,” Rosenblum said.  “It’s about what’s right.  It’s about helping to end one of the last bastions of sanctioned discrimination against our friends, our co-workers, our brothers and sisters.  This is one of those moments that come along once every 20-30 years, like when the Court decided Brown v. Board of Education,  Loving v. Virginia, and Romer v. Evans.  These cases could change the course of civil rights and transform America.  On an issue of this significance, it’s important to take a stand.”

Governor Kitzhaber also expressed his support saying, “When we talk about marriage equality, we’re talking about the basic equality we demand for every person – the opportunity for a good education, affordable health care, access to upward mobility and a more prosperous life.”

Oregonians in 2004 approved a constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.  No Oregon court has considered the kind of federal constitutional challenges to the Oregon ban that are presented in these cases.

The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in these two cases on March 26 and 27, 2013.

February 26, 2013 02:46 PM

 

Quick, someone please write a "How a Bill Becomes a Law" parody for House Bill 3371, which would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for adults in Oregon. The legislation has been introduced in Oregon's House Committee on Revenue, and at first glance it looks most similar to Colorado's Amendment 64, which allows small personal gardens and has an impairment standard for intoxication while driving.

February 20, 2013 05:47 PM

After 60 days of a hunger strike for shelter, Conrad Barney ended his strike, and SLEEPS and Barney are having a breakfast-for-dinner event 4 to 8 pm Sunday, Feb. 24, at Eugene's park blocks (8th & Oak). It's free and open to the public, and donations will go toward the SLEEPS strike team. Barney says he ended the strike "in good faith for the promised workshops regarding zoning laws and code 4.81 [Eugene's camping ban]" and to prevent serious health problems.

February 15, 2013 04:30 PM

Ninkasi presents for your viewing pleasure:

February 12, 2013 05:29 PM

Springfield City Councilor Dave Ralston, who caused controversy in 2006 when he made comments about Hispanic people trying to take over the U.S. Southwest and again in 2011 when he said ignorant things about Centro LatinoAmericano, was arrested around 2:30 am Sunday, Feb. 10, and charged with DUII for driving under the influence of alcohol and another unidentified substance.

Ralston told the RG that his blood-alcohol content was "well under" the legal limit, and he accused the Springfield police of entrapment for following him out of the Whiskey River Ranch parking lot. Ralston has served as the Springfield City Council's Ward 4 councilor since 2000.

January 3, 2013 04:48 PM

The latest update, sent from Safe Legally Entitled Places to Sleep (SLEEPS) at 2:38 pm:

SLEEPS pitches tents at the Trude Kaufman House today to highlight the fact that the city has allowed the historic home, donated to provide services to low income seniors, to lie dormant while 1500 unhoused people are out in the freezing weather.  The Kaufman home was operated as a senior center until December 2010 and lain dormant since, eating up it’s trust fund while it does nothing to serve the community.

The abandoned Trude Kaufman Senior Center is located at 10th and Jefferson in Eugene.

The closing of the Community Gardens, the failure to use the Kaufman house are all signs of the lack of the will on the part of the City to provide for those who are most vulnerable.

December 28, 2012 03:03 PM

SLEEPS press release:

GSA and DHS intend to prosecute SLEEPS protestors who remain after 11:00 PM tonight
On December 10 charges against Emily Semple were dismissed by the federal government "in the interest of justice".  In July Semple had defied an order, which she considered unlawful, to stop protesting and depart the Federal Plaza at 7th and Pearl.  Today GSA and DHS have put Semple and other protestors on notice that anyone staying to protest after 11PM tonight will be arrested.....for the same charges that the government recently dismissed "in the interest of justice".
 
What has changed about "justice" in the last two weeks?
 
SLEEPS was advised this morning that anyone remaining to protest after 11PM at the Federal Plaza this evening will be charged with trespass and arrested.  SLEEPS, through its affiliate OCCUPY and two individual protestors, currently have filed a complaint with GSA over an earlier ouster of the groups.  Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center filed an Injunction and an emergency Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) over the first eviction.  On Friday Judge Ann Aiken denied the emergency TRO.  The government is required to file a response to the Injunction by January 2 with a response from plaintiffs due January 16.
 
Judge Aiken's stated reason for denying the emergency TRO while awaiting appropriate filings on the longer Injunction was that there is no "emergency" as there are sufficient other places for protestors to protest.  SLEEPS asks, where?
 
SLEEPS protestors have now been denied the right to protest 8 times in the past few weeks: three times at the Lane County owned Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza; once at City Hall’s parking lot (City Hall is chain link fenced in and Free Speech Plaza is on the property housing the Mayor and Council offices and meeting space); twice at Federal Plaza; once at the New Wayne Morse Federal Courthouse and once at the city owned Community Gardens.  Historically, City Hall, the Federal Plaza and Free Speech Plaza have been "the" sites for free speech, the traditional public forums of Eugene.  Alll have weathered overnight protests.  Why is SLEEPS being denied the right to protest?  Is it because all of the protestors remaining 24/7 are unhoused people?  Are they being discriminated against on the basis of socio-economic prejudices?  Why is JUST THIS GROUP required to get a permit while others are allowed to protest without being instructed to get one?
 
The mere requirement of a permit is unconstitutional.  The County and Federal Governments require that a permit be filed 48 hours in advance in order to protest against the government.  Even when permitted, they require that protestors leave at either 5PM or 11PM and protest only on weekdays, depending on the site.  Article I Section 8 of the Oregon Constitution specifically forbids the government to “restrict” or “restrain” free speech.  Saying protest hours are restricted to before a certain time is a clear “restriction” and thus unconstitutional. The idea of filing two days in advance to ask the government for permission to protest against it is such an flagrant restraint it hardly bears further discussion.
 
This level of free speech obstruction is frightening. 
 
Another serious question concerns Department of Homeland Services (DHS) and Eugene Police Deparmtnet (EPD).  They are both aware that a judge appeared to be about to rule against GSA on the Semple case.  Since the government, sensing defeat, dismissed the charges against Semple "in the interest of justice", DHS had declined making further arrests of SLEEPS protestors who have remained in defiance of GSA's policies for the same charges as the Semple case.  Our understanding is that to do otherwise would be to knowingly obey an unlawful order.  Why is DHS now willing to risk obeying what they think is an unlawful order?  Why has EPD been willing to issue orders that the courts have indicated may be unlawful?
 
Why have Eugene's three traditional protest sites, City Hall, Free Speech Plaza and the Federal Plaza all been shut down to SLEEPS?  Who will they shut down next?
 
The right to protest is fundamental to a democracy.  As JFK once noted, once you take away a people’s right to protest, all that is left is revolution.  The unhoused in this community continue to be denied shelter, continue to be prosecuted on ludicrous charges such as "theft of services" for plugging in a cell phone or "criminal trespass 2" for leaning against a building while standing on a public sidewalk.  They have many good reasons to protest. As JFK said, quashing protests leaves few options to those with grievances.  The conduct of the federal, county and city officials should be of concern to all citizens.