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EW! A Blog.

October 16, 2013 04:15 PM

Thom Hartmann narrates this documentary on climate change and the possibility of mass extinction if trapped methane is released. The Permian mass extinction nearly wiped out life on Earth.

October 16, 2013 10:49 AM

A new bike and pedestrian path will open soon in Springfield. Here is the press release sent out today (Oct. 16) from Willamalane's public affairs department:

The last leg of a new, 4-mile paved path along the Middle Fork of the Willamette River will be formally opened by Willamalane Park and Recreation District at noon on Friday, Oct. 25.

The 10-foot-wide path will transport walkers, runners, cyclists, birders and nature seekers along a previously inaccessible stretch of river from Dorris Ranch to Clearwater Park near Jasper Road in southeast Springfield. The fully accessible path offers close-up views of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River, wildlife and wildflowers, along with a new perspective on Mount Pisgah in the distance to the south.

"We are excited to open up this breathtaking part of the river and complete the path," said Willamalane Superintendent Bob Keefer.

Keefer noted the path will connect to the riverfront bike path system and Lane Transit District's Springfield Station via the South Second Street bike lane.

 “It will become not only an amazing recreational path but also a great nonmotorized transportation corridor," Keefer said.

Willamalane opened the first section of the asphalt path, from Clearwater Park to Quarry Creek, in 2011. The new section extends from Quarry Creek around the butte to Dorris Ranch. A new trailhead, parking lot and restroom complete the project.

Dorris Ranch was closed weekdays during the construction of the second phase of the path; the park will resume regular hours when the path is opened to the public.

Willamalane has begun planning efforts to connect the Middle Fork Path with a path along the Springfield Mill Race, creating an 8-mile loop, with brief sections of on-street bicycle lanes. The path will also connect to an extensive existing riverfront path system linking Springfield and Eugene through Island Park and West D Street.

To further enhance the path's regional appeal, a bridge across the river is also in long-range plans. Such a bridge would provide access to Lane County's 2,300-acre Howard Buford Recreation Area and Mount Pisgah, including 16 miles of trails within the recreation area and access to the preferred route of the Eugene to Pacific Crest Trail.

More than 100 invited guests are expected to attend the grand opening ceremony. People are encouraged to bring bicycles to tour the new path. In addition, Willamalane will provide pedicabs for people to use.

 This newest section of the path was funded with approximately $3 million in federal transportation grant funds, plus Willamalane’s local match of approximately $900,000. The Oregon Department of Transportation provided support for the project from four different programs that fund off-street bike paths and encourage multimodal connectivity.

The Middle Fork Path was constructed with the cooperation of Springfield Utility Board, city of Springfield, Knife River Corporation, and the Allen and Reinagel families, who with Willamalane, own the land along the path.

Visit willamalane.org for celebration details and more information about the new path.

October 14, 2013 05:55 PM

Bill Moyers talks about dollars vs. democracy and how the disfunction in Congress has been orchestrated.

October 11, 2013 04:47 PM

Apparently coal company execs and public relations flacks crack up over climate change. Posting on the desmogblog, Mike Stark of FossilAgenda writes of an interaction he recorded at a September coal conference in Pittsburgh. Lauri Hennessey does PR for the Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports (which Stark calls "a front group for coal mining and rail corporations that would profit from the export of Powder River Basin coal").

Hennessy was on a panel called "Moving Coal from Coast to Coast — Domestic Infrastructure Challenges for Rail, River, and Ports" in which Stark says she "repeatedly called the citizens of Oregon and Washington 'weird' and 'strange.'" Stark approached  Matthew Ferguson, Arch Coal's senior vice president for thermal coal marketing for an interview. But before the interview, Ferguson chatted with Hennessey. Stark recorded the conversation. You can read the transcript here or listing below, but here's what Hennessy and Ferguson said:

Matt Ferguson: Your comment on the civil unrest was quite funny.

Lauri Hennessey: Oh wasn’t it? Yeah, I got, I got hassled.

Matt Ferguson: Yeah, it’s like, let’s be adults here.

Lauri Hennessey: That was a project like a year ago, and, I think it was my second week on the job. So, I grew up in the Northwest, and I don’t know if you saw, I used to work for EPA a long time ago?

Matt Ferguson: Did you? [laughter]

Lauri Hennessey: Yeah. [inaudible]  So I have - and I also worked for Bob Packwood on the Hill - so I have both sides. But we’re connected.

I worked with EPA, and I pull that out in the right crowds, because in the Northwest, that's a good thing, right? But it's funny because I never really went out of my way to mention it to our Alliance board before. And one day I was quoted in the paper, because again I was speaking to the audience in Seattle, and I was like, "Well of course we're concerned about climate change. Everyone's concerned about climate change. But what we're saying is this is not going to contribute to climate change."

But someone from Peabody got on a call, it was my second week on the job, and said, "You were quoted saying coal’s worried about climate change? We don't believe in climate change!”  And I remember I was on the phone and I was like, "I can't say that..ha. I can't say that in Seattle!"

[laughter]

Matt Ferguson: Not worried about it!

Arch Coal rep 2: You can say that in St. Louis, but you can't say that in Seattle.

Matt Ferguson: Yeah. It’s not gonna happen.

Lauri Hennessey: Yeah, I can’t say it in Seattle, and I remember she just goes, "Wow, we really have different regions, do we?!" 

Matt Ferguson: I think what you do is say, you're trying to help people out of poverty in the Far East. Yeah.

Lauri Hennessey: Exactly! And I did that.

Matt Ferguson: Do they not deserve to enjoy prosperity? Like we have? Don't be so selfish, you jerks! [laughter]

According to Hennesey's old bio on her former Hennessey PR webpage (courtsey of the Wayback Machine) before she worked for Big Coal, Hennessey "began her career in the newsroom at KIRO radio twenty years ago. In the years after that, she worked as a press secretary in Washington, D.C. for two Northwest Members of Congress, ran a large public affairs office for a Northwest federal land management agency, and worked as a special assistant for the regional head of the Environmental Protection Agency." 

One of the Northwest members of Congress was Bob Packwood, who stepped down after a sexual harrassment scandal. Her bio goes on to say ""Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Oregon and Washington, Lauri worked closely on issues involving forestry, salmon, growth management, tourism, and much more. She supervised a large staff, and was directly responsible for Congressional relations, and was the lead spokesperson for the agency in the Northwest. She was also loaned to the office that implemented the Northwest Forest Plan, then President Clinton's attempt to end long-running debates over Northwest forests, and worked with the White House on message development, organized press conferences, and worked with local governments. At the EPA, Lauri worked with the Regional Administrator, and worked closely with the public on his behalf."

Stark writes of the conversation he recorded, "They also seemed to talk as if they are a separate species from the people who happen to live in the path of their planned rail and port terminal expansions, mocking those who are asking reasonable questions about the impacts of exporting America's coal to Asia. They clearly regard with contempt the majority of Americans concerned about climate change."

October 11, 2013 09:44 AM

Mayor Kitty Piercy welcomes residents to Opportunity Village, gives kudos to those who helped make it happen, and talks about the need to do more.

October 10, 2013 03:48 PM

Fears of a zombie apocalypse (or the government equivalent coming to get you) are driving bullet sales nationwide. Better stock up.

October 9, 2013 12:16 PM

Canadian Nicole Foss and New Zealander Laurence Boombert will be speaking on "Facing the Future" at 7 pm Wednesday, Oct. 9, at First Congregational Church, 4515 SW West Hills Road in Corvallis. They will also speak in Portland at 7 pm Oct. 10 at TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont.

October 7, 2013 03:32 PM

Seeds of Death is a new documentary looking at Monsanto's environmental record and claims about safety of genetically modified organisms. The big "March Above and Beyond Monsanto for Food Freedom" is coming up at 11 am Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza, Oak and 8th in Eugene.

October 4, 2013 09:37 AM

Behavior Castle presents Peach Kelli Pop's Kids Only show live at Paper Moon Photo Studio

October 3, 2013 05:35 PM

Bill Maher talks about Jerry Brown and California's lack of Tea Party influence, serving as hope for a nation dragged down by outdated conservative thinking. "We don't give a shit about the NRA," says Maher.