Downtown Eugene's filling up. Empty storefronts are giving way to bars, restaurants and stores. What else does it need? We vote on more food cars for Kesey Square …
Mayor Kitty Piercy upon hearing the trespass citations would keep people from being able to attend City Council meetings (see today's story about the recent free speech arrests) tells EW:
"You should know that it's important to me for that all our community members can come to a City Council meeting. While I respect the county's rights to make decisions regarding visitors to the county building, it's not okay with me for them to determine who may attend or speak at a council meeting. I have asked staff to work with the county to ensure that no one is blocked from our council meetings by the county."
As far as parodies go, "this is fuckinnng awesommme."
Most awesome story of the week from the San Francisco Bay Guardian:
A Marin activist named Jonathan Frieman, who runs a small nonprofit corporation (the JoMiJo Foundation) was driving in the carpool lane on highway 101 in Marin when he was stopped by a cop and given a $478 ticket. Ah, but Frieman insists he wasn't driving alone; beside him in the car were the articles of incorporation and other relevant corporate paperwork for his foundation — and in the United States, corporations are considered people. In fact, the California Vehicle Code refers to “natural persons or corporations.”
So Frieman is challening his ticket in traffic court, and is willing to spend his own money to appeal the case as far as he can. He wants to force the courts to decide: If a corporation is a person, then it gets to ride with a driver in the carpool lane, and his ticket has to be dismissed. If it's not a person, then maybe it can't make political contributions.In fact, if a corporation isn't a person, a whole lot of evil stuff might come to an end.
The story says Friedman's traffic court hearing was today.
And then there's domestic violence, Portlandia style from KOIN in Portland:
A man is facing assault charges, accused of choking his girlfriend using his dreadlocks in Southeast Portland.
Domestic violence is awful and never funny; I hope the woman is OK. And I have to wonder: How did this not happen in Eugene?
SLEEPS (Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep) is challenging the curfew at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaze tonight. Here is the live stream via Ustream. About 75-80 people appeared to be there around 11 pm at "Reclaim the Plaza: A Free Speech Celebration."
It's not yet clear what's happening on the UO campus this morning (beyond a rally scheduled for 11;30 am in regard to shake up in the diversity office) but UO emergency alerts are warning students to stay away from the Health Center and the latest alert says Agate is closed between 13th and 15the avenues. Another alert told students and faculty that there are intermittended power outages across campus. The Daily Emerald is reporting that "A University police spokesman said that explosions were heard near the Walton Complex. Smoke was reported to be coming from around the maintenance tunnels."
Updates to come.
Update: KVAL is on the scene (we don't come out til Thursday, by which time this will be old news, but exlosions are bread and butter for the TV folks): "Employees told KVAL News that they believe it was because of a pipe leak of some kind inside the building."
Update: The R-G writes, "The explosions and smoke are 'likely' a result of a malfunction in a maintenance tunnel near the health center and the Walton residence hall complex, UO police spokesman Kelly McIver said."
Update: The Daily Emerald is reporting it appears to be a transformer that blew. Accounts differ as to what parts of campus might have lost power in addition to some of the residence halls. The Em has some nice photos of firefighters and smoke.
And just in time for the first week of classes: No power in the dorms. Here's the latest update from the UO.
Power outage at University of Oregon impacts on-campus residents
Work will continue around the clock to restore power to campus
Eugene, Ore. (Jan. 7, 2013) -- A power failure occurred today across the southwest section of the University of Oregon campus, the result of a series of malfunctions that were reported from the underground tunnels that deliver utility services through the 295-acre campus.
No one was injured in the incident, which resulted in visible smoke above ground and inside the University Health Center. The Health Center was evacuated and a two-block section of Agate Street – from 13th to 15th avenues – was closed for approximately two hours.
Campus Operations is working as quickly as possible to restore electricity to all affected buildings and repairs have already brought power back to many. However, several buildings are still without power, including many UO Housing residence and dining halls, including Carson Hall, Hamilton Hall, Bean Hall, Living Learning Center, Earl Hall and Walton Hall.
As a residential campus, more than 4,000 students live on campus and their safety is a top priority, said Michael Griffel, director of University Housing.
“Heat, fire systems and lighting are necessary for a safe living environment," he said. "As such, we are planning to provide lighting assistance and additional campus safety officer presence this evening for approximately 3,000 students impacted by this outage.”
The location of the power transmission feeder failure was inspected by Eugene Fire Department and UO Campus Operations officials who described the failure as an overheating issue that caused the electrical circuits to ignite and melt.
Students, faculty and staff were notified via emergency notification channels about the incident and updates continue during the restoration of power. Latest information is posted at alerts.uoregon.edu.
“We are working as quickly as possible to safely restore all power to affected areas of campus,” said George Hecht, associate vice president for Campus Operations. “Getting power back to the affected buildings, especially residence halls and research facilities, is a top priority to alleviate issues.”
Additional student programming is planned on campus, including a BCS Championship Game watch party and activities at the Student Recreation Center and Erb Memorial Union.
One minute you're hearing former Eugenean Mat Kearney sing "Breath In, Breath Out" on Grey's Anatomy or it's "Nothing Left to Lose" while you're driving down Highway 58 (avoiding that ammo someone spilled this morning) and the next you're like, "Oh, shit, is that a song about Chip Kelly?"
"Chip don't go, don't go, don't you go to Philly, Cleveland or Buffalo. They don't have half the heart or the jerseys."
Every good starship captain ought to have a Twitter feed. If you still can't get your body beamed to other planets at least you can send 140 characters from space.
William Shatner (aka Captain James T. Kirk, aka @williamshatner) tweeted to Chris Hadfield, of the Canadian Space Agency "Are you tweeting from space?" Hadfield is the International Space Station's Flight Engineer for Expedition 34, so he is indeed tweeting from space.
In fine Trekkie form, he responded: "Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we're detecting signs of life on the surface."
Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE) and Community Supported Shelters will assemble two conestoga huts at 2 pm Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, 3925 Hilyard St. in Eugene. Two houseless people who have been chosen to use the first Conestoga Huts will participate in their assembly.
The city of Eugene recently approved the simple, waterproof 6’ X 10’ conestoga huts as part of St. Vincent de Paul’s Car Camping Program. Episcopal Church has volunteered to be the first host site for two huts.
Speakers at the event will include Dan Bryant, OVE Board chairman and Pastor of First Christian Church; Michael Carrigan, OVE Steering Committee member and community organizer for Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) and a representative from the church.
People interested in helping construct the shelters or contributing cash or materials are invited to the event. Or checks can be sent made out to St. Vincent de Paul, designated for OVE and mailed to CALC, 458 Blair Blvd., Eugene 97402. Include an address so receipts can be mailed back. Phone number for more information is 606-3480 and the website is www.conestogahuts.org
Materials (new or used) needed include 1-inch cedar or Douglas fir planks, pressure-treated posts, 2X4s and 2X6s, 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch plywood, doors and hardware, pier blocks, etc.
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.
SLEEPS press release:
GSA and DHS intend to prosecute SLEEPS protestors who remain after 11:00 PM tonightOn 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.
SLEEPS was notified at 5:30 tonight [Dec. 28] that the Government Services Agency (GSA) has determined that instead of blocking SLEEPS First Amendment rights tonight at 11 as previously planned, they are giving twenty four hours notice and will not evict until 11 pm Saturday December 29.
SLEEPS is planning a Saturday night 10:30 pm candlelight vigil for all those who are unhoused and unable to sleep safely in Eugene in Lane County due to the "anti-camping" regulations which are really "anti-sleeping" regulatioins and in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.
Stay tuned for more complete information regarding legal basis, flip-flop of government on what constitutes the "interest of justice" as well as more information on Saturday's vigil and the probable arrest of Emily Semple.
Most of the journalists I know do sit around talking about the news. But we don't sit around talking like the news, even the NPR folks, which is too bad because I would love it if everyone walked around talking like All Things Considered or Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.