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Guest Viewpoint

June 16, 2016

The Eugene City Council, Lane County Commission, Lane Community College and 4J are all on board with diverting your tax dollars to benefit private property and businesses in the Downtown Urban Renewal District (DTURD) — even though you paid those taxes assuming you were funding education, public safety, libraries, parks and other essential services.

On June 13, City Council voted 5-3 to extend the DTURD.

June 9, 2016

Earlier this year, Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill affirming the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s decision to remove wolves from the state Endangered Species Act and essentially block judicial review. Although the delisting decision and subsequent passage and signing of HB 4040 dealt wolf recovery a blow, the wolf conservation and management plan ultimately determines the fate of this keystone species. 

June 8, 2016

Citizens of Lane County, take pride in your roadsides! Unique in the nation, the county hasn’t poisoned them since 2003, with unexpected benefits. Green, living roadsides and the well-crafted policies that achieve them are among the many gifts left by Jan Wroncy of Blachly, whose body returned to the soil April 16. 

June 2, 2016

May was National Preservation Month. I’m a little late writing this, as I’ve been so distracted with the elections and gardening. I’m also still peeved by that hatchet job on Springfield EW recently published, so writing this got sidetracked. 

But, if I could now hold your attention for a moment to celebrate the completion of 50 years since the National Trust for Historic Preservation became a national project. Now is a good time to look back at our local successes and failures, and to look forward to the role preservation has in the future and give credit where credit is due. 

June 2, 2016

On April 10, Eugene First Christian Church celebrated its 150th anniversary. You’ve probably seen the church building — white columns under a massive dome, bronze-capped bell tower, stained glass windows everywhere you look. 

And maybe you’ve even heard about some of the work this congregation does: the Helping Hands Room, the Interfaith Shelter and Egan Warming Center (side by side with other outstanding local congregations) and, most recently, its sponsorship of Opportunity Village. 

June 2, 2016

Sometimes extremely revealing insights pop up in places where you least expect them. Such was the case of a recent Fairmount Neighborhood Association meeting. City Councilor Alan Zelenka gave a report on a variety of current topics facing the Eugene City Council, and in the process revealed some very dark and disturbing insights into the dysfunctions in our local government, particularly regarding the controversy surrounding the newly revealed information that there were $7 million of previously unaccounted-for overruns in the construction of the new Eugene City Hall.

May 26, 2016

With heated discussions about rezoning in South Eugene, disputes about Kesey Square, confusion about what offices should be in the proposed City Hall and questions about the placing of an expanded farmers market, it has become obvious that planning in Eugene is not functioning well. 

Instead of considered decisions based on well-established and officially adopted planning documents, issues such as those mentioned above are brought forward for official action by City Manager Jon Ruiz, Mayor Kitty Piercy or a member of the City Council on an ad hoc basis. 

May 26, 2016

I’m writing this letter because I feel I need to talk about what is going on at the University of Oregon right now, perhaps echoing other people’s concerns. 

1. The University of Oregon is a public institution oriented toward research and teaching as a public institution. Its mission is to provide a higher education to Oregon residents first, although many out-of-state residents and international individuals are also part of the university student body. 

May 19, 2016

With the city’s most recent proposal for a new Downtown Urban Renewal District (DTURD) Plan Amendment, councilors are on the verge of destroying any lingering hope that they serve the public rather than the economic elite. That hope will be replaced with profound distrust if they resurrect the DTURD after vowing to end it.

May 5, 2016

“To Bern, or not to Bern?” asked Matthew Keating, a Sanders campaign organizer, eloquently introducing Sen. Sanders before an adoring crowd of thousands in Springfield on Thursday, April 28. “To vote, to Bern. To Bern, perchance to dream. Ay, there is the rub.”

Sanders praised Keating, remarking that in all his campaigning, Keating’s was the first Shakespearean introduction he had heard.

April 14, 2016

I’ve been the president of Oregon Roads, a leasing and finance company in Eugene, for 26 years. I’m married, have a son, daughter, daughter-in-law and a grandson. I have board-member and board-chair experience with corporations, nonprofits and municipal entities. I’ve been appointed to Eugene City Council committees and served on Lane Transit District’s steering committee. I volunteer my time as a habit. I believe that I have the qualifications to govern, so I humbly ask for your vote.

March 31, 2016

It’s mid-October and I’m on The Nature Conservancy’s 9,000-acre Staten Island, part of the 46,000 acre Cosumnes River Preserve, in California’s Sacramento River Delta. Owned by the Conservancy, the island is all farmland, farmed for the benefit of migrating birds. I’m looking over fields of harvested wheat, corn and potatoes as hundreds of 5-foot-tall greater sandhill cranes jump and dance in the fields. As I watch, hundreds more arrive with their haunting, gurgling call.

March 31, 2016

Jumpshots From Israel

I have lived in Israel for more than seven months now and I struggle to reconcile many residents’ opinions with current events and accounts of history. Eager to find opposing viewpoints — and not apt to withhold my own — I’m familiar with the proverbial “you’ll understand when you’re older.” Perhaps. Or perhaps one man’s naiveté is another’s objectivity. I keep wrestling with these arguments, nonetheless.  

March 31, 2016

I’m not one to usually complain. I typically see both sides of the equation. But this nonsense of raising the minimum wage to $13.50 an hour! How come I didn’t get a vote on this? 

March 24, 2016

It was one of those moments when I felt like all the air had been sucked out of the room. I had entered the Growler Underground in anticipation of meeting several friends and hearing lots of great music at the weekly open mic on Main Street in Springfield. As soon as I walked in, someone handed me the latest issue of Eugene Weekly and said, “Look what they did to Springfield.”

March 3, 2016

In the beginning, “downtown renewal” in Eugene was really about greasing the skids for the controversial Valley River shopping center. The development community embraced this “tool,” and a chorus of the optimistic and the self-interested promised an attractive, renewed downtown and a gigantic mall.   

February 25, 2016

I am sorry to hear that the small square at Broadway and Willamette will possibly be replaced by a commercial building. Since this square is, I believe, the only hard-surfaced square in Eugene’s downtown, it would seem a very unfortunate decision. Most cities value and preserve their public places. 

February 18, 2016

Notes From The Riverside

February 11, 2016

Maybe it’s that my children and I twice spent spring vacations at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in the early 1980s, when water was unusually plentiful and the birds at dawn were a cacophony. Or that we hiked near the refuge to see pre-dawn sage grouse males burbling like coffee percolators with inflated chests while the females feigned disinterest.

February 4, 2016

JUMP SHOTS FROM ISRAEL

The brand of basketball in Israel reflects a survivor’s mentality: tough and proud, impulsive and defensive. 

In practices and games, in the painted area or beyond the three-point line, physicality is relentless. Body checks, sharp elbows and swiping hands — the referees let it go. Without the ball, the body is a weapon; with the ball, it’s protection. Everyone competes. They play to win.

December 31, 2015

This community lost a truly stellar human being Dec. 19. Peg Morton, one of the best that the human race had to offer, sailed off into the great mystery surrounded by loved  ones, on a courageous journey that started only 13 days before with an intentional fast to end her life.

December 31, 2015

One of the few useful insights I got from college sociology is that societies are complex organisms with their own history and internal dynamics, not simply collections of individuals. Societies shape the lives of the individuals within them.

The U.S. is a migrant society, settled by ambitious risk-takers, producing a highly individualistic culture that tends to see everything as personal rather than social. That has a lot to do with our economic history.

December 24, 2015

360 by Bike

December 17, 2015

A number of letters and comments have appeared recently regarding local developers’ proposal to solve the traveler/transient problem in downtown by filling Kesey Square with a five-story apartment building. Downtown Eugene Inc. and the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce have both come out in favor of this closing of the commons and privatizing of our public land.