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Guest Viewpoint

September 15, 2016

The city of Eugene has morphed a neighborhood initiative to improve pedestrian and traffic safety on south Willamette Street into an intrusive rezone of neighborhoods in that area. They call it an “up-zone.” From the perspective of many who live there, it is more appropriately called a “down-grade” — of property values, the environment and their quality of life.

September 8, 2016

I wanted to be white for three weeks in 4th grade (1965)because I was being rejected, being the only black kid in class in my elementary school in Bel Air. After three weeks I realized, wait, there’s nothing wrong with me, it’s them. 

My home training countered the non-lessons I was getting: Slaves were smart. Slaves resisted every step of the way. We were the slaves that taught ourselves to read, when it was a death sentence. 

September 1, 2016

I am baffled by the decision of the Eugene City Council and the Lane County Board of Commissioners to give away an additional $7 million, to Singapore-based Broadcom, on top of the $14 million the company was already getting for creating 229 jobs in the West Eugene Enterprise Zone. That’s $21 million, what they paid for the property, for 229 jobs!

August 25, 2016

When the Oregon legislative session of 2015 opened, Eugene Weekly embarked upon the bold experiment of establishing a delivery route in Salem. Each Thursday I traveled there, my first stop was the Capitol, where crowds in costumes and uniforms campaigned colorfully for their causes.

The Salem experience was thoroughly enjoyable. As the final month began, I wondered how I could top the fun, and decided to meet Kate Brown.

August 18, 2016

I’m not a fan of HRC. 

But I’m no Bernie-for-the-revolution person either. 

No election will bring us the revolution we need. Even electing Jill Stein or Sanders would do the same as electing the “Hope” and “Change” of Obama. 

The ball is still in our court. 

And Hillary Clinton is not the same as Trump. I much rather fight the Clinton administration than the Trump administration. 

August 18, 2016

There is the letter of the law, then there’s the spirit. Rep. Lew Frederick, the Oregon House’s only African American legislator, was the guiding force behind two new Oregon laws: HB 2655 (the testing opt-out bill of rights) and HB 2713 (the testing cost audit bill). 

The spirit behind the two new laws is clear: To honestly examine the costs, both financial and otherwise, of the standardized testing that dominates Oregon education and to allow parents and students to make their own informed decisions about what kind of education is best for them. 

August 11, 2016

Your Queen and Mine of the Society for the Legitimization of Ubiquitous Gastropods, Markalo Parkalo, wishes to convey warmest wishes, solstice celebration and official offerings herewith:

First, thank you for your support of my favorite nonprofit: LILA (Lane Independent Living Alliance).

Your contributions from my Third Ball amounted to more than $2,000, and we increased awareness of Independent Living (IL) in Lane County. IL is the applied value of choice for people with any disability.

August 4, 2016

It is an honor and pleasure to send this message on the occasion of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemoration in Eugene, Oregon.

On Aug. 6, 1945, a single atomic bomb rendered Hiroshima a scorched plain and burned tens of thousands in its flames. By year’s end, 140,000 irreplaceable lives had been taken. Those who managed to survive, their lives grotesquely distorted, were left to suffer serious physical and emotional aftereffects compounded by discrimination and prejudice. Nuclear weapons are an absolute evil and the ultimate inhumanity. 

August 4, 2016

The Democratic National Convention (DNC) can most accurately be summed up as a conglomerate of protests. This wasn’t simply a coming-together of Democratic delegates casting their pledged vote. This was a rallying point for many groups to come together and express their displeasure, and often rage, at a system they have grown frustrated with. 

July 28, 2016

The Lane County Board of Commissioners, at the behest of Dennis Morgan, a local businessman and conservative political activist, is considering a proposal to grant themselves authority to review Lane County citizen initiatives, which have met all legal standards for placement on the ballot. The proposal would allow the board to declare that an initiative does not meet the board standard for “county concern” and, thereby, to bar it from the ballot. 

July 21, 2016

The Lane County Commission is considering a proposed ordinance that would give five elected officials a stranglehold over the people’s local initiative power.

Let’s be clear: The initiative and referendum power belongs to the people free from government interference, as recognized by the Oregon Constitution. The people’s right to circulate petitions is core political speech protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

The commissioners’ proposed meddling with the people’s initiative rights is patently unconstitutional.

July 14, 2016

With the British electorate’s dramatic and unexpected decision to pull out of the European Union, The New York Times reports that “the same yawning gap between the elite and mass opinion is fueling a populist backlash” all across Europe and the United States. 

Here at home, election season is upon us and widespread frustration with conventional party politics has been the motivating force behind both the Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders campaigns. The Trump appeal, as with the “Brexit” revolt, has much to do with resentment toward migrants and refugees. 

July 7, 2016

Here we go again — up to 30 more years of urban renewal, because “the city concludes that the entire urban renewal area is blighted.” After 48 years and approximately $130 million (surely over a quarter of a billion dollars adjusted for inflation), the total taxable valuation of all of the property in the district is not even equal to the inflation-adjusted tax money we have poured into it. 

July 7, 2016

In a recent review article about forest thinning and its effectiveness to reduce wildfire severity and spread in Forest Ecology and Management, the researchers came to a conclusion with regards to reducing fire risk and effects that “thinning alone had either less of an effect or none at all, compared to untreated sites.”

July 7, 2016

I want my country back. I want the country where “All My Relations” meant an expanded humanity that lives in kinship with other life forms as relatives, not resources. That recognizes that humans in particular are relatives to be nurtured and cared for, not resources to be enslaved or exploited. When enslavement, exploitation or terror happens, that the solution to oppression is to become more humane than your oppressors. 

June 30, 2016

Summer is here, with heat that is ripening berries and tomatoes. For we locavores, lovers and eaters of local food, paradise is at hand. However, local farm fresh foods are still far from the default choice for most, and for many households, fresh produce is unaffordable. 

To help get more locally grown fruits and vegetables into the hands of those struggling to put food on the table, Willamette Farm and Food Coalition is partnering with the Lane County Farmers Market to bring Double Up Food Bucks to Lane County. 

June 23, 2016

I have followed with frustration and sadness the response to the film Vaxxed which has been showing at the David Minor Theater in Eugene. The film inaccurately represents the science of vaccines and autism, and I worry that it may mislead parents in Lane County.  

I am a mother to two young children, and I feel the weight of responsibility to make wise decisions about their healthcare. I am also trained as a scientist, and I’ve found that my background in the scientific process has been a valuable tool in helping me to make smart choices for my family. 

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.