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Letters to the Editor

January 28, 2016

RADIO FOR DUMMIES?

January 21, 2016

A POWERFUL GIFT

January 14, 2016

DEAR OREGON

Your air feels freer, your coffee tastes richer and you always sound like a Sunday afternoon. I must a steal line and declare, “Oregon, I have just met you, and I love you.” It has been so few days, and yet I already wish to rip off my license plate and replace it with yours and a matching collegiate bumper sticker. 

January 7, 2016

A PROPHETIC MOMENT

I’ve had the privilege of being Peg Morton’s scribe for her many writings in the last months of her life. More of these writings will be disseminated after her memorial service as she requested. In mid-November she wrote a proposal that was communicated throughout the world to her “peace-building, nonviolence-loving groups and others, including faith communities, friends and family.” Thousands of people have now read, shared and are acting upon Peg’s proposal, which begins:

December 31, 2015

BEAUTY IN THE CRACKS

As an alternative to more buildings downtown, how about some grass, flowers and trees? There’s a reason birds and bees and human beings naturally flock to them.

City leaders seem hell-bent on filling every downtown space with concrete, providing green for the moneyed interests but only gray for the rest of us. There’s beauty lying dormant in the cracks.

December 24, 2015

COUNTY SHELTER IDEA

Imagine that from cooperation among the Eugene Mission, the city of Eugene and Lane County, a partnership develops that allows the Mission to operate as a public shelter, able to receive public funds like Community Development Block Grants or FEMA emergency shelter and food grant funds. It probably would require the Mission’s board to change some requirements, and would require the county to help fund but not run the Mission.

December 17, 2015

MAKE IT POSSIBLE

I have been reading with concern of the proposals and letters to the editor concerning the future of Kesey Square. I have been living in a senior apartment community, Olive Plaza, in downtown Eugene. Many of us walk for our exercise and refreshment. There are no places where we can go and sit. There is no green, no small park near the area where we live. A new City Hall park is much too far away. Kesey Square remains the one place where we could go, but the benches have been removed.

December 10, 2015

PUBLIC BONFIRE NEEDED

Each morning as I ride the bus to downtown, it takes me through the center of the Capstone project. Almost every morning, including some recent ones where a burn ban is in effect and, memorably, when the Egan Warming Center was shut, there is a gas bonfire burning in an empty courtyard that is gated off from the public. No one who really needs to stay warm could access it even if they wanted to. In my mind it has become symbolic of the taxes that I, as a lucky homeowner, get to pay to support this city.

December 3, 2015

FAIRGROUNDS SHELTER

Let’s consider the Lane County fairgrounds as a possible site for sheltering the unhoused. The fairgrounds, close to central Eugene and on a bus route to downtown, comprise 55 acres of land, many of which get little use outside the main events held there annually, such as the fair itself, the logging expo, home shows, etc.

Almost all the sheltering projects developed in the last few years are in the Whiteaker neighborhood. It would be fairer to spread the burden throughout Eugene.

November 25, 2015

A TWIST ON MUPTE

If Multiple-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) tax waivers are not giveaways to developers, as City Councilor Chris Pryor would have us believe in a recent Register-Guard commentary, then they are bribes we can little afford to bestow. How many more levies will be sent to the ballot to make up revenue shortfalls because of the city’s agenda of largesse to developers? 

November 19, 2015

SLEEP FOR SURVIVAL

Refusing to lift the camping ban is not only unconstitutional, but inhumane. Contrary to popular beliefs, unhoused does not mean unemployed. An unhoused citizen who works at night would not be eligible for rest at one of the “dusk to dawn” camps. Working the night shift is difficult as it is, but the increased struggle for obtaining sleep can actually cause safety issues in the workplace. 

November 12, 2015

MISGUIDED TAX

The most hated tax in English history was called a head tax in which the lord of the manor and peasants were taxed at exactly the same amount. It’s remarkable that EWEB has seen fit to revive that very same concept with a basic charge of $20 a month, which they propose to increase to $25 a month whether you live in a mansion in the hills or in an apartment on 6th Avenue. 

November 5, 2015

LIBRARY LEVY HAS BIG BENEFITS

As director of the Eugene Public Library, and on behalf of the whole team here: Thank you, Eugene voters, for your decision to expand library services. And thank you to all the levy supporters who helped spread the word and get out the vote.

The library levy approved on Nov. 3 will increase community members’ access by adding hours, programs, materials, and technology, particularly at our neighborhood Bethel and Sheldon branches.

October 29, 2015

THE BEST SOLUTION

I served as a volunteer citizen Eugene Budget Committee member when we made the agonizing decision to reduce library hours. The City Council opted not to continue our longstanding library levy during the recession. We carried the library hours on General Fund dollars and reserves as long as we could. We pared back the cuts from closure of both branch libraries to only reduced hours. No one wanted to cut those library hours, but it was the best of several bad options. 

October 22, 2015

TIME TO WEIGH IN

Have you protected your right to vote? The Nov. 3 ballot will include three very important issues. They are the Eugene Five-Year Library Local Option Levy, renewal of the Springfield Fire and Life Safety Local Option Levy and South Lane County Fire & Rescue District Obligation Bond measures. 

Voting is our opportunity to make our voices heard on the questions that matter to our communities. We all need to weigh in.

October 15, 2015

DON’T PUNISH LIBRARY

Voting “no” on the library levy is no way to correct the problem of misguided tax policies and benefits to special interests. It would not convince our politicians to mend their ways nor would it improve the current funding mechanism. Instead, it would punish library users, including students, computer users and residents who need expanded access to a local branch. Clean up the bathwater, but don’t throw the baby out.

Sara van Dyck, Eugene

 

October 8, 2015

DO NOTHING?

Accusing someone of insensitivity by “having a political agenda” when they ask for better gun laws is an easy way out of contributing to real solutions, and is actually a case of having one’s own political agenda. Asking for better laws is a huge sign of being nothing but sensitive to the victims. 

October 1, 2015

A SYSTEM THAT WORKS

The media generally goes for the sensational on any topic, but there was a good balance in the EW articles on mental health in Lane County as far as the articles went. However, mental health is much more than schizophrenia and commitment in psychiatric hospitals, and mental health is not just an adult issue.

September 24, 2015

BAN THE CAMPING BAN

I’m just catching up on the news of the homeless situation here in Eugene. I haven’t rallied or been involved in several years. But I can still see the lack of cooperation between advocates for the unhoused and the city. I also see an astounding amount of incompetence from the Eugene City Council in dealing with this issue — a serious human rights issue, I might add. 

September 17, 2015

UNRESOLVED ISSUES

September 10, 2015

WEEDING OUT PATIENTS

Marijuana seems more illegal than ever for OMMP [Oregon Medical Marijuana Program] patients needing pain management. I have been an OMMP patient concomitantly with pain medications for five years, and I am currently on Social Security Disability. I was regularly drug-tested with THC in my system, which was never a problem. I then had to switch my primary care and was assigned to one of Lane County’s community health centers. 

September 3, 2015

HOUSING FIRST IS HERE

Contrary to information provided in the Aug. 20 “Housing First?” cover feature, Eugene does have true Housing First, and ShelterCare has been a leader in implementing this effective but not-so-new model since 2006. That year, we used a private grant to launch The Inside Program (TIP), our initial Housing First venture. 

August 27, 2015

LOST EUGENE TRADITION

Well, I waved goodbye to one more Eugene tradition today. How I’ve loved the annual Eugene Celebration in the past, the crowds, the hoop-la. So Eugene we were! So unique! We were so us.

August 20, 2015

MORE REST STOPS

Regarding EW’s Aug. 6 Slant item on homeless camps and the river:

“The city spends about $250,000 a year cleaning up homeless camps … John Brown has some ideas. Anybody else?”