Eugene Weekly : Letters : 1.21.10


I have a few stones to throw at Phil Knight’s glass cube for student athletes. Besides the fact that Knight is spending big money to defeat measures that will benefit the public good, the UO’s own tour guide has already admitted seeing people walk into the building’s glass walls. This means that the university is on notice of a hazardous condition, and unless they take steps to ameliorate the hazard (such as prominently placing colorful stickers at eye level throughout the structure) the next person who gets hurt walking into a glass wall will have a slam-dunk injury lawsuit against the UO.

 Also, who’s going to clean all that glass, and who’s going to pay for all that extra cleaning? Is the UO going to spend more money doing that instead of paying professors what they’re worth? And why can’t athletes study in the library or the student center like everybody else? Does the UO deem athletes more worthy than scholars?

For all this aggravation, the UO gave up a perfectly good parking lot.

Ellen Singer, Eugene


I’ve dealt with the press many times over the years, but I’ve never been so misquoted or misrepresented. Apparently the advocacy journalism that EW engages in is not interested in fact or fair representation. Alan Pittman not only insulted ORI’s integrity by printing an inflammatory remark made by opponents of the project but used the opponent’s depiction of the ORI site that I told him was a misrepresentation of our plans.

ORI’s site selection was not chosen because it had space for parking, as Pittman asserts; it was chosen because it is the best fit for us. ORI has a long standing, creative alternative transportation policy, and many ORI employees use alternative transportation, but we do need parking for some employees and research participants.

Our project will repair a site that has been closed to the public for more than 70 years and is surrounded by a chain-link, barbed-wire fence, a broken asphalt bike path, homeless camps and a transient population. Our development will create a safer connection between the university and downtown for the public.

Our commitment to the environment is unwavering and is reflected in our site plan. In addition, when the city is ready, we are willing and able to accommodate the Alder Street bike connection to the river within our site.

Check our website for the factual information on our project.

Cynthia R. Guinn, Executive Director, Oregon Research Institute


Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network/Jobs with Justice urges people to vote yes on Measures 66 and 67. With so many workers unemployed, governments need to do more to help the most vulnerable. Those who are out of work could have trouble finding new livelihoods, particularly if they are over 40 years old.

Many more workers could lose their jobs, meaning that some people who thought they would never need social services will need to turn to the government for help. Often, people run out of other options. Those who are doing better financially should be making a little more of a contribution to help those who need support.

Voting yes on Measures 66 and 67 is a way of supporting social justice. We need to look after each other instead of turning our backs on each other. Everyone deserves food, shelter, health care and the solicitude of the community when in need.

Governments can be the source of jobs — if Measures 66 and 67 do not pass, many people in the public sector will lose their jobs. Government funding can provide green jobs, for example in improved public transit.

Again, ESSN urges you to vote yes on Measures 66 and 67.

John Evans, co-chair, Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network/Jobs with Justice


As conservationist and biologist, I stand with people opposed to predator-killing contests, like the “coyote derby” described in “Whack off Ears for New Year” (News Briefs, 1/14). There’s nothing emotional about countless documented studies showing that the response of coyotes to human persecution is to quickly recover and increase — not decrease — their populations with youngsters who are more likely to kill livestock. So it is the hunters of predators like coyotes (and derbies like these), with their fear and deep hatred of predators, that create problems.

Obviously, though, participants in these hunts are not driven by tears over the death of a ewe. Coyotes are mostly scapegoats, responsible for an insignificant number of livestock deaths (especially when their numbers aren’t artificially increased by hunters) when compared to domestic dogs, weather or disease. The intense, ancestral hostility to coyotes and other predators is based on absolutely nothing — coyotes can’t even be considered competition for “game” species, since they are mainly scavengers who help keep rodent populations down. Coyotes don’t kill people, and there are federal and state programs designed specifically to compensate ranchers for any loses.

 Besides there being no scientific basis for predator hunts, the exchange of bloody ears or paws for prizes strikes most civilized folks as backward and barbaric. Slaughters like these ought to be outlawed.

 Eileen Stark, Portland


A wonderful improvement to the Eugene community should soon be realized. A piece of Willamette riverfront property that has been inaccessible to the public for 70 years will become the home to one of Oregon’s premier employers, Oregon Research Institute. In place of an old gravel quarry and utility storage lot and broken asphalt bike path will stand a beautiful environmentally green building that employees and the public will appreciate and enjoy. Please visit and get the facts, because the facts matter!

Dawn Branham, Eugene


Yes, Oregon needs to keep our children’s schools funded. We do not want to lose more teachers. Let’s keep what few services we have left from earlier budget cuts. Save education and our teachers’ jobs.

Yes, Oregon’s colleges and universities need more funding from the state. Let’s not burden students with even higher tuition. Save the affordability of higher education to the middle class. 

Yes, Oregon’s human services provide jobs for thousands of people. These service providers help many families, children and older folks in distress. Save the quality of life in our communities for everyone. 

Yes, Oregon needs to maintain genuine public safety. We need adequate funding for our courts, police and prisons. Let’s not release criminals prematurely, because of too few public safety jobs. 

Yes, Oregon voters, vote yes on Measures 66 and 67. 

Jane Renfro Smith, Eugene


Measures 66 and 67 will not cost jobs. In fact, they will help prevent job cuts that directly effect our most vulnerable citizens. In an open letter to Oregonians, 36 Oregon economists, including Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, agree that during a recession, a targeted tax on the wealthy will help keep dollars in the state and prevent job losses.

According to the Council on State Taxation, Oregon has the third lowest business tax burden in the country. If Ballot Measure 67 passes, we will have the fifth lowest business tax burden. If Measure 67 does not pass, our education and public safety institutions will suffer. Businesses will be unlikely to move to a state that does not have a highly educated workforce.

 During a recession state spending increases because more people need unemployment benefits, public health care and other vital services the state provides.

Join me in preserving Oregon’s economy, schools and public services. Vote yes on Measures 66 and 67.

 Brett Moser, Eugene


What to do with the old eyesore — avoid greatness while shooting for perfect?

As a lifetime resident of Eugene and a graduate of the UO, I have seen many projects come and go here, some nice, some not. What bothers me about current events regarding the Riverfront Research Park is that there is a chance to bring in a bundle of government money to develop something beautiful in place of what has been an eyesore for a long time, and will continue to be so for years to come if the UO’s conditional use permit is successfully blocked.

Let’s face it, no one else has anything lined up. EWEB’s attention and money is focused elsewhere. After a long, fits-and-starts process, ORI and EPIC have all ducks in a row to build a very nice LEED Silver or Gold certified building and grounds, minimal parking lot space with lots of trees and an upgrade to the bike path system. All this in place of a gravel and blackberry-filled dump with no lighting, an awful section of bike path and people sleeping in it. Maybe the ORI/EPIC project will even give EWEB a little push forward on cleaning up their dump.

The plan espoused by Connecting Eugene looks OK on paper, if a bit grandiose, but where’s the funding? 

Shall we keep the existing eyesore for another 10 years while we fight it out? I don’t see Phil Knight ponying up for any parks.

Josh Burt, Eugene


I don’t know how anyone else feels about it, but this new 10-digit area code dialing is bullshit. Judging by the way people at work were screaming from their desks all day long over it, it’s a pretty safe bet that the rest of the population feels the same way I do. 

Did Oregon drop off into the dark ages? I lived more than half my life in the Los Angeles area, which changed area codes at least three times while living there, and we never had to dial 10 digit numbers when dialing within the same area code. Is this temporary? Even if it’s temporary, it’s still bullshit. Whoever is responsible should be fired.

 Michele Walter, Eugene


I was thoroughly disgusted by the “Skewered Nutria” article featured in the Jan. 7 issue of EW.

Not at the investigation part — I’m happy EW has reported on this information — but on the actions of EWEB.

I understand the negative effects the wildlife is having on EWEB’s canals and the potential failure of such systems, but I also understand that like all living creatures, they should be dealt with (if at all) humanely. The claim that EWEB is doing this is pure farce. 

Of course I would prefer as least invasive a method as possible, but the suggestions of Lyllian Breitenstein are logical and safe ways of correcting the problem. Animals are naturally drawn to areas which provide them food, shelter, adequate temperature, and are easily accessible. Isn’t this why human beings sought shelter in caves?

If EWEB were to spend the money they are paying the archer on alternative means, they might have remedied the problem by now. If the only foreseeable solution is to exterminate the non-native species, then I believe catching them alive and having each one euthanized would be more humane then sticking them with a bow and arrow. Who does EWEB think they are, Robin Hood? 

Though this species is not native and seen as a pest by many, it doesn’t give a company the right to exterminate each one in the name of capitalism. All I can say is, I’m happy my landlord pays my utilities so I don’t have to send a check to EWEB each month.

Emily Doody, Eugene


In his thought-provoking letter to the editor about economics and class (1/7), Douglas Brown asks why so many Americans continue to support a trickle-down financial system and a political ideology that benefit so few. Good question.

At a charity dinner speech in 2000, George W. Bush intoned: “This is an impressive crowd. Some people call you the elite; I call you my base.” Each election, about half of us vote for Republicans like Bush, whose public policy-making enriches private corporations and the financial elite at the expense of all the rest of us. Why?

David Corn, Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones magazine, mused recently to Bill Moyers that it may be Stockholm syndrome, a psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors. But beyond the Patty Hearst/Symbionese Liberation Army explanation, there may be a simpler answer.

Conjuring Mark Twain, comedian Bill Maher likes to say the American people are too stupid to be governed. About half of us will surely agree on that.

Benton Elliott, Eugene


Thank you for printing Mary O’Brien’s article on peaceful response to conflict. It may be the defining issue in our slow evolution from animals to gods.

Progress has been slow because the how has lagged so far behind the why. Hammurabi’s “eye for an eye” was, believe it or not, a breakthrough at the time since retribution had previously been unlimited. Jesus’s “turn the other cheek” was another hint, but his implementation is marketed today as spiritual, not interpersonal. Thoreau, Ghandi and King added another piece when they suggested that silence is an improvement over screaming, even if that’s not yet talking. 

Today, Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication offers a remarkably user-friendly interface — although NVC meetings are overwhelmingly female, reflecting the widespread belief by both genders that men are less peaceful than women.

Maybe the next piece is figuring out what we’re letting go. It’s thrilling to be a warrior, even if lazy. Compassion for the downtrodden is easy; doing the same with our enemies remains almost impossible. And the warrior spirit is everywhere. If you hear a friend or a hero talk of “empowering” anyone or “working for social justice,” you should cringe. And then gently enlighten them.

When someone like O’Brien’s father figures out that vengeance against Germany in 1919 was part of the problem, we see how far we’ve come. When Obama gets the Nobel Peace Prize while supporting vengeance against Germany in 1939 we see how far we’ve yet to go.

Thanks for the nudge.

Steve Downey, Eugene


Regarding “Scrooges Among Us” from Peter Holden (letters, 12/31): Responding to theft by putting up surveillance in a parking lot is a waste! These “Scrooges” are people who are worse off than you! The guys you saw at the parking lot — they are part of our community. 

If you don’t like what happens up there at 50th and Donald, stay away, or leave your car empty and unlocked. Locked car = something, duh! Unlocked car = nothing of worth or value to a thief! If you are breaking into my car for something, you must be worse off than me in many ways: sick with addiction, alcoholism and likely homeless.

Cameras in the Spencer Butte Trail parking lot will benefit nobody, just put more people in an overcrowded jail and cost taxpayers money! Change your behavior and think about the less fortunate for once.

 Jonathan Guske, Eugene


 Actions speak louder than words. We talk peace and charge off to war on any pretext. We talk small government and don’t vote or even put forth candidates to curtail those who expand regulations. We talk opposing taxes then add new ones with nearly every election. Actions demonstrate we love war, big government, and transferring wealth to our rulers. We love complaining and avoid getting involved.

 The results published by Lane County for the elections from March 11, March 1997, to Nov. 3 2009 were tabulated (email for the spreadsheet). Recall and primary results were excluded.

 Computations show 71 percent of those eligible to vote are registered, but the simple average turnout is 48 percent. Only a third of our adults, or 99,840 of 353,460 (28 percent) population, are choosing who will rule over the rest of us.

 Of 1,956 elected positions: For 178 (9 percent), no candidate bothered to file, 1,261 (65 percent) had only one, leaving only 517 (26 percent) where the vote meant anything. So a third of the adults decided a quarter of who would rule all our lives. Winston Churchill said, “The world is ruled by those who show up.”

 Of 153 measures to increase or sustain taxes, 98 (64 percent) were approved by the voting third. Measures 66 and 67 will probably be approved. We talk no to sales tax, will approve 67 with its gross receipt (sales) tax and ignore that customers, not the corporations, pay the taxes.

 Perhaps one reason we love taxes is because it’s like war except the expanding transfer of wealth from others is from within.

Keith Stanton, Florence




To the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, regarding the coyote “derby” Jan. 16-17: Oregon does not ban coyote hunting, nor has the state in recent history reconsidered this practice in light of current research and social norms. Please place a moratorium on this and all future coyote hunts while the research and propriety of this archaic regressive historic practice is thoroughly investigated given current research rather than continue this as prejudice. 

Current research explicitly supports the fact that controlling coyote populations by culling and killing has a reverse unintended rebound effect. It serves to increase rather than reduce the numbers of coyotes. It also creates an imbalance, not a balance. When the coyote population is culled and killed it removes from the ecosystem a natural predator for other animal populations such as rabbits, moles and other small critters that provide the main food source for coyotes. In fact coyotes provide invaluable forms of predator control. They rarely threaten livestock, that too is promoted fiction, instead consuming carcasses when encountered by chance. They limit their hunting to food/subsistence needs not the pleasures of killing for sport. 

I am unaware of any plan by the derby participants to consume the coyotes, the products of this memorial hunt, only the plan to sever their ears as proof of a kill. 

 To continue these unnecessary and inhumane hunts/derbies based upon the fiction that they serve a useful environmental purpose is disingenuous at best, and at its worst, a shocking government deception. It is completely incongruent with the values of significant numbers of Oregonians whose tax dollars support your departments.

It is long past time that the ODFW and ODFC abided by and supported the values of citizens throughout the state not just a minority. To wantonly kill animals for sport, using them as “live” targets for practice, needlessly snuffing out the lives of innocent animals who play a significant role in our ecosystem is not a value held by most Oregonians. It is cruel and unnecessary.

Gail O’Connell-Babcock, Ph.D., Citizens for Humane Animal Legislation/Watchdog, Sherwood 


I’m opposed to Measures 66 & 67 not from a personal monetary standpoint, but from a philosophical standpoint. Unlike many people I have encountered while living in Eugene, I do not believe the wealthy inherently owe me anything. Their professional choice and surplus of income has nothing to do with my ambition to achieve a lower financial standing. Measures 66 & 67 depict the middle class and lower class as whiny children stomping their feet saying, “but they owe us.” Instead of saying a small group of people owe us anything, why don’t we instead say, “We’re in this together, so let’s implement something that impacts us all.” 

If 66 and 67 having so little bearing on so few people — less than 2.5 percent of people paying a .9 to 2 percent increase, and less than 3 percent of businesses paying a zero to 1.3 percent increase — can solve our financial woes, then imagine what a minuscule tax paid by 100 percent of us could achieve.  

It’s time we stop having elections that pit middle against upper class, teachers against business owners, renters against homeowners, when trying to achieve goals that benefit us all.

Stephanie Stano, Eugene