LET THE PEOPLE SPEAK
The UO has gone into bulldozer mode. They are determined to ram through the construction of a building for the Oregon Research Institute (ORI).
This project was conjured up at the peak of a greed-crazed tsunami of mass hysteria, shameless fraud, reckless speculation, and pathological over-consumption. It’s 2010, a totally different reality. Unemployment is high, the real estate market is hosed, and we’re closing up the school system. Everyone is hoping that the global economy doesn’t disintegrate.
ORI gets most of its income from federal research grants (primarily the National Institutes of Health). Tax increases are absolutely unimaginable. The federal budget is going to be restored to balance solely on the basis of massive spending cuts. It’s a good bet that ORI’s income is going to fall off.
In 2002, ORI planned to build a 100,000 sq. ft. building on the pit in front of the library. The current plan is for a 79,800 sq. ft. building, of which ORI will occupy just 69,000 sq. ft. If their earlier ambitions had not been so grandiose, they would have gotten financing, and could have moved into their own building by 2005, without opposition. Instead, they shifted to Plan B, reviewed five options, and picked the most controversial location imaginable.
Their PR includes greenwash hype: “an environmentally sustainable building,” one of the most energy efficient buildings in Eugene. But, as every properly educated schoolchild can tell you, the greenest building of all is the one that is already built. There is nothing green about consuming many tons of steel and concrete.
Why did they pick the most controversial location imaginable? Because it offered the most space for huge, totally un-green parking lots! It’s the 21st century, for God’s sake! The polar bears are crying. Dust off your bike! Get a bus pass! Behave like a mature and responsible adult!
If ORI can no longer afford to pay rent, most of the building will be empty. The space can only be rented to enterprises engaged in research. The world is no longer awash in venture capital, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Will the grand palace end up becoming a graffiti gallery and a transient hotel? This project is very risky. More importantly, it’s wrong.
Even if the judges find that UO is not legally obligated to listen to the taxpayers who own the land and pay for the school, the university still has a moral and ethical obligation to behave in a respectful manner, listen, and change course.
Richard Reese, Eugene
ENHANCING PUBLIC ROADWAYS
Most of the dissent in regards to not building the west EmX expansion appears to be coming from people who believe that the expansion of the EmX is tied into a socialist takeover of government by Obama. Yes, people have a right to own and operate a motor vehicle, but it is important to note that public transportation enhances, not detracts from public roadways. I seriously have to question the sanity of people who believe that big government is trying to take away our liberties by providing funds for public transportation in our communities.
Noah Marchal, Eugene
At the east end of Leaburg Lake, paving at the new boat landing was completed over this last month. I live there.
This last spring, these acres were full of Life. All of which was evicted as EWEB began the project no one really wanted or needed. The trees came down and none now remain. The morning following opening day, a young river otter was plainly viewable on side of the road near the Goodpasture Bridge — testament to the loss of much life here.
Following the many months of summer with no further progress on the project, it was apparent that the earth there had licked its wounds and new life began to become abundant again — only to suffer a second and final eviction.
In October, final clearing and paving began and was completed. The last round of “run for your lives” was now over. Twenty-six miles up the McKenzie River, earthly paradise was turned into a multi-acre parking lot.
When the boat landing opens to the public in the spring, please make a point to drive-through. That’s just exactly what it has become. Then drive east a few miles. Take a look at the untouched land. That is what has been erased from Leaburg Lake. Walking the fresh asphalt this morning created churnings in my abdomen, pains in my heart, and some anger stemming from the fear that the cogs and gears of our systems in place continue to fail us and those all around us.
We collectively have got to do better come 2011.
William Novorolsky, Leaburg
MARGINAL ARLIE LAND
I’m somewhat familiar with the area of the proposed Arlie land sale south of LCC and all in favor of public open space, but I find this parcel less than ideal. The goal has been to connect LCC to the Ridgeline Trail System, but the proposed sale does little toward that goal. It mainly increases the desirability of buying more land that might connect LCC.
The Ridgeline Trail section from the west, Dillard Road over Mount Baldy to Spring Boulevard, would still apparently be the only legal access to this Arlie land sale, which stretches well to the East. This is not prime wilderness land, but chopped up by power lines and blackberry-lined access roads, probably mostly logged recently.
There is a usable route between the above trail and LCC, north of the proposed sale. A probably small section may have to be rerouted, with little expense. Is this land also Arlie property? In any case, wouldn’t it be more appropriate for city purchase?
Dan Robinson, Eugene
CHURCHILL LEFT OUT
4J’s school closure-configuration proposal isn’t equitable for disadvantaged and minority populations. Increasing class size will negatively affect learning, particularly for disadvantaged and minority students. Small classes increase college enrollment, reduce teen birth rates and lower criminal convictions.
School closures and re-configuration will increase school moves for students. Moves will lower student achievement and raise the high school dropout rate. One third of disadvantaged children attend three different schools by third grade.
Most controversial is giving advantage to language immersion schools by placing them in high income, less accessible neighborhoods and expanding their programs from K-5 to K-8, while conversely closing and re-configuring other low income schools serving our communities poorest children. Although language immersion schools are an asset, equally important is high quality education and stability for our underprivileged.
Alternative schools are great! South has Charlemagne — set to expand, Sheldon has Buena Vista — also expanding, and North has Corridor — supported by Yujin Gakuen. Churchill has Family School; a Tile 1 school with 53 percent disadvantaged kids housed in ATA, one of 4j’s largest minority schools. Thriving 20 years, Family School’s K-8 exceeds 4J’s test average. It’s centrally located and inviting for low income and minority families. If closed, Churchill region will not have any elementary alternative school choice left, nor any K-8 public school option at all.
Find a way to support Family School/ATA and provide Churchill families an equally successful K-8 choice of their own. The budget supports South, Sheldon and North alternative choice — why not Churchill?
Catherine McCormack, Eugene
NOT A SMALL SACRIFICE
The author of “Small Sacrifices,” (letters, 11/24) was lucky to attend the aborted, and only, public-input event regarding protection of water quality in the Willamette watershed. I was unable to because, despite actually living on the river, I was never in any way notified. It’s not a “small sacrifice” for me to close the doors of my house and walk out, leaving it to collapse into invasive blackberries, ivy and nutria burrows. It’s all I own.
I don’t pollute by driving or owning a car. I pay my taxes. The entire property is within 200 yards of the river so I can’t move the house. My income is around $700 a month and I can’t sell my house even now in this poor economy, let alone after it is rendered worthless by this proposal’s stipulations.
I’m 69 years old. I have no savings. For all the time I’ve lived in it I’ve considered myself a steward of this land, removing invasives, not using fertilizers, not fishing, allowing no motorized equipment in care of the property. Were I to lose this house I’d be homeless. A “small sacrifice”?
I also over many years here have helped prevent nearby river-destructive activities of all sorts through public and private action, and I know that virtually all my few neighbors nearby along the river don’t currently pollute or perform water-quality-destructive acts. Most of them are either homeowners living on small properties or are renters who are not polluters.
The state and county should actually enforce the protective ordinances in place right now.
Polly Mitchell, Cottage Grove
JOIN THE HOOLIGANS
In response to a letter written by George Beres (“Levin Brings Sanity” 11/24), I would like to suggest that Mr. Beres should pursue a career as a college football analyst, seeing as how he has made the discovery that Oregon football fans purposely yell at home games to cause confusion among opposing offenses and increase the Ducks’ chance of winning. There are several tough environments all around the nation that teams fear playing at because of crowd noise. The Ducks have played in several this season themselves, but they handled the pressure and came through with the win. If Stanford is the best team in the Pac 10, as Mr. Beres is so sure they are, shouldn’t they have handled the pressure and won at Autzen? There are loud fans in basketball, soccer, hockey and several other sports. And if Mr. Beres doesn’t like it, I have a sport for him. It’s called figure skating.
I invite him to throw in some earplugs, rock some green and yellow apparel, and spend a few hours with the hooligans next season. Because what I see every time I walk through those gates is nearly 59,000 people of all ages, races, nationalities, sexual orientations, religions, occupations, political beliefs, and walks of life coming together to yell, cheer, boo, clap, fist pump, toss a beach ball around the crowd, do the wave, sing along to “Shout” at the beginning of the 4th quarter, and hi-five for something they can all believe in. I can’t be sure how Mr. Beres would feel about it, but I think it’s pretty effin’ cool myself.
I will be there every home game screaming with the rest of the crazies till my lungs bleed or Coach Kelly and his team bring home the national title they’ve strived for. Oh, who am I kidding. I’ll still be screaming, no matter what.
Grant Harmond, Mapleton
PUPKE’S FINE EXAMPLE
As two members of Eugene’s youth and enthused supporters of animal welfare, your honorable mention of animal rights activist, Starly Pupke (Slant, 11/11), was much appreciated. Having studied Pupke’s work and involvement with the fight against Lane County’s feral cat problem, we have been overwhelmingly inspired by her dedication to trapping and saving thousands of feral felines in our area.
In Lane County alone there are an estimated 20,000 cats, homeless and free to reproduce at a rapid rate. Organizations like Stray Cat Alliance, Greenhill Humane Society, and the Feral Cat Coalition of Portland are working to spay and neuter as many cats as possible, but this epidemic is a heavy undertaking. Unless the spay and neuter procedures are free, this problem will not be fixed. Pet owners must educate themselves on the importance of fixing their pets, and the outcome that has on this issue.
We hope that the Eugene/Springfield community embraces the life and example of Pupke and takes part in supporting the programs and people like her who work to provide education and action against this problem. Pupke’s death does not mark the ending of this movement, but acts as a spark of inspiration to those who wish to keep her cause alive.
Riley Westerfield, Amber Brazil, Eugene
LET IT EXPIRE
All the fussing about extending the temporary tax cut that President Bush put in place years ago seems to me to be a useless issue. It was a temporary tax. I say, let it expire.
If Congress, and I mean the new Republican Congress, wishes to propose a new tax cut next, they can do that. They would have to get it approved — and not vetoed. They could make it retroactive to Jan. 1. They could have whatever they could get passed.
Extending the unemployment benefits is quite another matter. Waiting until next year to grant that aid is too late. Even making it retroactive to Dec. 1 of this year is of no help. Rent payments have to be paid on time. If not, we just have more homeless people.
The two issues are, and should be, totally separate matters.
Bob Cassidy, Eugene
ASKING FOR FOOD
On Tuesday, Nov. 30, federal unemployment aid expired for two million Americans. These Americans are not just statistics — they include some of my friends, some of my neighbors, and some of the families of students at my neighborhood school. Last week, a student at my daughter’s school called the school for help with food because the student’s family had no food at home — yes, you read that correctly: a child calling school to ask for food.
Meanwhile, some federal senators and congressional representatives are making it their priority to refuse to consider extending unemployment benefits for these families until millionaires in this country — people for whom food is always on the table — receive a tax cut.
This country’s priorities break my heart. How can we let this continue?
Please contact President Obama and your federal senators and congressional representatives to request that unemployment benefits be extended immediately, and that tax cuts for those with incomes over $1 million be refused.
And shame on those politicians who are willing to let our country’s children suffer from hunger for the sake of millionaires.
Pam Dillehay, Eugene
SANIPAC IS COMING
You gotta throw out
You gotta reuse
Better not pout
’bout all that refuse
Sanipac is coming to town
They’re sorting your stuff
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out
Who has a strange vice
Sanipac is coming to town
They know what you’ve been drinking
They know what’s in your rake
They know if your junk’s bad or good
Separate for goodness sake!
O! You gotta throw out
You gotta reuse
Better not pout
’bout all that refuse
Sanipac is coming to town
Sanipac is coming to towwwwwwwwwn!
Glenn Leonard, Eugene
EASY WAY OUT
Steven Hays, the haunted Connecticut murder, says “Death for me will be a welcome relief.” If you want to spank him for his misdeeds put him an 8 X 10 cell with no windows, feed him beans and rice, which is being nice since it’s better than how most of the world dines, and just let him sit. It would be a lot less expensive than an execution. We should do the same to Dicky and King Georgie. Maybe it would send a message to the rest of our politicians.
Vince Loving, Eugene
Flying recently I’m in a position to say
the feeling-me-up employee
apologized but with evident glee
agreed it was the most fun we’d each had that day.
Another friend, unlike many, was not enraged.
He has since confided
when his pat-down subsided
he thought he had just got engaged.
Jean Marie Purcell, Eugene