Eugene Weekly : Letters : 2.14.08


I hear a lot of people complaining about the homeless on the streets of Eugene and Springfield. If people spent half the energy trying to solve the problem that they did complaining about it, we wouldn’t have the problem in the first place.

Then again, finding a solution isn’t simple either. More low-cost housing, more and better paying jobs and better care for the physically and mentally challenged are just part of what is needed to help the homeless.

No matter whose fault it is or isn’t, these people need a helping hand. Most of the people living on the streets and in shelters aren’t looking for a handout — they’re looking for a hand up. They are hard working people who want to be self-reliant.

Helping is as easy as donating to your local shelter or homeless organizations. In the Eugene/Springfield area you can donate to the White Bird Clinics, Shelter Care and St. Vincent De Paul. Even just being a sympathetic ear and giving of a little of your time and energy can make a homeless person’s life better.

In cities all across the country, laws are being passed basically making it illegal to be homeless. Right here, it is illegal to sleep in a public place. Every public business has “Restrooms Are For Customers Only” signs. Every night all of the restrooms in all of the public parks and parking structures are locked up. By the very act of doing so the city is forcing the homeless to break the law by relieving themselves in public. Everywhere you look, there are “No Trespassing” signs painted on all of the Dumpsters.

There have always been two sets of laws in this country: one for the haves and one for the have-nots. Its time for the have-nots to stand up for themselves.

We send billions of dollars of aid to other countries to feed the poor and starving, and there are people living, starving and dying on the streets of our own.

For more information, visit, and

Donald Davis, Homeless in Eugene




Now that the people have spoken, it is time for a different, more creative vision for downtown. I am still an advocate for building a mix of low-, middle- and upper-end eco-housing to create a critical mass of residents in the Broadway core area, but I have also been intrigued by the idea of a park across from the library.

Kemper has bailed on building housing on the hole in the ground; I believe this is a good opportunity for a new plan. Given that downtown and the surrounding area has no municipal recreation center; my vision is to build an indoor pool/rec/community center?complex along with a park across from the library.

I believe this would help alleviate some of the youth problems by providing an activities program and entice folks to move downtown (if and when housing is built) for the enhanced amenities, especially those who can’t afford a DAC membership. And a downtown park would also be a better use of park money than giving it to developers, and would better serve the taxpayers. Imagine people reading books on a sunny day in the beautiful park across from the awesome library!

And while we’re at it, how about trading LCC the Centre Court building at Broadway and Willamette in exchange for the Downtown Center? The DTC is falling apart, too small, the heat died, the pipes broke and LCC may not be able to float a bond to replace it. Trading LCC the Centre Court building would anchor that corner with a solid entity and possibly save both the city and LCC money.

Remodeling an existing building into an eco-friendly learning center would set a good example of community development. Just a thought. We have to get more creative. Google community land trusts, a good way to help build affordable housing.

Chris Calise, Eugene



Hugh Massengill is hoping for a lawsuit against the city of Eugene and Lane County, requiring them to have homeless shelters. This shouldn’t be necessary. They should have been built years ago, and now the number of Lane County citizens forced into homelessness is escalating with foreclosures and work layoffs. Some 95 percent of the homeless are Lane County residents, and I know many were sleeping in the cold this winter. Some will say that forced isn’t the right word, but I have to think that the families I meet had little choice as health and housing costs rise dramatically.

Remember when we had homeless camper families with half of them having a full-time worker? A trip to the grocery store demonstrates just the start of rising prices as the cost of a barrel of oil hits $100. Where are we going, and where is our community effort to care for our neighbor?

Ruth Duemler, Eugene



I feel disappointed, dismayed, and disenfranchised by my current County Commissioner. Bobby Green has ignored the concerns of our neighborhoods for far too long. Unreturned phone calls, not showing up for pertinent meetings, leaving hearings during public testimony and voting without considering community needs or simply not showing up for the vote have been the hallmarks of Bobby’s lackluster track record.

While Rob Handy has been busy doing the legwork and homework to learn about issues related to making all of our neighborhoods livable and safe, Commissioner Bobby Green has been AWOL.

Deborah Brady, Eugene



National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration recommends killing 85 sea lions per year to protect wild salmon on the Columbia River.

Humans have caused the depletion of these endangered salmon, not sea lions. Humans built dams and fish ladders that have made the salmon vulnerable.

Humans dump raw sewage and dangerous chemicals into the ocean — and let’s not forget the occasional oil tanker that spills hundreds of thousands of gallons of the good ol’ crude into our suffering ocean waters.

Humans have caused global warming which contributes to dead zones in the ocean.

It escapes my sensibilities how anyone can wonder why so few of the salmon are returning to the Columbia River, or any other river for that matter. I am fully behind protecting salmon populations and bringing them back to healthy numbers, but not with slaughter.

Humans are quite capable of doing and creating wonderful things, and we are adept at problem solving. If we are clever enough to propel satellites into our orbit or project video images on our television sets, then I am quite confident that we can create a fish ladder that can serve the salmon’s final run upriver and not serve them to the sea lions for dinner.

I urge a cruelty free and humane solution to this problem. I realize the sea lions are not endangered, but killing one animal to save another is wrong and lacks broad-minded thinking. We are smarter than that, so let’s prove it.

Public comment until Feb. 19 can be sent to

Lisa Warnes, Eugene



I’ve been attending Eugene City Council meetings for eight or so months now and have arrived at several conclusions about out elected officials: 1) They work very hard and make a lot of decisions that impact our lives. 2) Most of the decisions they’ve made, I disagree with. 3) Mayor Piercy, Councilors Clark, Ortiz, Poling, Pryor, Solomon and Zelenka have at least four things in common: spend, spend, spend, spend.

Debt, debt, debt. Tax, tax, tax. Develop downtown, develop downtown, develop downtown.?

Please vote them out of office and allow them to continue their efforts to develop downtown as ordinary citizens.

If I may, please vote for people who are disgusted with Eugene’s justice system and would like to see several judges, the members of the district attorney’s office and Chief Lehner encouraged to look elsewhere for employment.

Joe Collins, Eugene



It was really nice to hear an intelligent and reasoned voice in the debate over Arellano’s “ÁAsk a Mexican!” column. Thank you, Jim Leary (Viewpoint, 1/24). However, he leaves us with the unanswered mystery as to why “more than a few PC majority liberals” (translation: wussy white academic liberals) find Arellano’s work fit to be banned. Well, I can tell you why.

The reason wussy white academic liberals object to Arellano’s column is that they are a bunch of hypocritical, elitist shit stains with no sense of humor. Period. Any comedian of any race will tell you funny is funny. Tough cookies to you, “PC majority liberals”!

Please continue to publish Arellano’s column because 1) it’s funny, and 2) it pisses off uptight people who think the First Amendment only applies to their continuous and unceasing whining. Win-win, baby!

Scott Zeppa, Eugene



Needing some paper to start a fire in my wood stove, I drove to my local Dari-Mart and picked up a free supply, er, copy, of EW and other sources of ignition, er, information, this term used loosely, for my wood stoves’ enjoyment.

After many months of not seeing your paper burn, imagine my surprise when I see the “ÁAsk a Mexican!” column still irking your audience of such diverse understanding and enlightenment. Having been born and raised in the mass of concrete known as Detroit, Mich., I fail to see Eugene becoming diverse in ethnicity at any time in the future. Get over it; we’re mostly white here.

As far as Eugene residents getting upset over the mayor for all of Springfield wanting to go golfing instead of having another meeting to plan a meeting, we like to get things done on this side of the river without the overkill of death by study. Have you noticed the growth of business over here? PeaceHealth, Symantec, Royal Caribbean, Downtown Justice Center. Do any of these ring a bell? Thank you, Mayor Leiken, I’ll gladly join you for a round anytime. My treat, after the snow melts.

And lastly, I’m sure glad I have my four-wheel-drive SUV to get around in this snow. There wasn’t even a line at the gas station on my way to go skiing at Willamette Pass! It sure feels good to keep the economy rolling sometimes, even if it means being a little bit, dare I say it, Republicanish.

Greg Harris, Springfield



Lots of things get said in letters to the editor. Some true, some not. Often there are a lot of partial truths. If anyone really wants to know my position on an issue, they are welcome to contact me.

I did want to respond to the one about downtown for two reasons. One is to clarify that I had responded to the letter to the editor (2/7) from Amelia Reising from Books Without Borders (by e-mail). I had sent her a note telling her that we may not come by Books Without Borders a lot, but we do go to J. Michaels, Passion Flower, Footwise, Zenons, Ambrosia, Sweet Basil, Full City, Steelhead, Vaqueros, Red Agave, Gervais, Anatolia’s, Elephant Trunk, Electric Station, Marché, Apple Store, US Bank, Hartwick’s, Adams, Bagel Sphere, Broadway, Davis, Nick and Noras, KIVA, Pewter Rabbit, the DAC, Ovessi’s, Cosmic, all the wonderful galleries — just to name a few.

I make a concerted and substantive effort to support downtown businesses. In fact when we were having some serious work done on our westside house, we moved downtown for a few months.

The other reason I write is to join Amelia in inviting all of you to come downtown and support these businesses and many others. Like us, we hope you will think “first” about whether you can buy it downtown. It is my hope that with the influx of Enterprise employees, the renovation of Centre Court and the Washburn building and the pit behind, that we will see the influx of new energy into our downtown. There are lots of possibilities and lot of interest and commitment.

I hope to see you there.

Kitty Piercy, Eugene



Why aren’t student voices being respected at UO’s student union? Despite collecting well over 400 signatures asking that Holy Cow’s contract be renewed, they are being unceremoniously dismissed from duty. It seems the EMU board thinks the EMU’s mounting financial problems can magically be solved by getting rid of a proven moneymaker that added to the university’s fame as the first organic restaurant in a college food court and replacing it with something supposedly more mainstream. There’s something wrong when a leased space set aside for an organic, vegan/ vegetarian restaurant is given away because a competitor serves meat.

I’m glad Laughing Planet’s in Eugene, but one must admit they lack the variety and environmental focus Holy Cow has built its reputation on. For years the EMU has been taking baby steps to lessen its $18,000 in annual waste removal expenses, and Holy Cow has been ahead of the movement from the start. Holy Cow created its own “plate club” a full four years before the rest of campus caught on, and they compost and recycle everything possible, saving the EMU money and inspiring Lane County to give a Trashbusters Award to the owners last year. Similarly, due to Holy Cow efforts, all EMU oil is now made into biodiesel, again saving disposal fees.

Kathee Lavine and Anton Ferreira are caring and creative business people who are respectful and honest with their employees and they deserve the same treatment from their employers at the EMU during this process.

Amy Leikas, UO alum



As a regular reader of this particular paper, I have come to expect a more left of center view expressed by most of its contributors. However, after reading the (1/24) issue I was highly agitated by the views expressed by Erin Gilday. She complains about May putting property values above community values or using the EW as a soapbox, instead of communicating with those involved. She fails to acknowledge that there are a lot of people who buy homes for investment purposes as well as habitation. When these people purchased their homes, they were moving into a nice, clean and respectable neighborhood. If they would have known about the pending third-world squalor resulting from the upcoming infestation, they probably would have moved elsewhere.

The fact is that dirty hippies like to live with other dirty hippies. No prospective middle class homebuyer is going to want to live in the squalor that has become of this neighborhood, and chances are that a dirty hippie couldn’t afford one of these lovely homes. As for communication, how do you communicate with a person who would rather offend your sense of smell than kill a few bugs? Or a person who thinks squalor is a logical alternative to cleanliness? If they like living in third-world conditions, that’s their prerogative; they can deal with the repercussions when they try to sell their homes. But don’t drag your neighbors down with you.

Matt Brockway, Springfield



Jeff Merkley, Democratic Party primary candidate for U.S. Senate, appears to be yet another supposed environmental candidate like Wyden and Blumenauer who favor any number of symbolic and “feel good” laws, programs and fixes that might retard environmental and livability degradation, but who won’t deal with the root cause of environmental and livability losses: ever more heavy consuming Americans needing ever more goods, services and housing.

In the 20th century, the U.S. added 200 million people with almost 100 million people added from 1970 to 2000. But Merkley, while acknowledging that all our growth comes from immigration, refuses to say how many Oregonians or Americans will be enough.

He dodged the question by focusing on technological fixes for global warming and on his work on Measure 49. While his work on Measure 49 is laudable, we never would have needed Measure 49 (or Senate Bill 100 which Measure 49 reinstated) if we hadn’t been faced with the specter of endless U.S. and Oregon population growth. After witnessing a lifetime of environmental, livability and freedom losses, symbolic fixes for and the evasion of our biggest environmental problem — ever more Americans continuing to consume 25 percent of the world’s resources — are not tolerable.

We need candidates who deal with the cause of environmental and livability degeneration, not with more ways of dealing with its symptoms.

Brent Thompson, Ashland



All the talk in Washington now is about how to stimulate the economy and avoid a deep recession. Now, I think, is our chance to really make a significant change.

If we want to put money into the economy at the bottom and have it bubble up to the rest of the economy, the best and quickest way to do it is to cut taxes where it really counts. At the present time we tax every dime that is earned in wages — up to $75,000 per year — for Social Security and Medicare. Then we require that the employer match that amount of taxes in further taxes.

If we were to exempt annual wages of under $25,000 from these taxes, it would give an instant boost to the workers in their wages and not cost the employer anything. Not only that, but it would reduce the taxes for the small businesses who hire most of these low-income people.

The federal and state taxes that low-income people pay are only a small fraction of what they pay for Social Security and Medicare. Increasing the cap on higher wages from $75,000 to a higher level could easily make up the loss of income to the government. There is no need to have only the lower income people pay for the whole Social Security program. That program is a benefit to all of us.

Bob Cassidy, Eugene