Eugene Weekly : Letters : 5.14.09


Congratulations to the EPD for torturing another youth! It must make you all quite proud to be protecting the people of Eugene from such dangerous criminals. Reading how the officer feared being attacked by the scrawny boy who was half cuffed reminded me what a bunch of cowards Eugene police officers are. Cowards! 

I would love the opportunity to box any of you in a ring with no weapons so I can show you how a real man handles himself — a concept lost on anyone on your poor excuse for a police force. Or better yet, how about you clowns come to the Bay Area and try your hand at real policing? I triple-dare any of you to attempt your brand of brutality and intimidation on this populace. You wouldn’t last a day here.

Similarly, if we sent our officers to Eugene, they probably would never want to return to the Bay Area, because Eugene is about the easiest place in the world to be a cop. How many homicides were there in Eugene last year? I’m sure we had more here last week. 

In my limited interactions with Bay Area cops, I have found them to be respectful and confident, while cops in Eugene are rude and scared. What are you people so afraid of? Hippies and activists are not dangerous people. 

Taunting the liberal majority of taxpayers in Eugene by placing incendiary ads (4/30 EW, p. 5) is about the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen a union do. Do you really think you can taunt the very people who pay your salaries and get away with it? These people will be far better off without you as you are the most dangerous criminal element in the community.

You may contact me to arrange a boxing match, but be forewarned, I weigh a full 150 lbs., so you’ll want to send your toughest officer.

Kursten Hogard, San Francisco



A problem with cycling in the Eugene/Springfield area is that so many of the people who plan cycling routes do not ride bicycles and therefore do not understand the needs of commuting cyclists. The axiom here should be that we want commuting bicycles and pedestrians on paths and back streets. Let auto traffic have the main thoroughfares.

As for this proposed bike bridge over the Delta Highway, I am not against bicycle bridges over freeways in general. Big bicycle bridges are expensive because they have to be able to support the weight of access vehicles. Also, these types of bridges take years to complete. In the meantime, there are more projects that need to be done.

Before plans are finalized to spend more than a million on a bicycle project, planners need to consult the cycling community as to the needs of cycling and walking. After this, planners need to ask if the project is needed or if more value for the money could be obtained with other cycling projects that would cost far less and would be of as much or if not more benefit to the community.

The unincorporated areas of west Eugene still need a bike path in front of the Delta Sand & Gravel pit on Industrial Way. This can be an inexpensive asphalt path. Some housing development and new streets have been put in place off of Tiato Street that would connect the entire west region of the area with the river paths. This small path would make it practical to cycle on back residential streets and paths all the way from the farthest point on the west side of Eugene to the east side of Springfield avoiding heavy traffic.

Cyclists could avoid the deadly under-Beltline gauntlet on River Road, one of the most dangerous cycling areas in town.

Another cycling project is to connect the Fern Ridge bike path with the Beltline bike path. This project has been on the back burner for many years.

Lee Norris, Cheshire


I’ve worked with Sally Sheklow for more than 10 years. I consider her a good friend. I count myself among the men she doesn’t hate.

She’s a long-time champion of social justice. But there are still men (and women) who don’t like that idea much. That’s why we need Sally’s voice. Maybe Steve Downey (letters, 5/7) should just climb into his homophobic rowboat and paddle his butt out of here.

John Reed, Eugene


In response to Mayo Finch (letters, 4/30), I’d like to know where he’s been the last five years. Yes, trees have been removed, but in the meantime, hundreds have been planted. I would urge Finch to get in contact with the city of Eugene’s NeighborWoods program and the Urban Forestry department (682-4800) before writing such a hasty letter.

As public servants, city employees are required to release information regarding tree removal as well as tree planting — [information you could find out] if you would take the time to call instead of solely relying on assumptions.

I give you this, Mayo: Trees have not always been replaced right away after their demise, but a lot more city trees have been planted than removed the last five years, even the last 10! In fact, you mentioned the intersection of 13th and Pearl, but should you have traveled a few blocks west on Arbor Day, April 11, you’d have discovered 30 new trees planted by neighbors, volunteers of the Eugene Tree Foundation and city staff at the corner of 13th and Olive. For that occasion, not only did we plant trees, but the city  also removed 50 tons of concrete to create planting beds.  

We now have trees where there were none or less before, and some beds were enlarged, as part of our “Trees for Concrete Program.” The ETF has planted more than 2,000 trees since 1997 as a volunteer-based organization alone. I don’t recall seeing your name on the volunteer presence list! Tree planting happens all the time during fall and winter. It’s not as obvious and shocking as a tree removal, but it’s happening. Just look around or ask next time. You’re welcome.

Alby Thoumsin, ETF Education Chair


I don’t know what wall Steve Downey (5/7) is bouncing off of, but Sally Sheklow is a good friend of mine, and has been for years.  I am male. I am one of many of Sally’s good male friends. I have never heard her disparage or hate men in any stereotypical way. Sheklow likes dogs. She likes cats.  She likes flowers, gardening, cooking, music, laughing, women, babies, and … oh … she likes men … or, at least some of them. Maybe she only likes some women … etc.  

I do know that Sheklow does not like closed-minded, prejudiced, homophobic, anti-Semitic men (or women). And when such a man is overtly destructive and dangerous, then I suspect she may hate him … specifically.  Does Steve?

Irwin Noparstak, Eugene


I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I learned that Umpqua Bank — whose chairman of the board, Allyn Ford, is the most powerful timber baron in the Pacific Northwest — had opened an “eco-banking” division.

How can we take Umpqua Bank’s newfound “green” conscience seriously when the individual running the show is personally responsible for unsustainable toxic clearcutting across his 800,000 acres of industrial forestlands in Oregon and California — not to mention logging public land native forests, such as the Elliott State Forest and Umpqua National Forest?

As sole owner of Roseburg Forest Products, Ford’s name is written all over every one of his clearcuts — with the blame for the resulting global warming gases, topsoil erosion and depletion and smothered salmon laid squarely on his shoulders.

Ford is also responsible for the toxic contamination of drinking water sources and for the poisoning of rural Oregon families (on their own properties!) through the aerial spraying of pesticides over his clearcuts that drift for miles through the air.

To learn more about the boycott of Umpqua Bank, go to

Josh Schlossberg, Eco Advocates, Eugene


One of the fundamental rules of civilized life is that we first tend to the needs of the most vulnerable, even in a crisis. Congress’s Ways and Means Committee should consider not only budget cuts, but also new taxes based on ability to pay.

During the last economic cycle, Oregon did even better than the rest of the country, but ALL of the gains went to those in the top two-fifths of the pay scale. The richest 1,500 Oregon households had about $28 billion in total income, nearly equaling total State General Fund revenue for the period.

An 11 percent bracket for joint filers making more than a half-million dollars or singles making half that would raise about $480 million a biennium, from fewer than one in 100 Oregon taxpayers. We should also raise another $750 million a biennium from profitable corporations. The current $10 minimum tax was set in 1931 (see “State of Working Oregon” at These two measures alone would prevent many cuts, preserving lives, livelihoods and hundreds of millions in federal matching funds.

While enabling the Department of Justice to enforce civil rights and environmental laws, we should explore whether environmental enforcement might also raise revenue for the general fund. The Legislature should ask our congressional delegation to seek a second federal stimulus package, primarily as aid to states. Otherwise, $350 billion in state service cuts and tax increases over 2009-2010 will negate about half of the federal stimulus thus far.

Robert Roth, Eugene


Dear Mayo Finch (letters, 4/30): While I am pleased to hear that you are concerned about the urban forest of our beautiful city, I disagree that the city of Eugene is not replacing trees that have been removed. I have attended three different events since February organized by the Eugene Tree Foundation and the city’s Public Works Department. In fact, rather than being anti-trees, Eugene was recently recognized again by the National Arbor Day Foundation as “Tree City USA.” This is the 30th consecutive year the city has been given this title and reflects a serious and sustained effort on behalf of the urban forest.

During the most recent event at the old library, this year’s site for the annual Arbor Day planting, sidewalk was removed to make way for trees, reflecting the change in use from public to private. Speakers included the mayor, the Oregon state forester, Eugene’s urban forester and the manager of Parks and Open Space, among others. The event was well attended, and volunteers helped plant 30 trees in the area. In all, the city plants more than 200 trees per year through its NeighborWoods program in partnership with the ETF and so far this calendar year has planted between 600 and 700 street trees though other projects, not including work along the Amazon Canal. Whenever a street tree is removed, a new tree is offered to the property owner free of charge.

We live in a beautiful place, and I am proud of how the city and citizens of Eugene have demonstrated concern for and stewardship of the urban forest. You are more than welcome to join in the fun at any of the regular annual events throughout the year. For information, visit or Eugene Parks and Open Space. I look forward to planting a tree with you!

William Bennett, Pleasant Hill


I’d like to express my sympathy for Fawn Farley, who last week (4/30) wrote regarding an unfortunate collision between her bicycle and a turning automobile during “nearly dark morning” conditions. She admitted to having no front lighting, which very likely contributed to the collision, despite her assertion that she “had the right of way” (which is impossible to determine from merely reading her letter). It could be argued that you cannot “have the right of way” if you are not visible. But I am glad that she was not hurt physically worse than she was.

I’ve been an optometrist in Eugene for 30 years, yet I am amazed by the seemingly increasing numbers of cyclists who ride in dark conditions with no or little front/backlighting, despite Oregon law. It is difficult to determine whether this is due more to ignorance of the law or intentional disregard. Many may assume that cars can see them by their automotive headlights. But as a visual scientist, I can assure cyclists that they are often deadly wrong. And there is no legal “right to be seen” under adverse lighting conditions. 

Cyclists who care for their own safety and well-being must exercise their judgment and adequately equip themselves to be visible to others on the road. It doesn’t matter whether the car is a Lexus SUV or a VW Beetle; the bicyclist is always going to be more at risk for damage. To drive in Oregon, one must study the Oregon manual and pass both written and practical tests before licensure. However, I am unaware of any mandatory mechanism to formally educate bicyclists regarding legal aspects of sharing the road with motor vehicles. The mere act of bicycle riding itself is all one needs to proceed onto the streets. In the absence of such mechanism, there remains only common sense, which unfortunately seems in rather short supply among nighttime cyclists in our area.

Jeffrey A. Morey, Eugene


Ballots have been mailed, and voters in the 4J school district have the opportunity to choose three members for the school board. May elections generally have a low turnout, but we cannot afford to sit this election out. During these tough times when board members may be tempted to make short-sighted decisions, we need to send a strong message of support for small class sizes. We must urge them to avoid deeper cuts in art, physical education, foreign language, music and behavioral support programs. 

Jennifer Geller, candidate for Position 6, is unopposed but has earned my vote because she is a dedicated teacher and parent who understands the challenges that staff and students face. As a tireless volunteer who has knocked on hundreds of doors for pro-education candidates and school levies, she has gained unique insight into the concerns of voters. As the only grassroots representative on a statewide task force, Geller was a strong advocate for stable school funding.

More than ever, we need someone with Geller’s commitment to an excellent education for every child. Vote Jennifer Geller for 4J school board on May 19.

Holly Knight, Eugene



(web-only letters)


I support Jennifer Geller for the 4J School Board. I have known Jennifer and worked alongside her on school funding issues for several years. She is smart, strategic in her thinking and always puts kids first. Jennifer has a proven record of improving the educational infrastructure of our community. She deserves your support. 

Many may think that school board races don’t matter, but they do. They are one path to enrich the educational opportunities in our community.

Jennifer has been an advocate for improving K-12 schools by serving as the Lane County Chair of Stand For Children, a grassroots group that advocates for excellent schools and sustainable budgets. She worked with a statewide taskforce to find ways to stabilize the way we fund public schools. She has done fundraising at her kid’s schools, just like thousands of other working parents. I am supporting her for the 4J School Board. We need new thinking and fresh energy. Jennifer will bring that to the board. Ballots are due by May 19.

Ruth Seeger, Eugene


How Steve Downey (5/7) comes to the conclusion that Sally Sheklow believes that being lesbian necessarily involves means hating men is beyond me. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Sally for many years which includes a period of time that we worked together on a publication. I found her warm and caring to both men and women. I didn’t sense any hatred towards me or other men.

I find it sad how easy it is to make assertions about a person’s character without knowing them personally.

Allen Hancock, Eugene


I know Sally Sheklow, I am a man, she loves me and has demonstrated that many times with hugs when we meet, kind attention when I speak, determined and sage advice when I ask for it, and Sally even hugs my partner of 32 years when we meet even though she knows that I was married to a good women for 20 years and have three children that — never mind, that is another story — I also have six grandchildren and one and half great-grandchildren who are a great delight in the wonderful arc of my life so far, and by the way, part of the sage advice when our home was attacked by some hateful vandals was that I would be “far better off bringing the neighborhood together” rather that involving the authorities. And that is what we did to a fine conclusion I might add — but I digress a little — I read the column (4/23) by Sally and I am astounded that the letter writer attacking Sally could come to such a “screwed perspective” as he did, since Sally was only stating the facts of a situation which has been discriminatory for a long time, and further, when I asked for advice on how to understand a women’s perspective better, the simple answer was to read some women authors, which I did and am much better for having done so, and that brings me to mention in passing that there are 6.77 billion people on the planet (see the world population clock) and we all have our own “model” of consciousness and our own belief system which we have to cling to in order to stay sane, so Steve, take another look at the column, it was very good, and look in your heart and judge not.

Robert Reid, Eugene


Steve Downey (5/7) seems to be stating that not only does Sally Sheklow hate men, but also that Lincoln Perry hated blacks. If that was not Mr. Downey’s point he needs to rethink his argument. 

Obviously Lincoln Perry did not hate blacks and I have never witnessed a single instance of Sally Sheklow hating men as a group. She has been critical of specific men, and women. For instance, I’ll wager she’s currently feeling critical towards Mr. Downey, but Steve Downey could be Celia Downey with no difference in reaction towards such an outrageous statement. Ms. Sheklow is capable of understanding where Mr. Downey ends and the rest of the males in the world begin. This is evident not just by reading her column but knowing her as a friend. Ms. Sheklow has never been hateful towards men in general, in person or in print.

It has been very brave of Ms. Sheklow to be one of the few out queer voices in local media who is actively challenging stereotypes, so it’s bizarre to accuse her of perpetuating stereotypes. I defy Mr. Downey to cite even one case of Ms. Sheklow’s alleged misandry. 

Jesse Davis, Eugene


I’m somewhat known for finding unintended uses for most everything (and hopefully satisfying all needs with whatever is available). I’ve never cared much for crossword puzzles, so I turn the square matrix into a maze, with a special rule. As mazes, they can be overly simple, or impossible, but often quite interesting, especially since you can’t tell in advance which ones are possible. 

The May 7 EW, if you still have that issue on hand, had one that made a particularly good maze, for that size of matrix; especially starting at #1 and stopping at #45, in 19 steps, by the following rules:

Ignore the words, and usually the numbers. Start usually in one corner of the matrix and go to another corner. This gives six often distinctly different challenges, or 12 if you’re not very observant. Then, if you still have too much time on your hands, invent your own challenges. You can only move horizontally or vertically, not diagonally. The unique rule is that once you start in one direction, you can’t stop or turn, but have to keep going in that direction until you hit a barrier, a black square. Then you turn at a right angle, so you alternately go horizontal and vertical. This rule means you may cross over your previous path, though going more directly wasn’t possible, unlike most two-dimensional, mazes. Be sure you consider all possibilities before giving up.

Imagine that the puzzle matrix is actually a map of your whole, 2D universe. You’re in a disabled, square, 2D space capsule in a stable 2D field of massive square asteroids, black squares on the map, with no stars or planets nearby. The lines between white squares are just coordinate lines. Your only means of propulsion is sticks of 2D dynamite with fuses, which you can light and put out through an airlock one at a time. Each one starts your capsule moving, until you hit an asteroid, or the edge of the universe. The gravity of the asteroid, or the edge, pulls you flat against it. You can then push off again at right angles. Your dynamite is limited, as is the air, some of which escapes with the dynamite, so use as little as possible. 

Yes, this scenario still needs some work.

Dan Robinson, Eugene


I am writing to assure you that Sally Sheklow does not hate men. I have known Sally since we made a banner to be used in the March on Washington 1992 and the NO ON 9 campaign. I have marched with her, made buttons for her, sat in her living room and chatted for hours. I have never felt anything but love. Sally is a worm, funny, very talented, happy, individual. 

What I think is, Steve Downey is really the stereotype. i.e. the man who simply knows that all lesbians hate men. 

During the 1992 campaign I saw her working side-by-side with many men, and have never once saw anything but grace and hard work.

Her contribution the gay and straight communities is tireless and undeniable. What a great role model for not only lesbians but human kind in general.

Downey should take a closer look into his own intolerance. The one thing I do know: Sally Sheklow loves me with all of her heart. And I’m a man.

Richard Kitterman, Richard & Mike’s Button Co.





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