Eugene Weekly : Letters : 6.26.08


Once again I am amazed at the constant ineptitude of the Eugene Police Department when dealing with the public. Their latest attempt to deal with a protester nearly ended in a riot.

As a practitioner of Aikido, I have learned quick, painless and highly effective techniques to subdue a person with no injury to them, but the police always use the most painful way to apply a wrist hold, which is why one senior instructor in Portland refuses to train law enforcement anymore.

From the tree cutting on Broadway to the anarchists, the Magaña scandal and the recent ill-conceived attack on a city councilor, the Eugene Police Department has demonstrated arrogant indifference to a public they are supposed to protect — even the ones they arrest.

Alisa McLaughlin, Eugene


As the race directors for the Re-Run Run, we were surprised and pleased to read Kathryn Mogstad’s viewpoint in EW (“Fewer T-shirts, More Action,” 6/12) about the race we put on for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We couldn’t agree more about waste and that’s exactly why we put on the race.

We asked race directors across the country to donate their unused shirts and medals so all the proceeds could be directed to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They came through big time. We have enough shirts and medals for future races.

Next year’s race, also on Mother’s Day, will be even greener. The only correction to Mogstad’s article is we didn’t charge an extra $5 for the shirt. The extra money was for late registration.

The funniest thing was we were chastised by a few people that it’s “unethical or immoral to wear shirts from races you didn’t run in.” Bart Yasso, Runners World chief running officer, responded by saying he and the staff at Runners World “loved” the idea.

We raised more than $2,400 from this event. We also had a terrific sponsor, Debbie Russell from Integrity Remax, who helped underwrite the event. We love Eugene.

Neal Benson & Alyse Stone, Eugene



As an avid cyclist for more than 30 years, it’s always heart wrenching to hear of yet another two-wheel tragedy, and I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of David Minor. I don’t know the circumstances surrounding his passing, and this letter was written only in response to the news of yet another cyclist needlessly losing his life.

The concept of “share the road” is very dear to me. On my travels I’ve had many near-death experiences — the New York taxi driver who literally pushed me out of the way with his cab, the dear old lady in Cincinnati who took a sharp right turn without seeing me because there was a couple dozen party balloons riding up front between her and her side mirror, and the innumerable Southern California soccer moms who, driving their tank-sized SUVs to the mall and back, are all oblivious to having almost squashed me and my little bike as they were chatting on cell phones. 

But some days I must join the four-wheel community and drive my old truck, and that’s where it becomes evident that “share the road” does indeed work both ways. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve slammed on my brakes as a cyclist cruised through a stop sign or red light somewhere in Eugene, often wearing headphones or riding with one hand on the bars while the other holds a cell phone. Sometimes they’re oblivious to me, and sometimes I sense they feel superior to me and my polluting old truck and that it’s my duty to give them right-of-way. Which I do, without so much as caressing my horn. This happens so frequently around south Eugene that nowadays I reflexively slow down to a crawl at lights and stop signs even when I have the right-of-way.

Let’s keep it real — no flesh-and-blood cyclist is ever going to win in a head-butting contest with a two-ton SUV. So we may as well take responsibility for at least riding with eyes and ears wide open, cell phones off and concentrate on getting to our destination safe and sound. 

Mark Young, Eugene


A big thanks to your staff and reporter Camilla Mortensen for your June 5 front page splashy photo and feature article “Look, Ma! No Tan Lines!” on the wonderful opportunities your area has for family nude recreation. 

And thank you so much for taking on this subject without the usual condescending jabs at free spirits like me who understand that being clothes-free in the great outdoors simply means being closer to nature. I emailed your article to my naturist friends around the country and it was a big hit.

I am a Floridian now, but I spent most of my adult life raising a daughter in the Portland area, enjoying clothes-free summer fun on the mighty Columbia River at Rooster Rock State Park and Sauvie Island. In the winter we trekked down to McCredie and Cougar Hot Springs. Until recently I didn’t know about the other nude recreation venues your article mentioned. When we visit Oregon this fall we will be sure to head down to the Eugene area for some outdoor fun, knowing we won’t have to return to Florida with ugly tan lines.

Glassbar Island looks like a great place for family-friendly nude outdoor adventures, what with their core of diligent volunteers keeping watch daily to make sure everyone of every background has a good time. I checked their website and noticed that they are members of the American Association for Nude Recreation, which makes sure that their member organizations maintain activities that do not include behavior that would be inappropriate for children. I am surprised that your article did not mention them.

While we have some nice nude recreation venues here in Florida, most of the population will never have the healthy attitudes that Oregonians have about the human body. Thank you, EW, for letting the rest of the world know how fortunate you really are so more people can visit “naturally.” 

 Debra Kay Hedding, Tampa Area Naturists, Lutz, Fla.


It is great that readers are concerned about the homeless young people on our streets. However, there is much more to this problem and the blame cannot be simply attributed to the parents. We live in a heartless society where meaningful support for many with problems is almost nonexistent.

In today’s stressed out world, many parents don’t have the skills or emotional strength to deal with kids entering those very tough teenage years. The open campuses where all types of drugs are readily available could not be a worse environment for our kids, especially since neither our community nor the federal government will support funding for sufficient teachers, supervision and counseling.

Those parents who do seek professional help for what is often only normal misbehavior have two main options: They can seek help from a psychiatrist, who is an MD, and nine times out of ten the kid will be diagnosed as “bi-polar” and put on dangerous drugs that often cause permanent damage and can result in periodic bizarre behavior. Or if they seek help from a psychologist where “tough love” is often the preferred treatment because it’s quick and easy, the “therapist” will advise them to kick the kid out of the house.

 If the parents listen to these hopeless advocates of “tough love” and kick the kid out of the house, the kid soon finds himself trying to survive in a hostile world of drugs, panhandling, petty crimes and learning to be street-wise. Once on the street, the roles of the parents and therapists are replaced by abusive cops who have their own way of dealing with problems. If they keep talking back and won’t obey orders, get ’em on the ground, handcuff ’em and Taser the bastards a few times.

Instead of stepping up to this problem with love and caring for these helpless, homeless people, leaders like Mayor Kitty Piercy and Police Chief John Lehner would like to increase the police force so they can “clean up the city,” meaning getting the street people out of downtown Eugene. Well, the big problem here is that these people don’t have any place to go, and it’s a waste of time and money.

By the way, if you file a complaint against the police and are not happy with the result, which is normal, it is worthless to go to the mayor or council. Unlike other cities where the police chief reports to the mayor and council, in Eugene the chief reports to the city manager. This might explain the EPD’s poor reputation.

Wayne Pierce, Eugene


School’s out for summer, and it will be out forever at Hillside come Wednesday. We have had our last ever Harvest Festival, World’s Fair, Outdoor School at SKY Camp. Tomorrow it’s Washington Park for the last time.

After the closure was decided, I think most of the community has forgotten that Hillside was the first casualty in this round of closures. It’s time to remind Eugene that there’s a wonderful group of kids coming from Hillside into various schools throughout 4J. They come from diverse backgrounds with a variety of talents and strengths they’re bringing to wherever they start next year. Please make a point to welcome our kids and families into your schools.

We had a goodbye party, a closure celebration with current and former students, staff and community members. The questions that we have wrestled with: Did we fight hard enough? Was there something else we could do? Why did they string us along? What now? We are done asking them and moving on. We hope the process of any other school closures is a bit more concise and has a lot more clarity for the sake of everyone involved. 

For now, we are celebrating the amazing community Hillside has been for families over the last 32 years and the success the school has had with our children. Thanks to everyone along the way, teachers, parents, volunteers, who have made Hillside what it has been — a treasure in our community. 

Lynn Dixon, Eugene


 Recently, Dennis Kucinich read 35 articles of impeachment against George W. Bush into the Congressional Record. His four-hour speech was on C-Span. Tuesday, it was read again by the clerk. Wednesday, the house voted to send the motion to the Judiciary Committee. Naturally, I expected this to be the lead story in the Eugene Weekly on Thursday. I was surprised that it wasn’t even mentioned.

John Conyers (the chair of the Judiciary Committee) is under pressure to let the bill die in committee. If any of the readers would like to call him and tell him what you think, here are four phone numbers. I got through with the third number. The numbers are (202) 225-5126, 224-3121, 225-3951 and (313) 961-5670. 

One more thing: If you’re thinking, “Oh, it doesn’t matter because Bush will be out of office in a few months anyway,” consider this: If a college senior was accused of rape, do you think the local police would say, “Oh, it doesn’t matter because he will be graduating next semester anyway” and just let it go? 

Ralph J. Forrest-Ball, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: We blogged about it at the time and the daily papers gave it some attention. EW tends to give precedence to local issues.


Why is EW, which is campaigning for Kitty Piercy’s re-election, echoing one of Jim Torrey’s biggest lies? The June 12 cover story by Alan Pittman noted that there is rhetoric that “Kitty Piercy killed the West Eugene Parkway” but the “reality” is “It would have died anyway.” Pittman stated that “Even Torrey acknowledges that the WEP might not have been built anyway due to federal environmental problems with building the highway through protected wetlands.”

However, the real issue is that the WEP, like all federal aid transportation projects, was a federal decision not subject to local votes (of the public or the City Council). I’ve only tracked the WEP since 1999, but the only times I am aware of EW mentioning that the WEP is a federal decision is when I have published letters to the editor and opinion pieces in EW. The Weekly has also refused countless requests to profile the WETLANDS alternative to the WEP — West Eugene Transportation, Land and Neighborhood Design Solutions (

On June 19, 2001, then Mayor Torrey was part of an intergovernmental decision of the city, Lane County, state of Oregon and federal government that admit that the WEP could not be legally built. It is hard to find a rational explanation for the refusal of the Piercy re-election campaign to highlight how Torrey subsequently encouraged the state to piss away millions more on bogus “studies” after Torrey admitted the highway was toast.

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s our understanding that for the WEP to be built it would have had to be included in the local TransPlan, approved by the Metropolitan Policy Committee, have an environmental impact statement drafted by ODOT and approved by the FHWA, needed an act of Congress or federal waiver to cross protected BLM wetlands, be approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program, etc. In short, the city or feds can kill such a project, but neither alone can force it to be built. And it appears the WEP would have faced serious funding and environmental obstacles at the federal level if it had passed local scrutiny.


Our future as a civilization is now dependent on creating a public transportation system to survive the end of cheap petroleum and mitigate climate change. The only way to create this transition is through the creation of passenger rail infrastructure to replace the failed highway and freeway systems. 

Congressman Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, should scrap plans to expand failing highway and freeway systems throughout the country. More freeway and highway infrastructure will only hasten economic and climate chaos and disruption.

The planned expansion of I-5 being promoted in Oregon by Gov. Kulongoski and DeFazio to accommodate more automobiles and long-haul trucks must be stopped and scrapped. People are already driving less, and the trucking industry will soon collapse when diesel is too expensive to run the trucks. Surely, some vital bridges must be upgraded and repaired, but we must simultaneously create a rail-based public transportation system.

Rail is the “greenest” transportation on the planet. Even hybrid cars cannot compete with the efficiency of rail as public transportation. 

We must demand a new rail line from Eugene to Portland now, or federal money will be siphoned into the coffers of the big paving industries’ pockets once again. 

We either transition off of our addiction to petroleum by going to rail, or we must prepare for a complete collapse of our whole economic system. Let the governor, congressmen and other elected leaders know what you think through local newspapers.

Shannon Wilson, Eugene