Eugene Weekly : Letters : 7.21.11


Patrick Atkinson died today (7/11). He passed on after a long, hard battle with cancer, which chewed away at his body and spirit for many years until he could fight it no more. I dont know how old he was (79), where he was born or what his favorite color was.

I knew that he was an electrical engineer and worked as a private contractor in the aerospace and aviation industry for years, traveling from project to project, and probably helped save lives along the way. I knew he loved Hershey candy bars, the ones without nuts, and action movies. I knew he loved his Burgundy 1987 Toyota pickup, as he spent a lot of time buffing and waxing it in the parking lot of our apartments. We spoke briefly about politics, cars and the weather, short conversations in passing when he felt like talking. Other times we would just acknowledge each others presence, as I could feel the pain he was suffering through his eyes. He was never married, had no children and very few friends. His family was an estranged brother who lived in Alaska. Probably his best friend in Eugene was his neighbor, Larry, who tried to get him to eat, tried to keep his spirits up and supplied him with chocolate bars until the end of his days.

I probably spent a total of three hours with him in a span of four years and knew him as intelligent, alone and waging a war with the cancer and himself. And yet I grieve. I wished I paid more attention. I grieved that he was so angry and in so much pain with no one but his own thoughts to share this anger. And I grieve that he has become another statistic without a celebration of the importance of his life.

So I ask that we celebrate today the life of Patrick Atkinson, of the many accomplishments and contributions he made to society, of his thoughtful intelligence and expressions, of his pioneer spirit and love for the open road and sea. Patrick, you will be missed, and you passed on from this world with dignity and the gratitude of the world around you. You are now finally at peace, the Man in Apartment 6.

William Kasper, Eugene



Thanks your cover story about CAHOOTS (6/30). As a CAHOOTS worker, I appreciate your interest in our often ignored and misunderstood work. Inevitably, there are some inaccuracies in the story, and some points deserving elaboration or clarification.

In the section of the article titled “Code 3 & other urgencies,” Dante Zu¿iga-West writes, “When violence becomes a legitimate threat to the safety of a CAHOOTS team, they call in for police coverage with •Code 3, meaning the need is immediate.” Unfortunately, there are some dangerous circumstances that require “Code 3” emergency assistance. However, these circumstances are rare. CAHOOTS works very well with EPD, but CAHOOTS workers rely primarily on their own rapport-building and de-escalation skills to resolve tense situations. When that doesnt work, police might be called in for help. Additionally, when CAHOOTS does request help from police, it is rarely in self-defense but rather because an uncooperative client is unable to provide their own self-care due to a mental health or substance abuse problem.

In the section “Requiem for a box,” the author writes ã regarding the HIV Alliances needle drop-boxes ã “Though the drop boxes sound like a great idea, they do pose a particular problem.” He goes on telling the story of one addict who broke into the drop-box outside of White Bird Clinic, hoping to find needles with residual drugs, implying the drop-boxes may do more harm than good. Hopefully, this isnt interpreted as CAHOOTS disapproval of these drop-boxes. Speaking for myself, I totally support the HIV Alliance and their many “harm-reduction” projects.

It is also unfortunate the article does not give more credit to the many agencies CAHOOTS collaborates with on a regular basis. CAHOOTS is largely only viable because of other community services, such as Willamette Familys Buckley Center, Shelter Cares Royal Avenue Program, Looking Glasss Station 7 and New Roads programs, and FOOD for Lane Countys Dining Room, to name a few.

Lastly, theres a tendency when discussing CAHOOTS to focus mostly on the extreme and bizarre aspects of the work, and this article was no exception. CAHOOTS specialty is working with the addicted and mentally ill, but CAHOOTS does help people from all walks of life in many situations.

Again, this is the personal perspective of one CAHOOTS worker, and does not reflect the entire team.

Brenton Gicker , Eugene


The July 12 Emerald Peoples Utility District Board meeting agenda contains some disturbing actions directed against the board Vice President Schacht and appears to be just another divergent tactic by General Manager Frank Lambe to take the heat off himself. After observing him for several months, this appears to be his management style.

As a former board member of Emerald for over a decade, and having been in a leadership role on the board, I now have some serious concerns. When I left in 1994 Emerald was seen as an outstanding utility, for its customer service and rated as one of the best companies to work for in Oregon.

The problems that Emerald is facing with our current GM is his apparent inability to document $2.4 million owed by a former partner. This was paid to develop the Dorena Dam Project. This money was paid to the partner, no power produced and the amount was to be paid back to Emerald on July 1, as per reliable sources.

The GM has spent thousands of ratepayers dollars attempting to annex Patti Chappels property into the Emerald district. This appears to assure a yes vote on the GMs chosen policy issues. This issue is profoundly important and should be called in to question.

He has also spent thousands of dollars to improve board relationships. As I understand, this was a no-bid contact. The final results are that the GM is still the problem.

I believe that the people of Emerald must act now to replace this mismanagement with something like we had before. If we dont act soon I fear that the damage may not be repairable.

Ron Davis, Cottage Grove


Wait, wait, a moment. Whats happening here? Where is the outrage, the moral indignation? Our Sheriff Tom Turner rather suddenly and unexpectedly declares, unilaterally, his budget inadequate to support 84 jail beds, and that he will close down that facility ã along with cutting some 52 personnel involved with that facility with 24-hour coverage and more. His announcement blindsided even his bosses, the county commissioners!

Already, 911 calls have been affected in the city of Springfield!

So, perhaps someone can help me out here. One has only to check records of KVAL, R-G and the Weekly to find, circa June 2009, page one outrage and indignation from the media and the public for weeks over the reticence of the commissioners to allocate money for (the very same?) 84 jail beds, due to the uncertainty over future funding (made clear later).

Apparently, the then-commissions newly liberal makeup after Rob Handys election replacing Bobby Green so angered some in the community that a virtual vendetta went forth to discredit Handy AND Sorenson (with a later specious lawsuit against them that firmed up that notion).

Now, with the majority of the commission politically conservative, the demise of those once “gravely needed” beds is met with a collective community yawn. How strange.

R. L. Thompson, Eugene


Jim Weavers hypothetical path (Viewpoint, 7/14) by which Sarah Palin might become president makes no sense. A third-party run by Palin will galvanize Democrats, well-acquainted with supporting the lesser of two evils, and fracture the Republican base.

If Palin runs as an independent, Obama wins in a landslide. Sarah Palin is not Ron Paul, whose coherent and timely philosophy might attract supporters from either left or right. Shes a vapid and unprincipled facade whose popularity only diminishes with exposure. I think, though, that she might be smart enough to understand that in achieving celebrity she has found her place in American society. Money, influence and a complete lack of responsibility suit her far better than the trials of politics.

Timothy Shaw, Eugene


Just wondering why Mr. George Brown chose to stand by and watch while the other Eugene council members recited the Pledge of Allegiance. This is highly concerning, as Mr. Brown is a public official of the United States of America. Does he like his position as city councilor? Obviously not, as he is not respecting the views of the people who elected him. If you are not in tune with the values and ideals of the United States of America, I suggest Mr. Brown find residence outside of this great country.

The radical views of the city of Eugene are not in line with some residents, and the next election we will band together and show just how conservative and patriotic the citizens of Eugene actually are.

Stephanie Golubski-Stark, Eugene


The pledge debate is not over yet. I have a most American of ideas to suggest. Everyone should write their own pledge with roughly the same number of syllables and the same cadence as the current pledge, version two. Then we could all chant in harmony and with conviction! Heres mine:

I pledge allegiance to the Tribes of the Native Peoples of America, and to the continent that once was theirs, many nations on reservations, indefensible, with cigarettes and fireworks for all!

Ramona McCall, Eugene


On the last day of the Oregon Country Fair 19 years ago I came to town from Florida with my family in our school bus/RV, finding alleys and backyards to park, and knew this would be our home.

Within a few weeks, I secured my first local mural, “Tuscany,” on High Street. I have been grateful it has become a local landmark and more people than I know have taken pictures in front of it and shown it off to friends and visitors alike. So, this past Sunday, I returned to begin doing some touch-ups to freshen it up and repair some spots where nature and a few skateboarders, bicyclists and taggers had left their “contributions” to the public art event. I find myself reflecting on the past in order to look forward. Ive grown and learned so much about myself and my place in this community, how much it has given me and what I am now prepared to give back.

The event we had at Reality Kitchen in the Whiteaker neighborhood June 26 was our opportunity to invite the community to learn more about our program to support young adults with disabilities. We had a wonderful day in the Whit!

We are embarking on an ambitious mission, as all nonprofit organizations know, but the cause is right and the folks we work to support towards independent lives deserve the best we can give. This is why I offer my deepest appreciation for the compassionate community we live in; the vision, advice and kindness of many professionals and gifted volunteers, and, of course, the gracious contributions and financial support of those who have and continue to help us move forward along this path. Please visit and find out what we mean when we say “Whiteaker Be Up!”

Jim Evangelista, Director, Reality Kitchen


In the West we are indoctrinated to equate anarchy with chaotic violence, and even those who call themselves anarchists perpetuate this myth. Modern anarchists oppose all forms of authority in hopes of bringing down the state and giving us all the pleasure of living in a post-Apocalyptic nightmare world governed by survival of the fittest. This is not anarchy; this is seventh grade antisocial behavior.

True anarchy is not disorganized; it is infinitely better organized than representative democracy. It is not something that erupts spontaneously in a power vacuum, it was meticulously elucidated by giants like Reclus and Kropotkin, any one of them more intelligent than the Founding Fathers combined. Anarchy does not mean no government; it means no central government. Where in democracy you are a vote and in socialism you are a worker, anarchy is the radical notion you are a human being with immeasurable intrinsic value.

Anarchy requires personal respon-sibility and collective discipline to take control of all functions of the state at the local level to where the state is no longer necessary ã including those police todays pseudo-anarchists delight in fighting, as physical safety and security are basic human rights.

There is no greater threat to the centralized state than for ordinary people to realize how powerful they truly are when they become better organized and more self-reliant. Although true anarchy has never existed in the modern world, there is no doubt it is the form of organization humans were meant to live in all along.

Warren Weisman, Eugene