Eugene Weekly : Letters : 7.7.11


Alan Pittmans article (6/23) about Oregons Multiple Unit Property Tax Exemption Law (MUPTE) creates the misleading impression that this program is an irresponsible, controversial tax giveaway. If it is so controversial, why did the 2011 Oregon Legislature vote 87 to 2 in favor of extending MUPTE for 10 years? Our legislature has slashed countless tax loopholes and incentives in this session, but not MUPTE. Democrats and Republicans alike understand that without MUPTE, many desirable construction projects will never get built. Simply put, MUPTE is among the most effective tools available to stimulate economic development in Oregon.

Pittmans claim that MUPTE is a tax giveaway is dead wrong. When City Council grants a MUPTE petition, by definition, Council is satisfied that the project cannot be built without MUPTE support. In most instances, tax revenues generated by the new construction are fully recaptured within two years after the expiration of the exemption. After that, taxes are collected at a rate that is generally 100 to 150 percent higher than in the pre-exemption period. In other words, the MUPTE program dramatically increases property tax revenue in the long term.

It is widely recognized that the councilors who withhold support for MUPTE applications in our community ã generally the councilors serving the south Eugene area ã do so to satisfy those vocal constituents who object to growth within our community, or at least within their part of our community.

The Paradigm on Pearl will be among the first LEED certified midrise buildings west of the Mississippi. Gold or Platinum certification is expected for this environmentally sensitive project. We are grateful to Mayor Kitty Piercy and the majority of the City Council for supporting the MUPTE application for The Paradigm on Pearl. None of the councilors who supported this application felt that it represented a tax giveway. On the contrary, they felt strongly that this project will benefit our community.

Dan Neal, Eugene



This was on Fox News website on June 28: “It vindicates all of us who say our Judeo-Christian heritage is under attack Ä sometimes its in the courts, sometimes its elected officials and sometimes its the media.” That was attributed to Jordan Sekulow, director of policy and international operations for the American Center for Law and Justice, and it was his reaction to the Eugene City Council voting to say the Pledge of Allegiance at four of the 24 meetings per year, instead of before every meeting.

Councilor Mike Clark, whose proposal was to have the Council recite the Pledge before every meeting, says he meant to “unite the council.” It appears that all he did was vindicate those people who have made an industry out of claiming our “Judeo-Christian heritage is under attack.”

Hey Mike, next time you want to unite the council, bring doughnuts.

Kevin OBrien, Eugene


In the first sentence of the Viewpoint in the May 26 issue, the writer (Gordon Lafer) states, “Im going to shoot someone.” Needless to say, I was too outraged to read further. However, I did glance at the photograph of the author, obviously some bitter gun-clinger from Springtucky. Come on! I can read the R-G if I want this kind of crap.

Fortunately my twittering nerves were somewhat allayed when I read about the healing arts practitioner (Eliel Fionn) who specializes in past-life interpretations. Especially her work with the dog who suffers from battle trauma incurred during the Civil War when he had been a horse. As for myself I was a rat in Antwerp during the Black Death. Do you think she could help me from chipping any more teeth?

Tom Tracey, Eugene


The Oregon Country Fair is thought to be a legacy of the 1960s. But what would the legacy of the 1960s be if initiatives to end the Cold War in 1963 had been allowed to continue?

On Sept. 20, 1963, the day before I was born, President Kennedy gave a speech to the U.N. calling off the nuclear arms race and converting the “moon race” to a cooperative venture with the Soviet Union. You can read and listen to the speech at

In October 1963, JFK ordered a troop withdrawal from Vietnam and started an effort to resume diplomatic relations with Cuba. What would “The Sixties” have been if the war on Vietnam had ended in 1965 and the military industrial complex had been converted to peaceful purposes?

JFKs change on the moon race was part of a broader effort to turn off the Cold War, the reason JFK was removed from office. JFK called for scattering the CIA into a thousand pieces and the CIA scattered JFK into a thousand pieces.

The military and financial powers which prevented the President from ending endless war are the same who have ignored decades of warnings about ecological, energy and financial overshoot.The political autopsy starts with Nov. 22, 1963, but it is too important to mention in polite conversation.

We need a South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission about the National Security States coup in Dallas.

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene


The proposal from ODOT to spend a few million taxpayer dollars on yet another pedestrian bicycle underpass near the I-5 Beltline overpass (news story, 6/16) is about accommodating sprawl on the outskirts of Eugene and Springfield, not promoting safer bicycle routes.

I based this conclusion on the fact that since 2008 both entities have ignored repeated requests to create a safe bicycle route from Eugene and Springfield via Franklin Boulevard. I have made these requests since 2008 after I was sent to the hospital by a head-on collision with another bicycle on a dangerous S curve railroad underpass tunnel along the river path near the Franklin Boulevard overpasses.

I requested that the city of Eugene via the mayor to at the very least place some warning signs to inform users of the path to approach the S curve underpass with caution. To this day, after numerous emails back and forth to ODOT, the mayor and other officials, not one sign has been installed.

I suggest that anyone who has a head-on collision at that S curve tunnel underpass to file suit against the city, mayor or ODOT for injuries because they have known about this danger since October 2008.

Shannon Wilson, Eugene


At 2:32 pm Friday, June 17, I was sitting in front of the Eugene Public Library eating a sandwich, respecting that institutions rule against bringing food inside, when I saw a police officer riding his bike on the sidewalk. He rode past the sign that says “No Smoking, Carry Skateboards, Walk Bikes” and has the name of the city of Eugene (the officers employer, being me the taxpayer) without a thought for how his open hypocrisy might be perceived. Well, perhaps he didnt see the sign, I thought. But no, he rode back past the sign yet again. Even going so far as to ride in a circle around the sign. Am I to understand that those who enforce the rules are not subject to them? Or is it that somehow all city employees are above the law? If I cant skateboard or smoke or ride my bike, why can he?

Basic governmental accountability and adherence to the rules it creates are two of the core tenants of our American Democratic system. These concepts have already been abandoned or erased on our national level; lets please not let them ring hollow in our fair city as well.

Ron Miller , Eugene


It is becoming ever more evident via the huge numbers of raw log hauling ships leaving Northwest ports or the huge inefficient forest incinerators proposed in Klamath Falls to profit Californias private utilities that the ruling elite see Oregon and its people as just another first world resource colony.

Are we going to allow the super wealthy (and their cronies) to poison us with their herbicides and dehumanize us until we have nothing left but the shirts on our back, the food we can buy at Walmart, and an urban shack that we pay taxes to a super-wealthy class serving government?

Although this seems obvious, the people of Eugene or the entire Willamette Valley have this problem with coping with this reality. It seems that the dominant mindset is “keep ones head in the sand because if one doesnt think about all the problems that the super-wealthy class are creating by ruining our economy and the natural world that it all will just go away.”

It seems that all species will fight for their survival if threatened but for some reason modern civilized people have not accepted the fact that we have a psychopath class that threatens us all.

Shannon Wilson, Eugene


I find your Chow section interesting and helpful but one thing I think is missing ã a special section or classification for eateries which offer “conscious/free-range, hormone free meat.” After being a vegetarian for almost 20 years I recently started eating occasional strictly “conscious meat,” and a listing of all the places in Eugene I can eat out that offer this would be very useful.

I am tired of calling each restaurant before I want to try somewhere new to ask if they use free range meat or not, often only to find a person who doesnt know, and then they have to ask the manager, who isnt there, and maybe if I am lucky someone will call me back (often days later, by which time its too late). Some restaurants and cafes only provide this kind of meat but (surprisingly) dont advertise it ã they should be celebrating this ethical and healthy choice and Im sure would gain more customers because of it.

If I want to eat meat out, this is the deciding factor for me; I wont go if it isnt free-range and “natural” (antibiotic/hormone free). In a town like Eugene with many people who choose to make ethical consumer decisions this kind of “conscious meat providers” list would be a valuable guide. Please put one together!

Chanah Hall, Eugene


We are living in a global community, and we are entering a cycle where we will slowly be seeing an end to a long era of nationalism. The founding of the U.N. was an effort by global leaders to give recognition to the need for global cooperation. We may choose to pledge allegiance to our individual nations, but we are citizens of the world. Some years ago Lillian Gensler introduced a pledge in the U.N. that recognized our need to pledge allegiance to the planet. This pledge would be more appropriate to recite before our City Council meetings: “I pledge allegiance to the world, to cherish every living thing, to care for earth and sea and air, with peace and freedom everywhere.”

Christopher Michaels, Eugene


Readers would be better served by listening to the opinion of the woman who sat behind Rick Levin at the Cottage Theatres production of The Boys Next Door than to listen to Levin himself (6/16 review).

If nothing else, Scott McWilliams as Arnold and Acilles Massahos as Norman put a smile on your face that lasted long enough to ensure that you’re glad you didnt miss this delightful theatrical gem.

Gerald Morsello, Eugene

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