Eugene Weekly : Letters : 8.11.11


Former members of the Hoedads, the forestry workers cooperative that, in the late 1970s, had one of the largest payrolls in Lane County, will be having a reunion in Eugene Aug. 12-14.

The Hoedads did reforestation work in every state west of the Rockies, including Alaska. Hoedads fought forest fires, built hiking trails, did watershed restoration and technical forestry work, advocated for the right for women to work in the woods, formed a crew of Mexican-American workers, fought in the Oregon Legislature against the rampant use of herbicides, pushed federal agencies in developing more ecological forestry practices and helped to form and support dozens of other worker cooperatives. 

In Eugene, Hoedads provided loans and grants to many local alternative businesses — from providing initial operating expenses for the WOW Hall to providing startup money for cooperative businesses, among them restaurants, auto repair shops, wholesale food suppliers and construction companies.

The Hoedads flexed their organizational muscle in local politics, enlisting hundreds of Hoedad volunteers and electing Jerry Rust, the first Hoedad president, as a Lane County commissioner in 1976. Rust ultimately became the longest-serving commissioner in Lane County. 

For a period of time, Hoedads and other forestry worker cooperatives cast the Oregon treeplanter as an iconic parallel to the Oregon logger.

If you are a former Hoedad or know of someone who was, please pass the word. There’s a Hoedad Reunion site on Facebook. There will also be Hoedad entry in this year’s Eugene Celebration parade!

Roscoe Caron, Eugene


It appears that intern Brit McGinnis, in reviewing (8/4) our production of Dead Man’s Cell Phone, made the common mistake of allowing preconceptions and expectations to interfere with good journalism. Your novice reporter admits wanting to see “a satire about technology,” but neither the author nor our production offers such.

 To claim that the play is “genuinely not funny,” is to ignore or simply not notice the audience response throughout the evening, which on several occasions caused the actors to pause for the laughter to subside. 

The play is not about “the technology-addicted masses,” nor “the rest of my Facebooked and Twittered society.” Perhaps McGinnis missed all the references to Charles Dickens. One of the characters reads a paragraph from A Tale Of Two Cities. Another refers to it again three times. The character Hermia paraphrases from the novel “we drive alone in our separate carriages never to truly know each other and then the book shuts and then we die.” The play is about how we have always lived in isolation and the need for real connection-love. 

We were not influenced by The Jetsons nor did we have “day-glow colors.” Perhaps McGinnis didn’t see the poster which is an homage to the painting “Nighthawks,” nor the lobby display on Edward Hopper. Hopper’s art was Skip Hubbard’s influence in creating a set that all observers but McGinnis saw as beautiful. The projections were not of “street signs” but names of restaurants. Good reporting should start with accurate observations.

Everyone connected with this production is experienced and educated in the art of theater, and while we don’t expect every reviewer to have the same expertise, we do want them to know something about their own craft. Don’t you?

Patrick Torelle, Director, Dead Man’s Cell Phone


I’m delighted to see the recent pedestrian-friendly letters (“Just Go” and “Pedestrians, Too”). As a person who enjoys getting around by foot, I’m familiar with Eugene’s sneaky little deathtraps. Like the painted crosswalks at Willamette and 15th — no one ever stops (there isn’t even a sign reminding drivers that they must stop, by law, for pedestrians). And those nasty double-turn lanes. And the treacherous unmarked intersections mandated by an obscure rule of the road that goes against human instinct — the two-lane one-ways, for example: when a car slows for a person safely waiting to cross, the driver behind instinctually changes lanes and plows into the person crossing. (So drivers, at unmarked intersections, please don’t slow, just go. Thank you.)

But even with these engineered deathtraps, walking is THE safest mode of transport.

Word on the street is that drivers don’t get it because they’ve never walked anywhere — ever. I say to you drivers: Give it a try. Leave the car home for a day.  Use the bike/pedestrian paths or sidewalks. See how you feel. You could be surprised.

It’s comical to imagine what the human form will look like in the future if humans choose to spend ever more time in traffic, the body slowly evolving to adapt and fit better within a car seat … hmm.

 Suzy World, Eugene


On Friday, Aug. 26, Ringling Brothers will bring its circus to perform at Matt Arena for three days in Eugene. It’s hard to believe circuses are still using wild animals in their acts. I urge people to resist going to this event and instead protest the cruel treatment the animals endure in the circus. These animals are kept in chains and tiny cages and taken around the country 50 weeks a year. England, Denmark, Finland, Bolivia, Costa Rica and other countries have restricted the use of wild animals in circuses.  Some municipalities in our country have prohibited this type of circus.  For training, the elephant’s feet are tied and bull hooks (stainless steel cane-like sticks) are used. Tigers, horses, elephants and seals are deprived of living in their natural environment — roaming freely as is their right. 

Please boycott this and all circuses that use animals. The best ways to see wild animals are in their natural environment, not doing tricks under a tent. 

Pam Driscoll, Dexter


Try as I may, I just cannot fathom news media outlets that are more concerned with Amy Winehouse’s apparent drug overdose than the massacre in Norway. I’m really quite speechless and impute this silence to my overwhelming embarrassment to be of the same species as so many small-minded, self-absorbed, Hollywood distracted fucks.

I understand feeling sadness for a life lost, especially in such a careless manner, but when a (pardon me, but really …) junkie’s death takes precedence in the news over a politically fueled massacre in an otherwise peaceful country, or is considered top story at all for that matter, it is clear that our priorities parallel those of a 14-year-old girl. (“Are we a nation of 6 year olds? Answer: yes.” — David Cross)

Thanks EW, for keeping it real. You just may be the last!

Brittney Arlint, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: We must confess we did run a little “R.I.P. Amy Winehouse” filler ad on page 23 two weeks ago.




What was I thinking? How could I have been so wrong? All this time I believed that we could get the economy moving and families back to work if we just emptied out our national treasury to give massive tax breaks, subsidies, bailouts, and sweetheart war contracts to the wealthy and powerful. Surely the lords of finance and industry would be pleased with us and would create jobs.

Heck, even after the almighty banksters and Wall Streeters made trillions on rigged real estate deals we not only forgave them, we bailed them out when their system imploded. Then, just to be sure they were happy, we gave them millions of our foreclosed homes.

But after all that, we still don’t have jobs. The lords of finance took all that money and made mega-profits by buying up cheap stock and then opening factories in China. Obviously our attempts to please the creators of wealth have failed. Obviously simply throwing money at them didn’t work. We must do more.

Perhaps the financial deities will smile on us if we all agree to sacrifice our first-born children to them. To sweeten the deal, we could have our remaining children sacrifice their pet cats and dogs to the lords of capital. Just imagine all of us constructing altars in our backyards and sacrificing our loved ones to the gods of Wall Street, the banking gods and the gods of war industry. Who knows? Maybe the altar-building boom would jump-start the economy.

Roscoe Caron, Eugene


Last week I had a daydream about the Millrace being converted to a bike path. This week I took a field trip scouting out potential future bicycle underpass were the Millrace ever to be converted to a bike path. These prospective underpasses exist at Patterson and Hilyard streets, Franklin Boulevard and the railroad tracks. I was standing on 10th Avenue gazing down the alley between Mill and High streets when I fell into another fantasy.

What if the Millrace were to be converted to a bike path, and the alley running between Mill and High streets could also be converted to a bike path with underpass designed for bicycles only constructed under 11th, 13th and 18th avenues? This alley bike path would connect the Amazon paths directly to downtown, the UO and Willamette on a low-traffic thoroughfare.

Eugene is going to grow. The magic of Lane County can only be kept secret for so long. Everybody already accepts the fact the drivers don’t like bicyclists and we do not like drivers. Why not get a no traffic/low traffic bicycle network in place now, while the opportunity is available?

Mike Ryan, Eugene


The high unemployment, negative to slow growth, and accumulation of unsustainable levels of debt we have experienced since 2008 may mark a great turning point for the world: the end of the era of growth. It was only through increased access to coal in the 19th century and oil and gas in the 20th century that we have experienced unprecedented levels of population and economic growth. 

The world population reached 1 billion around 1800, 2 billion in 1923, but will be at 7 billion by October and the next billion will take only 12 years to accomplish. Albert Einstein once said that the most powerful force in the universe is compound interest. If world population continues growing at 1.3 percent per year, by 2780 there will be 148 trillion humans — one for each square meter of the Earth’s land area. 

This growth can’t continue much longer without the edifice of fossil fuels. Every calorie of food we eat is the result of ten calories of fossil fuels (through tractors, fertilizer, irrigation, petrochemicals, etc.) The average American consumes 25 pounds of coal a day for electricity, and 25 barrels of oil a year. World oil production peaked in 2006 and is about to enter terminal decline according to the IEA. The U.S. peaked in energy from coal in 1998, and the global peak is imminent. At just 2 percent per year demand growth, fossil fuel demand will be twice as high in 35 years. What good can come from more population growth?

Juan Zaragoza, Eugene