Eugene Weekly : Letters : 8.20.09


I am against giving Seneca a permit to build its wood burning power plant. I do not consider this operation sustainable.

It requires 32 tons of wood products per hour. Where does all that wood (“mill waste”) come from? Especially now with construction and lumber sales down, there is no guarantee that Seneca will not burn freshly cut trees to keep the operation going. Yes, trees are renewable, but Seneca’s practice of clear-cutting and spraying petroleum-based herbicides and fertilizers is not sustainable.

They also will burn slash — but it is important to keep slash in the forest, just like it is important to keep dead trees in the forest in order to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

The predicted emission of 500 tons of air pollutants and toxins will add to the already super polluted air that comes to Eugene from the west. It is harmful to our health and adds to global warming. Not sustainable!

Instead of using food and forest products to create energy, we must reduce our energy consumption!

Our leaders must courageously come forward and educate us about the perilous situation we and our world are in and provide guidance how to conserve energy and increase efficiency so everyone can find ways to ease into a new way of life, a sustainable way of life.

Lora Byxbe, Eugene


Last week as I was loading my two small children into the car in my somewhat quiet neighborhood, I witnessed what I thought to be a bizarre occurrence. Apparently, there was an intoxicated young woman going from door to door looking for a child. A concerned neighbor called the Lane County Sheriff’s Office. 

When the enforcement arrived, they began to give chase. The woman in question could not have been more than 120 lbs. max, and she was wearing flip-flops. The officer was never more than five feet behind her at any given moment and surely could have grabbed her had he picked it up a notch. Instead, they fired a Taser. I mean really. I have seen bouncers subdue women in bar fights with less force. 

I was stunned and saddened to see that the officers involved felt the need to use such excessive force in this case. I, for one, did not feel threatened by this woman. It is sad to see they were.

Oona Lee, Eugene


The recent article (8/6) on the high unemployment rate in Oregon was incomplete. Its focus on durable goods (generally from big biz) and the rainy day fund (politics), though not particularly wrong, completely missed the big reason (the 1,200 pound gorilla in the living room).

To quote Winston Churchill: “Some regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is — the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.”

The simple fact is that Salem is a small-business killing machine. I personally know of multiple examples of small businesses being mercilessly executed by dogmatic Oregon voters using their lackey bureaucrats as henchmen (examples: the absurd linking of the minimum wage to the CPI, the suffocating land use laws, the tax-the-rich mentality, the hatred and subsequent vilification of apparently all natural resources businesses).

Therefore, so long as the majority of Oregon’s I-5 corridor voters continue to be idealists following the clueless, then Oregon will never be much more than an economic backwater, third-tier state.

Grant Roberts, Corvallis


I’ve heard so many good reasons for a single-payer health plan. But I’ve rarely heard this reason: With a single-payer system, American companies that provide health care to their workers and sell abroad would now be on a level playing field with countries that provide health care. For example, American car companies must add around $2,000 to the cost of each car to cover their health insurance costs. A single-payer plan would reduce or remove that competitive unfairness.

Years ago while crossing Canada, our largest trading partner, I stopped at a rural doctor. I still remember the good quality of the care and the kindness I received. They have a Medicare-like health system.

I would choose a single-payer plan in a heartbeat. I can’t understand why there’s such as fuss. Perhaps it’s because medical insurance companies are making a killing?

Les Weinstein, Eugene


Congratulations to Chris Edwards on his appointment to the Senate; another energetic, conscientious senator from Lane County. Fortunately, there is another energetic and conscientious candidate available to fill Chris’ seat — Carol Horne Dennis. As an R-G editorial recently noted: “It’s a rare opportunity for a newcomer to join a legislative delegation long dominated by familiar faces.”

Carol may not be a “familiar face” to some, but she is far from unknown in community involvement. Those involvements are too numerous to list but her presence has always meant competence, attention to detail, listening, caring, and thoroughness. Add fair, friendly and accessible to the list of attributes, and you have a winning combination to continue the success Edwards established in District 14.

Lane County has been fortunate in its representatives and I was pleased to see Carol Horne Dennis put her name forward as interested in the open seat. This is an opportunity for Carol to take her talents to Salem and it’s also an opportunity for the rest of us to benefit from another potentially productive legislator with a long future. We should all hope Carol Horne Dennis wins the appointment to the open seat in District 14.

Judy Moseley, Eugene


Ever wonder how those over-educated people on Wall Street managed to screw up so badly that the rest of us are facing the unemployment problems discussed in a recent issue (8/6) of EW? I can tell you at least one factor responsible for this fiscal meltdown and that was the repeal in 1999, at the request of former Senator Phil Gramm (and economic advisor to former presidential candidate John McCain), of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. 

This act was passed during FDR’s administration to help prevent another depression from happening. The Glass-Steagall Act forbade the common practice of allowing commercial banks, such as B of A, from taking over investment banks, such as Merrill Lynch, which they recently did. People who have accounts with commercial banks are looking for a secure place to put their money while people who do business with Merrill Lynch or other investment houses are looking for more speculative ways to invest their money. This is not a good “marriage” and would have been illegal if the Glass-Steagall Act had not been repealed in 1999.

Sen. Merkley of Oregon sits on the Banking Committee. Please contact his office and ask him to introduce a bill to replace the “firewall” between commercial and investment banking.

G. Dennis Shine, Springfield


Having come from a family of fair-skinned blonds and redheads, I was thrilled to read a Robert Roth’s essay about “Toxic Sunscreens?” in your June 18 issue. In fact, I shared his information with relatives, and finally bought a bunch of Badger SPF 30 when I discovered some still in stock and actually on sale at a store not mentioned in the viewpoint. Apparently this piece induced a run on it at the Kiva.

But imagine my surprise when I read through the long, tiny-print ingredient list at home, and discovered Badger contains lavender oil, which is known to be estrogenic, and is therefore especially bad for young boys, much less anyone, including women at risk for or recovering from hormone-driven breast cancer. Perhaps Mr. Roth could check a little harder for a safer product? I’ve already thrown out all my old REI and Neutrogena sunscreens, which all contained oxybenzone!

Liz J. Andersen,  Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: In response, Robert Roth tells us there’s doubt about lavender oil being a proven estrogenic. He says he will look into it further, and write a follow-up letter.


In his July 30 letter, “Managing Dissent,” Johannes Pederson referenced a letter I submitted “Be Polite, Protesters” (7/2). Although this was a mistakenly printed first draft of another letter I wrote June 11, “Protest With Care,” I would like a chance to respond to Pederson’s criticism of its content.

Pederson’s suggests that I brought up the subject of safety “to try to shift the arena of debate away from the issues the protesters are trying to raise.” Contrary to this statement, I sincerely and wholeheartedly believe that confronting the threats facing the ecological integrity of the environment should be of paramount importance.

Unfortunately, 250 words isn’t enough room to adequately express my opinion on the involved subjects, so I only commented on the one that I am personally most passionate about.

Although I sympathize with, and in fact share, the apparent frustration and anger Pederson’s expresses about our (mis)treatment of Momma Earth, I cannot condone the use of violence in her defense. Humanity’s integrity is of equal importance to hers. They are, in fact, interdependent. Her safety and restoration will only come about through the unified cooperation of all her people and not through coercion and violence — threatened or actual.

As an analogy, in their attempt to become free from the influences of “The West,” would you show more sympathy and support for the methodologies of Gandhi — or al-Qaeda?

David Pirie, Eugene


In light of all the letters referencing my anti-Country Fair one last month (7/16), I feel compelled to respond.

First of all, I’m not an ignorant jerk. I don’t make things up. Everything I wrote is based in fact. Perhaps you don’t do LSD, litter or walk around naked, gawking at 16 year olds, but many people do. I regret that I offended the small community of people who actually engage in decent behavior. I recommend you expel the perverts and druggies in order to retain your good name.

But there’s another thing that’s on my mind: What’s the big deal? It’s an event, a festival. Why do people admittedly wait the entire year for this occasion? You can’t find love, beauty and peace in your garden, with your family and friends or in your pets? That’s really pathetic. I’ve been to many moving concerts and gatherings, but none of it compares to the solace provided by my family. 

“I waited all year for the fair” has got to be one of the dumbest things anyone has ever said to me. You wait for the birth of a child, for an anniversary or for your corn to sprout in the summer; waiting for a congested three-day event is really, really lame. I’m sorry. I don’t see the attraction. 

And all those kind hippie folk get all pissed when you say something to that effect. But if what I said doesn’t apply to you, why would it bother you in the first place? Sounds like a case of guilty conscience.

Eve Cienfuegos, Eugene


Interesting beholder’s-eyes opinions by Greg Hume (8/6) and Eve Cienfuegos (7/16), regarding the Oregon Country Fair. Like those two, I went to a few fairs in the 1980s. It might have been stinky, maybe I was overly-inebriated and tripped over a dirty diaper or two — can’t recall details, since I’ve also been to every fair since 1976, and the positive afterglow completely eclipses any downside moments. 

I do confess that on multiple occasions I’ve been seen as a 50-something man in the company of a bunch of teenage girls. My lifelong fair-going daughters and their friends were in the weird habit of hanging with geezer parents, on a peer level. Didn’t seem disgusting or wrong to me, somehow.

Seems to me that Eve and Greg are meant for each other. Perhaps a regular wine tasting junket through the Oregon countryside, every second weekend of July? Leave the rest of us slovenly hippies to revel in our filth and squalor — no hard feelings. To each their own, and I quite love my beautiful, creative, musically-inspired tribe of idealists. At the very least we’ve managed to preserve and steward a huge chunk of original woodland, in perpetuity; the annual festivities are icing on that cake.

Long live the OCF!

Vip Short, Eugene





No more free ride: another nail for the downtown coffin. The downtown shopping people who rely on the complimentary transport (EmX) provided between our fraternal twin cities will be subject to what essentially is a tariff if they wish to purchase products and services in both local business entities. And what about all the people who park for free in Springfield who go to shop in Eugene? The environmental and social impact is unfathomable.

Vince Loving, Eugene



Here are five of the largest political decisions Lane County residents could alter to help local people, the local economy and natural ecosystems that sustain our way of life:

• Write about, call or demonstrate to Congressman DeFazio, Sen. Wyden and Sen. Merkley the need to cosponsor the House and Senate single-payer health insurance bills.

• Write about, call, or demonstrate to all elected officials in Lane County the need to drop highway expansion plans and instead allocate tax payer money to fix existing crumbling infrastructure only and increase the safety and capacity of bicycle commuter infrastructure.

• Write about, call, or demonstrate to Eugene’s mayor and City Council the need to create a few bicycle and pedestrian only boulevards running east and west throughout Eugene to insure safe and efficient transportation alternatives. 

• Write about, call, or demonstrate to Gov. Kulongoski and the Legislature that expansion of new highways, freeways and bridges is unacceptable and that taxpayer money should only be spent on fixing crumbing infrastructure, increasing the capacity and efficiency of rail, as well as bicycle commuter infrastructure. 

• Write about, call, or demonstrate to the secretary of Interior and Agriculture as well as the governor the need to prepare for the climate crisis, water crisis and curtail species extinction by protecting all the forests on public lands by designating them as carbon and biological reserves.

Shannon Wilson, Eugene



I’m a proud “Earther” and I challenge “birthers” to prove they didn’t come from another planet. They need to provide evidence that they are not aliens. “Some people” have said that they did not have human parents and where’s the proof to the contrary? You couldn’t take a “parent’s” word for it. Would an alien progenitor tell the truth about its offspring?

And newspaper “birth announcements”? Haven’t “birthers” proved those can be faked? Decades in advance.

Consider the possibility that — if as an unreliable Internet source has suggested — these non-parochial beings were not born, but hatched. Hatching is un-American and against family values. (We can forgive chickens. Through the miracle of KFC they put their tasty legs, thighs and breasts on our dinner tables and in our picnic baskets.)

Or what if — like slime-mold — creatures like Beck, Hannity and Limbaugh are actually units of haploid amoebae resulting from spore germination. According to “the IFHF research council,” it would be natural for them to form pseudo plasmodium streams. They could aggregate at what they might call Tea Bag protests. At which point, also according to “the IFHF,” the resulting mass would become disorganized rubble incapable of further development.

I fear for America. I am afraid for the world. Think of Ronald Reagan, and for Heaven’s sake, what about the children?

Morgan Songi, Eugene





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