Eugene Weekly : Letters : 8.21.08


The description of dangerous “wayward youth” in the article “Mean Eugene” (8/14) is out of line. Those “leatherbound peacocks” are usually either A) peaceful, traveling beatniks and punk rockers who come to Eugene to enjoy its natural beauty and music scene, B) bored (and harmless) kids who want cigarettes and/or soda or C) houseless people who just want a place to sit down and not get hassled. And they usually say “Please,” “Thank you” and “Good afternoon.” I have learned this from personal interaction, not distant and nervous observation. An attacker may just as easily be the polo shirt-wearing suburbanite with nothing better to do.

Yes, violent people sometimes wear untidy leather garments downtown. But nowhere in your article does it say, “Clay’s assailants looked like the spangers in front of the library.”  The assault didn’t even occur downtown. This description of scruffy kids and the use of it in this article could only be based on personal feelings. Prejudiced statements like this have helped to grow a web of fear across this city, changing attitudes from, “There are dangerous young adults downtown,” to “Every young adult downtown is dangerous.” In this environment it is easy to be labeled dangerous just for utilizing our public spaces while looking a certain way.

A suggestion to EW: Why not interview the scary high-schoolers at the bus station or the guy riding the bike loaded down with bottles? As opposed to just writing what others think of them.

Christine Anderson, Eugene


This is a response to Michael McDonald’s letter (8/14) about the art on the cover by a once local artist Frustr8 (Lopez).  In the last paragraph he writes, “But I have to wonder why you chose this particular artist, and this particular image.” Did you read the article? The artist got his start here in Eugene as an up-and-coming artist and has since gained national recognition for his skills. The artist is also spending three weeks up here (probably on others’ couches) to give back to our community by encouraging the youth in their artistic growth and channeling their energy into something positive. 

The person depicted on the cover, Erykah Badu, is using the art on her MySpace page for the whole world to see, so I would guess she likes it and does not feel insulted or degraded at all. Instead of worrying about something that you took no time to educate yourself about, you should be worrying about your friends and family who are probably voting for McCain because they are racists and you feel bad about it. So shame on you for not reading the article and for being completely out of touch with what really matters. Next time feel free to ignore yourself!!

Randy Smith, Eugene


Since I can smell bullshit even before it hits the ground, I would like to pre-emptively respond to the inevitable brouhaha which will be clogging EW letters pages in the wake of the recently passed exclusion ordinance.

First of all, the motivation behind the exclusion ordinance is not “fear of youth,” desire to establish a “police state,” “discomfort with the homeless,” “intolerance of diversity,” or any of the other crackpot theories which will surely be proffered by our local keyboard-wielding freedom fighters. (Side remark to the amateur civil rights lawyers out there:  The ACLU expressly stated that it was objecting to the ordinance on procedural grounds, not constitutional ones, since— believe it or not — exclusion ordinances do not violate the Bill of Rights.)

In point of fact, anyone who does not buy, sell or use drugs, who respects private property, who observes quiet hours after 10 pm, who does not accost or harrass passers-by and who generally conducts themselves in a courteous and civilized manner is more than welcome downtown, regardless of age, manner of dress or number of piercings.

The exclusion ordinance is only an attempt to enforce some basic respect and decency in an area where it has been sorely lacking for too long.  People who live, work and own businesses downtown are fed up with the all too prevalent attitude that downtown Eugene is the designated go-ape-shit zone for the rest of the region.

Downtown is the heart of Eugene, but it is also our neighborhood, and we intend to protect it.  If the exclusion ordinance does not succeed in putting the kibosh on people coming downtown specifically to engage in obnoxious, destructive or unlawful behavior, then we will find something that does.

Elizabeth Henning, Eugene


I don’t think Mayor Kitty Piercy has thought her exclusion plan through. I know there is a problem with drugs in our community, but is kicking citizens out of a public space the real solution? We here in Springfield like being your neighbor, so please don’t send your issues and problems to us. We have enough of our own.

Tina Towne, Springfield


I was intrigued by Paul Prensky’s “Martial Law” letter (8/7), which posits the possibility for Cheney/Bush to declare martial law powers. Actually this would be a good move for us the people, for it would force the Congress to do what they should have done long ago: impeach Cheney/Bush. It would be literally suicidal for them to declare martial law when a large majority of U.S. citizens think they are stinky skunks, and it would validate the whole impeachment process. Go ahead, Bushies, declare a second Civil War. But I don’t think that even the Bushies are that crazy.

Bob Saxton, Eugene


Driving down 6th Avenue — which, by the way, is a one way street — it was impossible not to notice a young couple heading down this beat.

She was stepping lively, walking briskly; she moved with confidence and verve, while the boychild at her side tried to match her stride and maintain this vision beside him that was causing vehicles to swerve.

Passing cars were slowing down to check out the scene coming round, and traffic was beginning to pile up.

My friend and I got a good look at why everyone wanted to see … for the young lady in question was, well, completely shirt free, and the vision of her lovelies was about to cause a wreck … for any man driving by had to crane his neck for a glimpse of life seen only in Eugene, where the law says it’s fine for bare breasts to be seen.

Debra Y. Mathis, Eugene


Recently, I was walking in my neighborhood in the River Road area when I was attacked and bitten by a German shepherd. I’ve walked that street hundreds of times, never having an incident. The owner came out, and when I informed him that I had been bitten, he denied his dog’s wrongdoing twice until I dropped my pants and showed him the bite. His remark was, “At least the skin isn’t broken!”

I told him I didn’t care if the skin was broken; his dog had bitten me. He got in my face, so I went home and called the police. They were unable to help. I was told to call animal control, which I did, and was told that since the skin wasn’t broken, they could do nothing. I then asked if I could at least file a report with them and was told they have no forms to record this matter.

So, I decided I need to see my doctor to be sure all is well. Told him my plight, and he said he would dictate all this into my medical record, in case I needed something documented.

Now here I am, bitten by a dog, bruised and sore, owner in my face, no help from government agencies and having to see my doctor, and more than likely, paying my own medical bill.

Where’s the justice?

G.F. Ziegler, Eugene


Leah Kleinberger’s ignorance of bicycle laws is pretty silly (letters,  8/7). There are state laws for bicycles, just as there are for motor vehicles. The Oregon Department of Transportation has a manual available online at It lists such common sense rules as: Bicycles have to come to a full stop at a stop sign and a red light. You wouldn’t know it by watching many Eugene cyclists, but bikes have to follow almost all the rules that apply to motor vehicles, and the bike manual tells bikers that they should read and follow the rules in the Motor Vehicle Rules of the Road book.

Chuck Kleinhans, Eugene


I love your Chow! insert (7/31). I especially enjoy the recipes featured from the wonderful chefs that inhabit Eugene. I wish you would collect all the recipes into a cookbook and sell it at local bookstores. I know I would buy one! Thanks for all your hard work and great reporting.

Jesse Mull, Eugene


Fred Marsico (letters, 8/14) can’t understand why an OSU professor isn’t on the hydrogen bandwagon. It’s because the professor understands fundamental physics and chemistry.

Marsico, Bobby Kennedy Jr. and others who apparently think that hydrogen is a viable answer to our energy woes “because it’s made from water” clearly don’t understand these basics.

Separating hydrogen from the water molecule takes energy. Some of that energy is recovered when the hydrogen is burned and reforms water. But not all of it. No energy conversion process is 100 percent efficient. Hydrogen from water is therefore a losing proposition from an energy standpoint unless a way to fuse it into helium without incinerating the neighborhood is found.

For this reason, it is highly unlikely that hydrogen will ever provide more than a tiny fraction of our energy needs. Far better to harness the wind on our coast and the Columbia Gorge, among many other places nationwide.

Jerry Ritter, Springfield


To those who should be concerned: I ride the EmX with my bicycle, and on two recent occasions I was nearly put on the floor because I was not given time to safely sit before the bus moved into traffic. One time three bikes were boarding. I was second due to the courtesy of a young man’s deference to my age. The bus bolted while the young man was still standing perpendicular to the direction of travel. He was hit hard with his own bike and nearly fell. If it had been me waiting my turn for the rack, I would have fallen with my bike on top. Given my age and the health of my back, you would have to had carry me off the bus on a stretcher. 

This is, unfortunately, not an isolated incident. I have witnessed numerous incidence of passenger safety jeopardized by drivers not making sure everyone is seated. This is not a New York subway. Please re-evaluate your drivers’ safety procedures. I’m dismayed that after the incident last year with the left behind children that there has not been much improvement in driver protocol. I’m sending a copy of this to The Register-Guard and the Weekly in hopes that people with similar experiences will contact you and increase your liability in case of an accident.

Vince Loving, Eugene


My sincerest heartfelt thanks to the producers and volunteers of the Oregon Country Fair. To me the OCF is an example of humanity at its finest, and I believe that the impact that the Fair has on the forward movement of our society is unknowable but large. The Fair continues to grow more energy and waste-conscious yearly and leads our world in the right direction through gentle positive changes. I’d love to see more booths dedicated to crafts created by young people in the future; let’s see what the next generation is creating and support their efforts!

Thanks again to all those who support and make the Fair happen, from a lover of the Oregon Country Fair.

Albert Kaufman, Portland


It is interesting to read about the May 30 Van Ornum et al/Eugene police Tasering incident in the Weekly and the R-G. I was present just after the incident started, and my recollections (and I saw it clearly from a vantage point!) do not jibe with either the Weekly’s printed version or the R-G’s story. Is there any way EW can obtain the EPD’s report of the incident and see how “off-base” their version is?

Tim Lewis claims to be a “reporter.” Why don’t we see his byline/articles in any of our local papers? I think I would classify Lewis as an “opportunist reporter” — that is, he takes video in hopes of recording an incident he can peddle to one of the media giants, similar to the person that videoed the Rodney King/LAPD beating incident. It’s my understanding that this person sold the video for a large enough sum of money to retire and live comfortably for the rest of his life.

Is Lewis trending along these lines?

Lon Miller, Drain

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tim Lewis has been documenting environmental issues and political actions since the 1990s for broadcast and web media. Seems to us to be an unlikely career path for personal wealth. Actually, we’d love to see Tim sell some footage so he can buy a better video camera.


It is a basic design precept to balance a large public indoor space with a large outdoor space. This gives the indoor space a sense of freedom of movement and gives the outdoor space a purpose and population. With this understanding it becomes apparent that a public park across from the library would be more appropriate than another big building full of people. The library is a graceful, well-designed building. Let’s complement it with a well-designed park.

Kari Johnson, Eugene


I am not usually one to respond to letters to the editor, but in the July 24 EW read one so idiotic that it merits at least one reply pointing out its complete lack of logic and reason. The author, a Jonathan Seraphim, compared Republicanism to fascism in his “No Sir, Yes Sir,” an allegation that is quite possibly the largest exaggeration I have ever heard. If this were true, Seraphim would not even have the opportunity to publish his passionate, albeit moronic, letter to the editor. He would be put to work under horrible conditions in a prison camp with other Americans who disagreed with the government. But, seeing as how Eugene still has a population, clearly the Bush administration isn’t rounding up liberals by the dozen and imprisoning them. Thus, they are not the least bit fascistic in nature. 

Hey, I’m not even much of a fan of the Bush boys, but this kind of blind partisanship (Democrats=courageous heroes; Republicans=corporate Nazis) causes my imbecile alarm to ring with seemingly no sign of stopping. Perhaps this letter will quell, at least for a while, this most annoying feature of my personality.

Oh, and Seraphim, get your systems of government right. You cannot compare Republicans to Nazis and in the same sentence liken them to Maoists and Soviets. You see, any moderately educated person would know that communism and fascism, though both equally deplorable forms of governing people, are completely opposing forces. The Nazis imprisoned communists; they weren’t in cahoots with them. Behind your nice vocabulary and good sentence structure, you have absolutely nothing of merit to say. Save us your reactionary antics and actually put some thought into your next letter.

Ethan Findal, Springfield


Thank you for the short article about me and that tractor in Germany (“Distance Biker Hurt in Europe,” 7/31). An amazing summer vacation! Listening to the crunching sounds as the tractor drove over me, thinking it was my bike and discovering — it was my body. A good article.

Two mistakes I’d like to correct. I did not go to the Eugene Rehabilitation and Specialty Care after a few days of evaluation at Sacred Heart. My first choice all the way was and is the Oregon Rehabilitation Center at Sacred Heart. A marvelous healing place with very skilled personnel. And I was in that German hospital for five weeks, not four.

Thanks again for the article.

Neil Van Steenbergen, Eugene


Imagine deafening silence, devoid of everyday sounds we take for granted. Breaking through the thick stillness is the occasional flyover of a rescue chopper, shouting the command, “Remain calm, Eugeneans, help is on the way.”

How alarmist of me, as if Eugene could ever find itself in such a dire situation. On the other hand, this city has thrived without being directly affected by Mother Nature’s fury. Eugene’s educated yet uniquely simple approach on life, coupled with scenic bike paths and admirable eco-friendliness, make me want to raise my family here.

If forced to relocate, I’d miss this city’s humanitarian and proactive pulse. This fairness and compassion Eugene professes will be demanded during a catastrophe. Yet, as demonstrated in New Orleans, the need to survive at all costs is strong, especially when children’s lives are at stake.

Although we are doing all the right things for our city, inevitably more can be done. We don’t need a tragedy to prove our humanity.

Thousands of people may live in a community, but it is not one of real fellowship until they know each other and have sympathy for one another. A true community has faith and wisdom that illuminate it. It is a place where the people know and trust one another and where there is social harmony. In fact, harmony is the life and real meaning of a true community or an organization. —Nembutsu

The Eugene Mission needs new men’s pajamas, sleepwear for the women and towels.

Elliot Dean, Eugene