Eugene Weekly : Letters : 9.8.11


Here is a thought after just attending the Eugene Celebration. What do you all think about having a beard fashion show or contest at next year’s community celebration? For complete disclosure, I have not shaved or trimmed my beard for the last 12 years or so.

I am thinking that a little bit of advertising would bring many hirsute hippies out of the woodwork and woods. Not to stereotype beard wearers though, this is Eugene. I am quite certain that there are folks from all walks of life with fun, quirky and amazing facial hair. We could have categories: beards, moustaches, sideburns, goatees — even eyebrows (or eyebrow).

So what do you think, Eugene? If it sounds good, contact the Eugene Celebration office, and let’s get this hairy situation rolling. I ran into famous TV celebrity Mr. John Fisher at the celebration, he thought a fundraiser would be nice. Perhaps a “hairaiser fund raiser,” a hirsute pursuit? Maybe we could have a yearlong contest to see who can grow the longest beard in a calendar year, with photos before and after and a measuring day during the Eugene Celebration?

If this doesn’t pan out, maybe us hairy guys could get together and be a parade entry? Hirsutes Unite, Running with Scissors or Running from Scissors — just put on your marching boots and let the beards fly! So what do you say, Barry, Cary, nondairy Gary, Mary, Perry, Sherry, better head for Jerry’s, razor blades be wary. PS: Santa Claus, you are most welcome to join us. 

Tim Boyden, Eugene


I agree completely with your Sept. 25 article on Walkability. Another dangerous intersection is on 1st Avenue in the Whiteaker. 1st Avenue is unfortunately a cut-through from River Road to downtown. There is heavy traffic at times, and traffic speed is pretty fast.

A pedestrian crossing at 1st and Monroe is marked with a crosswalk and constantly flashing yellow lights. Monroe is a popular bicycle and pedestrian route, and many people use it. However, the constantly flashing yellow lights are generally ignored, because usually nobody is crossing the street. So when somebody does want to cross the street it is not very obvious.

Why not replace these lights with stutter-flash lights that only come on when somebody wants to cross the street? This would be much safer for both pedestrians and bicycles.

Duncan Rhodes, The Whiteaker


I agree with your article Sept. 25 on walking in Eugene. I’ve walked the downtown area extensively. And pedestrian traffic is certainly a second-class citizen in this city. I usually walk to work, a bit over half a mile.

There’s many a plan for bicycle traffic. Eugene is a trailblazer in planning for bikers, maybe too much so. As a walker I’ve often found myself at odds with bicyclists. Many bikers feel they have a pedestrian-type right-of-way: not yielding at stop signs, riding against traffic, traveling wrong directions on one-way streets, riding without lights after dark. Eugene might be one of very few cities where one needs to look both ways while crossing one-way streets, not for cars, but bikes! It’s obviously not every biker, not even most. But you irresponsible bikers know who you are.

In a city with dedicated bike lanes throughout it’s a shame the ducking and dodging you have to do as a walker on our downtown sidewalks to avoid being run over by a bicycle. I’m certain I’m not alone in this experience. And given the city has put so much into being bicycle-friendly, isn’t it time the police enforce some simple rules of the road? Or at least the sidewalk?

 DJ Barber, Eugene


In a Viewpoint column in EW Aug. 25, Bill Tanner and others continue to avoid the real issues at EPUD by continuing to claim that the problems that exist is a personality issue between the general manager and a board member. Nothing could be further from the truth.

 Tanner claims that fiscally we are in a better cash position today than 10 years ago. As a Finance Committee member for 10 years I happen to know that approximately a dozen years ago the board elected to pay over $4 million in cash out of our utility reserves to build a badly needed substation in Marcola. They did so to avoid interest and related costs in borrowing the money for the construction of the substation. This allowed EPUD to strengthen its financial position through the years, thus allowing for a better financial statement today. Obviously, long-term debt has decreased, because EPUD makes an annual payment to retire their outstanding debt. In reality, there is not much change.

 It is wrong to dismiss former employees (40 out of 78) as disgruntled. Many were forced out of their positions. They devoted extra time and effort while they were employed in building a great utility that we still have today.

 If however, administration and some board members continue on their trek of self-serving and continue to disrespect some board and committee members (I have personally experienced this) who do not always agree with them, it will ultimately affect the progress and wonderful reputation of our utility. Call your board director and ask them for greater transparency and open committee meetings, including the finance, rate and resource committees.

 Vicki Flynn, Eugene


In a recent U.S. Bank statement, I was charged a new monthly maintenance fee of $8.95 for my checking account. Though the tellers were courteous and friendly and I had unused checks, I moved my account into a local credit union. Numerous examples show how U.S. Bank uses fees to prey on citizens facing financial difficulties.

In 2009, U.S. Bank supplied money to fight Measures 66 & 67 that slightly raised taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

U.S. Bank contracts with the state of Oregon to handle the “ReliaCard,” a debit card that stores unemployment and child support payments. Though unemployment benefits are provided weekly, single parents and the unemployed can only access benefits from an ATM twice a month before being charged extra fees. Cardholders are charged for speaking with a teller more than twice monthly.

All this is while U.S. Bank paid out billions in bonuses in 2010 and had huge corporate earnings in 2011.

U.S. Bank is clearly another one of Wall Street’s bailout bandits. I urge anyone who has money invested with any the big banksters to move your money into a local credit union and work for the creation of an Oregon state bank.

Scott Fife, Eugene 


A quick heads up for Eugene parents who may not be in the know. Your 6-year-old should never be unsupervised alone in a public area. Not a park. Not a library. Especially not in Maurie Jacobs Park directly across the bridge from the Valley River mall walking your dog. I don’t care how you were raised. I don’t care if every one of your neighbors thinks it’s OK. 

I’ll give you a quick update: the Department of Human Services considers it neglect. So do I. So should all you other mandatory reporters out there — even “helpful” neighbors.

Ian Rapp, Eugene


There are some things that should be kept secret. I really wish that anyone since Einstein who had an idea about how to make an atomic bomb had kept it to themselves.

But I think it’s open season when the government tries to keep secrets from the people about their corruptions. It says we no longer have real democracy because they’re purposely keeping important facts from the voters, those who are supposed to ultimately be in control. Julian Assange remains my favorite hero. The best ways to bring peace are to use persuasion and subsistence assistance as needed. It’s important to be seen as respectful rather than manipulating and dominating, especially of those who try to get the truth to us.

Dan Robinson, Eugene


This past weekend, I had the pleasure of joining fellow PETA members along with more than 100 demonstrators to call attention to the abuse elephants face at the hands of Ringling Bros. circus. Holding a sign that said, “Elephants Never Forget,” I wore an elephant costume to represent animals who are abused by the circus. 

According to very recent veterinary and inspection reports, Nicole and Karen, two elephants who are suffering from arthritis and have been lame for many years, and Juliette and Sara, young elephants Ringling has failed to treat for chronic lameness, are forced to perform grueling and painful tricks in the circus’s shows. 

We also displayed photos taken inside Ringling’s training center. The photos expose how baby elephants are stretched out, slammed to the ground, gouged with steel-tipped bullhooks and shocked with electric prods. These abusive sessions go on for several hours a day in order to force the baby elephants to learn to perform circus tricks out of fear of punishment. As infants, elephants are torn away from their mothers and beaten into submission — and older, arthritic elephants like Nicole and Karen are still forced to perform painful contortions despite their ill health.

Not only was it impressive to see over 100 people speaking up for the elephants who are beaten, electro-shocked, and chained up to 100 hours at a time — but it was great to meet so many people of all ages who were speaking up for the first time. Anyone who looks at the heartbreaking photos and videos will see with their own eyes how bad Ringling’s abuse of elephants is. I hope parents will realize that if their kids love animals, the last place that they should take their children is the circus. For more information and to view the videos, please visit

Curtis Taylor, Eugene


PT Barnum’s famous quote, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” certainly applies to the circus that bears his name. Eugeneans came early for the pre-show of Ringling’s Barnum and Bailey Circus. Here the circus-goers get to see the animals up close and personal, get fed the lame propaganda that Ringling has been using for years, “We have a vested interest in the animals, we treat them like family.”

Tell that to the 8,000 pound elephant that was crammed into a tractor trailer with three others, chained by her leg, not able to lie down or sit or turn around for four days. I stood in one spot, outside Matthew Knight arena, in the sun for 1-1/2 hours. It was exhausting. What must it be like for elephants doing it 340 days a year? Most of them have foot problems and some finally get so bad that they have to be euthanized.

Catherine Cardin, the elephant trainer, said the elephants enjoy the circus and like to look out the window when they travel. I saw the trucks the elephants arrived in. They had no windows and no climate control.

Hundreds of people protested the treatment of the circus animals this last weekend. Hundreds more walked by ignoring the signs, videos and proof that what the signs said was true. And to the dismay of the hundreds of circus animals pacing back and forth in cages and rocking back and forth on chains going crazy, it’s true, there’s a sucker born every minute.

Molly Sargent, Pleasant Hill


What a fine write-up from Rick Levin about my barber, Larry Owens (cover story, 9/1). For many years I lived in a small-town enclave right in the middle of Hollywood, near Sunset and Highland avenues, shopping at a mom and pop grocery store and getting my hair cut at a long-time old-school barbershop. When I had to relocate to Oregon, where could I find a barbershop like that one? 

No luck. Oh, I found a good haircutter in Salem, who shared all his personal problems and complaints about how parents today don’t wallop their kids as they should, not like the fine thrashings of his own childhood. I tried to joke with him one day, said, “Hey, bartenders and barbers are supposed to listen to the customer’s problems!” I could feel the chill. 

Then a move to Eugene, where I found Larry, and home again! Sometimes Larry, sometimes Jolan, both top of the line. I miss Larry’s brother, Gary, evidently now retired, also a crackerjack barber who pinch-hit at times and was a lot of fun to chat with. 

Jim Wood, Eugene


As an alumna of the UO, I am disgusted by the arrogance of Richard Lariviere in giving salary increases of up to 30 percent to the highest paid officials of the institution. What an insult and slap in the face to the hundreds of staff members who are being forced to take reductions in pay and who make only a fraction of the $200,000 to $350,000 salaries of these officials. If they are dissatisfied by their pay, let them leave and take other jobs. I’m sure there are many other people equally qualified who would be willing to take their places and perform just as well or better.

This action shows an equal disregard and disdain for the students who are facing yet another large increase in tuition, many of whom will spend years paying off student loans or will be forced to drop out of college.

Mr. Lariviere might as well rename the place “Oregon Athletic Training Center” and give up the pretense of being an educational institution if this is his sense of priorities.

Judy Romans, Eugene


Is the UO run by the Republican Party? Take from the poor and give to the rich. Shame on you.

Philip Dietz, Springfield 


As the unemployment rate continues to tick upward, the jobs situation in our country becomes increasingly desperate. The real unemployment rate, the so-called “U-6 statistic,” is over 17 percent.

The last time the economy was this bad was in the 1970s, after U.S. oil production peaked. Then we were able to import more oil, but that is no longer the case. According to the International Energy Agency, world oil production peaked in 2006. And, according to a recent U.S. Joint Forces report by four-star Gen. James Mattis, surplus oil production capacity will disappear by 2012 and by 2015 demand will outstrip supply by 10 million barrels a day.

Economic growth and job creation depend on increased consumption of cheap energy, and we are now transitioning into a new era of unemployment and austerity. Because we need to create 250,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth, there is no reason for the United States to maintain its unstinting immigration policy.

Calling negative population growth “nativist” belies the assimilation history of past immigrant groups. The Irish, Italians and even the Germans were at one time not considered “white” in this country.

Hispanics, too, may soon be considered “white.” Hispanics living in the U.S. on average possess 69 percent west European ancestry, 21 percent American Indian ancestry and 10 percent African ancestry.

As the jobs situation worsens, immigration reform will become inevitable.

Juan Zaragoza, Eugene