News Briefs: Bad Air Coming From Baxter | Students Under-Counted in Community Survey | Nazi Insignia in LGBTQA Office | Temple Grandin: Autism and Animals | Raising Bucks for Haiti | Elliott Clearcuts and Carbon | Activist Alert | Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule | Corrections/Clarifications
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
Cops demand more protection money
Jock in the Box
It’s just not fair … to student-athletes
BAD AIR COMING FROM BAXTER?
What’s that stink? Residents around the J.H. Baxter plant in northwest Eugene can smell something bad in the air again and are wondering what the latest odor in the neighborhood could be.
Emails sent to Oregon Toxics Alliance by west Eugene residents complain that they, as well as children on playgrounds and people who work in the area, are “plagued by the smells.”
Several of the emails complain that calling the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) complaint line or sending emails to the agency hasn’t been effective in controlling the odors. According to an email from Bethel resident Dustie Rose, “people in the neighborhood have simply stopped reporting as we didn’t feel like it was making a difference.”
LRAPA Director Hough says, “it is our policy to investigate in a timely manner every complaint called into LRAPA,” the complaints are assigned to a staff person and then followed up on.
Lisa Arkin of OTA says she wonders if the smell could be ammonia produced by creosote mixing with another chemical at the Baxter site. Baxter uses creosote to treat wood, according to a fact sheet produced after a Superfund Health Investigation and Education Program (SHINE) inquiry into reported high levels of cancer in the area.
Creosote itself is not listed on the Eugene Toxics Right-to-Know website, and while naphthalene, the chemical that gives creosote its distinctive smell, is listed on the website, it is not listed by Baxter as one of its chemicals. Other west Eugene businesses such as Forrest Paint Co. and King Retail Solutions do list naphthalene on their Toxics Right-to-Know reports.
Hough responded to the email concerns: “We have increased our frequency of inspections of the Baxter facility and vicinity, and we have asked the company for specifics of process operations, production and materials with an emphasis on any changes in recent months.”
According to the SHINE report, both the EPA has determined that coal tar creosote is a probable carcinogen to humans and some studies have shown a link between people who work in creosoting facilities and lung and nasal cancers. But the report concluded that at these levels, emissions from Baxter do not pose a health risk for cancer.
OTA has requested that LRAPA add a discussion of the smells and environmental concerns they raise at the March board of directors meeting. Arkin says she is also looking into whether the new west Eugene air monitor will detect naphthalene or creosote emissions. Hough says the agency will discuss the odors at upcoming meetings, and that the new monitor will detect napthalene. To contact LRAPA with an air quality issue call 736-1056. OTA can be reached at 465-8860. — Camilla Mortensen
STUDENTS UNDER-COUNTED IN COMMUNITY SURVEY
Are you a UO student with an opinion? It appears the city of Eugene could care less. Results released last month of a scientific “Community Survey” of Eugene show that the city left out a big chunk of the university community.
The survey touted itself as “unbiased and statistically valid.” But the council Ward 3 surrounding the UO was under-represented by about half compared to other city wards, according to the survey’s numbers. Although it has a similar numbers of residents, the UO ward made up about 8 percent of the survey respondents compared to 15 percent in north Eugene’s conservative Ward 5.
The 18 to 24 age group was also under-represented by almost half. That age group makes up about 22 percent of the city’s population, according to U.S. Census numbers, but only 13 percent of the city’s survey.
Student renters were also heavily unrepresented. About 48 percent in Eugene rent, but only 27 percent in the survey were renters. The group of residents earning less that $15,000 a year, a demographic including many students, was as also under-represented by about half.
The failure to include many UO students in the survey appears to have come from the phone list Advanced Marketing Research used for the survey. With many students using cell phones, only 3 percent of the numbers on the list were from the UO ward. The survey company apparently tried to make up for this by a quota for the ward, but failed.
The more liberal/younger UO community may have resulted in an underreporting of environmental concerns in the survey. Still, almost three-quarters of respondents gave city environmental practices a top ranking of 4 or 5 in a 5-point scale of importance.
Fifty-three percent ranked the environment a 5 in importance. But only 7 percent gave the city a similar top ranking in actual environmental performance. The city recycles, but still has building more freeways as a top priority.
The city has a “sustainable business initiative” that it has failed to define. Asked what results they wanted from “sustainable development,” 39 percent appeared confused and said they didn’t know.
City policies actively promote increased development. But more development is not something most people in Eugene want, according to the survey. Only about 13 percent said the city was growing “too slow.”
The city claimed the survey showed 66 percent support for its tax breaks to developers and corporations. But that’s misleading.
The survey question appeared leading, asking “in order to provide more jobs in the city …” The question of whether such tax breaks actually create jobs or simply increase profits for business decisions that would have been made anyway has been the central issue of Eugene’s long debate on the controversial tax break issue.
But the survey’s greatest bias may be more about what it didn’t ask than what it did. The survey had more than 100 questions, but none about the leading controversies in Eugene, such as: Should the city sell City Hall and rent space? Should the city move its police headquarters out of downtown? Should the police be more accountable? Should taxes increase for more police and jailers? Should the city divert state school revenue for urban renewal? Should the city continue giving tax breaks to developers and corporations? Should the unelected city managers that design all city surveys have so much power? — Alan Pittman
NAZI INSIGNIA IN LGBTQA OFFICE
A black swastika, spray-painted onto the floor of the UO Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer Alliance’s office, was discovered by a UO facilities custodian at 1 am Monday, Feb. 1.
Alex Esparza, LGBTQA co-director, woke to a 7 am phone call from UO’s educational support services with news that the LGBTQA office had been vandalized. “Initially, I was frightened, then shocked, then I was sad, then I was angry. And I have pretty much stayed angry since,” said Esparza.
Apparently, the door to the LGBTQA office in the UO’s EMU was unlocked. “We aren’t sure how this happened,” said Sinjin Carey, ASUO sexual and gender diversity advocate.
The 4 x 4-ft. swastika was spray-painted onto the LGBTQA carpet in front of the office front door, and LGBTQA’s computer monitor and television were spray-painted.
“Personally, I am very scared,” said Katherine Prince, outreach coordinator for the UO’s Multicultural Center, “as a person of color, as a person who is active in the community.”
No one has been charged, but some students are speculating about a possible connection between the ongoing controversies of the Pacifica Forum’s relationship with the larger community.
“I honestly believe this stems from the climate that has been fostered on campus by the Pacifica Forum’s establishment here,” said Esparza.
Billy Rojas, Pacifica Forum participant and presenter, denied the connection. “All of us strongly object to that kind of thing,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we aren’t critical of the LGBTQA community, but this kind of thing is wrong, unethical, you name it.”
Carey described the university’s response as impressive. “We want a strong community response when this kind of thing happens.” He said. “So far, there has been a lot of solidarity.”
UO facilities custodians removed the piece of carpet from the office at 9 am. A white poster with several personalized notes of support temporarily fills the open space on the LGBTQA office’s floor.
The UO administration is now discussing the prospect of installing video monitors in the EMU. However, Prince is not optimistic. “I don’t know where the money will come from and how it will be managed,” she said. “I don’t think it will make a difference.”
Events the LGBTQA has planned are meant to “foster solidarity and unity with the greater campus and Eugene community,” according to its website they include an “Anti-Hate Forum” from 5 to 7 pm Thursday, Feb. 4, in the Ben Linder Room in the EMU, and a Breaking Bigotry’s Protest and Rally at 2:30 pm Friday, Feb. 5, outside Johnson Hall on campus. — Deborah Bloom
EDITOR’S NOTE: Check our blog for updates.
TEMPLE GRANDIN: AUTISM AND ANIMALS
It’s a bit of an oxymoron, but Temple Grandin tries to help animals by giving them a better death.
The professor of animal science is coming to the UO to speak about the understanding that she has developed through her autism of the emotional life of animals, and talk about her practical and ethical guidelines for the care and slaughter of livestock. She is the author of several books on autism, animals and animal husbandry, and her life is the subject of an HBO movie starring Claire Danes premiering Feb. 6.
Grandin will speak about “My Experiences with Autism and Animals,” at 7:30 pm Tuesday, Feb. 9, in 282 Lillis Hall at the UO. Her talk is free and open to the public.
Grandin designs livestock handling systems that reduce stress on the animals as they make their way towards slaughter. The concept of humane slaughter is not one that many vegans and vegetarians agree with, but it makes sense to Grandin. “I feel very strongly that we’ve got to give animals a decent life,” she said in a recent phone interview with EW. In an article on employees in slaughter plants she writes, “The paradox is that it is difficult to care about animals but be involved in killing them.”
Grandin’s work has caused controversy among animal rights activists who argue that her work simply allows people to feel better about eating animals.
While Grandin is best known for her designs for more humane slaughter plants for cattle, she says the insights she has gained from “being a visual thinker” through her autism apply to animals from cows to chickens: “I think all species think in pictures, in sensory. Animals don’t have language so they think in pictures. They think in auditory; they think in touch sensations.”
Grandin says she too thinks in pictures, which is what has helped her to understand what causes stress and fear in animals. According to Grandin, thinking in pictures doesn’t make an animal less conscious. In her article, “Do Animals and People with Autism Have True Consciousness?” she points out that if thinking in language determines consciousness, then “I would have to conclude that as an autistic person who does not think in language that I am not conscious.”
When she first began her work, she noticed all the things that might bother a cow as it goes through a chute, “Shadows and shiny spots — no one had bothered to look at it from the cattle’s eye view,” she says. “Seems obvious now, but back then it was radical.”
“They notice some little thing that looks out of place,” she says.
Over half of the slaughterhouses in the U.S. use the methods Grandin designed, according to her webpage, while fast food companies like McDonalds have tried to improve their images through only purchasing meat slaughtered at the more humanely designed plants.
“When I first started out, Grandin says, “I thought I could fix the whole world with engineering.”
“Now I found I can only fix half of it through engineering,” she says. In addition to her designs, she has also created a system for rating the sloughter houses, she says, “I’ve designed better slaughter houses but that’s only half of it, the other half is management.”
“I developed a very simple scoring system for evaluating slaughter houses,” she says. It tells the company, “Am I getting better or am I getting worse?”
For those of us who don’t think in pictures, but want to share her insights into animal behavior, she says, “If you want to understand animals, you’ve got to move away from language. You have to kind of shut your eyes and think about what are you seeing? What are you hearing? What are you smelling?” — Camilla Mortensen
RAISING BUCKS FOR HAITI
Organizations, businesses, entertainers and schools all over Lane County are still busy raising money for nonprofits helping save lives and rebuilding Haiti following the disastrous earthquake last month. Here are only a few.
• The Good Earth Home, Garden & Living Show Jan. 22-24 raised $21,969 for Haiti relief with Oregon-based Medical Teams International (MTI), according to Karen Ramus of Berg Productions. The show was free but vendors and show attendees gave $11,969 and Berg Productions wrote a matching check for $10,000.
MTI volunteers and staff worked a small exhibit booth and a table in the lobby of the show. Ramus says the $21,969 would fund 11 doctors in their clinical work in Haiti for a whole month. Currently MTI has 31 volunteers in Haiti and have delivered more than $1.5 million in supplies — enough to help 45,000 people. This week MTI airlifted an additional 4,500 of medical supplies to Haiti.
• A fundraising concert was held at the Eugene Waldorf School last weekend, raising $932 in cash and six boxes of clothing to support Bumi Sehat’s Women and Children’s Clinic in Haiti. The organization sent a team of seven medics and midwives Jan. 29 to assist with the thousands of Haitian women having babies without hospitals or even adequate sanitation. The village-based nonprofit organizes volunteers around the world.
• Another school doing fundraisers is Parker Elementary in Eugene. “The students came to the student council with the idea of doing a fundraiser for earthquake devastated Haiti,” says Principal Scott Marsh in an email to parents. The students set a goal of $500, but at last count have raised $1,316 through various activities.
• Doctors Without Borders was the beneficiary of a “Jam 4 Haiti” with local musicians and beer garden at the Vets Club Jan. 30. No word on the dollars collected.
• Michael Schapiro of the Haitian Sustainable Development Foundation (HSDF) says the Jan. 23 fundraiser at Pizza Research Institute raised “a considerable amount of funding for the efforts in Haiti as well as [increased] awareness and support to our own community in Eugene.” he says, “The silent auction was a huge success.”
HSDF plans to have more benefits including an authentic Haitian Creole Dinner benefit in April. More information at HSDF at sustainablehaiti.org
• “Yoga for Haiti” is an all-day yoga event planned for 9 am to 5 pm Saturday, Feb. 6, at Guy Lee Elementary School gym, 755 Harlow Road. Springfield. Several local yoga instructors are volunteering their time and all proceeds will go to support the nonprofit Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team (www.amurthaiti.org) stationed in Haiti.
• The Students of St. Thomas More Catholic Campus ministry are sponsoring a “day of caring” for Haiti Saturday, Feb. 6. A clothing rummage sale will be from 8 am to 3 pm with all proceeds going to Haiti Disaster Relief. An evening of music with Dr. Edwin Coleman and friends, featuring Charmaine Coleman, will begin at 8 pm at the Newman Center, 1850 Emerald Street.
• Local businesses last week donated some of their proceeds to the local Red Cross chapter, according to Executive Director Chris Pryor. They included Johnny Ocean’s Grille in Oakway Center, the new Bedrock Organic Coffee on Coburg Road, Tasty Thai Kitchen on Willamette, Rally Coffee Roasters on Franklin Boulevard and in Cottage Grove, and the Daily Bagel in Village Loop Plaza.
ELLIOTT, CLEARCUTS AND CARBON
Carbon storage and clearcuts for kids? At the State Land Board meeting in Salem Feb. 9, the board members will decide on one of the possible fates for the Elliott State Forest. The options included selling it, but staff have recommended a proposal that seeks to both increase the amount of logging on the forest, but also take the forest’s potential for carbon storage into consideration.
Louise Solliday, director of the Department of State Lands, confirmed that the board will be asked to approve a recommendation that the 2004 Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) continue to be revised, with a deadline of Dec. 31, 2011, and that the potential for carbon storage markets for the forest be taken into consideration.
The board — Secretary of State Kate Brown, Gov. Ted Kulongoski and State Treasurer Ben Westlund — makes decisions on state lands, including the fate of this coastal rainforest that is both home to threatened species such as Coho salmon and marbled murrelets, and is a money-generating holding of Oregon’s Common School Fund.
Dan Kruse of Cascadia Wildlands, a group which has been advocating to preserve the Elliott from logging and to consider carbon storage markets, said that CW has “some major concerns” about the 2004 HCP which calls for an increase to logging 40 million board feet of trees.
“We’re happy that they’re considering this carbon market, Kruse said, “and non-extraction ways to find money for schools, but we’re still concerned about clearcuts for kids.” — Camilla Mortensen
• Eugene’s Climate and Energy Action Plan discussions continue with a look at health and social services Thursday, Feb. 4, and natural resources March 4. The meetings are held from 6 to 9 pm at the EWEB community meeting room, 500 E. 4th Ave. More information at www.sustaineugene.com/eugeneclimate
• J Street, the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement, is launching its national field program this week with a kick-off celebration in Eugene to coincide with similar events across the country. The Eugene event will be at 7 pm Thursday, Feb. 4, at Temple Beth Israel, 1175 E. 29th Ave. (The time was listed incorrectly in last week’s Activist Alert.) J Street’s Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami will speak via national simulcast.
• Cultural anthropologist Jessaca Leinaweaver Ph.D., will talk about her experience living in Peru for two years where she researched Peru’s methods of adoption, and the traditional ways children within that culture move among families. The free event is at 6 pm Thursday, Feb. 4, at the Eugene Public Library.
• A free meeting on “Indoor Air Quality & the Built Environment: Designing Buildings to Create Healthy Air” is planned for noon to 1 pm Tuesday, Feb. 9, at the Eugene Downtown Library. Speaker is Karen Chase, MBA, MSPH, Oregon Housing & Community Services. RSVP to 682.5541 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lane Area Herbicide Spray Schedule
• Near Marcola Schools/Parsons Creek: Weyerhaeuser NR Company (746-2511) will aerially spray 32 acres in Township 16 South, Range 2 West, Section 12 for Weyerhaeuser Company Springfield Operations (988-7502) with 2,4-D LV6, Atrazine, Velpar DF(hexazinone), Oust (sulfometuron methyl), Oust XP, SFM, Westar, Spyder, Transline (clopyralid), and Accord Concentrate (glyphosate) herbicides starting March 1 to April 30 (Notification No. 2010-771-00262). Call Weyerhaeuser numbers above, and call Marvin Vetter, Oregen Department of Forestry Stewardship Forester at 726-3588 for more information.
Compiled by Jan Wroncy, Forestland Dwellers: 342-8332, www.forestlanddwellers.org
• Last week’s cover art was part of a bench by Lilli Ann and Marvin Rosenberg, found in the children’s section of the Eugene Public Library.
• In last week’s cover story, Eloise Damrosch, executive director of Portland’s Regional Arts and Culture Council, was misidentified.
• Jane DeGidio’s celebration of life was Jan. 28 at Beall Hall on the UO campus. Lyllye Parker paid her the compliment probably most important to Jane. Lylle came to the UO in mid-life, with two children, and after a long absence from academic work. Jane assisted her in every way, enabling her to graduate and move into her own career in student services. She made the difference, as Lylle put it. That’s what Jane tirelessly urged hundreds, maybe thousands of students to do: Make a difference. She was born in 1946 and died in late 2009 from complications of breast cancer.
In 1969 she started as a counselor at the UO, working up to dean of students and other high posts in student affairs. After she retired, she became assistant dean of student affairs at Zayad University in the United Arab Emirates. As Joanne Ferrero, another speaker at the celebration, said, “Jane’s community reaches around the world.” It’s so appropriate that she will continue assisting students through the Dr. Jane DeGidio Memorial Scholarship. Checks made payable to the UO Foundation, with “Dr. Jane DeGidio Memorial Scholarship” in the memo line, can be sent to the Foundation at 160 E. 10th Ave., Eugene 97401-3273.
• We broke the news about Jerry Rust pondering a return to the County Commission in this column back in our Jan. 7 issue and we’re pleased to see he’s made it official. His roots run deep in western Lane County but he’s also a global citizen with an impressive resume. Also filed for the West Lane seat so far are Jay Bozievich, Tony McCown, Fred Star, David William Northey and Anselmo Villanueva. Will any of these candidates drop out now that Rust is in the ring?
Bozievich, formerly on the LCC Board, has the most name familiarity of the three, and likely the most resources; but he also carries a lot of baggage as a highly partisan and outspoken supporter of neocon values. Back in the 2004 presidential election, he reportedly sent a note to fellow Libertarians/Republicans urging sign-waving on Ferry Street Bridge, saying “Let’s show the D’s that Bush supporters don’t run from terrorist[s]!” Who were the terrorists? Kerry supporters.
Speaking of Bozievich, we hear he showed up at the Jerry Rust campaign kick-off and handed a camcorder to a young fellow who proceeded to videotape, close-up, the faces and words of everyone there, raising a lot of eyebrows. What’s that all about?
• Why so many candidates in County Commission races? More are popping up each week: six for the West Lane seat and five for the Springfield seat. Is it the power, the glory, the public service, the steady paycheck? Or is it a strategy to split the vote? In nonpartisan city and county elections, the candidate exceeding 50 percent of the votes goes on unchallenged on the November ballot. If conservatives can force a November run-off, they expect to have more time, more money, and a bigger voter turnout. But progressives could also use this strategy to unseat conservatives, or at least force them to spend money and energy in defense. It bugs us to see nobody, so far, filing to run against right-wing City Councilors Mike Clark and George Poling.
Former commissioner Steve Cornacchia is considering the crowded Springfield commissioner race. The attorney for developers got booted off the commission by Bill Dwyer, and apparently has unfinished business. Did the pro-sprawl Republican really switch his party affiliation to Democrat? Reminds us of Jim Torrey abandoning the Republicans before his last failed mayoral race. You can take the boy out of the party, but you can’t take the party out of the boy. And we hear Faye Stewart might have two challengers for the East Lane post. Gary Kutcher has already filed, and Tom Brandt of Marcola is meeting this week with the Cottage Grove Blackberry Pie Society to talk about his ambitions.
• Hey Springfield residents, we see there’s a big move afoot by city staff and councilors to expand your urban growth boundary. Councilor Dave Ralston, now a candidate for county commissioner, wants to bust out the Springfield UGB all the way to Idaho. Lost in the conversation is serious concern for the impact of suburban and industrial land growth on local property taxes and fees. Who’s going to pay for all those new streets and lights, sewer and water lines, police officers and schools? Yep, it will be you, the property owners and renters. System development charges never cover the hidden costs of expansion, and recruiting new industries nearly always comes with promises of tax breaks and other subsidies. Springfield land speculators will rake in millions under the pretense of “creating jobs.” It’s their dirty little secret. Eugene isn’t much more enlightened on these issues, but at least we fight about them.
• Let’s watch a U.S. Senate race in 2010 that could be pivotal. Roxanne Conlin, a tough personal injury lawyer in Des Moines, is going after Chuck Grassley, Republican senator way off to the right. A former president of the American Trial Lawyers Association, Conlin is going after the big money needed to win this seat. Iowa politicos say she has the best shot at beating Grassley, if anybody can.
The daughter of the director of the Scripps Institution in San Diego, Peggy Spiess grew up in a neighborhood of oceanographers. After high school, she worked on farms in England and Iowa, then enrolled in animal science at Oregon State. “I also took a course in animal rights and human obligations. It changed everything,” says Spiess, who left OSU, came to the UO, majored in fine art, and played field hockey. After graduation in 1980, she started working at the New Frontier Market, where she met her husband, Tom DeLigio, in the walk-in cooler. They raised two kids and had 20-year careers in health-food stores, including Solstice, Oasis, Sundance, and Red Barn. “We could write a novel about health food stores in Eugene,” she says. When DeLigio got a job in the school district 10 years ago, he worked with a kid who was visually impaired. Unemployed at the time, Spiess learned braille to help with his lessons. She is now one of three part-time braillists in the district, and one of 30 music braillists in the U.S. She also plays marimba with the band Kudana and paints in her backyard art studio (behind her in the photo). She has taken a hiatus from the annual Mayor’s Art Show after five straight successful entries.