News Briefs: Rhino Gets a Makeover | New Plans for Old Dealership | State Bank Coalition Looks Ahead | Third of UO is Sports | Spud Growing in Leaf Piles Goes Global | Activist Alert | War Dead | Lighten Up
Auditing the Auditor
Council ignores police complainants
Slant: Short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes
RHINO GETS A MAKEOVER
BRING Recycling in Glenwood is preparing for its 40th birthday bash with music, food, art, demonstrations and a refurbished rhinoceros.
Jabali, the lifelike black rhino who lives in BRING’s bioswale, has been hauled off to Old Dominion Collision Repair Center in Eugene for “a facial, mud wrap and some discrete body work,” says Sonja Snyder, campaign director for the nonprofit.
The fiberglass rhino originally served as a spokesmodel for Rhino Linings before retiring to greener pastures at BRING.Her name, which means “strong as a rock” in Swahili, was the winning entry in a naming contest among BRING newsletter subscribers.
Jabali will be one of the main attractions at the free event from 10 am to 4 pm Sunday, July 24, in BRING’s Garden of Earthly Delights at the BRING Planet Improvement Center at 4446 Franklin Blvd. in Glenwood.The festivities include live music, kids activities, demonstrations, reuse crafts and plants for sale, art exhibit, community booths, food booths and free coffee by Café Mam. LTD will provide free bus passes to the event.
Also on July 24, BRING Gallery inside the retail store will host an unusual fashion show and exhibit featuring “re-creations” by some of the areas most innovative designers. The show includes elaborate costumes, funky fashion and practical everyday wear including many pieces made from nontraditional scrap materials.
Participating artists are Linda Anthony, Mitra Chester, Debrah DeMirza, Laura Lee Laroux, Tylar Merrill, Lesley Neufeld, Diana Shampang-Voohries, Terrisa West and Becky Wright.
An artists reception will be from noon to 2 pm. The exhibit runs through Sept. 9.
For more information on the July 24 event, contact Nicole Holck at email@example.com
NEW PLANS FOR OLD DEALERSHIP
Looking at the old Romania car dealership on Franklin Boulevard, its hard to imagine what it was like during its heyday back in the 1960s and 70s. Back then, the wall of glass was bright and squeaky clean, a window into a dazzling display room showcasing the latest Chevrolet models. The parking lot, now empty and in a losing battle with the local flora, once played host to legions of Cameros, Chevelles, Corvairs and Corvettes, the chrome polished to perfection.
|Plywood covers the lower glass panels of the old showroom. Photo by Ted Taylor|
Now it stands along Franklin as a reminder of older times, the distinctive 50s Googie futuristic architecture sorely out of place among the new development around it. The glitz and glamour is gone, replaced with hard asphalt and the occasional discarded beer bottle. Many say its an eyesore, a relic that should be demolished to make way for something better. Others point out that the building made its way onto Oregons National Register of Historical Places and should be restored to its former glory.
The UO, which acquired the property in 2007, has set up a consulting team to decide just what to do with the currently derelict building. Spearheaded by Lorig Associates, a real estate development firm based out of Seattle, the project will develop several possible uses for the building and present them to the public in mid-August.
“The university is not entirely sure what the best use of the land might be,” said Christopher Ramey, associate vice president for Campus Planning and Real Estate, via email. “This is the point of commissioning the study. We expect to know considerably more about what our options are when the study is completed.”
The study has three goals: to get input from the community on what the best use of the land might be, analyze the market with the possibility of selling the property to private interests, and create scenarios for development.
Because the building is on the National Register, potential developers are faced with a unique dilemma. If they choose to keep the building, they have to abide by the myriad regulations laid down by the state designed to preserve the original design. The National Register does not, however, protect a building from being razed to the ground, which then allows the developer or the UO to do whatever they want with the property, including just building another big parking lot.
Right now the UO is still considering its options. The building and land are too far away from the rest of campus to house what are referred to as “core university needs” ãclassrooms, faculty offices, libraries, labs and other areas related to education, which limits its usefulness.
“At this point in the process we dont want to rule things out (with the noted exceptions),” said Ramey via email. “What we are looking for in the study is what kinds uses might make sense, and we dont want to constrain the thinking at this point.” ã Nils Holst
STATE BANK COALITIONLOOKS AHEAD
Despite failing to pass both HB 3452 and SB 889, the coalition to create a state bank of Oregon is optimistic and looking towards the legislative short session beginning in February 2012 to build on the gains made in this session.
Barbara Dudley, co-chair of the Working Families Party, wrote in a recent essay in The Nation that the state bank coalition is a “grassroots” campaign anchored by the Working Families Party campaign and includes activists and organizations that represent small businesses, family farms, rural and urban communities as well as labor unions.
Steve Hughes of the Oregon Working Families Party said growing the campaign between now and the February session will focus on a new initiative called “Oregon Banks Local.”
Hughes noted that right now 80 percent of bank deposits in Oregon are held by large, publicly traded banks with headquarters out of state. Much of this money is not staying in Oregon.Hughes says that the advantage of banking local with a lending organization that is not tied to Wall Street banks is that these institutions are answering to a different set of financial motivators.
“Whereas a Wall Street bank has to maximize profit and operates with often very short time horizons, community banks have the ability to practice what we call •patient capital,” he says. “In other words, they have the ability to evaluate loans based on a broader set of criteria and can afford to invest in main street businesses that may not turn a massive profit right away.”
The Oregon Workers Party is not proposing a retail bank that would compete with local banks and credit unions.What they are proposing is defined in Dudleys Nation article, “a bankers bank that would partner with local financial intuitions to shore up their lending capabilities through participation loans.”This would decentralize banking power.She calls this an “exercise in the FDR tradition of saving capitalism from itself.”
Hughes says the campaign is going back to where it began with its grassroots “Move Your Money” campaign, attempting to build a broad base of support and connect “Bank Local” with established “Buy Local” and “Eat Local” campaigns.
Hughes says that during the just-concluded legislative session, some of the campaigns most prominent supporters were small business advocates and family farm organizations ã the very business owners who need access to this kind of capital.
Oregon Working Families Party is a minor political party that can be found at http://oregonwfp.org ã Philip Shackleton
THIRD OF UO IS SPORTS
Just how big is sports at the UO? A third of the value of all the buildings at the UO are sports related and a fifth of all the revenue and spending at the institution of higher education goes to sports, according to a 2010 UO report to the NCAA.
The UOs annual revenue and expenditure report to the athletic association reported that the book value of all the athletic facilities at the UO is $277 million, and athletics brought in $122 million in revenue.
Most of the revenue, 60 percent, came in from contributions to the UO Athletic Department. About 60 percent of the contributions, about $45 million, were related to Phil Knight giving the new jock-in-the-box, athletes-only study center. This year Knight is building an even bigger building for football administrators, but the Nike CEO and the UO havent said how much it will cost.
Most of the big sports money at the UO, of course, is football-related. Football directly brought in 84 percent of the revenue the UO identified by sport in the report. Basketball brought in 12 percent, leaving just 4 percent for all the other womens and mens sports.
Football brought in $15 million in ticket sales and $7 million in NCAA distributions including bowl games.
The football program also spends big money. The UO gave football coaches $4.5 million in direct pay and benefits. That includes $2 million in reportable direct compensation for the head coach and an average of $280,000 each for nine assistant football coaches.
The football players work for free for the high-paid coaches but get academic scholarships, aid and health care worth about $38,000 per student, according to the UO report.
Sports at the UO get a $1.1 million subsidy from the state budget and a $1.5 million subsidy from student fees, according to the report.
Spending on womens sports and mens sports is not equal at the UO. The UO spent 74 percent of gender-allocated money on mens sports and 16 percent on women, according to the UO report. About 57 percent of athletic student aid at the UO goes to men.
The UO report to the NCAA was obtained by the UO Matters blog and posted online after a month of asking for it, according to the blog. ã Alan Pittman
SPUD GROWING IN LEAF PILES GOES GLOBAL
The Potato Leaf Project, a clever way to use waste leaves and grow food at the same time, is an example of a home-grown idea gone viral. The idea, which was first featured in a story in EW (12/30/10), is now making its way around the world.
The Potato Leaf Project came about by a group of participants in one of the “Sustainable Eugene” meetings held at the University Longhouse in November 2010. The idea was initially suggested by David Hazen, creator of The City of Peace, as a way to help those in need of jobs, income and food.
The initial goals of the project were to:
« Keep the leaves in neighborhoods by finding a place to use them in a planting project.
« Use potatoes because they are so easy to grow.
« Encourage the potential for business possibilities for the low-income and jobless. For example: starting a Mission Garden where homeless community members could tend to the growing.
« Additionally, the potatoes could be sold to local stores or simply prepared in storable food products and then sold. They could also be donated to FOOD for Lane County.
In November, leaves were ordered from the city of Eugenes Leaf Collection Program. When they were delivered, they were piled up in a neighborhood easement, which is the back alley of a street owned by the neighbors. The leaves were laid in a 100-foot row about 2 feet high to begin decomposition. In the spring, they were planted with seed potatoes (using many varieties for testing). As the spuds grew out of the pile, they were covered with more leaves to form mounds, which covered the new green growth under the leaves to promote more tuber growth. In August or September, the neighbors will harvest potatoes.
As of today, the testing goes on around the world. People in Guam, France, Spain, Texas, Arizona and around Lane County have been inspired by this process and are building their own potato patches. It is an ongoing event, and any other suggestions and participation are welcomed. ã Ginny Ducale, firstname.lastname@example.org
A version of this story first appeared at www.transitioneugene.org
« Streetcars will be the topic at City Club of Eugene at 11:45 am Friday, July 15, at the Hilton. Bob Krebs, former ODOT intercity rail coordinator, will speak and a representative of United Streetcar LLC of Clackamas will also attend.
« Planned Parenthoods Birds and the Bees Garden Party fundraiser with live music and food is from 5 to 8 pm Friday, July 15 at a location to be announced. Suggested donation is $10 for adults, $5 for kids. Purchase tickets at http://wkly.ws/12y
« The next volunteer clean-up at Civic Stadium will be from 10 am to noon Saturday, July 16. Bring hand tools, gloves and water.
« MoveOn is helping organize at least four local meetings in private homes Sunday, July 17 in its campaign called Rebuild the Dream. “The American Dream used to mean something in this country,” reads the email campaign message. “That if you put in a hard days work, you could expect good American wages, benefits, a dignified retirement, and a better life for your kids. Everyone wasnt in the middle class, but everyone believed that ã given a fair shot ã they could make it there. Thats the American Dream Im fighting for.” Information on the location of Eugene-area meetings and how many people have signed up for each one can be found at http://wkly.ws/12v and people can also sign up to host their own meetings.
« Lane County Democrats are holding their eighth annual Chili Cook-Off competition from noon to 3 pm Sunday, July 17, at Alton Baker Park Picnic Shelter #2. Live entertainment, food, raffle prizes, all for $5 suggested donation. Contact email@example.com or call (503) 927-8189. The next monthly meeting of the Lane County Democrats will be at 6:30 pm Thursday, July 21, at EWEB. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 484-5099. Dems will also be celebrating Obamas 50th birthday from 5 to 8 pm Thursday, Aug. 4, at an open house for their new offices at 228 E. 11th Ave. in Eugene. Find the DPLC newsletter at http://wkly.ws/12x
« A free talk on “The Evolution of LEED” will be from noon to 1 pm Tuesday, July 19, at the Eugene Downtown Library Tykeson Room. The next major revision of the green building rating system is due out in 2012. Speaker is Gabe Cross of New Axiom, LLC. RSVP to email@example.com or call Jenna at 682-5541.
« 1,647 U.S. troops killed* (1,638)
« 12,450 U.S. troops wounded in action (12,306)
« 887 U.S. contractors killed (763)
« $432.6 billion cost of war ($429.3 billion)
« $123 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($122.1 million)
« 4,421 U.S. troops killed (4,421)
« 31,922 U.S. troops wounded in action (31,922)
« 185 U.S. military suicides (updates NA)
« 1,542 U.S. contractors killed (1,537)
« 111,215 to 1.2 million civilians killed* (110,949)
« $786.7 billion cost of war ($785.5 billion)
« $223.7 million cost to Eugene taxpayers ($223.4 million)
Through July 11, 2011; sources: icasualties.org; defense.gov, U.S. Dept. of Labor
* highest estimate; source: iraqbodycount.org; based on confirmed media reports; other groups calculate Iraqi civilian deaths as high as 655,000 (Lancet survey, 2006) to 1.2 million (Opinion Research Business survey, 2008)
This years Duck football team looks good enough to beat all its opponents ã except, maybe, the NCAA.
« This weeks cover story takes a look inside Lane County government, and we discover its a mysterious institution with a cast of characters that would make a great TV drama. Its a mix of Law and Order with Survivor, Dirty Sexy Money and Californication. Actually, a tremendous amount of good work and critical services are provided by Lane County, but as county employees go about their essential work, we are observing a disturbing shift in leadership away from the sound thinking that would benefit the people of Lane County for generations. The bright ideas that support sustainability, local enterprise and self sufficiency are being shelved in favor of the same old outdated policies that favor polluting industries, resource extraction and criminal prosecution. This shift in policy by Men Behaving Badly is happening without the open, public process that was the hallmark of Commissioners Fleenor, Handy and Sorenson when they were in the majority.
Our new County Administrator Liane Richardson has not impressed us so far with her Lost in Space hiring and spending decisions. She still blames the spotted owl for Lane Countys economic woes. Is this The Twilight Zone?
« “Sticking your neck out” was the criteria for the 2011 Annual Turtle Awards handed out July 8 at the City Cub of Eugene meeting in the Hilton.Carmen Urbina, parent, community and diversity coordinator for School District 4J, and Dan Bryant, pastor of the First Christian Church, took the Turtles this year before a crowd including many former Turtle winners. Their speeches, after intros by Gerry Gaydos, Marion Malcolm and Guadalupe Quinn, reaffirmed the power of positive action.We need that today!
A cautionary note for futureTurtles from Dan Bryant: “If you’re going to stick your neck out, you better have a strong back.” KLCC broadcasts audio from City Club meetings at 6:30 pm Monday following the Friday meeting.This Fridays topic:”Back to the Future With the Streetcar” with Bob Krebs, former ODOT intercity rail coordinator.
« Last week we wrote about O.U.R. Federal Credit Union going into federal conservatorship. After we went to press we heard back from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and were told the agency was not at liberty to talk about specific problems at O.U.R. beyond the prepared statement that went out June 24. We have learned, however, that the federal team sent in is now auditing the credit union for poor management (such as alleged improper loans, excessive overhead, poor bookkeeping, inadequate reporting, etc.) and also for possible criminal activity. The FBI will further investigate any suspected illegal shenanigans.
We hope O.U.R. just needs a tune-up and some new parts and will continue to roll out its unique and valuable services for decades to come. If it does dissolve (all of its 2,184 accounts are insured), we would like to see NEDCO or some other local nonprofit fill in the gaps. The need for basic bank account services, financial education and small business start-up loans is now greater than ever.
« Raise the debt limit? It was a housekeeping vote seven times in the George W. Bush administration, but now the radical GOP leadership is fearful of its Tea Party base and is unwilling to even eliminate the outrageous tax credits and loopholes used by billionaires to support their lavish mansions, jets and overseas investments. As President Obama and Gov. Kitzhaber have discovered, tax reform is extremely difficult because every tax credit comes with a built-in lobby and paid-off lawmakers.
The Republican anti-tax rhetoric is really a smokescreen for another agenda: dismantling public education, social services, entitlements and environmental regulations. All these things get in the way of prosperity, according to those who want to “take back America from the socialists.” But conservatives would be wise to heed the growing gap between the rich and poor. Throughout history, when the rich arrogantly oppressed too many people, the peasants at some point grabbed their pitchforks and stormed the castles. The equivalent today would be a huge backlash at the polls.
SLANT includes short opinion pieces, observations and rumor-chasing notes compiled by the EW staff. Heard any good rumors lately? Contact Ted Taylor at 484-0519, editor at eugeneweekly dot com