Letters to the Editor: 7-18-2013


For the last eight years it has been my pleasure to serve on the Lane County Parks Advisory Board, and last year I was the chair of the Advisory Committee. I am writing to complain about the recalcitrance of right-wing Republican commissioners who for months neglected to even nominate any candidates for the three openings on the board and caused the Advisory Committee to be basically handcuffed from any activity. This right-wing ploy resulted in a whole year being wasted because there was no quorum to enact any motions. It wasn’t until the board went directly to the commissioners and begged them to act, that two of the elephantine commissioners finally came up with their appointees.

Faye Stewart still has not even put anyone forward — just told the county to “pick someone” — after all these months of inaction! This is the same commissioner who supported Seneca Timber’s fabricated and flawed lawsuit against Democratic commissioners, and who is trying to hoodwink the county into giving his developer friends the McDougals and Demers our drinking water from the McKenzie!

This is a reflection of the same “calcified partisanship” that national Republicans have shown, dragging their pachyderm feet on everything, effectively negating the governance of this country!

Enough of this Republican runaround! We need new commissioners, ones who will actually do their jobs, and not just do favors for their moneyed friends! We need commissioners like Kevin Matthews, who cares about Lane County and who’s been working to help our area for years!

Cat Koehn, Fall Creek


Mayor Kitty Piercy says that there may be a million dollars available to build a new shelter for the homeless. She says that the city has a revenue source from a developer.

The mayor says it is time for the city to stop fooling around with camping and meet the obvious need to provide a safe legal place for homeless persons to be.

Her statement is precipitated by Eugene Mission turning itself into more of a rehab and no longer being an emergency night shelter as of this August. 

The service community could expand this, perhaps getting matching grants to help with several distinct shelters, not just one big one. 

Wet beds, accessible shelters for disabled persons, a women’s shelter, expanded spaces for families, expanded spaces for unaccompanied children, a place focused on working people (including night shift), parking access for people with vehicles, places for homeless students, a place for together couples now accommodated only at the short Egan Warming Centers stays, etc. All are current needs. 

St. Vinny’s, Shelter Care, LILA, First Place Family Center, Looking Glass, Station 7, Womenspace, etc., are services with histories of offering shelter and might attract additional foundation moneys if they get some of the city’s million for shelter.

The homeless persons support community needs to get proposals together quick. Campsites are being destroyed now. 

Remember “the $100,000 for homeless people” the homeless never got? It was spent for other city efforts, including a dog shelter!

 Jerry Smith, MSW, Eugene


Liberal peace marchers and Ron Paul supporters alike should be able to agree on the utterly simple fact that the U.S. military is creating new terrorists faster than it can kill the existing ones. As though we need further reminding, I encourage patriotic U.S. citizens of all stripes to go see Dirty Wars playing at the new Bijou Metro theater downtown.

Journalist Jeremy Scahill has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trying to expose the dark and secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Scahill went to Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere and learned more about a branch of U.S. foreign policy that can easily be described as psychopathic. Exhibiting towering arrogance, JSOC goes where it wants showering cruise missiles and predator drone strikes on anyone it deems a threat — including U.S. citizens. Many innocent civilian men, women and children are killed in these strikes. JSOC hires mercenaries, arms warlords and sanctions torture. The bitter, anti-American sentiment is palpable on the screen.

If you want the U.S. to be safe from the threat of terrorism, please go see Dirty Wars and learn how the “War on Terror” is having just the opposite effect.

Robert Bolman, Eugene


As a newcomer to Eugene, I’m seeing lots of things I’ve never seen before.

 I love the “stack” — people don’t take a bag to the store and they don’t buy a bag, they just stack their groceries and walk them home. The preferred shape seems to be a square column supported on double palms. Bananas seem to be especially useful for holding it all together. These grocery-carrying genies make it look easy, so serenely they walk.

And the free piles. Nothing to do with hemorrhoids, it’s the Eugene practice of dumping your unwanted stuff, especially clothes, in the grass next to the street, maybe on some corner. Although kind of messy during the rainy season, the practice is awesome. Bypass the corporate used clothing infrastructure and give your stuff to people who want it. Yay, Eugene.

And I’m impressed with the quirky implementations of Eugene’s non-snobbish bicycle culture: cyclists on every kind of contraption, in their underwear or polka-dot dresses, carrying camp stools, tents, pizzas, cases of beer. Skateboards are similarly integrated with life, used for serious transportation while eating and practicing drum solos.

But the thing that’s really odd about Eugene: Cats everywhere in the world run away when strangers come down the sidewalk. But in Eugene, cats come up to strangers and request, sometimes even demand, an ear scratch and tummy rub. This can only happen in a town where the vibe has been raised so high that cats know you’re groovy whoever you are — and where dogs ride in bike trailers with smiles on their faces.

Gayla Groom, Eugene


Regarding the “Trouble with Tributaries” cover story by Amy Schneider June 20: Some time ago I submitted an idea to various people regarding Amazon Creek. I still think it is a good idea — perhaps a little dingy — but worthy of some consideration, not only for here, but everywhere.

During the dry months, pump water from the Willamette into Amazon Creek, using solar power to operate the pumps. We now have pumps that will make the Rhine River run backwards. If this is possible it would then be made a permanent installation with underground pipes, etc. Operating these small pumps 24/7 would only require a small amount of water to keep the creek flowing at a good rate. The water used would be returned to the Willamette.

This would accomplish a lot of things over the full length of the creek: mosquito control, better quality of life for the wild life, flush out all kinds of bad things, a better community, etc.

Why doesn’t somebody analyze the creek at the end of the current dry spell? See what kind of shape it is in? I’m sure there are a lot more really good reasons, and there should be a government grant to see if it would work.

Frank Skipton, Springfield


Dear supporters of independent living in the Eugene-Springfield area: As you may know, I have been an activist all my life, especially for human rights in mental health. Seven months ago I broke my neck. I am now at home pursuing independent living, thanks to the many supporters who have participated in my rehab. I am writing to you today because I need a little more help.

• Paid jobs. We have assembled a wonderful team of aids who are helping me to live independently. We still need to fill two openings on my team. (Michael, one of the folks on my team has told us: “I came to work for David because I was interested in his life-long pursuit of activism.”) While these positions will eventually require a provider number from DHS/Senior and Disabled Services, we encourage anyone to apply. If you don’t already have a provider number, we can help you attain one. For more information about these positions please email davidwoaks@gmail.com.

 • Free housing. We have one more special position where you would live free in our studio/garden cottage in exchange for helping out my wonderful wife, Debra.

 • There is a brand new two-minute video about me available at supportdavidoaks.org. This video is brief. Please view and share with your network.

 David W. Oaks, Eugene


Dear city of Eugene: I work downtown in the heart of this glorious community filled with colorful people and hanging baskets of flowers that tower the streets. We all put a lot of time into making our downtown welcoming; however, over the last few weeks I’ve been noticing an up hurl, literally, of the amount of vomit that is left behind. 

On June 29 I came in to do a local radio show in the All Comedy studios in the Broadway Commerce Center and there were three piles of puke within a block. Yuck! This was 9 am Saturday, and on Sunday I was driving around town watching the flowers get watered thinking to myself: If someone gets paid to water the flowers, shouldn’t someone get paid to clean the streets as well? 

Here’s where it gets really crusty. It’s now Tuesday, more than 72 hours from the original puke pile sighting, and I can’t believe what I just saw — the same puke, the same place — 72 hours later. The thing is, it’s in a very visible spot right by a crosswalk noticeable by anyone who walks by.

 Please, use our tax dollars to clean our streets before you think about “lighting” them up.

 Jennifer Meyer, Eugene


Smart meters will do absolutely nothing for EWEB ratepayers except increase their bill dramatically and permanently. 

One would think that EWEB management and commissioners would be intelligent enough to recognize that their PR jargon around spending $30 million on this is a lie, yet they repeat it over and over. It isn’t about radio frequency pollution. We already have tons of that, and adding one more device that transmits data on a sub-audible sound wave won’t matter one iota.

 What will matter is that once people get smart meters, and then begin to turn their appliances off and on based on the daily timing of inexpensive off-peak power as opposed to expensive peak power, the actual effect (because of consumers’ market behavior) would be to even out both the cost of all power, as well as the momentary grid loads that supply that power. There would no longer be peak or off-peak energy, but simply flat-rate energy, at an averaged cost equal to the present cost. There would be no economic benefit whatsoever to consumers who had just watched their public utility spend $30 million on smart meters. The net benefit to EWEB customers would therefore actually be negative. 

The net effect on the environment will also be negative because peak power and off-peak power are supplied by different generation technologies. Once there is no longer any distinction between peak and off-peak demand because the value of electricity has been equalized by smart consumers using smart meters, the operators of these various generation technologies will all be competing for market share. Which of these technologies is actually cheapest? Coal. The cheapest power will trump the others, so smart meters are actually a really stupid idea.

Den Ramsey, Eugene


During the fireworks on the Fourth of July (on Skinner Butte) around 10 pm to midnight, there was an extraordinary amount of UFO sightings during the fireworks display to everyone’s surprise. I was not the only one to notice red orbs coming from far over the valley and flying directly into the fireworks display, and through them and then simply vanishing or continuing to fly farther away. 

How low these objects were, the physics behind their movement and their noted behavior disproves that it could possibly be a satellite or a drone, not to mention if you YouTube videos about UFO sightings these occurrences are happening on every continent. If this process had not repeated itself multiple times, and if there were not giant white orbs of light flying around Eugene that night as well, glowing very bright white, then glowing very dim, repeating this process, I would not be writing this. 

It seems rather peculiar to me that there has not been more attention drawn towards this, as whatever is in the sky obviously wants to be seen. Another interesting note is if you search on YouTube, on June 1 the Canadian prime minister of defense held a public press conference disclosing the existence of ETs on earth and the U.S. involvement with them, but there was a media blackout on this. Other countries this year and in the past few years have also made disclosure, but I notice reluctance from many U.S. citizens to look up into the sky.

Iaian Muth, Eugene


Oh sigh! We’re gay-bashing again. But, actually, I’m sick of the bashing of any group — homosexuals, bicyclists, immigrants, transgendered folk, homeless people, people of color, Muslims! These seem to be the main targets of the moment, but your group could most definitely be next. Why the intolerance? Why the fear? Why can’t we “just get along”? It’s sad and it’s dangerous to everybody.

Jay Moseley, Eugene


Sorry to say but Civic Stadium needs to go. Its time has passed. If anybody has money to spare they can give it to School District 4J for supplies or to hire more teachers. We don’t need another Fred Meyer either. What we need are local construction jobs followed by local permanent jobs with the main money made staying in the city, county and state. 

4J could use some regular money coming in not governed by city councils or legislatures — they should lease the land. What we need is an Indian casino. Really. A 20-year lease and then the tribe gets the land.

 Jeff Krueger, Eugene


Reading “Four To Three Lane Redesign Could Be Safer” [News, 7/11], maybe I missed an earlier article about the environmental impact of reducing through traffic on South Willamette Street from four lanes to two. If cutting the number of through lanes in half results in a 30 second increase in travel time during rush hours, then where is the analysis of how many additional seconds, minutes and hours vehicles would be pumping pollutants into south Eugene as 15,500 cars, trucks or buses go through each day? I believe it will take at least 30 seconds longer all day, which translates to an additional five cars, trucks or buses running 24 hours a day up and down those five blocks. A choice for three lanes is a choice for both increased global warming and decline in air quality. 

I trust the opinion of Fire Chief Randy Groves over street engineer Scott Mansur as to how reducing lanes would affect emergency vehicles, and Groves has stated that it could be a problem. I haven’t heard about some rash of horrible accidents on that stretch and neither have you. Enforce the speed limit we have and let’s keep our already dirty air a little cleaner.

 Ross Daniels, South Eugene


I was wondering if the Oregon State Police is anti-UO or something. The morning after the UO graduation in June, there must have been 10 or more patrol cars lined up on Interstate 5 southbound lanes. It seemed they were pulling over vehicles with UO stickers and especially those from out of state. Are they Beaver fans or don’t  they want us to visit your state?

Ann Rey, Pasadena

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