Letters to the Editor: 9-26-2013


I am speaking up to support Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing (OMC). The proposed cohousing should be supported as a project for ecologically and socially sustainable dense cooperative housing, which, as a Ph.D. in urban studies, I can say is a model being adopted widely around the world as an alternative to sprawling growth. 

I live in the neighborhood and have been active in creating a sense of community and place here. OMC organizers live adjacent to the property and are invested in the quality of life of the community — I have met them while volunteering to improve the filbert grove, but have never seen constructive contributions from Lara Bovilsky. They own the property; it is not owned by the city or county as part of the Willamette River Greenway. It is not owned by a for-profit property development corporation.

Bovilsky’s objections, as articulated in a Viewpoint Sept. 19 in the Weekly, appear to be driven by fears rather than dialogues with the community. A review of the OMC project website reveals that they are not property developers along the lines that Bovilsky fears. They are not erecting ugly infill housing like other properties in the area, nor are they proposing huge low-income apartment buildings such as those planned for River Road. 

The only objection that I think has merit is the need for 50 parking spaces to serve 28 units. I don’t know if this is required by housing regulations, but I would suggest that the city support the community to adopt a car-sharing model that limits the number of cars needed. 

Please show up to the hearing Oct. 2 to support this progressive project.

Clare Strawn, Eugene


I am confused by Lara Bovilsky’s Sept. 19 Viewpoint, “Goodbye Greenway.” She asks that we tell the city not to approve any housing or commercial development for this parcel near the Greenway. It would interfere with the views of the river she and her neighbors now have.

If the folks who own the land are not going to be allowed to build their homes or do any other kind of development, it sounds like she wants the city to use our tax money and buy the land in order to keep it pristine, for the benefit of her and her neighbors.

Martin Henner, Eugene


The greenway in Eugene should be retained and protected as a green riparian edge to the Willamette River. As such, it serves many important functions, as a “parkland” for all of Eugene, a place of rich wildlife diversity and a filter for water runoff during times of rain. Its trees help cool the environment on warm days and generally help mitigate adverse climatic conditions. The greenway is wondrous and beautiful in its natural state.

It would be ill-advised and shortsighted to allow the development of the proposed Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing complex in the greenway. If realized, the complex would set an irresponsible precedent for the river’s edge.

As Lara Bovilsky expressed in her Sept. 19 viewpoint in the Eugene Weekly, “The Willamette Greenway should be our legacy, a treasury of protected natural space.”  

Nena Lovinger, Board Member, LandWatch Lane County


Dear city of Eugene officials:

We see your true colors shining through. We see your mercy, generosity and grace, and that’s why we love you. We see you permitting private landowners to build Conestoga huts. We see your true colors shining through. So don’t be afraid to take humane, kind action. We see you opening the way to safe sleeping for all.

We see your true colors, and that’s why we love you.

Joanna Brook, Promise Partner, Eugene


I wish to thank this wonderful community for all of their support during my difficult health situation. I cannot express how humbled I feel by the outpouring of support, greetings and messages sent during my recent surgery. 

I am fortunate to face this time of my life living in an area with such medical expertise and wish to publicly thank Dr. David Dehaas Jr., and the wonderful staff at RiverBend Hospital. I also thank Dr. Jeff Sharman of Willamette Valley Cancer Institute. 

The surgery was very successful at removing most of the cancer, but I will be facing six months of chemotherapy. It has been a slow and long process to identify my medical issues, and I am now on the road to a cure.

Lane County should know that it has developed a society supporting each other when they are down. Again, I cannot adequately express my thanks to everyone for their aid. I look forward to performing again soon.

Paul J. Biondi, Eugene


David Jensen (9/19) writes, “If we had more Jake Klonoskis and more Colin Powells, this would be a better world.”

I don’t know Klonoski’s record, but it is well documented that General Colin Powell is a war criminal.

As a young officer, Powell helped cover up the My Lai massacre. Later, he was tasked by War Secretary Caspar Weinberger to help with the Iran-Contra scandal by transferring weapons to the covert team working this project, which were sent to Iran, supposedly an enemy of the U.S. government.

As chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell engaged in aggressive war against the people of Panama, thousands were killed, no accurate death total was ever made public. 

Powell was involved in an even larger murder of Iraqis, mostly draftees (January to February 1991). Former Reagan administration Navy Secretary John Lehman reportedly estimated the casualty list was about 200,000, but since they were not Americans most people here didn’t care.

Finally, Powell will be most remembered for his shameful performance at the U.N. claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

President Obama reminds me more of Powell than Martin Luther King Jr. MLK denounced war and imperialism, unlike Obama or Powell, and that is why MLK was killed by the federal government.

The late Gore Vidal remarked that our country is the United States of Amnesia. Sports, electronic toys, celebrity scandals, sex, drugs and rock and roll are more popular than understanding our unfolding collapse.

See details at www.oilempire.us/powell.html.

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene


Oregonians should be proud that Sen. Jeff Merkley has helped lead the call for diplomatic solutions in Syria and opposed the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against Syria. Even though Congress has delayed consideration of the AUMF against Syria, there is tremendous work to advance diplomatic solutions to end the killing and provide accountability for all war crimes committed in Syria.

As Merkley said, “America should bring the world together to condemn and penalize Syria for this action. Such an effort, however, is best pursued through international negotiation and diplomacy.” The U.S.-Russian agreement to peacefully disarm Syria of its chemical weapons is one example of how diplomacy can help make the world a safer place. 

But that should be the beginning — not the end — of creative, effective, international diplomatic efforts to address the Syrian crisis.

Heather Simonson, Eugene


On Sunday, Sept. 15, my miniature poodle Roux, my husband and I were attacked by an unleashed Rottweiler on the Ridgeline Trail near the Fox Hollow Trailhead. This, after I’d asked the dog owner, a middle-aged man with three teens in tow, to leash his dog to which he replied, “Oh, she’s OK; she just gets excited around other dogs sometimes.” She then charged us, attacking my dog. Instinctually, I fell to the ground to cover my dog’s body with my own, sustaining a bite to my hand and a very bruised and painful knee. My dog got away with punctures to his hip, swelling, bruising, torn toenails and emotional trauma beyond belief. 

A kind man named Brian from the Raptor Center nearby came running to help when he heard my dog screaming in pain, thinking a dog had been hit by a car on the nearby Fox Hollow highway. A lovely woman named Mara drove us back to the Martin Street trailhead since we were unable to walk. Thanks to you both. You were angels to us.

The man, if you can call him that, gave us a false phone number and a name, which may have been false as well, who knows? He said he’d “just moved here” and couldn’t give me his vet’s name to check on vaccination status.

There is a leash law in Oregon and in most places in our nation. Follow the law! And if your dog attacks another, take some responsibility instead of cowardly lying and leaving the scene of the trauma. Man up. I better not see you again on the trail with your dog off leash, mister.

M. Lynch, Eugene


Sept. 11, the 40th anniversary of the vicious overthrow of Salvador Allende, the democratically elected president of Chile, was commemorated throughout Latin America. It was barely mentioned in the U.S. This coup d’etat resulted in the establishment of the Pinochet dictatorship, whose regime was accompanied by torture, killing and the disappearances of thousands during the many years of his repressive regime.

At that time I was living with my family in Vienna, Austria. The news flashed through Vienna that the coup had been secretly initiated and facilitated by Henry Kissinger, under the auspices of the CIA. Kissinger was then the secretary of state and President Nixon’s security advisor. I wrote a letter to my father, who responded, “Oh no. The United States would never do such a thing!”

But now public documents are clear. Allende was a socialist, and the U.S. administration feared the spread of socialist economics in Latin America. This would undermine U.S. economic interests and dominance.

The U.S. actively supported the Pinochet regime during the many years that followed. We in our country certainly have the right to be proud of our many accomplishments, but it is time for us to face so many ugly truths that lie in our past and continue today. Our public, including our children, deserves to hear the true story, the good and bad of our history.

Peg Morton, Eugene


Racist elements hung a banner on the footbridge over I-5 near Beltline recently. The text of the banner said, “Anti-racist is code for anti-white,” and the words were followed with a KKK symbol. In discussing these events with members of our community and planning a response, we realized something troubling. Some white people expressed irritation that we were singling out this event to respond to. A not infrequent sentiment conveyed was that white people are suffering; why should people of color get special treatment? Some people could not understand why those of us who are white chose to focus on this, and to so overtly support people of color when all people are experiencing hardships.

The answer is very simple, but needs to be stated. The members of our community who protested us putting energy and resources into this response misidentified the societal machinations they have fallen victim to − that is to say, white people are not victims of “reverse racism,” they are victims of class-based oppression. It is not our brothers and sisters of color who have taken our jobs; it is the industrialists who have shipped the jobs overseas and the bankers who have wrecked the economy, and the politicians they’ve bought and paid for who let them get away with it. It is not people looking for their own pride who have hurt others; it is the ruling class who seeks to divide us so that we have no pride in ourselves, no support for each other, and no unity with which to oppose them. 

Racism remains, to this day, the most powerful means for the 1 percent in this country to divide the 99 percent. It is insidious, it is subtle, it is pervasive − and it is not welcome in our community.

 Jillian Littell, John S. Reed, Club of the Communist Party, USA, Eugene


 EW published its Annual Pets Issue July 25. While I appreciate the effort, I found it to lack critical information. It was mostly advertising for veterinarians and pet stores. The opportunity to address pet safety, spaying/neutering, animal abuse and theft were mentioned briefly. These issues are more serious than most realize. One example is the constant sightings of posters looking for lost pets. Pet theft is on the rise. The outcome is often very bad for stolen pets. Despite the multitudes of stray animals in our streets, animals are still stolen only to be sold.

This is one difficult topic amidst many. All I want to point out is it was a missed opportunity to address some of the more serious topics regarding animals in our communities .

This letter regarding animal welfare is not meant to diminish our deep concerns regarding child welfare, domestic violence, poverty and human trafficking, but we must be able to be concerned for all life, especially those who cannot speak for themselves.

Linda Kanter, Deadwood


A CNN poll reveals that the vast majority of American do believe the information to be true, that the Syrian government has used sarin nerve gas in multiple attacks on its own people (including women and children) but still do not think it is enough reason to strike with any force.

Right. There are a lot of polls. But as a lefty that has been against the last two wars, I’m kinda left wondering if Americans even know what is a good reason to use force. It is the same sort of reactionary difference white America has when a school shooting happens in any urban ghetto compared to one in a sleepy affluent suburb. Because the sarin nerve gas attack was an Arab on Arab attack, and because, according to another poll, we believe the U.S. has no “interests” (oil) in Syria, apparently we are not as “moved” when women and children are murdered and die gruesome and slow deaths by internal organ failure and severe convulsions over the course of 48 hours. And if this attack was made on Israel by the same government? The same celeb types organizing against action now would be up in arms.

We used to never stand for this sort of thing. The males (and females, for that matter) in this country used to have balls (see WW II). Now the men of this country are more concerned with Fantasy Football and what Miley Cyrus is jamming in her hoo-ha! So the consensus is: Oil we go to war for. Humanity and protecting innocence — not so much.

Brian Pasquali, Eugene


Thank for running the “This Modern World” column last week [9-12]. 

Expanding on that theme: This is a great time of year to meditate on the idea that launching an air attack, with no involvement of ground troops, is a virtuous and heroic and just and appropriately punitive action that could never result in a nation being drawn into a full-blown war. 

How did you feel on Sept. 11, 2001? How did your grandparents feel on Dec. 4, 1941? Did the perpetrators of those actions deserve to have their asses kicked only because they were Japs and ragheads — or because they were the perpetrators of uncivilized, aggressive, and warlike actions?

War is war, always.

Steve Kyte, Corvallis


Isn’t it ironic to see a Nobel Peace Prize-winning president and a Vietnam War veteran turned anti-war protester morph into and access their inner adolescent alpha-male wannabes. The U.N. still cannot determine who may be responsible for using chemical weapons, but let’s attack somebody (over there) to show the world we’re the tough guys.

Who will we kill? Bombing another country without imminent threat to our own is a war crime. Does one war crime justify another? Who is it who kills innocent people with drones, who sprayed Vietnam with Agent Orange and uses spent plutonium in weapons, sickening Iraqis and war vets? Who dropped atomic bombs on two Japanese cities killing more than 180,000 ordinary citizens, including women, children and elderly people. Most of them were vaporized. Others died agonizing deaths.

In his speech, Obama called America exceptional and, as usual, asked God to bless America.

Jan Nelson, Crow


I was thinking about one of the comments I read on this page and it got me thinking. The comment was something like, “if you could wish for any ONE thing what would it be? I think I answered, “end deliberate stupidity” or something like that.

But I have had time to really think and smoke on it and I think I came up with something I think is kind of interesting: 

You know how we all dream? What if you were forced to view every night in your sleep, the future consequences of the choices you made during the day? Like, if you made good choices you would dream about the good you helped create. If you made evil choices you dream about the harm you caused.

I wonder how well our religious leaders, politicians and massive international corporation “owners” would sleep then? How well do you believe you would sleep? What price will a man put on a good night’s sleep?

Charles Echols, Springfield