Letters to the Editor: 1-9-2014


Time to ring in a brand new year! It finds me still tryin’ to make friends with fear. Learning to let go, let life steer. Life is not for the weak of heart, my dear. The Whit seems to be the place for a beer. And our downtown is definitely threatening to reappear. Let’s come together and kick this thing into a higher gear. 

Bijou Metro, glad you are here. And there’s Freudian Slip for something sheer. There will always be those who leer and jeer. But the fog is lifting, the way is clear. Roll up your sleeves and be ready to help steer. Wrap it all up, let us make 2014 the year it came back, our downtown. I feel it in my bones, we are so near. Crank it up Petula Clark and let’s go downtown! That elusive someday is here!

 Tim Boyden, Eugene


East Lane County Public Forum is to take place Jan. 9 in Cottage Grove [see Activist Alert]. Faye Stewart’s proponents are showcasing him as professional, looking out for the interests of Lane County.

I think Stewart should be asked if he ever considered what the people of Dexter/ Lost Valley are experiencing now that the quarry is in full production. Everything that is happening to this community was included in the testimony that we gave. It has all come true: speeding gravel trucks, unlawful lane changes, constant loud noise for those who live closest to Parvin Butte.

Loud noise on a constant level is used as a torture technique. Is that OK with Stewart? Many people cannot sell their homes, one of their largest investments. Is that OK with Stewart? I went to visit a neighbor the other day and the only peace he can get is inside his home; outside, the constant noise of backup horns and rock loading was horrible. Is this representing the needs of Stewart’s constituents?

Stewart would best serve the East Lane district by not running again for office. He doesn’t live in the horrible environment he helped create for hundreds of his constituents.

Arlen Markus, Dexter


At their meeting Dec. 17, Lane County commissioners agreed to change direction and stop additional planned logging along Mosby Creek in Blue Mountain Park in Cottage Grove.

I want to especially thank Kevin Matthews for the help he brought to the Cottage Grove community in achieving this result. His insight and comments both at the community meeting held by Lane County Parks in Cottage Grove on Dec. 10 and at the County Commission Board meeting Dec. 17 were critical in framing this positive outcome.

In addition to saving the remaining forest at Blue Mountain Park, the county commissioners have now pledged to take a new look at their recent general policy of funding county parks through logging them.

Merlyn Adams, Cottage Grove


“(Out of) Animal Control?” [cover story, 1/2] highlights some challenges Greenhill has faced since assuming responsibility for running Lane County’s public shelter. This community has seen annual decreases in government funding for animals until 2012, when the system was at a breaking point. Fortunately, Greenhill was able to step in, ensuring homeless, abused and neglected animals continued to have safe shelter.

Greenhill absorbed an incredible amount of responsibility and risk. Despite having to build or rebuild nearly every system from the ground up, Greenhill’s staff and volunteers have stepped up to help the most vulnerable animals.

In addition to the positive changes that were noted in the article — including an increase in animal care staffing, volunteerism and facility improvements — animals are now reunited with their owners in less time, dogs and cats are adopted into homes faster, veterinary and behavioral care has increased and the shelter is caring for more animals than LCAS did in its last year.

Greenhill’s shelters are Life Saving Shelters. The animals are well cared for, treated with compassion and are waiting for a loving family to adopt them. We encourage everyone to visit, to adopt, to volunteer and to support our community’s animals. Visit green-hill.org to learn more. 

 Cary Lieberman, CAWA, Executive Director, Greenhill Humane Society


The city of Eugene has 26 miles of unpaved gravel alleys. Many of these alleys are improperly graded for drainage, overgrown with invasive plants or are places that encourage crime and drug use. Poorly maintained alleys can be more of a liability than a resource and are often dirty, dilapidated and unused. However, these are also the alleys that we use to access our homes or walk through to get around the neighborhood. These alleys are part of our everyday lives.

The Green Alley Project is a student-led initiative focused on implementing green alley redesigns that promote sustainability and neighborhood connectivity.

Studies have shown that gravel alleys with regular vehicle use can have unhealthy levels of heavy metal and other pollution from vehicles. Stormwater runoff from Eugene’s gravel alleys accounts for nearly 55 million gallons of water a year. That is enough to fill 83 Olympic-size swimming pools. The water from these alleys flows untreated directly into the Willamette River or Amazon Creek. 

So, please join the Green Alley conversation and share what you think about Eugene’s gravel alleys and how we can improve them.

Take the Green Alley Survey at tinyurl.com/mlza5pf and find us on Facebook at Eugene Green Alley Project.

 Jeffrey Luers , Green Alley Project, Eugene


Rouanna Garden [Letters, 12/26] noticed that during the week of snow, four-wheel-drive vehicles tended to create problems with bad driving. I agree. But she thinks it’s just a matter of courtesy and says that 4WD cars are better in icy conditions. Actually she’s wrong about that according to several websites, such as 4x4abc.com:

The problem is, that most 4WD/AWD owners think they operate a safer system. Once moving (on any slippery stuff) they drive faster than they should and not as carefully and slowly as they would in a 2WD … more 4WD vehicles are involved in accidents on snow and ice than 2WD.

Since snow and ice provide only marginal traction (so marginal that you need 4WD/AWD to start moving) and not enough lateral force can be created to support the tires during a turn, they slip sideways and the vehicle falls off the road. 4WD does not prevent that. 4WD is not involved in the steering part of driving.

4WD is better for getting started rolling on snow or ice, but driving faster than 2WD cars on snow or ice because you think you have more control is delusional.

Chuck Kleinhans, Eugene


I think it is vital for our local citizens to realize what is at stake in the Civic Stadium controversy. Most important is the fact that the site was public property that was deeded to the Eugene School District with the promise therein by the district that it would always be used for the public benefit — not to enrich an out-of-state corporation, i.e., Kroger Inc.

It is most important that people know that “Freddies” was sold long ago to the nation’s third-largest grocery conglomeration. They are not seeking the site to benefit our citizens but rather for corporate profit at the expense of numerous home-owned businesses.

I believe that the 4J School Board has a moral obligation to honor and abide by the original gift of trust to them. 

Robert England, Eugene


The Lane County Board’s chronic governance inattentiveness hurts us all. During the depth of our county’s latest foray toward becoming a sacrifice zone, the Lane County commons’ residents made it abundantly clear that our sheriff’s services are a key driver of resident satisfaction. 

In 2011, as part of its Strategic Plan, the Board of Commissioners established 16 percent and 20 percent fetal/infant mortality and substantiated child maltreatment rate reductions by 2017. The commission, as our sole policy-making entity, asked for and received an actionable plan for both public health and public safety improvements.

On Dec. 17, the acting director of Lane County’s Health and Human Services received unanimous approval to borrow up to $2 million from reserve funds to help ameliorate the staffing cuts outlined in Saul Hubbard’s Dec. 27 R-G story, “County Cuts Health Staff.” The approximately 15.5 FTE health staff cuts reported in that piece is a material breach of the 2012-17 Strategic Plan — thus, as of late December 2013, Lane County’s accountability for the health and welfare of its current and future generation of residents. 

Promise is recognizable in name only. When are we going to make this stop?

Jose Ortal, Blue River


Regarding “I Dream of Eugene” [12/26]: I especially liked Lauren Regan’s response. I think it would be good for the whole community to help people who are not able to support themselves and in exchange have them perform work that would support and improve the community which we all share — not just homeless people but people who are unemployed or underemployed.

Regan says her idea is based on a Los Angeles program. It is also a central position of the Green Party.

Georgette Silber, Eugene


The hope is we learn from past mistakes. The Columbia River was once teeming with salmon that indigenous people caught sustainably and they were among the wealthiest populations in the Northwest. When Indo-Europeans discovered the bounty, they brought in machinery, catching more fish than the natives. In the mid 1800s, canneries were built along the river where excess fish could be preserved and shipped off to be sold elsewhere. 

It wasn’t long before there was an alarming decrease in the numbers of Columbia River salmon. In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt noted that the salmon runs on the Columbia were a fraction of what they had been 25 years prior. With the building of dams and pollution from nuclear waste, the fish are further endangered. 

Fast forward to today when less than 3 percent of Oregon’s native forests are uncut, and our astute politicians, Sen. Wyden, Rep. DeFazio and Gov. Kitzhaber, are about to sell off that small percentage to the timber industry to be harvested and shipped to China, leaving nearby communities in the wake of mudslides and pollution from herbicides sprayed on the devastated land. When will they ever learn? 

Mika Scott, Eugene


My dream for Eugene [cover story, 12/26] is to whack the waste. When satellites take images of this region at night, Eugene is visible from outer space. We’re at war against the ecosystem, and in wartime it is customary to black out the cities at night, for their preservation. Let’s disappear from those images, and feast on the beauty of starry nights. 

Beyond focusing on tar sands and pipelines, let’s bring the issue home and become America’s first car-free city. Inevitably, the kids are going to see the extinction of lights and cars anyway. Whacking the waste now would be a mature choice for a progressive community with legendary big brains.

Richard Adrian Reese (author of Sustainable or Bust), Eugene


So-called “no-kill” policies [cover story, 1/2] may make euthanasia numbers look good, but they put animals in grave danger when needy dogs and cats for whom there is no room are turned away, condemning them to unknown and often-terrible fates.

Animals who are rejected from shelters that are already a last resort for people faced with re-homing their companions are often dumped on the streets where they starve, contract diseases and are hit by cars; remain with people who don’t want them and keep them chained or locked in cages; or worse. And animals who are accepted into “no-kill” shelters may be caged indefinitely, becoming depressed, withdrawn or aggressive and even less adoptable.

 People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) routinely receives heartbreaking complaints about massive warehouses filled with unadoptable animals who sit hopelessly for years on end, in cages and runs meant to house them for just a few transitional days.

Slamming the door in animals’ faces when there is no more room is not the solution to the overpopulation crisis. Spaying and neutering are. Please, help reach the day when there is a loving home for every animal by boycotting breeders and pet stores, adopting animals from shelters and always spaying and neutering. To learn more, visit PETASaves.com.

Curtis Taylor, Eugene


I want to extend my appreciation to EW for your excellent article [4/18/13] on the GEARs Education bicycle safety classes taught by Paul Adkins and Richard Hughes. Both are outstanding cyclists and committed instructors. It is nice to see them recognized.

I also want to thank you so much for including GEARs Education in your Give Guide [12/19]. GEARs Education supports a number of projects in addition to the bicycle safety education classes, including the Eugene School District’s Safe Routes to Schools program and the city of Eugene’s Sunday Streets. The bulk of our funding comes from the annual GEARs Blackberry bRamble but we do accept donations, tax deductible, and they are very much appreciated. And, as you included in your guide, they serve an important community purpose.

 Ray Hull, President, GEARs Education


“Beaver Trap Catches Man, Irks Humane Society” [12/26] highlights the immense risks associated with trapping, but fails to illustrate the brutality that is inherent to this “sport.” Target animals suffer as much as ones who are accidentally ensnared — and this cruelty should be addressed in Oregon law.

Animals caught in barbaric leghold traps and snares suffer immensely from their injuries, long periods of distress and ultimately a sad death. Archaic killing methods such as suffocation, drowning and chest crushing are widely used today. As demonstrated in the article, traps are indiscriminate so many non-targeted animals die as “collateral damage,” including endangered species and family pets. Born Free USA maintains a database of trapping incidents that details hundreds of tragic instances of pets and people severely injured or killed in traps, which is accessible through bornfreeusa.org.

Oregon has among the worst trapping regulations in the Western U.S. — for example, some traps must only be checked every 30 days, allowing animals to slowly suffer and die. Such woefully inadequate laws must be reevaluated. A ballot initiative to ban commercial and recreational trapping in Oregon was unfortunately postponed until 2016, but advocacy for the magnificent wildlife of the state is still urgently needed.

 Kate Dylewsky, Program Assistant, Born Free USA, Washington, D.C.


Has anyone else noticed that Eugene has literally become a shitty city? I can’t even walk two blocks with out dodging poop in the middle of the sidewalks. Often times the feces is so large and repulsive smelling that it might have come from a human, or at least very large dogs. It’s such a nuisance to try and avoid these landmines while walking, skating or biking. 

Even worse is the smell. I’m used to smelling lovely trees, flowers and hippies, since it is Eugene and all. Recently though, all I can smell is poop. I’m sure I’m not the only one who might even be swayed from going downtown to avoid the terrible smells and dirty shoes.

There are many options to try and solve this problem. The city could put out posts for bags to pick up dog poop. Signs could be put up to clean up after yourself and your animals. We could even find a way to pay people, or find volunteers to clean up the city. Or people could maybe not let their dogs shit in the middle of the sidewalks, too.

Caitlin Joy, Eugene