Letters to the Editor: 4-9-2015


The EW ”Meaty Controversy” article March 19 about the Bartels Farms slaughterhouse was highly disturbing in its exposure of continuing environmental and animal abuses. Unfortunately, there is more. 

On Aug. 7, 2013, the USDA sent a notice of intended enforcement for inhumane handling witnessed by their inspector on Aug. 6. I quote: “A bull from a previous lot had become non-ambulatory … An unsuccessful attempt was made to move the bull with the electric prod. The handler decided to euthanize the bull by rifle shot. A single shot was fired. Upon inspection, it was noted that the bull was bleeding out of its nostrils, but the bull’s head was up and the bull was conscious … It took three to five minutes to apply a successful stun/kill … The above cited incident leaves the agency without assurance that the establishment’s Humane Handling Plan is adequate to ensure livestock are humanely handled.”

Diana Huntington, Eugene


I appreciated Ben Stone’s March 26 article “The Survival Cycle” but noted an error that I think warrants a correction. The article stated that Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE) is an example of the Housing First model. That is simply not correct. OVE has many requirements for behavior (no alcohol or illegal drugs allowed) and contribution to the village of its residents. The Housing First model deliberately sets aside those kinds of standards to provide housing to people who would not qualify for an OVE or St. Vincent de Paul housing program. The only requirement in most cases in a Housing First program is that the person abide by the typical tenant requirements of an apartment resident in terms of their behavior. There is no requirement to be sober/clean or participate in programs. I am not aware of any Housing First program in our area at this time.

OVE is an important project that provides safe housing for vulnerable people. I am very proud of my role in helping get it off the ground. I hope that we can add to the variety of ways we end homelessness in our community by starting a Housing First program in Eugene. I know Mayor Kitty Piercy is looking at this as one of the models that she and others working to end homelessness in Lane County hope to start implementing in the coming months.

 Claire Syrett, Eugene city councilor

EDITOR'S NOTE: Writer Ben Stone says he "meant that OVE is a model for efficiently housing the unhoused, and not that OVE operates under the guidelines of a Housing First operation." But, he writes, "I should have made that distinction clearer and pointed out that the more inclusive Housing First model has not been implemented in our county yet."


Camilla Mortensen’s March 26 article “Stopping Sexual Assault,” in which she discussed several ways bystanders can intervene to prevent such assaults, reminded me of Peace Corp training in South Africa, which has one of the highest sexual assault rates in the world.

A couple of years ago I was part of a group of 36 Peace Corps health “trainees,” 30 women and six men, participating in a group exercise in which each of the six men was to act out trying to convince each of the five women in his group to have unprotected sex. The job of each of the women was to resist those efforts. (Later, I wrote a short story entitled “Propositioning Six Gorgeous Women for Unprotected Sex”).

The most creative and convincing response was offered by a 27-year-old volunteer from Washington, D.C. I’ll spare the graphic details, but let’s just say it concerned a description of the color and consistency of vaginal discharge while pointing “down there.” 

Our purpose was to be able to help African teenagers protect themselves from infection from the HIV/AIDS virus, but the exercise also had application to preventing sexual assault. 

The young woman with the creative response, openly lesbian, volunteered later that day to demonstrate the correct way to put a condom on a plastic model of a penis. She did remarkably well for someone who, presumably, was so unfamiliar with penises. 

Finally, I’ll bet Eugene Weekly is about the only newspaper in Oregon where I can get away, not once, but twice, with using the term “vaginal discharge” in a letter to the editor.

Gary Cornelius, Eugene


I was a dog-walking and cat-room volunteer at Lane County Animal Services before it became First Avenue Shelter (FAS). It was an inadequate facility then, becoming run-down due to age and use, and it was too small then. The concrete dog runs facing one another are stressful, the noise level is extremely stressful and the animals (most of whom are there through no fault of their own) have absolutely no choice in the matter. They need to be engaging and attractive to get adopted! They cannot be at their best. The longer they stay, the harder the kennel stress is on them. The less adoptable they become.

If FAS were a motel I’d checked into, I’d leave. Even if they kept my deposit. 

We want volunteers to be eager and happy to go and help. We want the employees to be in a healthy environment that is as pleasant as possible. They deserve it. We want the animals who have to be there to have a short stay with a happy outcome. They deserve it. It’s the decent, humane thing to do.

This facility was built when the county’s population was much smaller. We need, need, really, really, really need a new one.

Rita Castillo, Springfield


While I don’t often agree with Tony Corcoran (“Right to Work is Wrong,” April 2) we’re on the same page when it comes to right to work laws. But there’s a harsh reality to face.

Unions, especially those in the public sector, are likely to see the bullseyes on their backs grow larger. In case you missed it, some of the complaints about the recently passed state education-funding package are that more money is needed to cover cost of living and step increases for public employees. Not to mention the 1,000 pound gorilla of future PERS liabilities.

How many working class private sector employees are getting these pay hikes? How many private sector employees still have defined benefit pension plans? Have you seen the statistics on private sector working class pay and benefits during the past decade? Have you followed Oregon’s biennium budget chart during the same period?

Wisconsin voters looked at increasing public sector costs and made a decision. I hope it doesn’t come to that here. But public sector costs cannot continue their inexorable climb while the private sector’s ability — and/or willingness — to pay are, if anything, decreasing. The trend virtually guarantees that someday, even in this deep-blue state, voters will say, “Enough!”

 Jerry Ritter, Springfield


I have been a beekeeper for many years and have grown to love my bees and all insects. I do believe that beekeepers are completely devalued in our society. Without our services we would not be able to maintain a local food source, yet we can buy many pesticides at our local stores that kill our bees and all pollinators. There are companies making a living spraying pesticides across our urban landscape and yet very few laws to protect the bees that are being poisoned. 

I hope you all plant a healthy pollinator garden this spring to help feed these precious insects. In order to make sure our pollinators are going to survive, we need to all do our part! I would like to ask all of you for your help in protecting our community’s bees. Rethink your use of pesticides. The pesticides are collecting in the wax, pollen and in the honey that we all love. If that isn’t enough reason to stop using pesticides in our yards then I don’t know what is. 

If we rely on these insects for survival then we need to open our eyes to the harms of pesticides and stop their use immediately! No better example then last year’s mass killing of our local pollinators by a spray company. It’s become clear what’s killing the bees, and it’s the pesticides and the people that use them. Beekeepers shouldn’t have to worry about our neighbors poisoning our bees!

Doug Hornaday, Eugene


How many people reading this know that the two big, beautiful, old incense cedar trees in the Hollywood Antiques parking lot are slated to be cut down by LTD? They are about 20 feet from 7th Avenue and have been there and seen changes for more years than most of us have lived. But an “engineer from Portland” decided that the road must have another lane — despite the fact that the EMX operates on two lanes on some sections of Franklin. And then it would be even harder for pedestrians to cross the five-lane street!

I object and I hope you will, too. Let the city and LTD know how you feel. It might just save two incredible beings that we need to sustain our beings.

Jean Denis, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: See our Oct. 2, 2014, story and photo regarding these trees and others to be cut at wkly.ws/1xv.

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