Letters to the Editor 2016-10-13


A big wag of my finger to the stodgy business owners of South Eugene who killed Rachel Mandala’s gorgeous mural outside of Amazon Organics on Friday, Oct. 7. 

To EW readers who didn’t have the pleasure, this (now lost) piece depicted a powerful woman with flowing blue hair against a backdrop of orange flowers and an eclipsed moon. During the work’s six weeks of life in my neighborhood, people continually stopped to marvel at its originality and to take pictures. 

The one (lightly) questionable attribute: The woman with blue hair had a sparkling cloud flowing from her lips and a monarch butterfly in her fingers which, by the way, is not out of place adorning the façade of a legal pot dispensary. Instead of working to make the mural more palatable to prudish sensibilities — say, painting over the cloud of smoke — these unnamed business owners moved to demolish one of the best murals in the city. 

Even the two kind men commissioned to cover the art with dead gray paint lamented this blow to creativity, taking no pleasure in their work. 

A tip of my hat to those in Jiffy Market and Amazon Organics who wanted to make South Eugene a more beautiful place. I’m sorry some sterile puritans voted to bulldoze your most noble of dreams. 

And my deepest condolences to Rachel Mandala, whose ineffably stunning work of art moved me and others.

Jocelyn Blore, Eugene


The majority of Oregon schools enforce a strict dress code policy. While some prohibited items are reasonable (no offensive language, political or religious mockery, etc.), others are overtly sexist. 

At most middle and high schools, girls are forbidden from wearing short skirts, low-cut tops and even spaghetti straps because they are “too distracting” to male students. This teaches young girls that their education is not as valuable as their male peers. 

Additionally, it teaches boys that it’s acceptable to disrespect girls and misbehave if they can see her skin. Instead of teaching boys that they are responsible for their own actions, it teaches them that girls are responsible for them. We should not be instructing girls that they need to tailor how they act and dress to be respected. 

I hope the educators and activists of Oregon can work to eliminate this incubator of rape culture and misogyny in the near future.

Jane Brinkley, Eugene


Emily Semple’s opponent has frequently claimed that he is the true “progressive” in the Ward 1 City Council race. I find this to be a very odd assertion. It is true that Semple has a strong record of criticizing specific city projects, but being a rubber stamp on every city project is hardly progressive. In fact, the results can be un-progressive.

Semple has criticized the renewal of MUPTE and the Downtown Urban Renewal District, and the ongoing and expensive City Hall fiasco. MUPTE and other tax-abatement programs, she argues, are basically subsidies to private interests and often do not provide tangible public benefits.

The City Hall fiasco, Semple has argued, raises issues about Eugene city government that are indicative of more than just “communication problems” between the city manager and City Council.

Most Eugeneans agree with her, and the unprogressive results come when the city is forced to go to the voters to make up for lost and misspent revenue to maintain basic services. Voters, upset at what they see as mismanagement, often vote against them. 

The narrow passage of the Eugene Public Library levy last year is an example of this. I was glad when the levy passed, but I understood why people voted no. And the reasons had nothing to do with the Eugene Public Library.

Spending money wisely and accountably is a progressive cause. And it is necessary in order to maintain trust in our public institutions. Without this trust, progress is impossible.

Electing Emily Semple to council will be a progressive step for Eugene.

Art Bollmann, Eugene


Oregon’s graduation rate is one of the lowest in the country. Public schools are lacking in arts classes more than ever. Often, students find themselves unconvinced that they should even attend their classes. 

By providing classes that grab students’ interest, I argue that attendance, and therefore graduation, will go up. Only a few years ago, photography classes were offered at my school. Post budget cuts, only two arts classes have survived. I have taken both the art classes available to me.

However, I am interested more in photography and cinematography. There are no classes offered that would fit or even come close to suiting my interests. Although I understand the academic drive of my school, students who would find themselves more attentive in an arts class should be made a priority. 

Public schools should strive to be all-inclusive and acknowledge what appeals to the community.

Indigo Amarys, South Eugene High School, Eugene


I endorse Emily Semple for the Ward 1 seat on Eugene City Council. I have known Emily as a downtown resident and neighbor for many years. I can attest to her dedication regarding many important neighborhood concerns. 

To diversify the voices on the council, Emily will bring a new independent perspective and be another woman on the job. Emily’s presence will bring a fresh start for constituents who have grown distrustful of city government, e.g., council missteps such as City Hall, South Willamette rezoning and the Urban Renewal district. She has actively supported keeping Kesey Square a public open space.

Emily Semple will work to hold city government accountable and minimize top-down decision making. She will continue to support our low-income and homeless residents by lobbying for shelter solutions and for increased social services with human rights for all people.

Be sure to vote in November. To elect a new voice in our civic conversations, the choice is Semple.

Cary Thompson, Eugene


As election time draws near, I would like to remind readers that Florence and all Lane County residents will be voting for a Lane County Justice of the Peace, serving here in Florence.

I would also like to remind others that we have an excellent candidate already fulfilling the Lane County Justice of the Peace position.

Judge Rick Brissenden has been Florence’s Municipal Court Judge for the past 18 years. Due to a vacancy, Brissenden was appointed justice of the peace beginning March 1, 2016, where he has been handling all of the JP duties as well as the Municipal Court. He will serve out that appointment as JP until December 31, 2016, no matter who wins this election.

There is no reason to remove an expert who is doing his job and replace him with a however well-meaning citizen who will have to be trained for the position at tax-payer expense. Plus, there would no doubt be a learning curve to bring another candidate up to the speed and expertise of an 18-year judge.

Brissenden has concrete ideas for helping bring services to more people in other parts of Lane County, not just to serve Florence, and he has the network and know-how to get the job done.

If it’s not broken, why pay to fix it? Please join me in voting for Judge Rick Brissenden for Lane County justice of the peace and help all of us have access to a just, experienced, knowledgeable judge.

Mary Beth Rawlins, Florence


I was heartened by your cover story “No Resources” [9/29]. Calling attention to the lack of options for the unhoused is important and a much-ignored reality by those who say “get a job” and “they can stay at the Mission.” Unfortunately, I was appalled to read the comment by Janet Perez of Sacred Heart.

“I certainly empathize with CAHOOTS,” Perez says. “We too see patients who come in drug-affected. And we will care for them, treat them medically, psychiatrically, in the emergency room. And if they don’t meet that threshold [for a two-physician hold], then we are bound to let them go and offer resources and referral to other places. It is a person’s choice to use substances.”

I feel the last sentence in this quote is the crux of this issue: “It is a person’s choice to use substances.” This shows a lack of knowledge regarding the disease of addiction. It also causes me to question her definition of choice, as well as Sacred Heart’s qualities of compassion and empathy.

Is it the obese person’s choice to eat the food that may lead to heart disease? Is it the choice of the person with lung disease to expose themselves to truck exhaust or perfume worn by others? Is it the choice of the person with mental illness to become unstable? These questions of choice should not dictate the treatment options we receive. Sacred Heart would serve our community much more effectively if its staff had better training in addiction.

Vickie Webb, Eugene


It is great to have so many really smart and caring women running for elected office in Oregon and our city! I urge everyone to make this happen! Emily Semple, Betty Taylor, Claire Syrett, Sheri Moore, Lucy Vinis, Kate Brown and Hillary Clinton are all smart and experienced community leaders we need to give yes votes of support. 

This is our chance for change!

Ruth Duemler, Eugene


Bernie Sanders strongly advises his supporters and all voters that this is not the time for protest votes or votes of conscience. Such third-party votes are in effect saying, “I want Donald Trump to be president!” Bernie urges voters to strongly support Hillary Clinton and all democratic candidates up and down the ticket. He emphasizes that only with a democratic president and Congress do the almost 50 percent of voters that supported his progressive platform have any power at all to influence our national agenda.

So don’t make the same mistake that the well-educated German population made in electing Hitler to lead their country and then become its absolute dictator. It demonstrated the effectiveness of lies told often enough to become accepted as truth. The backing of German industrialists and the eventual use of intimidation by Hitler’s “brown shirt personal armies” played significant roles.

According to his former wife, Trump was an ardent student of Hitler, reading his speeches and books. His campaign behavior and rhetoric have a striking resemblance to Hitler’s playbook. Even the slogans used are similar. His fostering and support of white supremacists and militias is not unlike the “brown shirts” which eventually became the infamous Gestapo.

Yes, it is quite possible to have a fascist dictatorship in America. And it cannot be undone by any democratic processes.

So it is very important for voters to join Bernie in electing a Democratic president and Congress.

George R. Hermach, Eugene


Has everyone noticed how exceedingly long Donald Trump wears his neckties? Even accounting for his paunch, the man’s ties are way too long.

The fashion advice is pretty simple: The tip of the tie should fall to about mid-belt buckle. Too short ties look clownish, and too long ties look sloppy. There are fashion-conscious members of his family who must certainly have tried to share this information with him.

Yet he persists with his overlong ties. Does he think he is making some kind of bold, brash statement? Did his fashion sense arrest at around age 11 along with his emotional development? Or is it some kind of subconscious overcompensation for his stubby little … er, fingers?

Ronald Blanton, Eugene


The largest prison strike in U.S. history is in its fourth week, with a reported 20,000 or more people protesting slavery or near-slavery labor and unsafe living conditions. The media, however, have simply not reported this news.

The Constitution’s 13th Amendment freed the slaves but permitted penal servitude. Some prisoners work for corporations, prisons, the military or in agriculture, and may be paid as low as pennies per hour. I could not find the percentage of prisoners working. Profits are collected by prisons.

The strike began Sept. 9, the 45th anniversary of Attica (see the 2016 book Blood in the Water), and the media blackout started the same day. It was reported that one Oregon men’s prison (Deer Ridge) and Oregon women incarcerated at Gig Harbor, Washington, were involved, and a demonstration held in Portland. Stories can now be found on alternative sites, but the U.S. has no independent monitoring of prisons as in other democracies, and thus no window on what is happening inside.

Whether one supports or opposes strikes, we need the news. Could Eugene Weekly run a story if the R-G does not?

Mary Rothbart, Eugene


Thirteen railcars derail in Eugene on Sunday afternoon. Is Union Pacific going to sweep another major mishap under a rug they call “an investigation”?

Eye witness named Dave — a former truck driver living in the homeless camp only 100 yards away from ground zero — told me he saw the whole event; he was the guy who told the police a tanker car with hazmat placard 1075 was involved.

Stretching nearly to Blair Street, rail cars were being marshaled into a tight radius switching track behind the Zip-O log mill-tracks rotten 90-year-old ties.

Empty cars pushed too quickly around that tight corner started tipping over with a mighty roar — I heard it a mile away.

Dave said that next morning “I just missed the best picture ever taken.” Fire marshals and officials pointing at two large punctures in the tanker car’s outer shell, gesturing it was “this close” to puncturing the inner lining and probably exploding Eugene all to hell.

That tank car was quickly hidden from public view. Antiquated track was rapidly being scrapped to prevent stamp dates of 1945 from being evidence. An equally old switch was quickly taken away.

A tanker of this sort carries approximately 33,600 gallons of LPG — 263,000 pounds of volatility. Union Pacific had no interest in talking to someone who actually witnessed what happened that Sunday. What investigation?

Railroad safety means the public continues living on borrowed time.

Glenn Jones, Eugene


Two weeks ago I experienced quite a shock. I needed heart surgery because of a birth defect that had not surfaced in 63 years of active living. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is an electrical short that can result in sudden immediate death (we all know of someone who this has happened to) or it can give you the warning of rapid heart-rate that then just goes away to return another day. 

I’m grateful for the marriage equality law that allows me to be on my same-sex spouse’s single payer military insurance! I’m grateful to the wonderful McKenzie-Willamette emergency room doc who recognized what was going on and didn’t just send me home as another middle-aged woman with no previous heart health concerns. I’m very grateful for the electro-cardio surgeon in Portland who did an amazing “ablation” to cure my heart defect. 

What shocks and saddens me is this: In America’s “hearth care for profit” system we wait until a problem, sometimes fatal, arises. The surgeon told me that in Europe, where every industrialized country has single payer health care, every child has an EKG while in elementary school. It costs $1. They can find about 10 different hidden heart issues and provide corrective care. Hope I live long enough in America to see us care about people’s health over insurance company profits and realize that spending on prevention is healthcare that is cost effective. Grateful to still be alive, but we need single payer healthcare for all, now!

Debra McGee, Eugene


Hillary Rodham Clinton has dedicated her entire life to the betterment of all people, including the world. All of us.

It is inconceivable to me that a man who spent the last 70 years enriching himself is even competing for a public office, much less the presidency of my country. God help us!

Philip Byron Renow, Cheshire


Those who continue to ramp on about the presidential elections are right in their criticism of the lack of choice. Often their refusal to participate becomes a self-congratulatory, self-righteous role. But, not playing the game does not a democracy make. The problem is not the lack of choice; it is the total absence there-of. Falling into despair and indifference is exactly what feeds the system. By the way, the system is not broken. It is “fixed.” And it is ticking along quite perfectly in its design as created by those who historically benefit — the international corporations and the super-rich. The slogan of French protesters in 1968 is more appropriate than ever: “No re-plastering, the structure is rotten.” We need structural change that places people back on top, government below us and corporations beneath where they belong, controlled by a government of, by and for the people. We can’t whine and do nothing about the democracy vacuum. Democracy can only be born from the grass roots by the strength of people and communities asserting and establishing our democratic rights to protection of our health, safety and welfare in the places where we live our lives.

Richard Gross, Deadwood


The Lane County Pacific Green Party voted to endorse Emily Semple for Ward 1 Eugene City Council. Both Semple and her opponent, Joshua Skov, spoke to members on Oct. 9 and were asked questions afterward.

In open discussion prior to the vote, Semple’s experience and positions on environmentalism, sustainability, homelessness and neighborhood protection resonated with the membership.

Greens were concerned about the consultancy report Skov was hired to do prior to EWEB okaying the construction of the air polluting Seneca biomass (wood byproducts) incinerator. His study concluded the project would be “carbon neutral.” However, emitting 194,000 tons of CO2 and particulate pollution annually (2015), it is the second largest greenhouse gas source in Lane County. 

When asked, Skov declined to answer how much he was paid for the report, saying it was not “greenwashing” but a technically oriented study, and also EWEB, not him, made the final decision. 

During discussion, Greens noted that climate change experts, including Bill McKibben of 350.org, have strongly opposed biomass energy. 

Semple pointed to her forestry science background. She noted that wood biomass should not be burned either in the forest after clearcutting or in urban biomass incinerators, but be left to provide composting nutrients for new forest growth, food for an ecology of plants and animals. She also referenced wind and solar as more sustainable, renewable sources of energy.

The Lane County Pacific Green Party urges you to support Democrat Emily Semple, and to consider Green candidates in state and federal races. 

Trisha Driscoll and John Thielking, Lane County Pacific Green Party


It seems like there is always some special observance around the corner. There is even a World Day for Farmed Animals. It’s observed fittingly on Oct. 2 (Gandhi’s birthday). It’s intended to memorialize the tens of billions of animals abused and killed for food around the world.

My first instinct was to dismiss it. But, I wanted to understand the impact of my diet and my food dollars on others.

Recent undercover investigations show male baby chicks suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground to death; laying hens crowded into small wire cages; injured pigs killed by slamming their heads against the concrete floor; and cows skinned and dismembered while still conscious. As theologians debate whether there is life after death, I wondered whether these animals have a life before death and why I should subsidize these barbaric practices.

I wonder no more, as I have now embraced a plant-based diet — green and yellow veggies, legumes, fruits, nuts and some grains. Occasionally, I indulge in nut-based cheese or ice cream. Although I was motivated by compassion for animals, I have since learned that my diet is also great for my health and for the health of our planet.

Edward Newland, Eugene


Local media understandably rely on others for coverage of Syria. Recent coverage focuses on what the U.S. calls “war crimes” in the battle for Aleppo. But most Western media never get any closer to Aleppo than Beirut, which is not even in Syria.

These media often rely on the U.S. government or groups like the White Helmets, who get funding from the U.S. and others attempting to overthrow the Syrian government. It’s the U.S. that is acting unlawfully in Syria, as attempting to overthrow a sovereign government violates international law. Syrian president Bashar Assad was re-elected in 2014 and is supported by most Syrians.

More than 1.5 million civilians live in government-held western Aleppo, including 600,000 who fled eastern Aleppo. About 200,000 live in terrorist-occupied eastern Aleppo, including 50,000 so-called rebels and their families, according to the Aleppo Medical Association.

Government forces could have flattened eastern Aleppo long ago, but held back out of concern for civilians. Assad recently offered readjustment help to civilians leaving eastern Aleppo, and even to Syrian fighters who lay down their arms. But the insurgents have continued pounding western Aleppo daily with weapons including “hell cannons,” firing gas canisters packed with explosives, glass, shrapnel, nails and even chemicals.

The disinformation from our government and media cannot be detailed here.

Robert Roth, Eugene


Open letter to Emily Powell of Powell’s Books in Portland:

As a reader and elementary school teacher, I was extraordinarily disappointed to find that you publicly oppose Ballot Measure 97, which aims to tax large corporations in order to fund schools, healthcare and other senior services. Oregonians who know and love your store should be aware that your negative position on the measure puts you in the company of Comcast, Wells Fargo and Monsanto.

Your position in the Sept. 8, 2016 edition of The New York Times argues that we cannot trust our government to spend tax money appropriately. This defeatist attitude doesn’t capture the innovative spirit of Oregon. Surely we can trust that the embarrassingly low high school graduation rate (the fourth worst in the country) will persist if we choose never to fund education adequately. Oregon’s class sizes will not shrink without effort. Our school day and year will remain one of the shortest in the country.

In short, who will read the books at Powell’s if Oregon remains one of the least educated states in the nation?

Perhaps you should ask yourself: “WWBD — What Would Beverly Cleary Do?”

Rachel Gillis, Eugene


I am writing to encourage the city and community of Eugene to take action in providing aid to our homeless population. The amount of people on the streets seems to grow every year, and I believe that Eugene can do more.

Although downtown Eugene keeps getting upgrades, such as the colorful lights and fancy new stores, one thing seems to be downgrading: the homeless and their state of health. It seems that a good percentage of the growing homeless population have poor mental health that puts them in an even more challenging situation than they’re already in. Downtown should be a family-friendly environment, but instead has been taken over as a refuge for those without homes, and they are not to blame. There are not enough resources to aid all of those who need help in Eugene, and they are forced to live on the streets.

Citizens of Eugene need to start caring about all of the population, not just those with housing. The homeless are not invisible people. We need to provide more homeless shelters, food and cloth drives, free health clinics and outreach programs, such as Opportunity Village Eugene, that provide small, affordable housing. Although tent camps and temporary housing options are beneficial, we also need to create long-term programs that work to get out of poverty forever.  

Zoë Pringle, Eugene


I live in the midst of some of the downtown overhaul. To make way for the new building on the southwest side of Olive and 11th (please don’t give them free advertising by naming the company), a dozen or more oxygen-producing, shade-providing trees were cut down. The building has been under construction for more than a year. You would expect a fancy stonework façade and stained glass windows by master craftspeople for that.

Down the street to the east, at 11th and Willamette, the right lane has been blocked off for months, while what seems to be a bus shelter is s-l-o-w-l-y being installed. Mostly, nothing much happens. Guys stand around a lot. But two of us did witness a guy go to his truck for a hard hat. He put it on, then stood around talking with his co-workers. Apparently, there’s a lot of on-the-spot planning before they put tools to materials.

Across the street on Willamette, from 11th to 13th, the southbound lane has been torn up for more than a month. More than a half dozen businesses are impacted by the road work. Every so often, a big machine will do something in the dirt. There’s lots of walking around and commiserating.

Don’t these projects have any supervision? Is the city having trouble finding skilled workers to do these jobs? Or are they extending these projects as long as possible because of the lack of available projects — perhaps biding their time until a big construction project gets going, like the new City Hall? Hmm?

Shadra Lewis, Eugene


Donald Trump congratulates himself for acknowledging that President Barack Obama was born in the United States. This seems analogous to BP Oil congratulating itself on finally capping the ruptured and gushing Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Yes, we were glad it was capped, but that was after months of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. There remain consequences from all of that destructive oil in the Gulf. And it continues leaking, to this day. It’s not over. Thanks BP Oil.

Likewise, there were five or six years of Trump spewing forth racist rhetoric and deliberately stirring up the dark forces that lurk in our nation’s psyche. He nurtured and continues to perpetuate the racist opposition to our President. As a consequence we have a resurgent white-supremacist movement. Former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke delights in the Trump campaign bringing Duke’s issues into mainstream discussion. A deplorable segment of the electorate rallies to Trump’s plan of exclusion and bigotry. It is a cultural equivalent to the ecological and environmental destruction in the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks Donald Trump.

An apology? Sure, a genuine heartfelt apology would go some way toward repairing the damage done. An apology would be a start. We are waiting…

Deborah McDaniel, Eugene


A letter by Stace Webb in the Sept. 22 issue of EW has a line that tickled me — in a favorable way, I mean — referring to birth in 1948 as in the Dark Ages. That’s the year I was hoping to graduate from high school, knowing better than my classmates not to seek the glory of joining in service to the Pharaoh, because when the Great One died, I’d be buried alive next to his immortal mummified corpse, yuck. Since birth during the waning presidency of Herbert Hoover, I’ve lived through 21 U.S. presidential elections. Initially, I thought the 22nd will be just another circus Biggest Show on Earth, but it is something different and unprecedented in that the outcome, the “ha ha, ho ho” choice between two candidates, was long ago solidified by the hyperprivileged to ensure unperturbed continuation of their soulless, all-powerful, planet-destructive way of life. 

Jim Wood, Eugene


How many refugees have been brought into the U.S. since 9/11? How many does the Democratic Party want to bring during the coming years? How much U.S. tax money is allotted for each such refugee? Isn’t it $76,000 per refugee for transportation, furnishing and renting an apartment, as well as paying for the refugee’s food and medical care, etc., until he gets a job? Does the voter expect his own children and grandchildren to have jobs adequate to pay off any such debt?

Helen Woodford, Eugene


Is Donald Trump an arrogant, loudmouth jerk? Yep. Does he say something stupid every 20 minutes? Yep. Does he speak badly about women? No doubt. I don’t care. If he crushes the murderers that would gladly slit the throat of every person reading this paper and 10 million more for being infidels, and use his 40 years of business-building experience to bring back desperately needed jobs, let him be an ass. Let me ask it another way: How many crimes is he accused of committing? None. How many national secrets has he exposed? None. How many millions has he accepted from 8th century theocracies that murder gays routinely and sexually mutilate girls before enslaving them in arranged marriages? None.

I can understand not voting for Trump. He’s a jerkface. But I cannot grasp how anyone could vote for Hillary Clinton with a clear conscience. She is awash in criminal and moral accusations. If Trump accepted 10 cents from the KKK, he would be instantaneously, permanently castigated from politics. But Clinton taking hundreds of millions from despicable, murderous, women/gay-killing regimes is a big fat yawn. Why is that? Anyone?

Brian Palmer, Eugene


As kids, my sister and I would go to the old Playland at the Beach in San Francisco, and after walking through the hall of “distorting mirrors,” we’d clamber onto a large, circular wooden turn-stile with many other kids. With nothing to hold on to other than our sheer will, as the platform gradually increased speed, all were inevitably flung joyfully off to the fringes, except for a few strong souls. Such is my analogy to a life of “No Resources” [cover story, 9/29].

My sister is mentally challenged and suffers from severe PTSD among other things. She has experienced much of what’s written in the article minus the meth and heroin. She’s been extremely fortunate to remain housed in the Bay Area, although her “house” is a mere 10-by-10-foot room after her one-bedroom apartment was “consumed” in the maw of high tech’s pecuniary gentrification. She’s lucky compared to those without a roof, yet how much longer?

The assessment that Eugene’s “capacity” is “way out of proportion to other communities” is mostly subjective. The fact is that the whole country is suffering from the consequences of neoliberal “shock therapy” disaster capitalism and its trickle-down austerity. In many ways, the article’s circle of incarceration and prejudice parallel those of the new Jim Crow. 

So how is it that many other countries succeed at a rate relative to our rate of failure? Just as I thought the context would be lost again in the deception, Matt Eads stated the obvious: “The system is broken. There’s just way too many people …” Yes, being used as pawns in a destructive turn-stile of over-population and poverty drug war politics. To say, though, that “it’s not the fault of anybody” is akin to Reagan saying he couldn’t “remember” his responsibility prior to his Alzheimer’s.

We’re all responsible, yet it’s important to keep in mind who controls and “distorts” the mechanism, as well as the rate, and amounts of “speed,” in the system.

Sean S. Doyle, Corvallis


Dennis “Den” Ramsey [Letters, 9/22] is a social pariah and chameleon whose name is not forgotten by a handful of us Whiteaker residents who’ve lived in the neighborhood long enough to know who he is and why he is such bad news.

“Den” likes to fancy himself an enlightened humanitarian, environmentalist, liberal, etc. — when it suits him. He thinks he’s a hero because of some charity work he did for poor people in some faraway place (as if that exonerates him from years of abusing locals). 

Unfortunately, as he makes clear in his letter, he can hardly contain his hatred for the poor, homeless, addicted, mentally ill, etc., here at home.

He would like us to believe that Scobert Park is a “crime magnet” because of the Eugene Mission, “which is a 400-bed facility three blocks away that actually feeds up to 700 per day.” 

The Mission is a rather conservative, faith-based institution with strict behavioral guidelines and policies around nonviolence and sobriety; people don’t last there long if they can’t follow the rules (“Den” wouldn’t last there long with his history of threatening people).

Like Buckley House and Jesco Club, the Mission is an authentic institution of the Whitaker; an authentic refuge for people truly needing help, and — without having any radical or subversive agenda — a safeguard against gentrification and the marginalization and isolation of the impoverished, addicted, mentally disturbed, etc. (people “Den” would like to see go away — but to where?)

Maybe “Den” has some friends in Kathmandu, but — in the Whiteaker — he’s loathed. 

Eric Blair, Eugene


I have been riding my bike in the hills surrounding Eugene for nearly a decade. Overtime, I have watched our rural landscape change. First, clear-cuts on an extended portion of Wolf Creek and Siuslaw River Rd., then, more recently, on Fox Hollow and Lorane. This week I was climbing McBeth and came upon another large swath of forest gone, drastically changing the landscape. I have become attached to these quiet, peaceful and healing backroads. My heart is heavy watching our forests and wildlife continue to be sacrificed for a short-term, self-serving profit while the lasting effects impact so many. Until we reassess our values, this shortsighted destructive behavior will continue — whether it is the Elliott Forest or in our own backyard.

Rebecca Rose, Eugene