Letters to the Editor – 2017-01-12


I live next to Skinner’s Butte and propose that we restore its name to what it was called by the Native Americans who lived here before us: Ya-Po-Ah, meaning “the high point” in their Kalapuya language. We’d be following Alaska’s example in its name change of Mount McKinley to Denali, the mountain’s Native American name meaning “big” for the highest mountain in the country.

As local history tells us, Eugene Skinner was one of the first white settlers here, arriving in the summer of 1846. Soon after his arrival he began to build a cabin near the river when the water was low, until local Kalapuyas advised him to build his cabin on higher ground above the winter flood plain — hence the name Skinner’s Butte.

How sad that, five years later, all the friendly Kalapuyas were wiped out by diseases brought by white settlers.

I’m pleased to live next to the butte at Ya-Po-Ah Terrace, 18 stories tall. As our name suggests, we are certainly the high point among buildings in Eugene. Through our name we also keep one word of the Kalalpuyas’ language in current use, honoring the Native Americans whose land this used to be.

Would the city of Eugene be willing to honor them as well by restoring their lovely descriptive name for the butte?

Mariette Wickes, Eugene


Regarding “Rapistitution” [Letters, 12/22]: No, sex work is not rape. Uncoerced sex work is consensual and transactional; rape is neither.

Even if you feel sex work is exploitative and degrading, uncoerced sex work is still a personal choice, made for personal or economic reasons; rape is not. Attempting to elicit a purely emotional response by using the shocking nomenclature “rapistitution” is transparent in its intent to arouse all the repulsive and criminal associations inherent in its root. But it’s inaccurate.

Sex workers erect boundaries; rapists don’t. Yes, those boundaries can be crossed and, yes, sex workers can be raped. That’s the perilous reality. A sex worker who is raped will hesitate to report the crime, because if she or he explains the context of the assault truthfully, she self-incriminates due to present laws.

Decriminalize. Then you can follow the example of no-means-no laws, which Germany recently passed to protect sex workers from the inherent risk of disease, abuse and rape.

Erin Davis, Eugene


I have never agreed with outgoing Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy on much of anything in the political arena. But there was one memorable occasion when she was serving in the Oregon House of Representatives back in the 1999 session. As she leaves office, I recall that incident fondly.

A two-term representative, who will remain unnamed, became a champion for the Oregon Building Industry Association (now the Oregon Homebuilders Association). He sponsored their bill to revoke long-held annexation voting rights in more than 30 Oregon communities. It was something the Homebuilders had been trying to do for several years. They did not want those pesky citizens interfering with development plans.

I found myself sitting next to then-Rep. Piercy at an evening function where land use issues were being discussed. The Homebuilders’ bill and its sponsor came up. She leaned over and whispered in my ear, “I’d like to wring his little neck!” Our minds had melded.

Piercy then helped us kill the bill. We’ve had to do the same with its clones in subsequent sessions. Unfortunately, the latest reincarnation of the legislation, Senator Lee Beyer’s Senate Bill 1573 in the 2016 session, succeeded in granting the developers’ wishes. That issue is now in court.

Thank you, Mayor Piercy, for making my day that evening and for your many years of public service — live long and prosper!

Jerry Ritter, Springfield


Democracy keeps on taking hits from special interests. Last summer, [local retired attorney] Stan Long and his corporate industry buddies attempted to grant power to the county commissioners to decide what initiatives Lane County citizens could vote on.

The community’s reaction was swift in letting the commissioners know: “Don’t you dare mess with the people’s business.” The commissioners dropped the corporate-concocted plan.

However, democracy in action was lost on Stan Long, who then filed a lawsuit claiming the county erred in approving initiative circulation for an aerial spray ban on herbicides and — get this — securing the right of the people to govern their own affairs over that of, let’s say, corporate industry.

The lawsuit is absurd, largely because Mr. Long failed to voice his complaints within the clearly allocated 60-day window allowed. I can’t imagine the courts rewarding tardiness.

The hearing date is Feb. 3. Mark your calendars. Let’s pack the courtroom!

Mucking with direct democracy, whether by changing the rules in the middle of the game or gaming the courts, is bad news no matter one’s political stripes. Muting people’s political speech and ultimately the people’s right of self-government just means we become more subject to the rule of the corporate class.

I won’t sit idle. Beside protesting this court case, I will do my part to make sure the aerial spray ban and the right of local community self-government initiatives make it to the ballot and are ultimately voted in by the people.

Bullies beware.

Michelle Holman, Community Rights Lane County, Deadwood


Last month, I saw the We the People 2.0 documentary at the Bijou Art Cinemas. It opened my eyes to what “democracy where I live” really means.

The Community Rights Movement — championed locally by Community Rights Lane County (CRLC) — is the only grassroots, action-oriented effort seeking to give meaningful legal authority to We the People. This movement seeks to amplify the voice of the people over the clamor of government and corporate interests that threaten our way of life and our planet, for profit.

Our situation is increasingly dire. Action is required. Join me in attending Community Rights Lane County’s monthly meetings on the third Monday of the month at the First United Methodist Church (1376 Olive St.) from 6-8 pm. And check out CRLC at communityrightslanecounty.org.

Marge Holman, Eugene


I love Eugene, but I am constantly amazed at how uninformed some people can be. Leigh Anne Jasheway spends two paragraphs trashing The Donald [“Beware Trumplestilsken,” 12/29] and then, in the next paragraph, says how great it is that the people can get together and stop the Trans Pacific Partnership.

This is stunning. It is The Donald who is going to, and pretty much already has stopped the TPP. The people have almost nothing to do with it, other than electing Trump.

If Hillary had won, we would be getting TPP. If Obama were to stay in power, we would be getting TPP. If Bernie had been elected, he would probably have stopped it.

That Jasheway does not know that a key issue of the Trump campaign was to stop the TPP and other such trade deals that are very bad for America shows an amazing lack of awareness of the political situation leading up to the election. In actuality, Bernie and Trump almost exactly agreed on trade, trade deals and getting industry going again.

The TPP was a globalist initiative, created and paid for by international corporations and pushed by their puppets in government, such as Obama.

Time to take the head out of the sand and give the devil his due.

Jim Showker, Eugene


After hearing more of this ongoing story about Prof. Nancy Shurtz’s Halloween party for the past few months, I feel compelled to comment.

I am not a University of Oregon law student. However, if I was, and I was invited to a private party at an instructor’s house, I would already feel awkward.

Then, if she came into the room wearing a white lab coat and blackface, and then started doing something weird with silverware, I would be running to the nearest exit.

Whether Shurtz is racist or needs some kind of health evaluation, either way the university got it right this time when they decided to relieve the professor of her instructional duties.

Law school is expensive. You need to get the best you can out of it.

Elizabeth Arbogast, Eugene


It is not too late to reject our president-elect, and there is something you can do: Go to refusefascism.org and sign the call to say, “NO! In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America!”

And in the days leading up to his inauguration, it is up to us — it is up to the masses — to get into the streets and declare a resistance to the fascist regime that will come under a hateful, sexist, racist, Muslim-bashing, wall-building, climate change denier.

We cannot “wait and see” what he does — for we have already seen what he has done to women, to families and to the people. We must prevent the Trump-Pence regime from taking power!

Lola Bravo, Eugene

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