Letters to the Editor Jan. 25, 2018


Imagine: The next breakthrough in clean, renewable energy could be formulating in the minds of a Lane County high-schooler right now. What can we do to foster that idea and bring it to reality?

The Clean Energy Jobs Bill to be considered in the legislative short session is a recognition of the increasing risks climate change represents. Lane County will experience more fires, reduced snowpack, drought and other severe weather events like the ice storm as global temperatures continue to increase. The impacts of climate change can no longer be ignored, the solutions no longer delayed. Now is the time to act.

With proper planning and preparation, Lane County can position itself as a leader in Oregon for clean-energy technology and infrastructure. A trained workforce is essential to maximizing impact in a clean energy economy.

Students in our high schools should be prepared for these jobs and for higher education programs at community colleges and universities. No high school graduate should have to go to California to gain the skills for building energy efficient housing, installing solar and wind energy projects, and how to utilize our timber and agriculture lands as a sustainable, carbon sequestering force against climate change.

We envision Oregon leading the way in green energy jobs, in being prepared for and recovering from increased fires, drought conditions and changing rain patterns.  With the best-educated and trained workforce and investments in clean energy jobs, we can assure a bright future for our children and grandchildren.

James Barber

Candidate for East Lane
County Commissioner



It seems the vigor with which the City Council resists an independent, voter-approved auditor suggests that is precisely the solution that Eugene needs.

Carol Lavery



Thanks to Bob Warren for telling the story (“They Saved Our Butts,” 1/18) of the citizen’s group that defeated EWEB’s plan to build a nuclear power plant on the coast in the early ’70s. I’ve been in Eugene since the late ’80s and I’ve never heard that story. Remembering our history can help prevent us from repeating it.

In the scramble to come up with solutions to climate change, some people are promoting nuclear power. But if the greenhouse gases emitted in all the stages of the lifecycle of a nuclear power plant are calculated, the carbon footprint of nuclear power is above the recommended 2030 threshold of 50 gCO2/kWh.

And let’s not forget that there is still no national spent-fuel repository in the U.S. The waste from the closed Trojan Nuclear Power plant is still stored along the Columbia River, where it is vulnerable to natural disaster and terrorist attack.

Nuclear waste takes 700 million years for its radiation to drop by half. What arrogance for us to subject our descendants and all the life on this planet to such extreme toxicity!

Last year, the Oregon Senate passed a bill that would have ended our state ban on nuclear power. Currently, EWEB is the largest buyer of nuclear power from the Columbia nuclear power plant in Washington.

Please contact your state senators and representatives and EWEB and tell them you don’t want nuclear power. The climate solution is renewables and energy conservation.

Sharon Blick



What has died at South Eugene High School is this: In 1926, a brave boy stood up and read two poems by Walt Whitman to his E-Club mates: “The Song of the Broad-Axe” and “The Song of the Exposition.”

The boy gave an inspired dramatic reading because he imagined Whitman’s words had created the ability for a boy to become a man by self-proclamation. His mates were convinced. Joining together, they all became bold and named themselves “the men of the axe.”

Hence, Axemen were born.

Circumstantial evidence is enough to make that story probable, even if it cannot be proven true. But who cares anymore about Walt Whitman and his Leaves of Grass, his grand visions for America, even along the “Willamette” (River) “in Oregon” where “cheerful axemen are Wielding all day their axes” — should anyone care?

If the old mythology is now dead, a new mythology needs to be born. In light of the needs of those who want change, I propose that the South Eugene High School Axemen should be renamed the Ursula K. Le Guin “High School Fantastics.”

Steven A. Sylwester



Living in a city with such a deep history involving the timber industry, I am interested in a name for South Eugene High School that is aligned with the our state’s beautiful forests, but without logging’s harmful environmental and ecological impacts.

For instance, the South Eugene Hoedads — the Hoedads were a Eugene-based, worker-owned tree planting collaborative. For many years they were the largest worker-owned collaborative in the nation, noted for their groundbreaking environmentalist and feminist actions. Since 1971, their reforestation work has had innumerable positive affects across the state.

Another idea is the South Eugene Spotted Owls — strix occidentalis is an endangered and invaluable species to the Pacific Northwest, which has had a very interesting series of interactions with the Oregon timber industry.

Jesse Kidd, student 



There are three letters (J. Thielking, R. Gross, K. Britz) in the Jan. 11 edition of Eugene Weekly complaining about how four of the five Lane County Commissioner changed the rules to prevent an initiative those commissioners didn’t like from inclusion in the May election.

How can this undemocratic event happen? It’s called “gerrymandering.” Lane has 40 percent more Democrats than Republicans, indicating a left-leaning county. But four of the five commissioners are conservatives.

I looked at the 2011 re-apportionment report (where the election districts are redrawn) a few years ago when I became curious about this seeming misfit. I didn’t study the report in detail, but a cursory look at the new districts showed the telltale signs of the “packing and cracking” techniques favored by gerrymandering Republicans.

If we want democracy at the county level, we need an independent committee to oversee the Commission’s redistricting in 2021. It’s sad to say, but in these times we can’t trust the GOP (Gerrymandering Obstructionist Party?) to show deference to democratic principles.

James Stauffer



Blake Andrews writes [“Outdoor Art for the Avid Indoorsman,” 1/18], “I have never seen any person interact with Robert Maki’s Trapezoid E.”  However, Seattle sculptor Robert Maki’s 1975 sculpture deserves the attention and interaction of everyone.

Trapezoid E is among the most important contemporary sculptures in Eugene’s outdoor, permanently installed public art. Maki articulates space with sheet-aluminum planes welded at odd angles to suggest the illusion of volume. Also, Maki had to concern himself with the environment within which his sculpture exists in the physical world.

In Maki’s case, his sculpture was originally sited at the center of the Federal Building’s plaza; however, due to security concerns the artist was consulted several years ago, and the sculpture was moved to the corner of High Street and 6th Avenue on the northeast corner of the Federal Building.

Trapezoid E is assertively dramatic and consists of one-inch aluminum planes in triangular and trapezoidal shapes (12’ x 12’ x 12’ variable size). As you walk around the work, you realize it is constructed of two-dimensional planes, but from any angle conveys three-dimensional form and volume.

Robert Maki’s sculpture continually challenges the accepted ways of seeing in the Northwest. His minimalist aesthetic offers a visual acumen and forces art out of the known into the unknown — evoking fresh forms to provide insight into perception, art and life.

Mike E. Walsh



Since we weren’t allowed to say “ass” on TV until Bush the Elder told us we were going to “kick Saddam’s,” can we now say “shit?”

Bill Smee



If Eugene is such a pedestrian friendly town, why are there no crosswalks on the eight streets between Willamette Street and the university from 13th Avenue to 18th Avenue (Oak, Pearl, High, Mill, Ferry, Patterson, Hilyard and Alder)?

Additionally, why is the speed limit 30 mph instead of a more reasonable 25 mph?

Beverley Mowery