Taxes, health care and even a waterskiing squirrel draw readers’ attention this week


The Eugene City Council has done it again. Ten years, no property taxes for the latest seven-story, 237-unit, market-rate riverfront apartment complex. All other property owners will receive their annual 3 percent property tax raise.  Although we need more apartments in Lane County, this building will contain no low-income apartments. When do homeowners get a break?

Marlene Pearson



Health Care for All Oregon is the only organization in Oregon whose mission is to bring universal publicly financed health care to Oregon. We have seen this coming for a long time. As this country continues to treat the health of our people as a commodity, corporations, investment companies and insurance companies will compete more and more to gain profits off of our health care needs. This is causing mergers, buy-outs and closures of clinics and hospitals, such as the closure of the University District hospital, when enough profits are not gained. We need this hospital in our community to serve the public and not investors, administrators or corporate heads.

Birthing centers are easy targets. Three years ago PeaceHealth closed its birthing center. This last year Baker City, McKenzie/Willamette Hospital and East Multnomah Health Center all closed their maternity birthing centers. Then there are buyouts. Amazon, one of the largest corporations in the world, bought out One Medical, an online virtual medical service. Our own Oregon Health Sciences University has proposed to merge with Legacy Health, which has six hospitals and 70 clinics.

We know — and it has been proven — that when corporations merge, service to the public suffers and prices and profits go up. Fight against the hospital closure. In addition, join Health Care for All Oregon to win publicly financed universal healthcare.

Lou Sinniger



Eugene Weekly’s mission statement includes these excerpts: “We expose corporate practices… We provide a voice for the oppressed… We advocate aggressively for… social justice.” One would think a progressive newspaper such as EW would advocate for animals. Yet the ad currently running in your paper from The Lane County Home Improvement Show advertised its event using a degrading animal act: “See Twiggy the Water-skiing Squirrel! Performing All 3 Days!”  

The ad’s photo depicts Twiggy, a squirrel who is waterskiing, wearing a red harness and strapped to a pair of matching red miniature skies. A thoughtful person with a little imagination and compassion (as I’m sure describes most of your readers) will recognize this as animal abuse, e.g. an animal is taken out of its natural environment, caged, manhandled, trained and subjected to crowds of loud humans for hours on end. 

Fortunately, in recent years, animal rights groups have exposed the suffering of animals used in entertainment industries. The Ringling Brothers Circus was forced to close its doors after it was revealed how its elephants were suffering; similarly, SeaWorld stopped using orca whales in its shows. Elephants and orcas are large animals, but small animals such as squirrels deserve the same humane consideration and respect. 

Animals’ lives matter, no matter their size. Please remove this ad. 

Ann Walker


Editor’s note: EW looked into Twiggy in a 2018 story. EW reporter Taylor Perse wrote that the various squirrels performing as Twiggy were all rescued animals that could not be released back into the wild. See more about the waterskiing squirrels at


Last week to celebrate turning 71 years old, two friends and I spent five nights backpacking in the nearby Waldo Lake Wilderness. The wild berry bushes were golden, purple, orange and red. It was amazingly beautiful and, due to climate heating, the early October Cascade mountains weather was dry and warm. Perfect!

Wilderness in essence means foot and horse traffic only. No motors, no bikes. Yet we ran into four parties of mountain bikers. Due to hard braking and skidding down steep trails the bikes leave deep ruts in the trail. The bikes loosen the rocks making slippery scree prevalent. This makes hiking the trail with a backpack much more difficult to navigate.

I appreciate the athleticism and love of nature of the mountain bikers, but for the sake of preserving what shared wilderness is left, keep your bike out of it. There are many miles of trails open to bicycles in the forests. But bikes are not allowed in wilderness areas. Let’s all protect what we love.

Debra McGee



Does it occur to the PeaceHealth administration that if a major catastrophic event such as an earthquake happened, it would most likely render all the bridges and freeways that go to RiverBend impassable? The only people who could possibly get to the hospital are the population on the east side — well, providing they (or ambulance) don’t have to cross a river and can get to RiverBend on Harlow via Gateway or some other roundabout way.

Also, there is already McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center on G Street in Springfield. Most of Eugene would be stranded because PeaceHealth officials are favoring money over saving lives and aiding the sick and needy. PeaceHealth’s mission is: “We carry on the healing mission of Jesus Christ by promoting personal and community health, relieving pain and suffering, and treating each person in a loving and caring way.” Well, how can that be a true statement when they are closing the only community hospital in the second largest city in Oregon?

Nancy Marie