BIKERS ARE ALLOWED ON SOME WALDO TRAILS
While I appreciate Debra McGee’s desire to keep beautiful wilderness areas beautiful, her letter in the Oct. 19 issue is not specific enough to discern whether any existing rules were broken by the “four parties of mountain bikers” she encountered on a recent hike.
It should be noted that per the USDA-Forest Service Waldo Lake Area web page, there are, indeed, areas specifically signed as approved for bicycles. Those trails not signed for bicycles should absolutely not be used by cyclists. The assertion is made that “wilderness” means only foot and horse traffic is permitted — “no motors, no bikes” — but this is plainly not the case, certainly when it comes to human-powered bicycles.
Having said that, I am not endorsing electric or any other motor type-bikes. Rules are established; blurring the lines of what is acceptable use doesn’t help us all do the right thing.
From the FS.USDA.gov site: “Waldo Lake borders the Waldo Lake Wilderness area. There are numerous trails that lead to nearby wilderness lakes. Mountain bikers may use any trail marked for the sport.”
FLOWERS FOR ROSA
I want to publicly thank whoever puts fresh-cut flowers in the hands of Rosa Parks, sitting serene on her bus bench at the Eugene LTD station. I sit beside her often and feel recharged by her presence.
Thank you, Rosa, for your lasting witness of justice and peace! And my thanks to the one who honors you daily with flowers.
Mary Sharon Moore
I DON’T WANT TO TAKE SOMEONE ELSE’S JOB
Since I moved to Oregon in January 1981, I’ve loved the fact the Oregon gas stations employed people to pump gas. I like to say “hi” and chat a minute about the weather or Duck sports while I get my credit card out and hand it over. Sometimes the attendant will wash my windows and I’ll gush verbal appreciation plus a tip. It’s a positive experience and yes — hell, yes — my two dogs are delighted if treats are involved.
What’s so wrong if buying gas is also a human — and canine — social interaction? I don’t want to pump my gas. I don’t like self check-out. I’m a people person! Went to Michaels: one cashier there to show you how to use their new lineup of self check-out stations “just in time for the holidays,” she said. How many people won’t be earning a paycheck from Michaels this Christmas?
I’m all in for customer service. Not interested in doing someone else’s job for free.
IF THEY BUILD A HOSPITAL, PATIENTS WILL COME
PeaceHealth has confirmed the closure of their downtown hospital. What does a city of 171,000 people do without a hospital?
Fortunately, Lane County commissioners have approved development near our city center at the Lane County Fairgrounds. City, state and county budgets are being adjusted to support the project. A baseball stadium was envisioned for the site, but it lacks funding and support from neighbors and the community at large. I respectfully suggest we recruit a hospital management company to develop the site, or perhaps create our own organization with a consortium of local medical professionals.
RiverBend is a regional medical center. Our region needs that. The new Eugene hospital will be designed specifically to meet the urban health care needs of our community. It might also be a teaching hospital, training doctors, nurses and staff. Those positions have been hard to fill, and we certainly need more of them.
Please ask our elected representatives and city staff to begin the process of locating a new hospital at the Fairgrounds downtown.
PEACEHEALTH HAS MILLIONS FOR BOSSES, PENNIES FOR EMPLOYEES
I’ve been a respiratory therapist since 2004, mostly at PeaceHealth.
Respiratory therapists treat preemies to elders in a fast-paced critical care environment. We help those who struggle to breathe, who require life support from a ventilator and who are in life-threatening situations. The entire hospital depends on us.
The union I belong to, Oregon Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals Local 5017, is in contract negotiations with PeaceHealth. OFNHP represents a number of our tech units, including Radiology, Vascular, and others. All these caregivers are absolutely essential to quality patient care.
One of the most important issues we are negotiating is wages. Without competitive wages we cannot attract and retain essential skilled workers. In my unit we’ve had a tremendous exodus of experienced therapists these past few years, partly due to wages and partly due to being so short-staffed that people are no longer willing to work where they don’t feel supported. Many units are struggling with these issues.
While our short-staffed and under-paid caregivers struggle to provide timely and comprehensive care, our CEO Liz Dunne’s compensation increased from $3,352,472 to $5,635,752 from 2021-2022. PeaceHealth has no trouble providing substantial raises to executives while paying bedside caregivers substandard wages.
We need a contract that ensures frontline healthcare workers get living wages so we can attract staff and better support our patients. We hope that our community will show their support for us, those who care for you.
Editor’s note: According to a May 2023 IRS filing, CEO Elizabeth Dunne also received $574,482 in “other compensation” from PeaceHealth or related organizations.
OUR OVERLORDS GIVE — AND THEN TAKE AWAY
The right hand giveth — I read in the Weekly that the powers that be have approved a height restriction variance and a MUPTE tax exemption, worth millions of dollars, to a developer who wants to construct yet another Soviet-style apartment building in downtown Eugene. The resulting loss of revenue will no doubt be shouldered by those who do not enjoy such tax exemptions — the rest of us taxpayers.
The left hand taketh away — I heard on KLCC that those same powers are considering a $40-plus million bond levy for a baseball field at the Fairgrounds. The cost will also be borne by, you guessed it, the very same taxpayers, whether we attend baseball games or not.
Am I missing something here?
GROWTH = DEATH
Every day there are new reports indicating the imminence of ecological and civilizational collapse. Projections from climate scientists include record land, ocean and atmospheric temperatures as well as increased cultural polarization and political gridlock. High-stakes wars. But one of the scariest headlines was in last Friday’s (Oct. 27) The Register Guard, “Growth notches strong 4.9% rate.”
All those goods and services require fossil fuel emissions in production, shipping and use. They all result in pollution and destruction of species. And they all maintain and intensify the colonial framework of the global north’s sacrifice of the global south. The so-called “transition to renewable energy” is more of the same, greenwashing the powers that be.
We have been given enough warnings. Infinite growth on a finite planet is unjust and, ultimately, impossible. We must begin degrowth. We must begin to focus on local adaptation, local food and energy resilience. We must diminish political and social polarization. As we approach the busiest commercial time of year, we must remember “small is beautiful,” “reduce, reuse and recycle.” When it comes to dealing with ecological collapse, it isn’t the heat, it’s the cupidity.
Jere C. Rosemeyer
KNUDSON WILL SHAPE EUGENE FOR THE BETTER
I was happy to see the article highlighting Kaarin Knudson’s candidacy for mayor (“Drafting a Campaign,” Oct. 19). As a banking professional in Eugene with 17 years of experience in leadership positions, I decided to start using my organizational skills and financial knowledge to better support our community.
To this end, I have served on local boards and commissions, but my four years on the Lane County Housing Policy Board is when I met Knudson for the first time. She came to speak to us on behalf of Better Housing Together, an organization she created and led, and its consortium of organizations who were committed to making housing more affordable for folks. I was immediately impressed with her poise, articulation and knowledge of the relevant facts. Despite being an architect by trade, she has a broad and thorough understanding of the financial challenges and political landscape of this complex issue.
Her ability to understand so many disciplines at such a high level, while still being able to build community and explain these subjects to lay people, is a rare gift. Over the last 10 years I have seen her speak at many more engagements. She provides relatable examples that help sway hearts and minds to mutually beneficial outcomes, while simultaneously presenting relevant, data-driven facts. To say I am excited about her becoming our next mayor is a vast understatement, as she will surely rise to the challenge and help shape the future of our city for the better.
THE CITY COUNCIL RECALL IS A WASTE OF RESOURCES
Jeepers, neighbors, we gotta wise up, bite the bullet and live with the fallout from the $15 million budget shortfall our civic leaders have creatively budgeted us into, robbing from Petrova to pay Pauline. Ward 7 interim City Councilor Lyndsie Leech informs me the recall will cost $10,000.
One shudders to think of the trees that will be slaughtered to paper Eugene in glossy campaign mailers and to print the ballot paraphernalia to decide between two very white, well nourished people to represent the ward. Candidate Barbie Walker maintains that in “the monumental” recall of Claire Syrett, Ward 7 voters showed “they do not want their personal property or land confiscated by the city or LTD for irresponsible, underused bus-only lanes.” Have they ridden the EmX during work mommy commute hours?
Our priorities are clear: Expand the community-supported shelter program, house families economically and put 200 people to work by fall in WPA-like jobs, razing the university district to construct a new urgent care/triage center this side of the Willamette.
Walker and Leech think giving lip service to increasing mental health service services and providing resource lists will make the homeless problem go away.
I’ve invited both several times to walk with my partner and me as we negotiate a jam-packed EmX to get our shots or to go to a rare PT appointment. They prefer to tootle in privileged-per-mobiles.
SIDE WITH PEACE AND JUSTICE IN GAZA
We’ve all been feeling it: that pressure to take sides in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The most popular choice in the U.S. is to side with Israel. There are reasons to do that, as the brutality of Hamas in its slaughter of Israeli civilians was truly horrific. But is it that simple?
One might argue that the slaughter of civilians by Hamas was intentional, while Israel only accidentally kills civilians when it targets fighters who are hiding amongst those civilians. But it knowingly commits war crimes when it carries out attacks where the expected harm to civilians is excessive compared with the military advantage anticipated, and civilians slaughtered this way have already exceeded the number killed by Hamas. And for decades Israel has behaved oppressively toward Palestinians, perhaps most egregiously by continuing to steal land in the form of “settlements.”
In a polarized conflict, each side uses the excesses of the other side to justify its own extremes. Taking sides in such conflict amounts to throwing gasoline on a fire, or bombs, in this case.
There is a third path. We can offer support only to those who take meaningful action toward a future where both Israelis and Palestinians will be able to live with dignity, justice and peace. It may be a puzzle how to accomplish this, and sometimes we may feel helpless, but even doing nothing is preferable to joining either side in taking genocidal actions toward the other.
HAMAS CARES NOTHING FOR PALESTINIANS
I stand solidly with Israel to defend and defeat Hamas, the terrorist group who attacked Israel. However, I’m worried about the growing conflation of Palestinians with Hamas. Ordinary Palestinians are not Hamas — Hamas cares nothing for the people they rule. To read about hate crimes against Palestinian-Americans is insane and lacks any context! Let’s reach out to both Israelis and Palestinians with compassion and stop the conflating.
STOP THE KILLING IN GAZA
The indiscriminate killing of innocent people, whether by lone gunmen, terrorist groups or soldiers of a nation state is an inexcusable crime. The recent premeditated killing of Israeli men, women and children by Hamas militants is such a crime. But so is the killing of Palestinian men, women and children by Israeli armed forces using a vast arsenal of weaponry in the indiscriminate bombing of civilians who have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, trapped in the ghetto that is Gaza.
The spectacle of watching a nation founded by refugees from the Holocaust — who have for 75 years displaced, rounded up, disenfranchised and confined the Palestinian people — attack Gaza in this way is hideous. Furthermore, condemnation of the slaughter of innocent Palestinians, who played no part in the recent attacks on Israel, undertaken by Israeli forces out of rage and revenge, is not antisemitism as the Anti-Defamation League and self-serving American politicians would have us believe. An immediate ceasefire is the only morally acceptable course, as demanded by the United Nations, followed by negotiations for the release of hostages and the permanent cessation of hostilities.
THIS IS WHAT GENOCIDE LOOKS LIKE
My name is Katie Preston, and my husband and mother-in-law are Jewish. The violence committed by Hamas was atrocious and has no place, but we must understand it did not occur in a vacuum. Palestinians have been under an apartheid regime, robbed of their human rights on a daily basis, their food and electricity metered out by the Israeli government.
Now civilians are being massacred, starved and deprived of the necessities of life. This is what genocide looks like. Why can we not still see it? Why can we not scream it? White phosphorus rains in Palestine and our lawmakers are unmoved. The Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza was bombed yesterday, at least 500 dead, as women and children watch their peers blown apart. Israeli politicians have the audacity to blame Hamas for this crime. Does this not ring a bell? Blaming the ones who are suffering the abuse. We need a ceasefire, we need humanitarian relief, we need an end to the siege and a beginning to peace talks. We need people in powerful positions to stand up against genocide no matter the repercussions, because what are we if we’ve no humanity left?
OREGON PERS SHOULD DISINVEST IN ISRAEL
Normally, I’d be sleeping at this time, but normally I’d be in Eugene relieved that the neighbors’ dogs weren’t keeping me awake with their barking. Instead, I’m in Bethlehem listening to the sound of Israeli jets overhead likely on their way to drop more bombs on Gaza. When I contacted the KEZI reporter who’d written about Sen. Ron Wyden’s stop in Eugene and his comments on the Middle East crisis, an interview followed. Unfortunately, the resulting news story left out the part about the cause of this crisis, the Israeli occupation and America’s role in it.
Forty-five miles away in Gaza a massacre is underway, executed by the Israeli forces and funded by the American taxpayer, among other unknowing investors, such as PERS members. Yes, the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund (OPERF) has numerous equities supporting the Israeli occupation (check out Elbit Systems for starters). I learned of OPERF investments in May of 2022 and have been trying to get out of them ever since. I can’t live with or on a pension derived from investments linked to harms to people and places. Not only am I linked to the slaughter of Gazans, but also the daily indignities Palestinians are subjected to in their own land, not to mention the ongoing theft of that land. My taxes and retirement benefits are no less a part of this occupation than Netanyahu, the Ministry of “Defense,” and the forces doing the dirty work.
There’s hope, though, or at least I’m hoping in hope. In the ’80s, PERS divested from apartheid South Africa. Now if only I can help the Oregon Investment Council, the appointed fiduciaries deciding OPERF investments, to understand that the Israeli occupation is apartheid against Palestinians. A review of Amnesty International’s comprehensive report on the matter can elucidate this fact. Or I’m happy to be the OIC’s eyes and ears on the ground here in occupied Palestine. It doesn’t look or sound pretty, certainly not like something anyone would want to perpetuate with their pension fund.
I guess I have KEZI to thank for this letter, as it took the news agency some real effort to report on what began here on the morning of Oct. 7 without addressing the why. Because KEZI couldn’t or wouldn’t, I’ve turned to the one local news source that will. Thank you, Weekly.
STOP BUILDING GAS STATIONS
While a ban on new gas stations is less effective toward achieving the city’s sustainability goals compared to policies and investments that discourage driving, such as building bike lanes and improving public transit, I still support a ban on new fossil fuel gas stations in Eugene.
The use of fossil fuels for transportation is a significant driver of climate and air pollution, both of which significantly threaten the health and well-being of Eugenean, particularly those living in neighborhoods closest to freeways, major thoroughfares, and other highly-polluted areas. As a result, the transportation industry is undergoing a dramatic transition away from fossil fuels and toward zero emission vehicles, and an extensive network of long-established fueling infrastructure must be updated to adapt to and benefit from this new market.
Following the state of California’s lead, Oregon has set a goal to phase out the sale of new gasoline vehicles by 2035. In addition to significantly expanding the availability of electric vehicle chargers, it is prudent to begin a transition away from gas stations by halting the building of any new facilities and enabling the provision of zero-emissions fueling alternatives.
Several cities in California have already institutionalized such, and the West Hollywood City Council has directed staff to evaluate the prohibition of new fossil fuel gas stations and for any expansions of current gas stations to be limited to zero-emissions vehicles.
Eugene should continue leading the way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
STOP SELF SERVICE GAS
I oppose self service gas for a number of reasons: Entry level jobs, or easy work for active seniors are scarce. At 76, I hate pumping my gas. It can be dangerous, and some ditzy people shouldn’t be driving, let alone pumping fuel.
As for the “no gas stations downtown”? There hasn’t been an active gas station downtown for years. I remember looking for one in the ’70s and couldn’t find one at all. Closest gas station today is at the north end of the Ferry Street Bridge.
With the new cry for no gas stations, is someone going to try putting one in? There’s one near 7th and Lawrence and at 13th and Willamette.
Not sure gas stations really trip my buzzer.
I HATE HALLOWEEN
Call me The Grinch, but I have come to hate Halloween! I am glad someone might still hold a different view. Here’s mine:
I have two very hyper grandkids, ages 10 and almost 7, who mostly live with me and whose sugar consumption I am eternally trying to contain. I get to eternally be a villain of sorts, in their view. On Halloween night, their mother will take them and see that they get a proper overdose of sugar, but will return at least one to me, properly hysterical, on a night between two school days. Studies suggest that sugar is as addictive as heroin, if not more. If we were to hand out heroin to children, ours or anyone’s, we would rightfully be considered monsters.
But say no to sugar, and you’re the bad guy. We have tried in years past to hand out sugarless gum, boxes of raisins or of Goldfish crackers, with the predictable “No, thank you” results.
Add to that our PTSD rescue dog who will bark her head off for every kid who approaches our door as we cower inside, all lights off, pretending we’re not home, and the enjoyment is complete. And then your own come home from wherever their mother had them filling up on sugar, and a long night of calming them down has begun. Throwing up is a very likely option.