The Survival Cycle

The complicated role Lane County Jail plays in the lives of the unhoused and the mentally ill

Why lock people up? In the spring of 2013, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office began to give a persuasive reason for putting people behind bars: to keep the dangerous ones away from the public.  Informed by the frequent press releases from the sheriff’s office, local media began to describe Lane County Jail as a “revolving door” and underfunded to the point that it regularly released even Measure 11 offenders — those who commit serious violent or sex-related crimes — for lack of holding capacity.  Continue reading 

Beyond Toxics Spearheads Bill To Limit Aerial Sprays

And call for changes that will bring Oregon into the 21st century

The impacts of aerial herbicide spraying in Lane County and across Oregon have come into sharper focus in recent years. In 2011, testing the urine of 41 Triangle Lake residents revealed traces of atrazine and 2,4-D, chemicals often included in the soups of toxic chemicals sprayed from helicopters over the state’s timberlands. In order to prevent incidents like this in the future, local environmental organization Beyond Toxics is spearheading a legislative bill to limit and inform on aerial sprays. Continue reading 

Lane County Sheriff’s Office Donates Surplus Military Clothing

Lane County Sheriff’s Office donated clothing acquired through a military surplus program

Late last summer, the images captured of police responding to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, with red, laser-sighted assault rifles and hulking armored vehicles precipitated a congressional hearing to survey the federal programs that funnel surplus military equipment from the Defense Department to law enforcement departments around the country.  Continue reading 

Eugene’s Floating Microbes Focus Of New Research

To UO landscape architecture student Gwynne Mhuireach, the seemingly clear air in Eugene is vibrantly alive. “There are all sizes of particles floating around,” the doctoral student says. “The heavier ones tend to stay more locally dispersed, and the lighter ones tend to be more long distance — there are some particles we’ve been getting from Japan.”  Continue reading 

Rent a Potted Christmas Tree and Plant It after the Holidays

Purchasing a cut-down Christmas tree can be a sad ritual for the sustainability-minded celebrator, or for those who find their post-holiday disappointment embodied by the malnourished or petroleum-derived tree in the living room.  However, Willamette Valley residents have the option of doing something a little different — renting a potted, living tree from Portland-based The Original Potted Christmas Tree Company (TOPCTC) to be picked up later and planted by conservation groups in local parks and watersheds. Continue reading 

Unorthodox Communities

New book takes inspiration from evolving shelter camps

Years before Opportunity Village came to life at the north end of Garfield Street, the idea of a transitional tiny house community was percolating in Andrew Heben’s head. While writing his senior thesis at the University of Cincinnati on the value of tent cities, Heben lived for a month at Camp Take Notice, a forested tent camp in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in which residents were involved in a complex process of self-governance. Continue reading 

Lane County Steps Up To Help Homeless Survive Winter

Ryan, who sleeps in a tent at the new Whoville homeless protest camp north of the U.S. Courthouse, says that he and his fellow campers are “managing” through the recent freezing nights. “It was cold last night,” Ryan says, declining to give his last name for fear of repercussions. “It was really cold last night. We could always use more blankets.”  Continue reading 

Journalist Reese Erlich To Speak On Syrian Civil War And The Islamic State

Reese Elrich. Photo by Janyce Erlich.

As a peer of the journalists infamously executed in online videos recently distributed by ISIS, the horror of that footage felt particularly real to Reese Erlich. Erlich, a longtime Middle East correspondent for NPR, recently returned from Syria and will speak in Eugene Nov. 19 and 20 about his on-the-ground account of the ascendance of ISIS (the Islamic State) and the United States’ effort to halt it. Erlich sees an illogical, destructive “third war” coming to a head in the U.S.’s escalating response to ISIS. Continue reading 

Measure 87 Deals with Unintended Consequences

In a season of highly controversial ballot measures and no-compromise, multimillion-dollar “yes” and “no” campaigns, Measure 87 is set to be among the more peaceful decisions Oregonians have to make in November. Facing no organized opposition, the “fact specific and very narrowly drawn” measure would amend the state Constitution to permit state judges to simultaneously serve in either the National Guard or as a paid teacher in public universities. Continue reading 

EPA Approves Herbicide For GMO Crops

The approval of another herbicide specifically for use on genetically modified (GM) crops underscores the timeliness of Oregon’s Measure 92 that would mandate labeling foods containing GMOs. On Oct. 15, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave final approval of the herbicide Enlist Duo, which is used on Dow Chemical crops genetically modified to resist the chemicals glyphosate and 2,4-D.  Continue reading