News Briefs: Beer Bash | Officer Overkill | Building Vogue | Clearcut Evidence | Corrections
News: Halfway to Yucca-- DOE has a Utah site in mind for "temporary" nuke storage.
Happening People: Joshua Skov.
Police officers confronted a crowd of 300 to 500 partying college-age people last Friday night, May 31, according to the Eugene Police Department.
|A EPD officer videotapes burning debris on Patterson Street near campu.|
Disorderly partiers in the neighborhood of Patterson Street and 17th Avenue threw a beer keg against a house and broke off an outdoor water faucet at another residence, according to EPD. After officers ordered people to disperse, crowd members threw bottles and rocks at police cars, tore down and burned street signs and lit fires in trash bins, EPD says. Police reported 11 arrests of men aged 19 to 23, mostly for disorderly conduct. Two were charged with riot. Although police say bottles were thrown at them, no one was charged with assaulting a police officer.
Police used tear gas cannisters to try to break up the crowd. In addition to 21 EPD officers, 20 additional officers were dispatched to the
scene from Springfield, Coburg, Lane County SheriffŠs Office and the Oregon State Police.
É Alan Pittman
The Cottage Grove Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest scheduled an open house March 14 to let citizens meet one-on-one with the district staff to ask questions, offer opinions, and generally become involved with the agency that determines the fate of that section of public land.
But when five activists showed up at noon carrying signs and banners, says Leeanne Siart of the Oregon Natural Resources Council, the federal staffers apparently changed their minds. †They immediately locked the door and said ÔNo open house. YouŠre being too threatening.Š˙
Portland attorney and former lawmaker Stephen Kafoury (www.stephenkafoury.com) accurately predicted 30 out of 32 contested primary legislative races in Oregon, and now heŠs eyeballing the November ballot. He predicts a close party split in the general election, with the House remaining Republican and the Senate turning Democratic. He figures the Legislature will swing depending on which sectors of voters get excited enough by the issues to vote. The gov race could drag a lot of folks out of the woods.
In House contests, Kafoury predicts Prozanski over Hayden in District 8, Barnhart over Bolanos in District 11, Beyer over Fox in District 12, and Hawkins over Farr in District 14. In Senate races, his bets are on Corcoran over Alsup in District 3, and Walker over Cary in District 7.
These are encouraging predictions, but they shouldnŠt lead anyone to take the elections for granted. Kafoury himself says the religious right has the power to organize a surprising number of voters É enough to swing any close election. And any close election can swing the Legislature.
Last week in EW, Floyd Prozanski came to the defense of the new media access rules proposed for Eugene police by the Police Commission, and itŠs good that weŠre having something of a public dialogue on the topic. Journalists (at least some journalists) get excited about this stuff because it deals with fundamental issues of freedom of the press. One red flag for us is giving cops a written policy that allows them to order media to disperse during protests. Another red flag is having cops in the heat of protest judge whoŠs media and whoŠs not media. Meanwhile, we are left without any useful policies to rein in a history of EPD excesses. Media still canŠt interview cops without going through PR channels, police are still not allowed to say anything critical of their department, and police whistleblowers still have inadequate protection from retaliation. These naive new Police Commission policies have skirted the real issues.
So Bush has finally conceded that global warming is caused by human activity and is only going to get worse. So the logical next step would be to do something about it, but BushŠs solution is to slap on more sunscreen. The real solutions remain obvious: tighter regulation of industrial greenhouse emissions, higher standards for auto mileage and emissions, new research and incentives for alternative energy production, banning two-cycle engines, supporting mass transit É even simply enforcing the laws we already have on our books. Environmental destruction may be good for business in the short term, but itŠs disastrous for the economy in the long haul.
SLANT includes short opinion pieces and rumor-chasing notes compiled by the EW staff. Heard any good rumors lately? Contact Ted Taylor at 484-0519, firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the course of the next half hour, about 50 activists showed up to †peacefully protest the Cottage Grove Ranger StationŠs logging policies,˙ she explains.
Siart says the Umpqua NF is planning †three big, bad (timber) sales.˙ One, called Salty, is along Layng Creek, which provides Cottage GroveŠs drinking water. The Wyatt sale along Brice Creek, which still in the planning stages, would cut ancient trees in a roadless area ONRC wants protected as wilderness. The Blodgett sale is old-growth forest given in exchange for a second-growth forest in the Coast Range that couldnŠt be logged because of concerns for the threatened marbled murrelet.
†If the Cottage Grove district continues to plan timber sales in old growth and mature forest,˙ Siart says, †they can expect continued opposition from the public.˙
After locking out the protesters, a forest staffer offered to let one representative activist in. The group refused, saying no single person could speak for all of them, and the event was canceled.
Two and a half months later, everyone tried again.
On May 30, the ranger district hosted another open house, but this time they were prepared. Although only a small handful of activists showed up at the Thursday event, the forest had 16 law enforcement officers on hand, videotaping the activists, recording their license plate numbers and letting them into the building one person at a time.
Siart says the process was intimidating. One woman cried after making it into the building, saying she felt that she was being treated as a criminal for trying to participate in a public event.
Siart objects to the expense of that many law enforcement officers in the face of a small, peaceful contingent of people trying to exercise their rights. †It made it extremely difficult to participate in democracy,˙ she says.
É Orna Izakson
Supporters of the ultramodern design of the new federal courthouse have said the new building will be an architectural showpiece. ThatŠs just how supporters described EugeneŠs modern design for a new City Hall in 1964.
†The building, designed by architects Morin and Longswood, was a long way from completion when it was already being cited as an architectural showplace, complementing the entire civic center. And EugeneŠs civic center is now receiving nationwide attention,˙ The Register-Guard reported in 1964.
Now, the blank exterior of City Hall is derided as ugly and city officials want to replace the building with a new City Hall costing $50 million or more.
So, in three or four decades, will citizens want to tear down a modern design of the new courthouse that has since gone out of fashion, like last years hemlines?
Courthouse architect Thom Mayne said he doesnŠt care. Future Eugeneans †can like it or not, but thatŠs who we are,˙ he recently told the City Club.
Mayne said he had no interest in a more historic-looking, timeless design. †From my point of view as an architect, you can only build a contemporary building,˙ he said, adding. †I donŠt mean this in an ego sense.˙
†The buildings people hate are sometimes the most interesting buildings,˙ Mayne said.
In 1964, city officials derided the old City Hall, which occupied a 1910 schoolhouse, as gloomy, cramped and decrepit. However, if the old City Hall stood today, itŠs Victorian character would have made the building a historic landmark.
The city may be able to save taxpayers millions by renovating and expanding the existing City Hall rather than tearing it down. The 1964 R-G reported, †the northeast portion of the building was constructed so that six additional floors can be added.˙
É Alan Pittman/Nicole Hill
In November 1996, after torrential rains brought loose soils of a clearcut barreling down into a home near the Oregon coast É killing the people inside É forestry officials in the state claimed there was no causal connection between landslides and clearcuts. That claim was shaken at the time by common sense and anecdotal evidence, and, more recently, by successful litigation and statements from some of the most recalcitrant of scientists on the issue.
In the wake of the deaths, environmentalists asked the Board of Forestry to ban steep-slope clearcutting. The board initially refused, saying that doing so would halt most logging on industrial forest land in the landslide-prone Coast Range.
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Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of FishermenŠs Associations explains that the Oregon Department of Forestry at the time †had never had authority to say no to any clearcut logging or any steep slope logging anywhere in the state.˙
The Legislature eventually passed a law granting that authority to protect people living downhill. But Spain says the legislation doesnŠt address the needs of salmon, waterways or other public resources, although the state forestry department could extend such protections if it chose.
On May 31, Spain and colleagues at three other environmental groups went to court seeking protection for imperiled coho salmon, as well. The groups É Pacific Rivers Council in Eugene, and the Corvallis-based Coast Range Association É asked a federal court to stop State Forester James Brown from approving clearcuts on steep, landslide-prone slopes near streams coho depend on for survival.
The Endangered Species Act prohibits activities that harm protected species such as coho. The environmentalists say that clearcutting increases the frequency of landslides, and landslides harm the species by smothering their eggs and hampering migration and rearing.
†OregonŠs logging rules clearly do not meet the standards of the Endangered Species Act and the state is not on course to correct the problem,˙ says Patti Goldman, the EarthJustice attorney representing the groups. †The state must comply with the ESA. So now we are asking a federal judge to make the Department of Forestry do what it wonŠt do on its own.˙
Spain says the groupsŠ request applies only to industrial forestland owners with more than 5,000 acres. The move would only affect the highest risk sites, he says, an estimated 5 to 15 percent of the industrial land. Those acreages could still be logged selectively, but not clearcut.
†The Board (of Forestry) has created a dilemma of its own making, and the department has refused to acknowledge that it has any legal obligation under the federal Endangered Species Act,˙ he says. †We donŠt feel that a federal court would agree.˙ É Orna Izakson
ő In our short story on Jeffrey †Free˙ Luers last week (5/30), the website listed for more information was incomplete. The site should be www.spiritoffreedom.org.uk †The ÔukŠ at the end is important,˙ writes one reader. †Otherwise it goes to some bizarre site.˙ ItŠs actually the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation. Different walls.
ő A reader of our Summer Guide article †The Sounds of Summer˙ (5/23) tells us Richie Havens never did La Bamba. The artist is actually Ritchie Valens. Yeah, youŠre probably right on that one. Different drugs.
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Yucca site could direct radioactive waste through Eugene area.
By Michael Carrigan
†There is no question that accidents will happen É the U.S. government has admitted that. Since weŠre dealing with highly radioactive waste, if a serious accident happens, the consequences will be severe,˙ said John Hadder of Citizen Alert, a Nevada-based environmental group, in a presentation to 80 students at Jefferson Middle School May 29.
Hadder is transporting a mock nuclear waste cask through Oregon and other states. The cask represents the kind of containers that may be transporting nuclear waste from the Trojan nuclear power plant and the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington through Oregon to Yucca Mountain, Nevada. His presentation was part of a multi-state campaign to raise awareness of an upcoming vote in the Senate on whether or not to approve Yucca Mountain as the permanent repository for the nationŠs high-level nuclear waste. The Eugene stop was sponsored by Oregon PeaceWorks, Eugene PeaceWorks and WomenŠs Action for New Directions.
According to Pete Mandrapa, who teaches eighth grade at Jefferson, the students looked at both sides of the issue and will write letters to their U.S. senators saying what they think should be done. †Once informed, the kids took a real interest in the issue because they learned it will affect their lives,˙ said Mandrapa.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that 3,324 truck shipments of highly radioactive waste will travel through Oregon along I-84, or as many as 649 train shipments of the waste will travel alongside I-84 and I-5. This cargo may pass through Eugene, Oakridge, Klamath Falls and other cities in Oregon. A final decision on exact routes and transportation methods in Oregon has not been made.
The DOE conducted a study that found that a severe accident in a rural area would contaminate a 42-square mile area, require over a year to clean up and cost $620 million. An accident in an urban area could cause far greater damage. Emergency response and public health infrastructures in Oregon are not prepared to deal with a catastrophe of this magnitude.
Hadder said the DOE has not done sufficient testing to determine how well the casks would withstand the impact of a freeway accident, train derailment or fire. The threat of terrorism makes nuclear waste transport an even riskier proposition. Jim Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, has likened the casks to mobile terrorist targets.
Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson opposes designating Yucca Mountain as a waste dump because of the threat posed to local residents by the transportation of nuclear waste through Eugene: †250,000 people in the Eugene area live within a few miles of the main north-south rail line and their lives would be jeopardized if there were a terrorist attack on a nuclear waste cask,˙ Sorenson said.
The House of Representatives recently voted to approve the Yucca Mountain proposal, but Congressman Peter DeFazio was opposed. †Instead of acting responsibly and addressing the dangers of nuclear energy or finding viable sources of alternative energy, Congress has chosen to pass the buck to Nevada and say Ônot in my back yard,Š˙ said DeFazio.
The U.S. Senate will soon be voting on Yucca Mountain. OregonŠs senators have not stated how they plan to vote though Sen. Ron Wyden will likely vote against the project and Sen. Gordon Smith is reportedly leaning toward voting for it.
Lavon Rose also spoke to students at Jefferson. LavonŠs father runs a pistachio farm about 10 miles from Yucca Mountain. Rose said she worries that the nuclear waste will eventually find its way into an aquifer that lies under Yucca Mountain, and contaminate water supplies for Las Vegas, Los Angeles and other areas. †I donŠt know why people arenŠt screaming and shouting and jumping up and down about this,˙ she said,
Yucca MountainŠs seismicity is also under attack as 33 earthquake faults crisscross the area. Las Vegas, home to half a million people, lies just 90 miles away from Yucca Mountain. Members of the Western Shoshone Nation have resided in the area for thousands of years and are actively fighting the Yucca Mountain proposal .
Shipping waste to Nevada will not consolidate the nationŠs waste in a single spot, as is claimed by the nuclear industry. Nuclear waste must cool for at least five years before it can be handled for shipping, which means there will always be waste at operating nuclear reactors.
Energy Secretary Abraham recently conceded that the Yucca Mountain repository will only be able to hold a portion of the 77,000 tons of waste already generated. It will not be able to hold the new waste expected to be created in the coming decade.
Yucca opponents believe that until there is a better scientific understanding of nuclear waste, it is safer and cheaper to place the waste in dry cask storage in hardened buildings, where it could be stored for decades on site while the government develops a better plan for permanent disposal.
The nuclear industry is spending thousands of dollars on full-page color ads in The Register-Guard and other newspapers urging OregonŠs senators to vote †yes˙ on Yucca. A broad coalition of Oregon peace, environmental and church groups is waging an active campaign to get Wyden and Smith to vote against the Yucca Mountain proposal. ItŠs a classic struggle between big money and the power of the grassroots.
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Israeli Nir Pearlson grew up in kibbutz Kfar Hanassi in upper Galilee. †A small community, 400 people, surrounded by agriculture,˙ he recounts. †It was tremendous for kids, very safe.˙ As a member of an elite commando unit, Pearlson saw combat during IsraelŠs invasion of Lebanon in 1982. He was studying architecture in Jerusalem in 1989 when he was called for duty in the West Bank. †I told my officer I had to refuse,˙ he says. †It was clear to me that Israel should not be there as an occupier.˙ Pearlson spent 30 days in a military jail. With the Gulf War brewing, he and his bride Mimi Dvorson relocated to her family home in San Francisco for the birth of their first daughter. In 1991 they moved to Eugene, where he finished his degree. †My vision is to do sustainable architecture, to reduce the impact on the environment,˙ says Pearlson, now in his fifth year with WGBS Architects. Pearlson will join Palestinian peace activist Ibrahim Hamide as speakers at the Eugene Middle East Peace GroupŠs Celebration of Courage from 4 to 8 pm Sunday, June 9, at the Hilyard Community Center. A Middle East feast and music by Troup Americanistan are also on the program.
É Paul Neevel
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