BRIEFS : Heavy Hauling
| Day of Acttion | Seeking
Disclosure | A Good Thing | New
Co-op Struggling | Firefighters at Risk
No Bush Eugene joins international artistic protest.
People: Lisa Arkin
The Eugene area's three bridges over the
Willamette and McKenzie rivers are crumbling and heavy-hauling commercial
trucks will be detoured off I-5 and will be rumbling through Eugene
as early as Feb. 23. The detours could last for years.
An announcement is expected from the Oregon Department
of Transportation today (Feb. 13), according to Don Ehrich, ODOT's
Eugene-area district manager.
Ehrich says the local bridges, one crossing the Willamette
and two side-by-side bridges crossing the McKenzie near Coburg, have
visible cracks and have been monitored for years, even though they
are not high on the priority list of $1.7 billion in Oregon bridge
repairs scheduled for the next 10 years. Ehrich expects the bridges
to be totally rebuilt, rather than reinforced.
Trucks with total axle weights of 105,500 pounds will
be rerouted, but the drivers will have several options, all involving
state highways, including Franklin Boulevard, 6th and 7th avenues,
Highways 105 and 99 and the Ferry Street Bridge. Ehrich says Coburg
Road was considered for a truck route but dropped from the list.
Routing the trucks has been a major concern since
no obvious bypasses are available between Mile Posts 192 and 198,
and ODOT doesn't want all the trucks using the same detours.
"The traffic will be dispersed," says Ehrich. "We're
hoping not to see a significant operational issue" on Eugene streets.
Local transportation watchdog Mark Robinowitz has
been following the rumors and voiced concerns that the heavy-haul
rigs will be competing with local traffic, hauling hazardous materials
through town and damaging Eugene streets.
Robinowitz, a vocal opponent of the West Eugene Parkway,
expects the I-5 bridge crisis to kill or delay financing for the WEP
since the bridge reconstruction projects are bound to take higher
priority. Both would be built using scarce federal highway funds.
— Ted Taylor
An international Day of Action against the
threatened war on Iraq is planned for Saturday, Feb. 15 with a goal
of turning out 10 million people. Eugene will contribute to that number
with a rally at the Federal Building at 7th and Pearl in Eugene.
A protest march organized by UO's Students for Peace
will begin at 11 am at the EMU amphitheater and head downtown by 11:45.
The Federal Building rally begins at 1 pm and will
include talks by Congressman Peter DeFazio, Gordon Lafer, Mary O'Brien,
Carmen Urbina, Gretchen Miller, Quinn Wilhelmi, the Rev. John Pitney,
Jim Cook and others. Bahati Ansari will introduce the speakers.
Lafer, a professor at the Labor Education Research
Center at UO and a member of Progressive Responses, is one of the
keynote speakers at Saturday's rally and expects this rally to draw
"a few thousand people," making it "one of the biggest things that's
happened in Eugene in quite a while."
Lafer says organizers have succeeded in "putting together
a much broader and more mainstream coalition than a lot of people
think about when they think about the peace movement. And although
it is an anti-war rally, the primary focus will be the impact of the
war and the Bush administration agenda on our lives here. It's much
more focused on how the war on terrorism and the war on Iraq are being
used to attack workers, undermine civil liberties and defund social
Lafer says he's disturbed by the "home atmosphere
of the war on terrorism that's being used to attack workers and unions.
.. All of this is going on while hundreds of billions of dollars are
being raided from the national treasury through tax cuts and corporate
give-aways. The war is being used to exploit people's patriotism ...
to promote an agenda that is the opposite of patriotism."
A statement from rally organizer Ronna Friend says,
"We will protest this government's onslaught against our American
values of peace, civil liberties, the meeting of human needs, environmental
protection, economic equity all in the name of fighting the 'war on
terrorism.' We will raise our voices for peace and justice everywhere."
The rally is endorsed by Progressive Responses, WAND,
Faith In Action, Eugene PeaceWorks, ESSN, Eugene Middle East Peace
Group, CISCAP, OPEU #085, Oregon Toxics Alliance, Friendly Area Neighbors,
Teachers Against War, Citizens for Public Accountability, Students
for Peace, Pan Asian American Community Alliance, Concerned Faculty,
Many Rivers Group of the Sierra Club, Oregon Physicians for Social
Responsibility, the Eugene Human Rights Commission, ONRC and the Nonviolent
For further information on the Saturday morning march,
call 346-4356. — TJT
County Commissioner Anna Morrison recently
voted on a land swap proposed by developer John Musumeci without disclosing
that Musumeci had given $5,000 to her election campaign. Morrison
voted against the swap, but should she have abstained, or declared
a conflict of interest?
In the Feb. 5 commissioners' meeting, William Fleenor
of Mapleton, a concerned citizen and previous campaign opponent of
Morrison, raised the issue and proposed an ordinance to the Lane Code
that would "require the mandatory reporting of any actual or potential
conflicts of interest by a Lane County commissioner with respect to
campaign contributions." Fleenor's ordinance would require commissioners
to disclose "the source and amount of any campaign contribution in
excess of $250."
Fleenor suggests that Musumeci's large contribution
to Morrison's campaign might have influenced her judgment concerning
the proposed swap of fairgrounds land for an undeveloped parcel near
Commission chair Peter Sorensen sees value in the
idea of campaign disclosure. "Having a requirement of all campaign
contributions to be scrutinized could be cumbersome," Sorensen says.
"But if there's big money involved with big decisions, then the public
should know about it."
Sorensen has suggested a discussion on the topic to
the other commissioners and was hopeful about getting the topic scheduled
on the commission agenda.
— Bobbie Willis
Two and a half years ago Shannon Reeder
took over the quaint house at 2650 Willamette — which formerly
housed the Comic News — with one thought in mind: to
fill it with artists and children. The founder of Harmony Road Piano
School now teaches piano and rents to other piano teachers, music
therapists, garden landscapers, potters and other artists while filling
the arts education void left by 4-J school cuts. Children as young
as 3 learn piano according to the Harmony Road method, which uses
dance, drumming and singing to round out the youngsters' musical education.
But the house is old, in need of energy updates and
more to keep it going. This weekend, from 10-6 pm Friday through Sunday,
the school will hold a benefit sale to raise funds for the building
and also for scholarships so even more kids can take lessons (the
current rate is a $15 to $20 per hour).
Reeder, who is finishing up her master's degree in
piano and is a yoga instructor, is also inviting artists to submit
their work to hang in the space. Reeder only takes a 10 percent cut
from artists and teachers so they can keep their rates low.
Currently, 80 to 85 families per week come to the
school for lessons, but Reeder says, with some building updates, "We
could see more." Reeder hopes that with a scholarship fund, "more
low income kids who show musical promise will be able to study." For
more information or to donate, call 345-9225. —
Like many local businesses struggling to
survive, one of Eugene's "best breakfast" cafés has come on hard
times. The next three months will be a vital and trying time for the
side-by-side Morning Glory Café and Out of the Fog Coffeehouse
at 450 Willamette.
Recently the café changed into a co-op with 10
employee-owners who seek to remedy past underestimates of the cost
of organic ingredients and labor-intensive cooking. "The price of
organic produce, flowers, oils, nuts, and eggs can cost up to 300
percent more than commercial food, and some recipes take up to six
hours to make," says café co-op member Ceciley Slocum. The co-op
has made adjustments to some menu items, but still strives to preserve
their high quality.
"It is unfortunate that organic food and nutrition
become a luxury for those that can afford it," says co-op member Christopher.
"And one of the visions for the business has always been to find a
balance for everyone in these tight times, but that makes it even
more important to spend your money locally."
Looking ahead, the two businesses intend to merge
and share responsibilities to increase efficiency in the front of
the house. Slocum says that the switch to a co-op has been very beneficial
morally and financially for Morning Glory, "Everyone feels more connected
and responsible to work. Often members have to, and want to, put in
extra unpaid hours."
Morning Glory also provides a rotating community art
gallery and a unique crossroads for meeting people. Turn off your
cell phones because those annoying rings are not tolerated here. Co-op
member Gail Karurna urges community support for the two businesses,
saying, "It's time to literally put your money where your mouth is."
— John Husby
Judith Helfand is in town this weekend to
promote her film, Blue Vinyl, which examines the link between
cancer and exposure to vinyl chloride (see story last week). Vinyl
chloride is the building block of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The chemical
lurks in all buildings, from exterior siding to synthetic fabrics
in carpet and furniture, lighting fixtures, pipes, microwave ovens,
computers and even plastic picnic-wear.
Although these items seem inoffensive, they give off
polyvinyl gas when ignited. The gas causes brain cancer, lung cancer,
liver cancer and nerve damage. And that's bad news if you're a firefighter
on the frontline.
Exposure to polyvinyl fumes puts firefighters at risk,
says Gary Nauta, president of the Eugene Firefighters Association
Local 851. Eugene's fire crews protect themselves by wearing respirators
that filter out the toxic fumes. Nauta doesn't advise people to stand
on their front porch and watch their neighbor's house burn down. "You
don't want to breathe that stuff," he says.
Firefighters keep their respirators on when the flames
have died but debris still smolders because so many construction materials
are made from PVC. At a fire scene, it's impossible to get away from
polyvinyl contamination. "When we get back to the station, we all
take showers, bundle up clothes and send them to be laundered because
numerous tests show our clothing holds carcinogenic matter," Nauta
Helfand advocates phasing out PVC and finding alternatives.
So does Nauta, but he does not want to see more trees cut down to
replace it. "I don't have an answer," he says, "but the more we reduce
PVC usage, the safer my firefighters are going to be."
Helfand will show Blue Vinyl
and discuss PVC alternatives at 7:30 pm Feb.15 at 180 PLC, UO and
1:30-5 pm Feb. 16 at Churchill High School. The event is sponsored
in part by the Eugene chapter of the International Association of
— Michele Taylor
U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio and Ron Paul introduced
a bill Feb. 5 that would rescind Bush's blank check for war
passed by Congress last fall. The bill may fizzle, but the message
is clear. Declaring war deserves a full debate in Congress.
DeFazio waited to see if Colin Powell presented irrefutable
evidence to the U.N. last week. What Pete heard, and what we
heard, was circumstantial evidence. We're left even more convinced
that this Bush war doctrine is more about business and personal
vendetta than national security.
We've all seen the new Register-Guard
design — smaller pages, with new font and headline
bells and whistles. Editor Jim Godbold wrote in a front-page
story Feb. 4 that "... we sought innovative ways to try to preserve
as much room for news and feature content as we had before the
page-width reduction," but sources inside the R-G say
that an analysis of the new design indicates a 10 percent loss
of text per news page, while ad and subscription rates remain
the same. Nearly every newspaper, including EW, has reduced
its paper size. Let's be clear. It's primarily to cut costs.
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 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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joins international artistic protest.
On Monday, March 3, Eugene will be one of 375 (and
counting) cities around the world to participate in The Lysistrata
Project — a simultaneous international reading of Aristophanes'
witty, ribald anti-war play — to protest Bush's personal war
against Saddam Hussein.
Lysistrata, written in 411 B.C., tells the
tale of women from opposing states Athens and Sparta, who form an
alliance and decide to withhold sex from their men 'til they lay down
their other swords and quit fighting the Peloponnesian War. Aristophanes
was a playwright, not a politician, and writing and staging a play
made him feel like he was doing something to actively oppose the war.
Two thousand, four hundred and 14 years later, Lysistrata
will be used for the same purpose, from Buenos Aires to Jerusalem,
from Athens to Tokyo, from Damascus to Eugene, and on.
A couple of months ago, Theaters Against War (THAW),
a group composed of playwrights, actors and directors, formed in New
York. Members reached out and signed on 43 New York-area theaters
to participate in a day of protest on March 2, when Bush has said
the U.S. will invade Iraq. Anti-war dramatic events and street theater
will fill the Big Apple all that Sunday.
Shortly after THAW spread the word on its mission,
Kathryn Blume, a New York actor and playwright, realized that the
screenplay adaptation of Lysistrata she was working on would
be a perfect fit for that artistic response. She joined forces with
friend and theater director Sharron Bower and furiously sent out e-mail
messages asking others throughout the world to join her in a reading
of the anti-war play for March 3, a Monday, when theaters are usually
National Public Radio picked up the story, broadcast
it on Jan. 16 and the idea spread like wildfire. Eugenean Hannah Wilson
heard that broadcast and immediately thought, "We have to bring that
Wilson approached Eugene playwright Dorothy Velasco,
who forwarded her to actor, theater director and LCC instructor Sparky
Roberts, who by coincidence, had directed Lysistrata for LCC
in 1999. Roberts then contacted Betty Hemmingsen, her business partner
at New Mime Circus, a non-profit arts organization Roberts founded
in the '70s, for the go-ahead to raise funds to get the show off the
Next, Roberts called Anton Ray, the lead actor from
the 1999 production of Lysistrata, to see if he would revive
his role, that of super-soldier Kinesias, the horniest of them all.
Ray said yes.
Once Ray was on board, Roberts began calling others,
and the names who signed onto the project, all donating their time,
were big: Deb Cleveland, Patrick Torelle, Harry Stuart, Valerie McMahon,
Richard and Janet Reed, Bill Hulings, Reva Kaufman, and Misha Fellez,
to name only a few. Troupe Americanistan agreed to provide music and
belly dancer Zamara will also perform.
"As Americans, we're sickened by the actions of 'our'
government," says Roberts. "As artists, we present this play because
it's what we can do, rather than feeling helpless."
"You have to do something. Even if the war's not stopped
tomorrow, your actions might help later," says Wilson.
Action is the word. On Monday, Feb. 10, the day Lysistrata
rehearsals began, super-soldier Ray, the first actor Roberts had contacted
to be in the show and an Army reservist, was called into active duty
and told to report by the end of this week. Ray did not return EW's
calls requesting comment, and sources tell EW that reservists
have been expressly forbidden to discuss their feelings about the
war with the press, or to divulge details on where they are going.
Sources tell EW that Ray was told he was going "somewhere in
the Middle East."
Ray was also in the process of directing Ground
Zero Club, a play examining what happens when nuclear war comes
to New York City. Patrick Torelle will direct in his stead.
Bill Hulings (OFAM's Crazy for You, WRT's Blithe
Spirit) will read Ray's part in Lysistrata.
All Lysistrata performances throughout the
world will be used to raise funds for organizations that work for
peace and human rights. Proceeds from the Eugene production will go
to Women's Action for New Directions (WAND) and Community Alliance
of Lane County (CALC). To make tax-deductible donations to help offset
production costs, call 343-5386. Lysistrata will be staged
at 7:30 pm, Monday, March 3 at the McDonald Theatre.
War Art Show
More opportunities for creative people to express
their opposition to war are popping up daily. Artists are invited
to submit works in any media (no larger than 30" x 30") to the No
War Group Art Show at My House, 1136 W. 5th Ave. Submission deadline
is Feb. 28. The show will be held March 8.
Organizer Marc Moscato says the show is a way for
people to get involved in the war protest. "What can I personally
do to make a statement?" he says. "I feel frustrated. This is also
a way to get the community involved."
"No War" buttons will be sold to raise funds for Eugene
Peaceworks. Drop off works at My House or the UO Survival Center.
Anticipating a large number of submissions, Moscato is also looking
for a space to house the show after March 8. Call 344-4066. —
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As administrative coordinator for the Oregon Toxics Alliance,
Lisa Arkin works to counter such environmental hazards as heavy metals
in garden fertilizer and incineration of chemical weapons. In 1980,
she was a graduate fellow at a medical institute in New Orleans, where
researchers routinely dumped radioactive isotopes down the drain.
"I didn't want to be part of it," says Arkin, who dropped out and
returned to dance, her undergrad major. She taught at Stanford and
directed the Khadra Folk Ballet until 1987 when she joined the UO
dance department. Denied tenure after she took maternity leave, Arkin
sued in '96 and won her case. She left the UO, but keeps her hand
in as director of the Veselka Ukrainian dance company. "By way of
my stance on gender equity, I wanted to get involved locally," says
Arkin, who joined Citizens for Public Accountability in '97. "I headed
up response to the gravel pit on River Road." She spoke on sustainability
at this year's Citizen's State of the City Address. OTA is a sponsor
of activist/filmmaker Judith Helfand's residency in Eugene this weekend
— see Calendar for details. — Paul Neevel
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