News Briefs:  Seasoned Enviro Joins Commission Hopefuls | Hempfest Folk Dance with Cops | Dueling Dollars Leave Forest Fate Floating | Women Forest Defenders Occupy Straw Devil Sale | Corrections / Clarifications |



SEASONED ENVIRO JOINS COMMISSION HOPEFULS

In a surprise move, Andy Stahl Wellborn — national environmental advocate, local sheep farmer and son of world-renowned biologist Frank Stahl — has applied for the East Lane County Commission spot opening Aug. 15. Commissioner Tom Lininger is leaving the board to teach at the UO Law School.

Stahl Wellborn, who has served as executive director of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (FSEE) for almost a decade now, says he decided to try for the appointment in part because of his upbringing and history in Lane County, and in greater part because of his experiences the last three years fostering, and ultimately adopting, two children through local social service agencies. "That was our first introduction to the social safety net and the important services government provides for people who are in just really deep trouble," says Stahl.

In terms of what he would hope to accomplish given the chance, Stahl Wellborn would like to see "substantially lower levels of unemployment, lower levels of drug abuse, and substantially increased support for K-12 education." But he also understands that "these are generally not matters that county government can affect unilaterally." As the top three concerns for East Lane County, Stahl Wellborn identifies: reauthorizing the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act; eradicating methamphetamine use and its ensuing criminal and health risks; and seeking from the state Legislature a better balance in the allocation of payments to counties for education — amending the division of funds from 75-25 percent in favor of roads to a 50-50 split, or even better, 75-25 in favor of schools.

Twenty-two other Lane County residents have also applied for the position. They are Scott Bell of Springfield; Michael Dean of Coburg; Stephen J. Dingham of Creswell; Randall P. Gast of Eugene; Donald E. Hampton of Oakridge; Cedric L. Hayden of Fall Creek; Mark F. Herbert of Springfield; Gordon B. Howard of Dexter; Kathy Keable of Blue River; Ed Kemp of Springfield; Al King of Springfield; Donald Nordin of Cottage Grove; Martha Roberts of Creswell; Joachim Schulz of Cottage Grove; Myron B. Smith of Oakridge; Fay H. Stewart II of Cottage Grove; Anne (Lauri) Thomas of Creswell; James Thrailkill of Vida; Cindy Weeldryer of Cottage Grove; Ralph A, Wheeler of Springfield; Gary L. Williams of Cottage Grove; and David A. Wood of Leaburg.

The deadline for applications was July 14, and the BCC began evaluating materials July 16. While Lininger will stay involved in the process for as long as he is able, he will not be able to vote on his replacement. It remains to be seen whether this pool of applicants includes one that the four remaining commissioners can agree upon.

Bobbie Willis

 

HEMPFEST FOLK DANCE WITH COPS

Despite obstacles in the planning stages, the Emerald Empire HempFest will be held from 10 am to 10 pm Saturday, July 19 at Alton Baker Park.

Dan Koozer, one of the organizers of the free HempFest, says the biggest roadblock to making the event happen has been financial.

The organization's original plan laid out a $10,000 budget, typical for an event expected to draw 2,500 people. What organizers didn't expect, however, were the costly requirements the Eugene Police Department had for them.

"The police stated that they would just as soon it didn't happen, but set up parameters we had to work under," says Dan Koozer, one of the festival organizers.

The most challenging of those parameters is the $4,100 festival organizers have to shell out to hire four off-duty police officers for additional security at the event. The police officers cost more than six times what the organization is paying for private security.

"It was devastating to us," Koozer says about the additional requirements. But he is optimistic that they may be able to get around the police requirements next year if this year's event is successful.

Other than the EPD, Koozer says the responses they've received have been very positive.

"The Parks Department has been absolutely fantastic," he says, and the festival has also received support and donations from local businesses and organizations. In addition, all of the music at the event has been donated.

"The positive responses we have received are very gratifying and really keep us pumped," Koozer says.

In addition to music, the event will feature vendors and non-profit organizations that promote hemp products and processes. Parking is limited, but valet parking for bicycles will be available.

For more information, see Saturday Calendar or visit www.emeraldempirehempfest.com or e-mail Dan Koozer at dankoozer@yahoo.com — Kelly O'Brien

 

DUELING DOLLARS LEAVE FOREST FATE FLOATING

If Kyle Spring is unfamiliar to you, it is probably because the spring, and the two acres of virgin Douglas fir forest that surrounds it just outside the city of Monroe, is bordered on four sides by private property. Nevertheless, its upcoming sale by the city, which can no longer use Kyle Springs as a water source for Monroe, is sparking debate and passions in area landowners. In an odd coincidence, the two highest bids for the property are identical at $70,500 each, yet have come from two very different parties: Mahogany Aulenbach, a staunch conservationist, and Todd Nystrom, the president of Hull-Oaks Lumber Company.

Citizens expressed their concern over the future of Kyle Spring and Nystrom's intentions for the land at the Monroe City Council meeting Monday night, July 14. Headed by Aulenbach, area citizens raised the bid price over the past three months in their effort to preserve the trees, some of which are larger than six feet in diameter. "It surprises me that when you did not need it (Kyle Spring) anymore, you would give it to someone with the potential of logging it off. We don't have too many big trees anymore," Aulenbach said to the council.

While Aulenbach and others are not certain what they would do upon acquiring the property, "our first priority is saving the trees," said Katie Stokes, an advocate for Kyle Spring's conservation. Stokes urged the council that "this is a unique chance for a city to get a full bid, as high of a bid as they would have got, and still have it as a city park or perhaps a private park if they did not want it. We (citizens) could own it and it can be preserved as a remnant of an historic spring and the ancient forest forever instead of it going into private hands."

Nystrom was not present at the meeting, but was reached for comment the following morning. "This has nothing to do with Hull-Oaks. This is my personal stuff," he said. Though he was unable to promise that the land would never be logged, he stressed that he, and Hull-Oaks in general, "look at the long-term, for the future ... we're guilty by association. We're the lumber industry." Kyle Spring and the surrounding trees are bordered by Nystrom's property on three sides.

Monroe Mayor Floyd Billings and the rest of the council are currently uncertain of how to deal with two identical bids. They are expecting to get legal advice, as well as examine any geologic consequences in the event of logging, and call another council meeting to decide the ownership of Kyle Spring as soon as possible. — Celene Carillo

 

WOMYN FOREST DEFENDERS OCCUPY STRAW DEVIL SALE

Oregon eco-feminists this week announced the beginning of an "all-womyn's action, occupation and tree-sit in defense of public land sold off to private industry."

The tree-sit at the Willamette Forest timber sale has two purposes, according to a message from the Eco-Feminist Front. "In addition to defending the last 2 percent of native old-growth forest that still stands in Oregon, the womyn's action is dedicated to building a community that is intolerant of all forms of oppression. We work to build a space of mutual learning and growth — a space where we can conquer not only the demons of capitalism, patriarchy and indifference that surround us but also the demons of oppression, self-loathing and fear that reside within us."

For more information on the action, call 684-8977, e-mail forestdefenders@tao.ca or visit www.forestdefenders.orgor www.cascadiasummer.org

 

CORRECTIONS/CLARIFICATIONS

Last week's movie review "Dig These Films" listed The Archaeology Channel's website incorrectly. The correct address for schedule and information is www.archaeologychannel.org

 

 

SLANT

Florence residents are steaming over the back-door method used by tribal leaders to acquire land just east of town for "cultural and historical purposes" (and specifically ruling out gambling), when the site was apparently planned all along for a casino. Residents are also fretting about the possible impacts of a casino on their community — the increase in gambling addiction, divorce, bankruptcy, suicide, child abuse, crime, traffic, and the loss of tax revenues that other Oregon communities with casinos have experienced to a greater or lesser degree. The town has been losing major legal battles and now Gov. Kulongoski has decided to not appeal a federal court ruling that favors the casino. No one knows for sure how Florence will change with a big casino on its outskirts, but hats off to the dedicated residents who are continuing the fight on multiple fronts. What's next? A local initiative is in the works that would deny city services (sewer, water, public safety) to any casino development in the area, and a Florence contingency is planning a lobbying trip to Washington, D.C.

The good news from Bob Noble's report to the City Club July 11 was that the numbers from this region could support direct flights from Eugene to both Salt Lake and San Jose. Folks are trying to put that together, according to Noble, who is manager of the Eugene airport. Bad news is that we lost 30 percent of our air business after 9/11 and traffic is still down 20 percent. More bad news — our security costs have gone from about $100,000 a year to $1 million since 9/11.

Why is Enron still getting tax breaks from the state Legislature? Enron paid only the minimum income tax of $10 last year. But Rep. Mark Haas tells us that what many people don't know is that Enron received a tax break of $1.1 million last year because of the Pollution Control Tax Credit. Pollution control sounds good on the surface, but Enron, like other big polluters, got its tax break for simply complying with environmental regulations. Now Enron has applied for $18 million in similar tax credits next year for work associated with the decommissioning of the Trojan nuclear plant. These obsolete rules were due to be phased out, but some conservatives in the House just this past week pushed through (without debate) a measure (HB2652) that would relax environmental standards and extend this expensive tax break to 2014. Meanwhile, the Legislature is at an impasse on funding education and basic social services. One logical way to help craft a budget that meets basic needs is to eliminate loopholes and tax breaks that unfairly favor big business and industry.

So CIA chief George Tenet is "accepting" blame for false claims in Bush's speech justifying a pre-emptive attack on Iraq. It doesn't take much cynicism to imagine the bickering and scheming going on in the West Wing in an attempt at damage control: "Denial didn't work, so let's try finger-pointing and sacrificial lambs, and if that doesn't work, let's create a distraction ..." Democrats need to get off their butts and pounce on this monumental WMD deception with all the fervor and outrage Republicans spewed over Clinton's petty open zipper policy.


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, editor@eugeneweekly.com

 

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