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Byline: The Register-Guard

Work to acquire Wildish land

Although I oppose the development of land around Mount Pisgah, I almost welcome the Wildish Co.'s Measure 37 claim because it serves as a wake-up call.

For too long we have hoped or assumed that this valuable resource would remain as it is. Wildish's claim reminds us that this property is privately owned and not some sort of unofficial reserve.

As an 18-year resident of Seavey Loop, I support our neighbor Wildish's right to appropriately profit from its ownership but ask that it recognize the clear benefits of moving this property into public ownership.

Mount Pisgah, the confluence of the Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette River, and the agricultural land of Seavey Loop are outstanding resources located remarkably close to the urban core of Eugene and Springfield. I urge the community to guide the development of these areas in ways that help working farms succeed and enhance the natural beauty of the Arboretum and Howard Buford Recreation Area.

The Wildish property is a uniquely valuable piece of this diverse picture, and Wildish Co. has put us on notice that it will not sit on this resource forever.

As Theodore Palmer points out (Register-Guard, July 16), this is perhaps the best opportunity for our generation to shape the future character of the community. Now is the time to work with Wildish Co. and acquire this property for inclusion in the Howard Buford Recreation Area.



Measure helps lower drug costs

As a chief petitioner, I appreciate all the individuals who signed Initiative 122 to expand the prescription drug purchasing pool to include all 780,000 uninsured individuals in Oregon. We needed 75,630 valid signatures out of the 128,000 turned in to be on the November general election ballot, and now it appears we have them.

I worked very hard to make this a reality during the 2005 legislative session by introducing Senate Bill 329, which passed the Democratic Senate but died in the Republican House.

If the voters pass this ballot measure in November, it will make a huge difference in the price of prescription drugs for people who can least afford them. What is even more exciting is that we have already entered into discussions with the state of Washington to combine both purchasing pools, which will bring even greater savings to residents of both states.


State senator, District 6


Time to fix train horn problem

The many hundreds of us who reside in unwitting proximity to Eugene's noisy train honks are in a veritable Toot-22 (apologies to Joseph Heller's "Catch-22').

On one hand, we welcome the periodic resurgence of City Council discussion regarding quiet zones and the occasional supportive letter to the editor. Yet we also cringe at any publicity, because we know it will generate longer, louder horns from both Amtrak and freight trains.

It sounds ludicrous and petulant, but just ask anyone who has to put up with 10 or more long, shrill blasts as the engineers send obvious rebuttals of "we'll show you!"

The writer of a July 17 letter admonishes the complainers essentially to "love it or leave it." This is outrageous, not possible for many and indicative of how little the writer gets it.

As we write, one long freight train began laying on the horn well before the crossings by 5th Street Market - nine blasts so far. And, despite past assurances to the contrary by train honchos to newspaper columnists and reporters, we are still serenaded with occasional "shave and a haircut" toots in the wee hours.

No one is denigrating American railroads' contributions to our well-being, but quality of life is paramount. Many communities here and abroad have solved this nightmare with remedies safe for pedestrians and motorists, sparing hapless citizens from endless, egregious barrages.

Our City Council members have available a plethora of workable solutions. Once and for all, may they get this one right.




Israel's retaliation excessive

Violence begets violence. Israel's so-called retaliation is totally out of proportion and a crime against humanity.

To bomb civilian targets in a sovereign country in response to a group taking several military hostages is insane. The statement that there is no reason to be sympathetic with a civilian population that supports terrorism is painting the Lebanese population with a very broad brush.

Did the population really have a choice in selecting their government? We are certainly more democratic than Lebanon; however, we are split down the middle on policy issues.

Paul Feinstein also stated (letters, July 17) that other governments would do the same, citing the example of the bombing of Dresden and Hiroshima. These acts of inhumanity are nothing to be proud of and fall into the same category as the Holocaust. It is high time that we as the human race settle our problems diplomatically with the intent of a win-win solution.



Income tax will be permanent

The Register-Guard's July 12 editorial misses the point regarding the impending county income tax being imposed on taxpayers by our county commissioners.

It would be nice to live in the Disney World the newspaper references, having a cop, district attorney, judge and jail bed for every offender. But we taxpayers are struggling to afford to survive as it is. The true story about this income tax is this:

1) It's a permanent tax that penalizes the hard working, the small business owner, the single parent trying to make it, the retired person living on a fixed income.

2) It's the politics of tax and spend. This is not a temporary tax to fix a public safety problem. It's a permanent tax being imposed to raise revenue for the commissioners to spend. These are the same commissioners who just spent $1 million of tax money on a private drive near Florence which the homeowners there didn't ask for or want.

Do you see a provision in the commissioners' income tax proposal providing for refunding any future surplus to taxpayers? Nope. Perhaps now you see the point.



Tax breaks total $10 million

Because Eugene property tax revenues do not cover the costs of library services and park improvements, voters will vote on bonds for these purposes. Major causes of the revenue shortfall are tax exemptions for Olive Street condominiums and the revived Eugene Enterprise Zone.

These exemptions may amount to more than $10 million over the next five or six years, enough to eliminate the need for most, if not all, of the upcoming bonds. Speculative condominium tax exemptions fail to deal directly with the causes of the problem - the presence of transients downtown. Unfortunately, the council did not publicly debate the budget consequences of these tax exemptions.

Hynix, said to have had $56 million in tax abatement during the first Enterprise Zone, will be eligible for another sizable exemption. The 1997 council denied a two-year extension of the Hynix exemption. In addition, the Olive Street condominium tax exemption is estimated to lose $4 million to $7 million in tax revenue over the 10-year tax abatement, and detailed studies of Enterprise Zone effectiveness are inconclusive.

Given the privilege, voters would likely reject both tax exemptions. Pre-emptive tax exemptions defeat the objective prioritization provided in total budget deliberations, they obviously corrupt the budgeting process, and they weaken the public trust in government. By coincidence or design, a vote on urgent municipal needs made necessary for lack of foresight in granting tax exemptions is offensive.



Piercy was willing to cooperate

I appreciate Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy for showing the way toward collaboration on solving traffic problems in West Eugene.

Too bad the other collaborators were unwilling to listen to alternative solutions.



Division Avenue isn't a shortcut

Kudos to Phil and Jan Garthe (letters, July 19). All the things they said regarding the traffic on Belt Line Road are right on the mark. I would like to add a few other consequences of the Division Avenue exit.

As a resident of the northern end of Santa Clara, it has become extremely difficult to travel southbound on River Road due to the fact that multitudes of cars are using the shortcut from Division and ultimately ending at Hunsaker Lane and River Road. This, in effect, triggers the east-west traffic signal more frequently, thus causing the north-south River Road traffic to back up sometimes as far as Irvington Drive to the north. This is a distance of about a mile from Hunsaker.

There have been many times where I have watched from Belt Line Road certain cars exiting at Division as I continue on to the River Road exit. By the time I arrive at the Hunsaker and River Road intersection, more often than not I have gotten there before the other vehicles do. So is it a shortcut? I don't think so.

So all you drivers who think you are taking a shortcut, please remember the residents in Santa Clara trying to get to town in a timely manner. I hope this Division shortcut doesn't cause a family to lose a loved one because emergency vehicles can't get to them in time.


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jul 28, 2006
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