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Letters in the Editor's Mailbag.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Protect top-quality soils

First it was a gravel pit off River Road, then a cell phone tower on East Beacon Drive and now yet another nondescript suburban development at the end of Wendover Street. Time and again the residents at the northern edge of Eugene's urban growth boundary have voiced their desire to protect their Class 1 and Class 2 soils instead of sacrificing them for short-term economic gain.

Our best agricultural soils are the result of centuries of flooding and are typically located in our flood plain. The rivers have deposited this soil and will continue to run through these areas every time flooding occurs. We must learn to respect this process and respond intelligently by developing around these soils. They cannot be replaced and are our primary source for sustenance for generations to come.

At the Wendover Street site, not only would the potential for food production be lost, the combination of filling to raise the ground level above flood level, increased runoff and decreased water absorption would significantly increase the risk of flooding for neighboring residents.

The site was host to over 70 varieties of birds, and the waterway is home to the threatened Western pond turtle. All storm drains empty directly into this stream. Runoff from roofs, driveways, roads, lawns and gardens will bring oil, petroleum, fertilizer and pesticide residues to the waterway. The neighbors have a different vision, one of mixed uses: intelligently housing fewer people and simultaneously providing a source of income, food and habitat.


Beacon Park

Neighborhood Association


What are they hiding?

I feel compelled to express my views after reading two articles in the March 6 Register-Guard - one concerning the legal struggle by the Bush administration to withhold information concerning Vice President Dick Cheney's meetings with industry executives during his energy task force's deliberations, and the other about President Bush's announcement that he will seek a sub-minimum wage standard for welfare recipients in back-to-work programs. I could not feel more outraged.

The current administration pursues increasing levels of secrecy, harsh new search and seizure laws and greater spending for military hardware and personnel, while the working class is squeezed ever more and voter apathy hits all-time highs. One might think the situation is careening toward an American form of fascism.

Patriotic Americans who are outraged by the actions of the Enron/Bush/Cheney axis of greed - those of us who still hold out hope for democracy in this country - must look for chinks in the armor of this ultraconservative juggernaut. The legal and constitutional struggle by the General Accounting Office and the Office of Management and Budget to obtain information about the energy task force meetings provides just the opportunity to weaken and possibly bring down this corrupt gang of robber barons.

We, the public, must press the issue and seize this opportunity to expose them. What are they hiding? Why are they so keen on hiding it?



Throw the bums out

Supporters of President Bush proclaim that this is a new day in America, one filled with patriotism and pride. But patriotism and pride won't forever hide the fact that this country is headed in the wrong direction on a variety of fronts.

Every penny of the economic stimulus bill just passed into law will come from Social Security funds. For every dollar it spends to help the unemployed, it targets an additional seven dollars as tax cuts for business and the wealthy. The top 1 percent of Americans already own more than 90 percent of the total wealth in the nation, and they buy the politicians in Washington who set policy. So tax cuts come as no surprise.

Bush says thieving executives shouldn't be held liable for corporate crimes. No surprise there, either, given his history of bailing from companies he led while his investors lost their shirts. Throughout the nation, state budgets are in meltdown. Schools, students and education get shortchanged in a national discussion focused on tax cuts. Don't even bring up the subject of health care or Bush's plans to have the public pay for pollution while polluters get - what else? - tax cuts. Everything is being sacrificed for tax cuts and the military.

Those who applaud this direction should reread the Constitution. In describing the role of government, it says providing for the common good comes before providing for the common defense. The only cure for all this is to vote against Bush supporters at every opportunity. Throwing the bums out at the polls is the traditional way to get the attention of the elite in Washington.



Start readin' in rain

Are you reading Ken Kesey's classic "Sometimes a Great Notion?" Have you participated in any of the many events that are part of this community-wide reading initiative? Were you a part of the audience that shook the hall, singing along with Baby Gramps' wild rendition of "Good night Irene?" Did you make it to the First Friday Community Songfest at Oregon Festival of American Music where Debbie Diedrich and the Wobbly Band led a big, diverse crowd singing songs that are mentioned in the book and a logjam of masterful readers entertained us with readings?

How about one of the many book discussions where 40 highly educated individuals came together to take natural turns in sharing and describing the grand experience of this book we are reading together?

Were you there at Tsunami Books when those who in 1987-88 wrote the collaborative novel "Caverns" under the loving direction of Kesey discussed the adventure, bringing the whole audience into the wildly enlightening tribal civilities of their "mooshing of minds?" A one-hour event grew into three beautiful hours in which Kesey was memorialized with unabashed love by his students.

Which events have you attended? I urge people to get their tickets for the library and neighborhood fund raisers at the McDonald Theatre on April 1-2. Check out the "Readin' in the Rain" Web site at for a full schedule of activities.



Heed lesson on canal

The recent profile of City Manager Jim Carlson (Register-Guard, Feb. 28) noted that he is a bird-watching enthusiast and walked along the C&O Canal National Park when in Washington, D.C., to lobby for federal funds .

Carlson's bird-watching walk along that canal would not have been possible if U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas had not led a campaign to prevent its conversion into a highway a half century ago.

Similarly, plans for the West Eugene Parkway are also unlikely to get past the drawing board. The money still isn't there. The Bureau of Land Management says the parkway would be the dominant feature of these parklands, which would make a mockery of protection and restoration efforts. The BLM's policy on "prohibition on disposal of acquired land" states that "BLM's trust relationship with (nonprofit) organizations would be jeopardized if the BLM entertained disposal of tracts they so diligently assisted with."

In the spirit of Justice Douglas, citizen groups are sponsoring another walk on the parkway route at 1 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day, starting at First Avenue and Bertelsen Road. This will conclude at the Amazon Creek/West Eugene Parkway crossing, where rare habitats would be smothered by a 300-foot-wide, 30-foot-high mound of sand and gravel.

The Oregon Department of Transportation's highway reservations at Bertelsen slough and near Amazon Creek should be transferred to the BLM's west Eugene parklands, and Eugene should pursue a "land use, transportation, air quality" alternative similar to the LUTRAQ solution chosen by our neighbors in Portland.



Saving the pigeons

My appreciation to Mike Lenocker, Joe Coelho, Don Angermayer and Willamette Wildlife for making the humane and decent choices in their efforts toward the pigeons roosting under the bridge over Pioneer Parkway (Register-Guard, March 13).

It is unfortunate that day-old pigeons had to be disturbed and relocated. However, it is clear that everyone involved tried to act with care and compassion. This is so refreshing, and it does the community proud.

What a heartwarming story!



Root causes of terror

With Sept. 11 six months behind us, perhaps the American people are ready to grapple with the root causes behind anti-U.S. terrorism.

A solid majority of the world's people live on less than $4 per day. If they had a meaningfully democratic say in how the world is run, we would live in a very different world. There would be less hunger and homelessness and more food, education and health care. In other words, we would live in world very different from the one that the U.S. government has been working to maintain: a world dominated by wealthy landowners and large corporations.

Despite mountains of self-righteous rhetoric to the contrary, the U.S. government isn't truly concerned about freedom, democracy and human rights for all the world's people. Indeed, our foreign policy has worked to prevent freedom and democracy and has flagrantly abused human rights the world over. This is why so many people hate the United States.

Terrorists haven't the resources to mount a direct military challenge against the United States. There is no meaningfully democratic framework in which for them to work peacefully. Just like red-blooded Americans, they're too proud to live as slaves. So they exercise the one option they see open to them.

The U.S. government should take the untold billions of dollars for the "war against terrorism" and instead spend it on a more free and just world. Our image the world over would dramatically improve and we would ultimately be a more secure country.



Where the school stood

A photograph of the West Side School in Cottage Grove appeared in The Register-Guard on March 11. The location of the school was not identified. It was built in 1904 on Birch Avenue between "M" and "N" streets, now the site of the Cottage Grove Community Hospital. The school was used until the late 1940s.



Cottage Grove Museum Committee


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Mar 17, 2002
Previous Article:Editor's Note.
Next Article:Get ready for No. 3.

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