Next General Gathering
There will be no general meeting in July but keep in mind our Annual Summer Picnic on August 9, this year with drums and music.
From the editor
This weekend I’ll be on the coast with family, so this will be a early newsletter with fewer topics (unless there’s a quake, in which case it will have even fewer…)
Speaking of earthquakes:
Here’s an update on the discussion of The BIG one:
http://www.vox.com/2015/7/16/8980403/cascadia-earthquake-seattle-oregon – [a link to and a description of the now famous scary article in the New Yorker that declared “everything west of I-5 will be toast.”]
http://crosscut.com/2015/07/freaking-out-about-the-quake-hear-from-3-experts/ – [reactions to the article]
http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2015/07/quake_tsunami_experts_advise_n.html – [practical advice about the situation]
Special Zoning Area News
If you saw Ed Russo’s fine article in the R-G last Sunday you may have noticed that yours truly was quoted at the end of the article. The quote was accurate as far as it went, but could give the misleading impression that I was speaking for the SHiNA association. In the email Ed quoted I said at the beginning that I was speaking as an interested individual and not as a board member. I also discussed a little more, though not enough, the problem of getting historical protection for “ordinary” neighborhoods whose distinction lies in their ongoing life and overall effect rather than a few architecturally distinctive buildings.
Here’s the full text of the emails involved:
(1) First was the Board’s response to his questions:
Over the past several years our Association has hosted several speakers and discussions about the special zone. The recent set of letters was occasioned by the appearance of placards announcing likely rezoning of certain lots, which made neighbors suddenly aware of the progress of the plan. They feel great concern that many of our residents and see many negative aspects in the plan
A group of concerned neighbors attended last week’s Board meeting and we all discussed the issue and what could be done at this late date. The Association has not taken any official stand on the issue, which, according to our charter, the Board cannot do on its own.
The Association sees its role as conveying emphatically the concerns and worries of the neighbors about the plans. Given the late stage of the process, this means sending written interventions from the neighbors to the planning commission and the Council. We have secured feedback from groups of neighbors who identified issues and indicated possible solutions to their concerns; these documents have already been sent directly to the Chair and commissioners of the Planning Commission. Before the Board meeting we had already requested a special meeting of the planning commissioners with South Eugene neighbors to gain additional insights on their concerns. We will also be requesting a special meeting with the three Council members who represent our area.
(2) Then I added, in a separate email:
Writing as an individual only, *not* speaking for the Association, but as one who follows the issue, I’m in favor of the overall plan but I do not think that it sufficiently recognizes and takes into account the differences of character and history of some smaller areas within the
larger plan, such as the area along Willamette South of 31st (the old Rosewood Addition) and the distinctive area of small houses along 29th in the vicinity of Portland Street.
(3) Then, in reply to a further question, I wrote a third email:
Those areas, especial Rosedale, are examples of early development in the South Hills. The city ought to make more effort to preserve its historical neighborhoods, and not just wealthy ones. Turning them into indifferent mixes takes away a source of variety and vitality. The special zone plan is too uniform, especially at the south end along 30th and along Willamette starting up the hill. Those border areas ought to have differentiated treatments that respect the historical character of the different tracts where the development moved south. Otherwise you get a HIDENSE/low transition that feels like a transplant was plopped down. The Washburn neighborhood in Springfield is an example of creative redevelopment rather than replacement.
Two of our neighbors have done extensive research on the Rosedale addition. Christine and Richard Sundt (Christine is a noted local metal and jewelry artist, currently exhibiting at White Lotus). Their emails are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. They could be helpful. Retired geography professor Al Urquhart has studied the history of development in the south hills (firstname.lastname@example.org).
(4) The Register-Guard kindly printed a correction about my role in their Wednesday edition.
Here is a press release we received from food activists:
July 15th, 2015
Contact: Ann Kneeland, 541.514-9720
We’re One Step Closer to Protecting Our Local Food System for the People, by the People!
We must stand together to define our community values and to protect them by law; it is our duty to safeguard the economic well-being of our organic and conventional farmers who are at the heart of our local food system.
EUGENE, Oregon –
Support Local Food Rights (SLFR) celebrates the launch of a new campaign to protect Lane County’s vibrant and locally-grown food crops and seeds from GMO contamination. The Lane County Right to a Local Food System Charter Amendment recognizes the rights of the residents to make decisions regarding their local food system. The Local Food Campaign kicks-off with a picnic at Charnel Mulligan Park in Eugene on Monday, July 20th, from 6-8pm. The event will feature campaign updates, volunteer sign-ups, and training for people interested in gathering signatures.
Because local agriculture is integral to the well-being of Lane County, the urgency to prevent GMOs from entering the locally-grown food system requires immediate action. The most obvious problem is that once the local farms and lands are exposed, the contamination can never be reversed and will cause potentially devastating losses to local farms. This includes cross-contamination in nature where native plant species and weeds in the trenches will forever exhibit the effects of interference. Once propagated, there is no way to prevent birds, bees, or wind currents from carrying the GMO pollen and seeds to farm lands, gardens, and nurseries, which is why a ban on GMO crops is the only solution.
Lane County’s CSAs (community supported agriculture), farmers’ markets, restaurants marketing local food, local food pantries, farm-to-school programs, and the whole locally-grown food economy depend on a GMO-free county to prevent problems leading to negative health and economic outcomes. The solution to these potentially devastating problems is the Charter Amendment ban on GMO agriculture; it is essential to protecting Local Food Systems and to holding those responsible for contamination liable for economic damages.
If the Lane County community values its local food system, food security, and sustainability, then local law-making is necessary – especially when state laws fail to prevent big GMO agricultural corporations, like Monsanto and Syngenta, from ignoring the well-being of our local food systems in pursuit of shareholder profits. When Oregon’s state legislators and regulators, charged with protecting the people and the natural resources, fail to take the necessary steps to protect our organic and conventionally grown crops and seeds, and instead pass measures that ensure corporate profits, people must to stand together and insist on new laws. To learn more, bring your picnic baskets and blankets and join us for this special community event at Charnel Mulligan Park (Charnelton and 17th, Eugene).
SLFR is the sister organization of Community Rights Lane County (CRLC) and part of the broader ‘Our Community, Our Choices campaign’. To learn more about the Right to a Local Food System, visit: localfoodrights.com. To learn more about the growing community rights movement and ‘Our Community, Our Choices’ campaigns, visit: communityrightslanecounty.org
[Editor’s note: For a recent surprisingly passionate but apparently well-informed defense of GMO food, see, http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2015/07/are_gmos_safe_yes_the_case_against_them_is_full_of_fraud_lies_and_errors.html?wpsrc=sp_all_native_by-section — Whatever the result of the GMO dispute, the case for supporting our local agriculture and local food supplies is strongly based on many different arguments and facts.]
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