Construction workers have illegally and unnecessarily converted many of the city's bike lanes into places to put road construction signs, endangering the lives of cyclists forced to veer around them into car traffic.

Here's a sign on High St. near 17th on Wed., Aug. 17:

Here's another sign the next day on 18th near Pearl St.:

Here's another sign on 13th Tweeted by a cyclist Aug. 6:

"City of #Eugene, #WTF is this?" Tweeted Suzi Steffen.

The 13th Street sign was moved to the grass after the Tweet was emailed to the city's bike coordinator, according to a post on EugeneGears.org.

Construction signs unnecessarily and dangerously placed in bike lanes isn't a new problem. It's been going on for years without much city effort to educate or fine contractors to end the unsafe practice. City code prohibits blocking bike lanes, but most of the contractors dangerously blocking the bike lanes with lazily placed signs are working for the city.

Another cyclist posted this photo last year:

"South Willamette, bike lane blocked by road work sign (again)," he wrote.

Here's another posted photo last year of a road work sign near 24th and Agate:

"Hey, it's the "Road Work Sign" lane!" viewer Patrick Barber commented.

Bike safety has also fallen easy victim to building construction in Eugene. Last year the Pearl St. bike lane suddenly disappeared without warning signage to make room for construction staging for a new hotel at 5th Street:

Earlier this year the heavily used 13th St. bike lane near the UO also disappeared amid building construction, forcing bikes into pedestrians and/or head on traffic:

The city's draft new Pedestrian and Bicycle plan briefly mentions improved bike safety during construction projects, but lacks the details and clear prohibitions in other cities' policies.

Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) will be attending several events and holding two town hall meetings Thursday, Aug. 18. The schedule was just released today, Aug. 17.

At 10 am Thursday, DeFazio will be at the Willamette River Bridge project ribbon-cutting ceremony. Meet at the UO Motor Pool at 3233 Franklin Blvd.

From 11 am to 1 pm Thursday he will be scooping ice cream at the Lane County Fair Senior Social, and stopping by his campaign booth outside the Performance Hall at the Fairgrounds.

From 5:15 to 6:15 pm DeFazio will speak and take questions at a Eugene town hall meeting at the City Council Chambers, 777 Pearl St.

And from 7 to 8 pm he will be at a Springfield town hall meeting at the City Council Chambers, 225 5th St.

The city of Eugene plans to close Fifth Avenue from the 5th Street Market to Whitaker's Blair district next month for a first-ever city car-free event to promote biking, walking, health, community and fun.

The three-mile "Eugene Sunday Streets" event on Sunday, Sept. 18 from noon to 4 pm "is designed to get the entire community outside, having fun, enjoying healthy activities in Eugene's public spaces while showing how easy it is to get around without a car," according to a city press release.

The city of Eugene plans free live music, fitness classes, hula hooping, dancing and other activities at Washington-Jefferson and Skinner Butte parks along the route and in the street.

Here's the city's tentative route map (subject to change):

Hundreds of cities throughout the U.S. and the world regularly or annually close busy thoroughfares for such walking and biking festivals. Portland's 16th annual Bridge Pedal closes lanes on nine central bridges, including the towering I-5 bridge, and attracted about 19,000 people last Sunday. For the last three years, Portland also has closed miles of city streets connecting parks in five annual "Sunday Parkways" events that now attract about 91,000 people.

Here's a video of Sunday Parkways from BikePortland.org:

More than 40 cities in the U.S. now have car-free street events, many inspired by Bogotá, Colombia, where 70 miles of roadway are closed to cars every Sunday for hugely popular "Ciclovias."

Eugene had a similar "Human Powered Parade" downtown 15 years ago, but the event died with volunteer organizers complaining of a lack of city support. Three years ago, bike advocates pushed for closing a stretch of south Willamette Street for a walking and biking event, but nothing happened.

But now the city appears fully behind opening the people's streets to people. But the event will need lots of people to volunteer to help pull it off. The city is looking for about 200 volunteers.

About 120 volunteers will help control intersections and others will help promote, set-up and clean-up the event. To volunteer or for information contact 541-501-0390, SundayStreets@ci.eugene.or.us or the website.


As concerts go, indie pop isn’t necessarily known for its face-melting, rock-your-mother’s-grave shows. But last night, Monday, Aug. 8, WOW Hall could very well have experienced a Shins-induced maple tree cave-in from the newly (re)united indie brainchild.
The show, which sold out in less than 48 hours (complete with what appeared to be a media blackout) marked the first time in nearly three years that band leader James Mercer put out a call to artists to play his melodic, bubbly and tightly structured rock.
The Shins, with a completely new line-up on stage, save Mercer, featured a selection of extraordinary talent from the current pool of Northwest musicians. How they would all come together as a coherent whole was the question on everyone’s minds. Full of cool dads, plaid-donning yuppies, gauged hipsters, and the occasional (out-of-place?) hippy, the WOW Hall crowd watched Mercer and co. wave briefly, then dive headlong into the evocative opening words of “Caring is Creepy,” and there was no doubt the band made a congealed whole.
Often an afterthought along the I-5 corridor, WOW Hall and the McDonald Theatre can sometimes draw bigger artists on their North American tours, though lately these venues have found it more difficult to eke out such artists’ best performances. In their Eugene debut, The Shins defied any apprehension fans may have had (it also didn’t hurt that this show kicked off the band’s summer tour). Although the set list was rather tame — mostly keeping to very familiar territory with the likes of “New Slang,” “Kissing the Lipless,” “Saint Simon,” etc — Mercer did divulge a few new licks. The fresher tracks had a similar feel to Wincing the Night Away and seemed more geared towards the low-tone, ambient sounds of songs like “Black Wave” and “Spilt Needles,” with (of course) a heavy dose of Mercer vocals.
It would have been enticing to see singer-songwriter (also sound engineer and producer) Richard Swift , relegated behind a synth, more involved in the performance. Presumably his presence will be felt more in the studio. Portland-based guitarist Jessica Dobson added an improvisational element that loosened the overall tone of Mercer’s conventional songwriting, while her female vocal dynamic paired aptly with the Shins’ poppy sensibilities.
The Shins played a very technically sound show, with few signs of their short two weeks’ worth of rehearsal time. — Andy Hitz
— FAN PHOTO BY ETHAN OUIMET

Shannon and the Clams w/ The Trashies, Live at the wow hall 8-10-11

Click any image to view the slideshow.

Shannon and the Clams w/ The Trashies,  wow 8-10-11

The Trashies w/  Shannon and the Clams wow 8-10-11

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Langhorne Slim

So ... remember a couple weeks ago when Langhorne Slim tore it down at Sam Bond's? Yeah, well I had to go out of town for a week or so the next day so I couldn't post these up as soon as I would've liked. But here they are! Better late than never.

Langhorne Slim

Langhorne Slim

Langhorne Slim

Langhorne Slim

Langhorne Slim

Langhorne Slim

I also recorded this "brand new song" that he essentially finished writing that night.

Sen. Jeff Merkley was one of the "no" votes this week on the debt ceiling/budget plan that Congress approved. Fellow congressional Democrats Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer also voted "no." Here's Merkley's statement about his vote:

I’ve got a pretty simple test when I’m considering legislation. Will it help the middle class and small businesses create opportunities and get ahead? It's a test the debt bill couldn't pass, which is why I voted no. All policymakers should use that criteria, but the debt plan we voted on today proves that not to be the case.

After over two years of a devastating recession, and a decade of stagnant wages before that, our number one goal should be creating jobs and making sure our kids have opportunities in the future.

Instead, this deal will cut off jobs and pile burdens on middle class families who are already paying the price for a decade of bad policy choices.

Imagine: Americans who may have lost a job, whose mortgage is under water, who can’t afford their kids’ college anymore and have seen prices skyrocket for food and gas are asked to tighten their belts.

At the same time, the very wealthiest Americans and big, well-connected special interests are 100 percent insulated from any sacrifice. Their lavish tax breaks and sweetheart deals sprinkled throughout the tax code have been conveniently put off limits for any cuts.

The conventional wisdom says we have to swallow this deal. But if we give in to these ransom demands and allow the extremists to continue their assault on the building blocks of middle class prosperity in order to protect the wealthy and well-connected, we’ll be facing more ransom demands soon enough.

I don’t discount the need for tough choices to bring down our unsustainable deficits. But they can’t be only tough choices for those who can least afford the sacrifice, while those in the penthouses and boardrooms continue amassing more and more and more.

This is a fight about more than how we lower the deficit, it’s a fight for our country’s basic values, and our future. Too many in Washington seem to have forgotten that America’s economic strength is inseparable from the well-being of its middle class. If we continue to sacrifice their prosperity to provide more to the well-off and well-connected, we sacrifice America’s greatness. Let’s not let that happen.

This just in from the Trans and Women's Action Camp that took place this past weekend outside of of Portland. EW will update as we get more information.

As a culmination of the annual Trans and Women’s Action Camp, activists occupied the regional Oregon Department of Forestry office. Three members of the camp have locked themselves together inside the office using modified pipes. Currently the trio is refusing to leave until the Oregon Department of Forestry revoke their support for the 2011 Elliott State Forest Management Plan.

Today is the last opportunity for citizens to comment on the plan. Activists involved in the action criticized the plan for opening up areas to logging which were previously off limits. They also criticized the plan for increasing clear cutting to boost local timber jobs while not making any decisive moves to regulate or even monitor the large timber export industry which ships logs and jobs overseas.

The Trans and Women’s Action Camp, or TWAC was formed out of a need to make space for marginalized identities that otherwise may not be represented within the broader push for environmental justice. This action is organized and carried out by women and trans identified people.

“As a trans person, my affinity with forests stems from the harsh reality that both of us are targets of oppression for merely existing. Systems of oppression such as patriarchy, homophobia, and transphobia are inherently linked to the violence towards forests such as the Elliott. I am in solidarity with all forms of resistance against the destruction of marginalized identities, human and non-human,” says Samuel Morrissey

Meredith Cocks of Portland, OR said, “It’s absolutely devastating to walk into the middle of a clearcut in the Elliott and know that after decades of fighting for forest protection this sort of logging is still accepted on public lands. This is some of our last intact coastal rainforest, a precious place that deserves our respect, not to be decimated by the ODF.”

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