Camilla Mortensen is the environmental reporter for the Eugene Weekly.
A public records office. Hmmm could this be because in the past public records requests made to the UO have often gone unanswered for months?
UO creates new Office of Public Records
Assistant Vice President Brian Smith to head office on interim basis
EUGENE, Ore. -- (May 28, 2010) -- A new Office of Public Records will be established at the University of Oregon June 1, in a key step toward fulfilling President Richard Lariviere's pledge to make the university as responsive, open and transparent as possible.
Brian Smith, the UO assistant vice president for administration, will manage the new office as part of his existing responsibilities until a permanent public records officer is hired. He will begin constructing a framework for the new public records office.
"The University of Oregon has always recognized the importance of public access to its operations," Smith said. "Creation of the Office of Public Records emphasizes an institutional commitment to openness."
Hmmm recognizing the importance does not necessarily equal improving the access. You know, that whole, where's Bellotti's contract thing…
Smith has worked at the UO since 2002, and has been in his current position for almost four years. He received his bachelor's degree in political science from the UO, and a master's in business administration and law degree from Willamette University.
A regional search for a permanent director of the public records office will be chaired by UO Archivist Heather Briston. First review of applications for the new job will begin as early as June 14.
Applicants for the new, director-level position must have at least a bachelor's degree and a minimum of two years' working knowledge of public records law -- preferably Oregon's.
The person who is hired will be "responsible for the effective, timely and thorough compliance with the public records law and managing, processing, and completing all public records requests submitted to the University of Oregon," according to the position description.
If the UO and Lariviere are serious about this, then this is going to make journalists' and UO watchers' lives much better. If not, then I don't envy the person they hire.
One suggestion: Take a look at Tony Green at AG Kroger's office. He is fast and efficient with public records requests, at least all the ones I've made.
The UO currently receives 125 to 150 formal public records requests annually. The requests have been handled in the past by the Office of the General Counsel, which will continue to provide legal advice to the public records office.
Lariviere has said he wants the UO to take timely action on public records requests, and provide media and others with all information that the university can appropriately and legally release. In announcing creation of the Office of Public Relations, he instructed staff in all departments to respond as quickly as practical to all inquiries from the new office.
The university has established a new email address for public records communications: email@example.com
Now if AG Kroger can get the Oregon Legislature to clarify Oregon's public records laws, so the media can get records from the police and other government agencies…
Oil spill clean up 101. Heads up for foul language.
The comment period on revisions to the current administrative rules that regulate field burning in the Willamette Valley has been reopened by the Department of Environmental Quality.
So if you have concerns about air quality in Eugene and what constitutes an "emergency" when it comes to a grass seed farmer's request to burn fields in the Willamette Valley, now's your chance to get heard.'
The newly reopened comment period started May 12 and closes Friday, May 21, 2010 at 5pm.
You can find everything you need to know about making comments here.
Eugeneans from Code Pink to the Coffee Party turned out to protest former Alaska governor and former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on April 23rd when she came to fundraise at the Eugene Hilton. (Word on the street is she hung out at 6th Street later that night. Apparently she couldn't find any organic granola to hunt and kill at the hotel.)
Her speech focused on the "lame-stream media" and made a few granola and Nike jokes.
The media was not allowed to record or photograph the speech or the Q & A with screened questions fielded by outgoing Eugene City Councilor Jennifer Solomon. Nor did Palin take any questions from reporters.
Despite the media restrictions, journalists were out in full force, from the AP to The Oregonian. And the crowd outside the Hilton used their signs to get their opinions out there
Hope there was good turnout for McKenzie River Trust's Living River series talk on Ken Kesey afterward.
Palin's pro-wolf gunning and anti-environment stances were subjects of some of the protest signs.
Old Slug Queen Slimelda (aka Karen Myers) turned out, TP in hand, to wipe Palin away.
Not everyone was there to protest Palin.
Words were exchanged, but nobody got carried away (or Tased as far as we know).
Ironically, the day that we publish a gnude gnome on the cover of EW…
I will not be reviewing said condoms. Partly because they haven't actually arrived yet, and partly because, well, ahem, anyway.
But the not-so-secret news the CBD is trying to bring to your attention is that human overpopulation is the biggest environmental problem we have. According to the CBD overpopulation "has pushed homo sapiens to absorb 50 percent of the planet’s freshwater and develop 50 percent of its landmass. As a result, other species are running out of places to live."
Recommending people make less babies as it turns out, is rather controversial. When Andrew Revkin of the New York Times critiqued the media for not writing enough about population growth, Rush Limbaugh responded by recommending that Revkin kill himself.
So the Center for Biological Diversity, in an effort to get you to keep your own attempts at biologically diversifying in your pants, has made the whole thing a little more fun with condoms.
The packaging is cute. Don't know yet if the condoms themselves feature wild animals. Haven't decided yet if that would be cute. Or disturbing. But I will let you know what the packaging encloses once they arrive.
I just wish they didn't have such a lame rhyme for our local species, the spotted owl:
"Wear a condom now. Save a spotted owl," just doesn't grab you like:
"Hump smarter. Save the snail darter"
Full disclosure: I got a little wine in me at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference earlier this year and told CBD founder Peter Galvin that I thought the owl rhyme, which I had encountered in an earlier Valentines Day press release, was lame.
Galvin graciously explained that the owl rhyme had to be lame for the media outlets who were too worried about their more austere readers to print something like "Wear a jimmy hat. Save a big cat."
I am now trying to think of gnome condom rhymes. Ideas?
The condoms arrived today. The packaging is lovely. So lovely in fact that I keep thinking there are chocolates in there, not rubbers. They kind of remind me of those Endangered Species Chocolates…
Alas the condoms inside are not animal print as I had hoped, just plain old Lifestyles. On the plus side, there's info about each species inside the box when you open it. Nothing like a little biology lesson before sex. Did you know that the burying beetle has lost over 90 percent of its habitat? "Cover your tweedle, save the burying beetle."
Conflicts between activists and those they disagree with are nothing new but alleged threats to shoot members of Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (KS Wild) and their fellow hikers stirred up fears in southern Oregon recently.
According to George Sexton of KS Wild, the conservation group found out about the threats to shoot at them, which appeared on an Internet discussion forum for miners called Oregon Gold Hunters, after their hike was completed.
KS Wild works to protect public lands, waterways and wildlife in southern Oregon. One of their campaigns has been to end suction dredge mining in rivers. Sexton says suction dredge mining, which stirs up sediment and sometimes toxic substances like mercury, arsenic and cyanide, is harmful to native fish such as threatened Coho salmon as well as to water quality.
Sexton says the mining “leaves taxpayers on the hook for cleaning up the mess.”
Conflicts between miners and other public lands users, Sexton says, have gone on for years, but sentiment has been aroused recently by a ban on suction dredging in California that may drive miners up into southern Oregon.
In response to an email about a planned KS Wild hike, one of the miners, under the name “spilsnthils” wrote on the Internet forum: “Out in the woods on their own, hmm sounds like disaster. If a guy was pissed off enough he could sit up in the woods with a high powered assault riffle and put an end to the whole group in one swift action.”
After law enforcement officials were alerted to the posts, Sen. Ron Wyden wrote a letter to AG John Kroger and U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton asking them to “use your authority to ensure the safety of community groups on public lands.”
Wyden also cited the instance of Gregory Graybill who was riding his four-wheel drive vehicle when he was shot by a miner who felt he was too close to his federal mining claim. Graybill’s arm had to be amputated.
The full Internet thread can be viewed here though it has been modified since media attention came to the site. Forum participants have cited their First Amendment right to free speech on the issue.
According to Tony Green, director of communications for Kroger’s office, “The Department of Justice looked at the website in question and determined that the comments were protected First Amendment speech. As a result, there is no basis for a criminal investigation.”
Sexton says KS Wild has no plans to stop its hikes on public lands, “The best way to respond to this stuff is by shining the light of day” on it, says Sexton. “You can’t let thugs determine public policy with threats.”
For upcoming KS Wild hikes, go to the KS Wild website
This story is an updated version of the news brief that appears in the April 8 issue.
Nope, it's not an April Fools' joke. In today's paper, I cheerfully admit: I live in an Airstream trailer.
Though I tow mine with a biodiesel-powered truck, not a bike.
I'm always looking for good Airstream tips. More Airstream songs? Cool Airstreams in Lane County? Anyone else planning to pack up their stuff and move into a silver Twinkie?
“He's got a Airstream trailer
and a Holstein cow
He still makes whiskey
'cause he still knows how”
— James McMurtry, "Choctaw Bingo"
“Sometimes I wish I lived in an Airstream
Homemade curtains, lived just like a gypsy
Break a heart, roll out of town
‘Cause gypsies never get tied down”
— Miranda Lambert, "Airstream Song"
“She shoots but never misses
Stare down, passin’ traffic
Go carefully, carefully
Oh, Airstream driver”
— Gomez, "Airstream Driver"
I think I might love Winston the Bulldog, just a little bit. I mean, who hasn't just once, envisioned chewing on a cop car's bumper (or tires)? Of course we already know if you yell at the parking patrol, and feed the meters, you'll get arrested and make national news.
Luckily for Winston the dog, his bumper antics landed him only briefly in doggie jail. According to the The Chattanoogan, Winston gets to go home after this little cop-car-as-chew-toy episode.
A deal was worked out in city court, The Chattanoogan reports, to let Winston go home. His owners have to take him to obedience classes, and ensure he doesn't get out again. Apparently (and thank goodness the video doesn't show it) the cops Tased and pepper sprayed the pup, but it didn't deter him.
Winston looks like he was having a darn good time with that bumper.