Forget burning a stinking tank of expensive gas to for a long, dull drive to go car camping. Go by bike and your whole trip is a fun, intimate adventure in the great outdoors.

Eugene is a great place for bike touring. The city sits on one of the most famous bike routes in the nation, the 4,000-mile, TransAmerica route to Virginia.

But start with something easy enough for a 12-year-old—a weekend 40-mile, car free round trip through local history on one of the country's best rail-to-trail bike paths with camping at one of the best hidden campgrounds in Oregon.

Here's the route on Google:

Get or borrow some bike bags/baskets and/or a trailer for some camping gear (pack light) and LTD or drive 20 miles down to Cottage Grove to the Row River Trail. Bus riders can start downtown at Trailhead Park, drivers can park three miles down Mosby Creek Rd. at the Mosby Creek trailhead.

After using the restroom, bike across the old rail bridge and look upstream for a view of the Mosby Creek Covered Bridge. Built in 1920, the bridge here is the oldest of Lane County's 20 covered bridges.

In another mile and a half of floating on the smooth path through tree tunnels and flowery meadows, you'll cross another rail bridge over the Row River. The river was named in the early 1850's after a "row" among settlers over sheep and crow grazing rights that left one man dead.

At the bridge, look downstream for another of Lane County's covered bridges, there are more of these picturesque bridges here than any other county west of the Appalachians.

Shortly after the bridge, the rail grade begins a gentle climb. The railroad began operating in 1902 hauling logs, gold ore and passengers. At one point 20 timber mills operated along the Row River, destroying almost all of the area's old-growth forest before closing down after the big trees were gone.

For a dollar, tourists a hundred years ago could ride a rail trolley named the "Galloping Goose" to the end of the line at Rujada park to spend a day in the creek side forest. That's where you are headed, thanks to the BLM, which built the bike path on the abandoned rail grade in 1994.

In a couple miles biking up a wooded hillside, you'll reach Dorena Lake. The dammed lake was named after the town that it destroyed in the 1940s which was named after Dora and Rena, two girls in town in 1899.

Get a running start, and bike up a short hill onto the dam for a sweeping view of the huge concrete spillway, 4-mile lake and valley 150 feet below.

From the dam, the trail levels out along the lake with many great views. In a couple miles, Harms Park offers a good lunch/snack spot. Scenes from several movies were shot near here. The "Stand by Me" coming of age (with leeches) movie had kids walking the tracks in 1986. In 1926 Buster Keaton crashed a train off a burning railway trestle in the silent film "The General."

Past the end of the lake, the relocated town of Dorena offers another covered bridge and a store where you can eat ice cream out front while sitting on an old church pew.

The trail ends four miles later in Culp Creek. From there continue on busier Row River Rd. for about a mile turning left onto quieter Lower Brice Creek Rd. just before the bridge (see Google map).

After another mile you'll pass Wildwood Falls, a popular teen swimming and cliff jumping spot, after which there's almost no car traffic. The pleasant country road winds through forest and farmland past water tanks to the marked turnoff for the Forest Service's Rujada campground in about four more miles.

Rujada (opens for season May 25) is one of the best, less-known campgrounds in Oregon. There's sites tucked into the forest above a creek with lovely swimming and wading holes and remnants of old structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the depression.

Wake up and take the lovely 1 mile hike through sword ferns and old growth in the morning. Then hop on your bike and gently glide the 20 miles back down the Row River Trail to the Mosby Creek trailhead.

Here's a slideshow of the bike tour:

This just in from the UO. The university has asked developer Trammell Crow to look at the 1700 Millrace Drive location that has long been touted by Connecting Eugene as a better, less controversial, site.

News
Office of Communications 1239 University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403-1239 - T 541-346-3134 - comm.uoregon.edu

(This news is available online at http://bit.ly/l1tcgd)
UO president recommends examination of 1700 Millrace Drive site for new Riverfront Research Park building
Recent decision makes site south of railroad tracks an option for development

EUGENE, Ore. -- (May 2, 2011) -- University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere announced today that he has asked developer Trammell Crow Company to examine a second parcel in the Riverfront Research Park as a possible location for the proposed Oregon Research Institute (ORI) and Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC) building.

Under Lariviere's recommendation, the parties involved in the development would continue planning for the existing site at 855 Riverfront Parkway while simultaneously examining the feasibility of moving the ORI/EPIC project to the 1700 Millrace Drive location.

The 1700 Millrace Drive site is available because of a recent decision made by University of Oregon leadership to temporarily forego construction of an additional building within the park until after a new comprehensive master plan for the Riverfront Research Park has been completed. Initial UO plans had called for developing a new building for ORI and EPIC on the site at 855 Riverfront Parkway, a former EWEB pole yard north of the railroad tracks, in addition to another multi-tenant research building on the vacant parcel at 1700 Millrace Drive south of the railroad tracks.

"The decision to postpone development of another new building within the research park allows us to re-examine the best location for the ORI/EPIC building," Lariviere said. "By exploring the feasibility of the 1700 Millrace Drive site, I am confident that we will arrive at the best possible outcome for everyone involved," he said.

"The UO remains committed to assuring that Trammell Crow, ORI and EPIC can develop an outstanding research facility," said Rich Linton, vice president for research and graduate studies at the UO. "If the 1700 Millrace site proves feasible, it will provide a desirable location for housing major research programs at ORI and EPIC that support hundreds of jobs in this community," he said.

"Beyond this project, the university will launch a master planning process to help address future facilities needs for UO's expanding role in catalyzing innovation and its ties to economic development," Linton added.

For the past two years, Trammell Crow Company has been working to redevelop a former brownfield site near the Eugene Water and Electric Board facility, adjacent to the Willamette River and north of the railroad tracks. The 80,000-square-foot LEED Gold building planned for the parcel would house the Oregon Research Institute and the Educational Policy Improvement Center. The site and building have been designed and the City of Eugene has issued a Phase I building permit for the project.

"The primary concern for the Trammell Crow Company is to construct a high-quality, energy-efficient facility that meets the needs of ORI and EPIC and enhances Eugene's built environment. While we remain fully committed to moving forward at the former EWEB pole yard, we are willing to simultaneously explore the feasibility of the Millrace Drive site," said Trammell Crow representative Steve Wells.

"We look forward to working with Trammell Crow and the university as they determine the feasibility of the new site," said Cynthia Guinn, executive director at Oregon Research Institute.

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.

MEDIA CONTACT: Phil Weiler, UO Office of Communications, 541-346-3873, pweiler@uoregon.edu

They say that the folks on Twitter were the first to hear the news about Osama Bin Laden being killed.

Turns out the tweeters among us really were first.

Photobucket

This guy, Sohaib Athar who tweets as @ReallyVirtual, was up late the other night, accidentally tweeting the Navy Seal raid with comments like, "Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)," and he's been updating the aftermath.

My favorite tweet from today, as Athar fends off reporters from all over the world, "I apologize for reporting the operation 'unwittingly/unknowingly' - had I known about it, I would have tweeted about it 'wittingly' I swear."

For the rest of his tweets go to https://twitter.com/#!/ReallyVirtual

The U.S. finally got Osama bin Laden. Whoop de doo, George Bush taught us years ago to just forget about him:

Good thing we finally got a Democrat in office to get the job done:

Eugene is known for its big, leafy urban forest as well as for the brouhahas that arise when the trees begin to fall. Recently, two bigleaf maple trees, planted in the early 20th century on Lincoln Street near the WOW Hall were placed on the chopping block.
Jon Pincus of the WOW Hall Facilities Committee said in an email to EW, “Many people in Eugene have been uncomfortable with the rate at which large street trees have been cut down by the urban forester in the last few years, and some feel that the matrix used for evaluation is extreme.”

City staff inspector, Matt Rivers conducted a study Feb. 9 on the trees that shade the almost 100 year old WOW Hall. Each tree is approximately 40 inches in diameter and 70 feet tall. According to his report, Rivers found several signs of death and decay, open cavities, small depressions, several dead branches in the upper canopy as well as two different kinds of fungus.

The report said the trees had fruiting bodies of Ganodderma Spp., a wood decaying fungus, and mushrooms of the Armillaria shoestring root rot fungus on and near the base of the trees. According to Mark Snyder, Eugene’s urban forester, the evidence of both of these fungus types is of concern because both funguses eat away at the heartwood, sapwood and roots of the tree, compromising the structural integrity of the tree.

Rivers took resistograph samples from the main trunk of the trees at 16 to18 inches above ground level. Resistographs are used by foresters to probe questionable trees. The recorded levels of resistance on the trees revealed that only about half of the wood on both trees is structurally sound.

One of the trees (the fourth tree north of the intersection at west 8th avenue on Lincoln Street) earned a rating of nine on the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) scale of 3-12, 12 being the most hazardous. The other tree (fifth tree north of the intersection), earned a rating of 10 on the ISA scale.

Pincus said that several independent analyses on trees have proposed treatment strategies resulting in prolonged life for trees previously condemned as needing immediate removal.

Currently, the WOW Hall committee is taking quotes for a consulting certified arborist in order to gain a second opinion on the trees within the next few days. Pincus is hoping to prolong the date of removal in order to gain this additional expert opinion.
“We won’t know if the trees are unsafe and irreparable until we have an independent assessment done,” Pincus said.

Snyder, who approved the report of the WOW Hall trees on April 20, 2011, said that the main issue is safety. Although it is difficult to predict where the trees may fall (if they do), according to Snyder, there are possible targets in almost every direction, including the WOW Hall, buildings across the street, the parking lot, streets and sidewalks.

“We recently gained an opportunity to witness a test of the trees' strength during the recent very strong wind storm here in Eugene. During that event, the trees in question showed no signs of stress and did not drop any branches,” Pincus said.

Plans for replacing the trees are in the making, “However, these trees will start at 2 to 3 inches in width and require special protective measures installed to give them an opportunity to survive. It will be several decades before they provide significant shading for the W.O.W. Hall,” Pincus said.

For background info on urban tree removal in Eugene, check out the previous story at eugeneweekly.com/2007/11/21/coverstory.html. — Chelsea Fryhoff and Heather Cyrus

Jeff Willensky has found a way to put the recycling in cycling.

Bothered by throwing away old tires and tubes from his environmentally friendly transit mode of choice, Willensky said he found for a better way to "Complete the Cycle" with recycling.

He started asking local bike shops to set aside worn out tubes and tires. Then he found a local company, the Tire Factory, that was willing to take the bike tires/tubes for a fee and send them to Portland along with their auto and truck tires for recycling. RB recycling in McMinnville grinds the tires and makes rubber products including mats and recreational surfaces.

According to Willensky, at least six bike shops, some of which may ask for a donation, participate in the recycling effort: Arriving By Bike, Blue Heron, Collins, Life Cycle, Simple Cycles, and Wheelworks.

Willenski said he also plans to collect bike tires and tubes from 1 to 5 pm Saturday, May 21, in the parking lot of Wheelworks at 11th and Lawrence.

Centro LatinoAmericano is a Eugene-area nonprofit that provides servies from advocacy and translation to classes on how to search for jobs. About a quarter of its budget has in the past been funded by Lane County. Centro is one of about 30 groups that provide services that were not funded by or received less funding from Lane County this year due to a cut in federal and state funds.

After the cut was made, the R-G reported that Centro alleged bias in the decision making process that led to cutting funds for Centro. The Human Services Commission, which oversees the funding decision denied the allegations.

The R-G story says the "Lane County Board of Commissioners last month upheld the decision," but Commissioners Rob Handy and Pete Sorenson have clarified that they voted against the decision to not fund the group, which provides needed services to Lane County's growing Latino population.

Local news station KVAL interviewed Human Services Commissioner member, and Springfield City Councilor, Dave Ralson on the decision.

He had some, umm, interesting things to say.

Like "If they were Americans, why would they go there? They would speak English, right?"

He alleged that all "100 percent" of the people who go to Centro for aid are illegal immigrants.

"Why would we have Centro if they were American citizens? They are not. They are here illegally."

KVAL reports that "Commission chair Clair Syrett sent an e-mail to Centro shortly after Monday's meeting saying Ralston had no role in choosing which agencies received funding, nor did any of the other individual commissioners. "

For the full uncut video of Ralston's interview, go here.

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