Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Grate Phun Ahed in 2011

PPL 2010 Spelling BeeImage by pplflickr via Flickr
Sonja Somerville
Salem Public Library Community Relations Coordinator
Phone: (503) 588-6083
Fax: (503) 589-2011

Adult Spelling Bee offers chance for redemption at Salem Public Library

Area adults have the chance to relive – or get over – a little piece of their childhood in January at a special adult spelling bee hosted by Salem Public Library.

“Your Word is R-E-D-E-M-P-T-I-O-N: A Spelling Bee for Adults with Sometime to Prove” will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, January 22 in Loucks Auditorium at Salem Public Library, 585 Liberty St. SE. It is the perfect opportunity for any grown-up to prove they still have what it or remove the sting of a brutal loss in the second-grade spelling bee. This slightly non-traditional bee includes some twists and turns to keep things interesting and add to the fun. Prizes and bragging rights will be liberally awarded.

There are chairs on the spelling stage for just 20 adults. Registration is essential for spellers and is now open through Sonja Somerville at 503-588-6083 or

Supporters of the spellers are encouraged to attend this free event along with any interested members of the public.

The program is supported by the Friends of the Salem Public Library.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from LOVESalem HQ

Nice writeup on Energy Descent and the New Reality here. Excerpt:

Oil IS our economy. It is what makes global trade at this scale possible and why it makes “sense” to ship raw materials from Africa to SE Asia for processing and then to the US for final sale, grain from the Ukraine to be fed to cattle in Brazil to end up in $.89 cheeseburgers in the US, and the 1500 mile side salad. That fact – that Oil is Everything – means that watching the price of crude, or just the pump, is rather important for predicting when the next recession, or rather the deepening of the current one, will hit. Since we hit Peak Oil in 2006 the New Reality is that energy economics are now ruthlessly driven by supply and demand. Now that we are Post Peak, there is no significant means of mitigating price by upping supply to meet demand; when demand increases, price MUST follow suit soon after as supply is fixed and slowly diminishing.

Supply v. Demand: a graphical depiction...

What became painfully clear to us all, is that there is a price ceiling that our economy is able to support. In 2008 it was somewhere near $110/bbl or $4/gln of gasoline. Beyond that point oil/gas pushed the expense side of doing business too far (and had the psychological impact of drastically reducing consumer spending) and we smacked into a New Reality that energy was perhaps more expensive than we could afford; that we couldn’t afford to do *everything* we wanted as a global community.

And then we learned another reality about our current economy. GROWTH is IMPERATIVE. Chris Martenson in his Crash Course will explain this far better than I can, but in long and short the rate of our economic growth MUST EXCEED the interest that is due on everything we, as a global society, “own”. As soon as the economy fails to grow faster than the interest that is due on the all the zillions of loans –from credit cards to government bonds– there is literally NOT ENOUGH MONEY to pay the banks and massive foreclosures begin to happen. This is also why we continually here that 1-2% growth “isn’t enough”. Check your car/mortgage/credit card bill for your interest rate if you wonder why not.

So everyone alive has know nothing but the fact that Oil IS the Economy, and that the Economy MUST grow. But there is no more cheap oil, and the Economy CAN’T grow – at least not until it bottoms and the Peak is a lofty mountain indeed. The Old Reality is over. Welcome to the New One. The next century or so will be dominated by series after series of recessions, which will relax the demand pressure on the price of energy enough to allow a brief “recovery”. But as soon as the economy recovers enough it will inevitably hit the energy price ceiling (which is now lower than the last one due to all the bankruptcies that occurred in the last recession which lowered the overall size of the economy by destroying “wealth”) and we will enter a new recession. This is the economic reality of Energy Descent: series after series of recessions interspersed with brief “recoveries.” . . .

So, here comes a pitch: Because we just installed a nice solar-electric system here at LOVESalem HQ, we got a nice offer from the installing company, SunWize: If you tell 'em we sent you when call them out to do a survey for your home's solar potential, they'll give us $50 after they evaluate your solar potential. If you end up installing a system, they'll cut us a check for $200 per kW of capacity that you install.

So what's in it for you? Well, if you're unsure about doing a solar install, just post a note in the comments with your email; when I screen the comments I'll see it and contact you, and you can come over and look at what we got installed and you can see all the papers we got as part of the install, and what it cost, and how we addressed the costs, tax credits, etc. (And I won't post your contact info.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Most excellent: Marion-Polk Food Share's new Community Kitchen

Here's a program that will never have to kowtow and chant "We're Not Worthy:

Marion-Polk Food Share has a new facility for commercial cooking and culinary training.

The more than $500,000 community kitchen within the food share's northeast Salem warehouse was unveiled at a ribbon cutting Tuesday afternoon.

The food share, a part of the Oregon Food Bank statewide network, also will be able to prepare meals from the piles of fresh food donations, reducing waste, said Eileen DiCicco, food share development associate.

In the kitchen, volunteers will to learn how to prepare nutritious meals from scratch. They then can train the low-income and needy people served by the food share's more than 90 partner agencies, said food share president Ron Hays.

"I'm in the business of working myself out of a job, and part of that is building self-sufficiency in people," Hays said. . . .

There's also talk of connecting with Chemeketa Community College to create some type of post-prison skills training program, said Phil McCorkle, food share vice president of development . . . .

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Too beautiful not to steal

If the Salem Daily Photo Diary blog isn't already on your reader, you risk missing gorgeous work like this.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mainstream magazine gingerly mentions Peak Oil

Study of Peak Oil and GasImage via WikipediaOf course it dismisses it -- the last sentence basically parses to "There's no good substitute ready so we can't be at the peak" -- much like the joke about "I can't be overdrawn, I still have checks!"

But interesting that the magazine felt it had to address the question nonetheless:
Has ‘peak oil’ already passed?

The moment at which global oil production reaches its zenith before entering perpetual decline—“peak oil”—has long been the subject of contentious debate. But in November the International Energy Agency, which advises governments on energy policy, announced that peak oil had already occurred, in 2006. The agency, previously skeptical that peak oil was near, said fuel supplies would nevertheless remain abundant because of “unconventional” sources like tar sands. But it forecast rising oil and gas prices ahead. “The age of cheap oil is over,” said IEA economist Fatih Birol. More bullish analysts say the world still has decades of affordable oil and gas supplies, which will dampen the incentive to develop alternative energy sources. “The competitiveness of oil and gas and the scale at which they are produced,” said energy consultant James Burkhard, “mean that there are no readily available substitutes in either one year or 20 years.”
Enhanced by Zemanta

For the autodidacts and those who try to keep up with them

Interesting service offered through the regional library system that Salem Public Library belongs to (Chemeketa Cooperative Regional Library Service) -- a whole bunch of self-study courses.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Brought to you by PGE

PGE = Please God, enough! According to PGE, we can't stop burning coal at Boardman -- the single biggest polluter in the entire state of Oregon -- because it would raise power rates a whole 5% . . . funny, they just jacked up the rates about the same amount, not long after giving their former chief Peggy MILLIONS of annual pension payments ABOVE AND BEYOND her guaranteed pension.

A Warming Climate Takes its Toll on the Polar Bears of Hudson Bay. from Daniel J. Cox on Vimeo.

THIS horrific, sickening result is what PGE fights for, what they spend all their might and muscle to continue and promote: the right to make even more profit by continuing to burn coal, even at the cost of immense suffering globally.

Warning: This video includes disturbing footage of a malnourished polar bear mother and her two cubs in western Hudson Bay, Canada. Some may choose not to watch, because it includes graphic scenes of a malnourished cub experiencing seizures.

Both cubs died within two days of the November 23, 2010, filming.

As difficult as the images are to watch, they show the real-life struggle polar bears face each day trying to survive on a warming planet. Malnourishment, starvation and even cannibalism have become facts of life for polar bears in western Hudson Bay and other areas.

Polar bears are completely dependent upon large expanses of sea ice to hunt, feed and survive. They use the sea ice as a platform to capture seals and other prey. Global warming is rapidly melting their ice and lengthening the ice-free season, forcing bears to spend ever-longer periods of time on land, where there is little for them to eat. The longer bears like the ones in this video are stranded on land, the more likely they are to starve.

Polar bears were listed as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 2008 due to sea-ice declines and dwindling populations. The U.S. population is projected to go extinct by 2050 if climate change in not reined in soon; the entire species may disappear by the end of the century. The polar bears of western Hudson Bay are on the front line of global warming impacts: their population declined by 22 percent between 1987 and 2004 and may be the first driven extinct by climate change.

The Center for Biological Diversity wrote the 2005 scientific petition to protect the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. We later filed suit to ensure the listing occurred and to win 187,000 square miles of protected “critical habitat” in Alaska in December 2010. The Center is currently in court to upgrade the polar bear’s status from “threatened” to “endangered” and to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions in the lower 48 states, which are contributing to the melting of Arctic sea ice, are subject to Endangered Species Act regulation.

This video (© 2010 Daniel J. Cox/ was taken as part of The Arctic Documentary Project spearheaded by Daniel J. Cox under the umbrella of Polar Bears International. (The video may be freely embedded on others websites so long as it is credited with the hyperlink © 2010 Daniel J. Cox/

For their efforts, let us build a monument to the great leaders on the PGE Board, those paragons of virtue, so that the people of the future never forget them and what they did:

Board of Directors
PGE's Board of Directors includes executives in utilities, management, finance and accounting.

Corbin A. McNeill Jr.
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Portland General Electric

John W. Ballantine
Retired executive vice president, First Chicago NBD Corp.

Rodney L. Brown Jr.
Managing Partner, Cascadia Law Group PLLC

David A. Dietzler
Retired Pacific Northwest partner-in-charge of audit practice, KPMG LLP

Kirby A. Dyess
Principal, Austin Capital Management LLC

Peggy Y. Fowler
Retired CEO and president, Portland General Electric

Mark B. Ganz
President and CEO, The Regence Group

Neil J. Nelson
President and CEO, Siltronic Corp.

M. Lee Pelton
President, Willamette University

Jim Piro
President and CEO, Portland General Electric

Robert T.F. Reid
Corporate Director

WORD: Why work doesn't happen at work

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Answers to Life's Persistent Questions Dept.

A chicken coop in a Seattle backyard.Image via WikipediaToday's answer: The Chicken.

And now a word from Barb Palermo, Chief Chicken Revolutionaria:
Chicken Classes

There's still room in this weekend's Chicken-Raising 101 Class!

If you would like to learn about choosing breeds, designing a coop, and everything about raising hens in a backyard setting, you can still enroll in this class – just let me know by Friday! There are two classes to choose from: (Sat, Dec. 18 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm) or (Sun, Dec. 19 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm). The cost is just $5 and kids are free.

We will also be hosting a Poultry Health Class on February 9 from 6:00-7:30 pm. This class will focus on chicken anatomy, common illnesses and prevention, chick vaccination, the truth about bird flu, and more! The instructor will be USDA Veterinarian, Dr. Brianna Wilson. Seating is limited so let me know soon if you are interested in signing up for this class.

Chicken Ordinance

Please read my blog about Salem's chicken ordinance and why it is indeed a victory.

The city has informed me that there's a problem with training outside vendors to conduct chicken coop inspections (estimated to cost $35), so the city will be offering this service FOR FREE temporarily, starting in January. There will still be a $50 permit fee, but at least you can save on the inspection if you are among the first to apply. If you cannot afford the fee, please let me know, as I may be able to help
with CITY funds. Financial assistance is available for situations where there is real financial need (not just because you don't believe you should have to pay).

Coop Tour

We need your coop! Please consider entering your coop in Salem's first backyard chicken coop tour. Every year Salem's chicken-loving residents travel to Eugene, Corvallis, and Portland to attend annual coop tours. This year, we would like to offer one of our own. Now that chickens are legal in Salem, stop hiding, and show it off in our first coop tour. Let's prove to everyone that we are perfectly capable of keeping nice backyard coops! Even if you haven't built your coop yet, but plan to before June, consider participating. For more information e-mail contact Shannon at

Habitat for Hens

As you know, we built a chicken coop for a family last November and it was a wonderful experience. We plan to construct another coop in May, possibly at the Oregon School for the Deaf, as part of its new Ag Education Program! If you would like to donate labor and/or building materials, please contact Kristi at

Chickens In Keizer

Several citizens in Keizer, Oregon have begun the process of trying to convince their city councilors to adopt a chicken-keeping ordinance. If you live in Keizer and are interested in helping, let me know and I will put you in touch with them.

Salem Buyer's Clubs for "Happy Meat"

If you're interested in purchasing "happy meat" from local, environmentally responsible farms where the animals are pasture-raised and well-treated, contact McK Ranch in Dallas, OR or Anton Field Farm in Corvallis, OR. Both farms sell beef, chicken, and lamb but Anton Field Farm also sells pork and honey. To join these buyer's clubs and have your meat delivered to Salem, send them an email and be sure to write "Salem Buyers Club" in the subject line. I visited the Anton Field Farm today and it is a wonderful place!

Local Resources

Don't forget to visit my website on a regular basis. I try my best to keep it updated with the most recent information, including local resources like where you can purchase ready-made coops or building plans to construct your own, urban farm stores and hatcheries in our area, and everything from local veterinarians who treat chickens to chicken babysitters! Upcoming chicken-related events are always posted
there as well, so it's a good place to find out what's coming up without having to wait for my emails.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, December 11, 2010

LOVESalem HQ: "Underway on Solar Power"

OK, getting the last steps of the laborious installation process finished on the absolute rainiest day of the a pretty rainy season is not the world's best timing. But, on the other hand, if we can make 0.8 kWh today, imagine what we will do when there's some real sun!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

2 + 2 = 4

I have a friend I've never met . . . hmmm, sounds like the invisible friend of my youth . . . anyway, he's got a blog where great stuff is shared. He doesn't post often, so the signal-to-noise ratio is stratospheric. Two great posts there lately -- the great song below and a thoughtful post on "The Electronic Plantation."

TONIGHT: Important movie -- "PAPERS" - Grand Theatre, 7 p.m.

Another gem brought to us by the good folks running the Salem Progressive Film Series. Double-click the image for a full-screen view. There are people like these poor kids all through the Valley.

UPDATE: Kurt Schrader shamed us and most of all himself in voting against the DREAM act that would provide two paths to citizenship for these poor kids. Reprehensible.

Got kids? Or visiting friends/relatives?

SalemORMissionMill2Image via WikipediaGroupon is offering very cheap tix to "Magic at the Mill," the holiday celebration at Mission Mill, part of the Willamette Heritage Center.

Gotta move quick, these things sell one day only.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


The real estate meltdown gets uglier by the day.
"About half the practice of a decent lawyer consists of telling would-be clients that they are damned fools and should stop." -- Elihu Root

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Act quickly: Help derail the ethanol gravy train of subsidies for fatcats

There is no policy in the United States with less support in science or that is based on more naked greed than the ethanol subsidies and blending mandates. Ethanol is nothing but a fancy shell-game of using coal and natural gas to create a liquid fuel while using tons and tons of petroleum-based pesticides and fertilizers, destroying topsoil, and making our climate challenge even worse.

Tell Merkley and Wyden to stand firm against this colossal economic and environmental outrage

WORD: We need to tame the vampire squid

double click for full-screen view

Friday, December 3, 2010

Local Hero: Jeff Merkley

Oregon's Democratic Senator, Jeff Merkley, gets some well-deserved props from Kevin Drum (who mistakenly throws some undeserved love at NY's third senator, who married money and suddenly dislikes the estate tax):

The state of Oregon does a helluva job electing senators. We should all be so lucky to have the likes of Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley representing us.

Today I want to highlight Merkley and his proposal to end abuse of the filibuster. Unlike his retiring Connecticut colleague Chris Dodd, who inexplicably decided to use his farewell address this week to produce a defense of the filibuster that could only come from a DC lifer almost comically out of tune with the events of the past few years, Merkley has given the subject some real thought and recently produced some genuinely sharp thinking about it.

For starters, Merkley understands the reality of the modern Republican Party: they don't use the filibuster occasionally to obstruct legislation they feel especially strongly about, they use it "on nearly a daily basis, paralyzing the Senate." What's more, the filibuster isn't just a way of requiring 60 votes to pass legislation. Rather, "the filibuster can be thought of as the power of a single senator to object to the regular order of Senate deliberations, thereby invoking a special order that requires a supermajority and a week delay for a vote."

This is a key point to understand. The modern filibuster requires only one person to invoke it, doesn't require that person to do anything other than announce his intent, and automatically eats up a week or more of time on the Senate calendar even on legislation that's widely popular. Last year, for example, it took the Senate five weeks to approve an extension of unemployment benefits that eventually passed 98-0.

But what to do? There's some question about whether Senate rules can be changed in the middle of a session, but none about whether they can be changed at the beginning of a session. They can be. So in January, if Democrats can muster 51 votes and Vice President Biden is willing to support them by issuing friendly rulings as presiding officer, the filibuster rules can be changed. So what would it take to persuade 51 Democrats to go along?

Merkley's proposal revolves around a single principle: the Senate should always allow debate. So the filibuster should be banned entirely on motions to proceed and on amendments because both are things the promote debate and engagement. Filibusters would still be allowed on a bill's final vote, but it would take more than one senator to launch a filibuster (Merkley suggests a minimum of ten) and senators would have to actually hold the floor and talk. No longer would a single person be able to obstruct all business just by dropping a note to his party leader.

And in return? The minority party would have one of its major grievances addressed: the ability to offer amendments to legislation. Merkley proposes that unless a different agreement is reached prior to a bill coming to the floor, each side would be allowed to introduce five amendments of their own choosing. No longer could the majority leader "fill the amendment tree" or otherwise prohibit the minority party from trying to amend legislation. This fits with his broad principle that debate and engagement with legislation is a good thing. The minority party might choose to offer mischevious or blatantly political amendments, but that's their choice. They also have the choice of genuinely trying to improve legislation and getting a majority of their colleagues to pass it.

Merkley has a few other proposals as well, but this is the gist of it. It's a pretty good plan, and a pretty sensible one. It doesn't eliminate the filibuster, it just eliminates filibuster abuse. And in return, the minority party gets an expanded ability to engage in a positive way with any legislation on the floor. In January, the Democratic leadership, the rank-and-file of the party, and the White House ought to give serious thought to starting the 112th Congress with the long-overdue reforms that Merkley proposes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Where the death panels really are

And a great comment below:

No, Betsy, we don't hate ourselves. We hate 'them.' The 'them' who isn't as healthy as we happen to be at this moment, and who have medical needs that we don't have right now that they can't pay for. The 'them' who have better insurance than we do. The 'them' who have less than we do, so they might run out of resources a little while before we do in a crisis in their lives, and need help. The 'them" who have a bit more than we do, and are therefore (presumably) less anxiety-ridden about their futures, as well as being able to buy 'more' stuff right now. The 'them' who have kids in school who need educating, and the 'them' who don't, so how can they possibly know what it's like to raise children today? The 'them' who can manage to have a stay-at-home parent, and the 'them' who are single parents struggling to put food on the table. The 'them' who have lost jobs and can't find work, so they deserve what they get because they're lazy, and the 'them' who had and have good jobs, and educations in fields that ensure they will continue to do so. The 'them' who lost their home to foreclosure, and the 'them' who can still buy houses, cars, and luxury items. We don't like any of 'them.'

For whatever reasons, we no longer seem to consider ourselves as communities. Not in neighborhoods, towns, states, or the nation. We no longer feel we should pay taxes for schools if we have no kids in school, or for health care for everyone, or for maintaining our crumbling infrastructure, or for apparently anything else that benefits 'us' as a whole society, and for which we or someone we love will use, need, or suffer from the lack of. Nope, don't need it right now, tough for those who do, move along folks, nothing to see here.

Ok then! Cherry City sounds great.

From the Salem Public Library newsletter, sponsored by the Friends of Salem Public Library:

Q. Salem is sometimes called the Cherry City. How did it get this nickname, and has Salem had other nicknames as well?

A. According the Salem History Database (, cherries have been grown in and around Salem ever since Henderson Lewelling introduced the trees to the area in the 1850s, and the first Cherry Fair, sponsored by the Salem Elks Lodge, took place in 1903.

Over the years, many other nicknames have been bestowed, but none have had the sticking power of The Cherry City. Joseph Nathan Kane’s Nicknames and Sobriquets of U.S. Cities, States and Counties (R 910.3 Kane) lists The City of Orderly Growth, The Charmed Land of Unequalled Beauty, and The Happy City Life as just a few of the nicknames Salem has held.
The City of Autosprawl Blight and Rapacious Developers just doesn't have that same ring . . .

Local Hero: Judge White

A true man-bites-dog story: Monsanto runs into a government official who can't be bought and sold the way the company does with politicians and USDA cronies spinning through the revolving door.

You need a Scorecard just to keep up

Water pollution from dairy operationImage by eutrophication&hypoxia via Flickrwith all the polluting going on. Scorecard lets you enter any zip code and get a glimpse at it.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happier notes: Friends of Salem Saturday Market Winter Doings

Greetings Friends,

Hope your holiday season is off to a safe and fun beginning. As we gear up for the winter, Friends of Salem Saturday Market is keeping busy. We hope you'll continue to enjoy our events, and remember that a membership in FSSM makes a great gift!


Holiday Market
FSSM will again have a booth at the Holiday Market, Dec. 11-12 at the Fairgrounds. Here’s what we’ve got planned:

1) FSSM Gift & Coat Valet Service! We will be providing valet service for both coats and gifts, completely complimentary. Shoppers can drop off their stuff while they enjoy the Market.

2) Discounted books: FSSM will be selling great sustainability books at a discount for FSSM members. New titles include "Keep Chickens!", "Naturally Clean Home," "Recipes from the Root Cellar," "Recycled Crafts" for kids, and much more!

3) Find a unique gift: A unique gift idea this year would be to purchase an FSSM membership for your friends and loved ones. We will also be offering "gift membership packs," where the membership is bundled with books and other FSSM goodies. Plus, this year we'll be providing a sheet of exclusive coupons to local retailers when you purchase an FSSM membership.

4) Volunteers needed! Could you help out with our booth? It’s fun and a great way to learn more about FSSM. If you can sign up for a 2-hour shift on Dec. 11 or 12, send an email to Thanks!

Check out for more info on the Holiday Market.


More FSSM News:

Neighborhood Harvest: It was a wonderful inaugural year for FSSM’s Neighborhood Harvest. Check out for a new blog and newsletter about the project.

Plus, here are some great numbers from our first season:

More than 53,000 pounds of fruit and vegetables were picked by 800 volunteers at 60 harvest parties. Of that, 28,000 was donated to Marion Polk Food Share. The rest was taken home by those eager and generous volunteers. Neighborhood Harvest is another great way to volunteer your time and earn some fresh, local produce! We hope you’ll join us for another great season in 2011.


Zero Waste Zone also had an incredible first season! We're excited to launch a full silverware program next year, thanks to a new grant from Marion County. We'll be looking for some college interns or other volunteers to help operate the program next season. Interested?

Check out the amazing results of our first season (from July 24 – October 31):
2,200 gallons of compost
1,280 gallons of recycling
650 gallons of garbage
More than 5,200 plastic utensils
10 bags of deposit cans/bottles

Without the Zero Waste Stations, more than 4,000 gallons of garbage would have been thrown away. Instead, only 650 gallons were. We look forward to reducing that number even more next year! We are grateful to the Salem Saturday Market food vendors who put forth such incredible effort to make this project a success! And you, the shoppers, were so eager and quick to learn this new system. Thank you!


Urban Farmer Certification

FSSM is very excited to partner with Pringle Creek Community and OSU Master Gardener Program to present this new educational course. The “Urban Farmer Certification” will allow you to learn valuable gardening skills while cultivating your own healthy, organic fruits and vegetables. With a monthly class taught primarily by OSU-Extension Service Master Gardeners and local farmers, course curriculum will include garden planning, seed starting, beneficial insects, composting, and chicken keeping, among others. Classes will include both a theoretical lesson and a hands-on component that takes place in our greenhouses and community garden.

Schedule: the last Saturday of the month, January-October 2011. Cost: $60, and FSSM members receive a 20% discount!

See for more information.

Cassandra's curse

Tributaries of the Willamette RiverImage via WikipediaI am often caused to think of Cassandra, who is popularly derided as someone who kept issuing warnings about things that others couldn't see -- a sort of "chicken little" type. The most important point, the one that is so often forgotten, is that Cassandra's curse was that she would be able to see the future calamities, but that none would believe her and, thus, none would respond in time.

Salem, Marion County, the entire Willamette Valley, and all of Oregon have a lot to lose from the climate chaos we're sowing. Try farming when the weather is unpredictable one year to the next, and when all your exquisitely bred strains are suddenly wrong for your climate.

And it appears that we've decided that we're simply going to roll the dice and see what happens. Oh well, so it goes.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Truly bizarre

Courthouse squareImage via WikipediaThere's an unpleasant odor coming from the Marion County Commission, where the rule seems to be "settle your suits and sign away your claims first, investigate second:"
For immediate release: November 30, 2010

Contact: Peggy Mitchell, Contracts Compliance Analyst, (503) 588-5047
Jolene Kelley, Public Information Officer, (503) 566-3937

County and Transit District Officials Release RFP for Forensic Investigation on Courthouse Square

SALEM - The Marion County Board of Commissioners and Salem Area Mass Transit District Board of Directors have released a request for proposals for a forensic investigation of Courthouse Square. The building and adjacent transit center formerly housed several county departments, transit administration offices and bus mall, and retail businesses.

The building and transit mall have experienced significant structural deficiencies that required immediate closure of the bus mall in July, followed by a full building closure in September. A structural analysis is currently underway to determine the full extent of defects, as well as provide options for remediation.

The firm selected will conduct an independent forensic investigation of the integrity of the original construction process and determine what may have gone wrong during the design, planning, and construction of Courthouse Square. In addition, the county and transit district want to ensure that future public projects are managed to prevent similar situations from occurring. Board of Commissioners Chair Janet Carlson said, "As elected officials and residents of Marion County, we are all disappointed in the closure of Courthouse Square. In order to move ahead, it is important that we fully understand the circumstances that led to this unfortunate situation."

Firms with expertise in forensic investigation are invited to respond to the request for proposals. A mandatory pre-proposal walk through of the building will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 8, 2010, with final proposals due by 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 23, 2010. Project details may be obtained by contacting Peggy Mitchell at (503) 588-5047 or For more information regarding Courthouse Square please visit
Enhanced by Zemanta