Thursday, February 27, 2014

Re: Article in Bloomberg on Shale Oil

Yes, this is why rising traffic projections are unadulterated BS.  Oil has to be over $100 bbl for the producers to make any money.  At the prices needed, the US economy crumples like a beer can hit with a hammer.  Thus, monstrous highway projects are self defeating, because highway spending only increases productivity in poorly connected countries.  In the US, already way overpaved, highway spending is just zero sum, spending to please group A, taken out of the hides of groups B, C, and D, which pushes them backwards economically, increasing inequality and further contracting the money available for things like auto travel.

The bottom line is that we have to stop moving around so much.  Period.  Less driving, more walking.  Little to no flying. All attempts to deny that reality will only hasten it even more.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Schrader against raising the minimum wage

Insanity. This guy needs a strong primary opponent badly.

This week, the Huffington Post reported [1] that a handful of Congressional Democrats are joining with Republicans to oppose an increase in the federal minimum wage. Oregon's own Rep. Kurt Schrader is one of those Democrats.

Congressional supporters of a higher minimum wage just announced their intention to make a rare procedural maneuver by filing a "petition to discharge" aimed at bypassing John Boehner's roadblock on raising the minimum wage. [2] If a majority of the House of Representatives sign this petition the Fair Minimum Wage Act will be given a vote, no matter what the Tea Party opposition wants. Howeverbut this petition will not be successful Rep. Schrader's support.

Tell Rep. Schrader to stop siding with the Tea Party and John Boehner. Tell him to support the Fair Minimum Wage Act.

Some of Oregon's largest concentrations of people living in poverty are in Rep. Schrader's very own district, [3] so why is he giving political cover to Tea Party Republicans and Speaker John Boehner by opposing something that would help his very own constituents?

Momentum is building all over the county to raise the minimum wage, and we need  Democrats like Schrader to listen to the 71% of Americans (including 52% of Republicans!) who support a raise to the minimum wage. [4]

Tell Rep. Schrader to support an increase to the federal minimum wage.

Thanks for all you do,

Steve Hughes
State Director, Oregon Working Families






Sunday, February 23, 2014

SJ lies about CRoCk up in Portland, the even-bigger-Bridgeasaurus Boondogglus

It's harsh to say that an editorial board is lying about something, but that's all you can conclude about this pile of disinformation about the gigantic pile of pork and graft being sold up in Portland.

Not only are the bridgespans NOT the problem up there, but the federal high-capacity-transit money could just as easily go to support bus rapid transit as light rail.  That would have the additional benefit of allowing a new bridge to be high enough to avoid interference with river shipping (the reason that the proposed form of the CRoCk --- "Columbia River Crossing" -- is too low to allow all current shipping to pass is that light rail can't climb for squat, so the proposal is to buy off the existing upriver shippers whose shipments would be impeded).

I'm not a light-rail basher; for years I've supported good light rail projects in appropriate settings. But the cross-river proposal on offer up there is simply a civilian form of contractor-capture of the proposal of Pentagon-esque proportions.

There's a common-sense alternative proposal that makes a TON of sense for dealing with the Portland-Vancouver link.  Of course, it doesn't cost nearly enough to excite the contractors pulling for the Full Monty Bridgeasaurus.

No surprise to see the SJ pimping the CRoCk though -- they've gone all in for the absurd "Salem River Crossing" and the last thing they want is for ODOT to start making decisions based on logic and reason instead of political pull.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Tell your state senator! Punish corporate wrongdoers, don't reward them! Tuesday 2-25 is the big day.

Subject: Important legislative alert! Tuesday is the big day.

Call your State Senator to urge a yes vote on HB 4143

Oregon State Representatives Tobias Read and Jennifer Williamson have been diligently working to pass HB 4143 during the current legislative session. HB 4143 passed the House on Monday and it will be up for a vote in the Senate soon.

HB 4143 modifies the distribution of unclaimed class action funds. Currently, the unclaimed funds are returned to the defendant.  The bill would direct the unclaimed funds to legal aid, ensuring that critical legal services programs receive much needed funding.

Call or email your State Senator to encourage them to vote yes on HB 4143.
To find your State Senator go to:

If you live in the districts of Senator Johnson, Senator Close, Senator Hansell, Senator Olsen, Senator George, or Senator Boquist please consider personally contacting your Senator and sharing your support for the bill.

 *   The demand for Legal Aid services is higher than ever and many Oregonians can't get help because legal aid has resources to meet less than 15% of the need. The number of Oregonians eligible for legal aid has grown by 61.5% making us the 8th highest in the nation.

 *   There are now only 90 legal aid lawyers to serve more than 850,000 of our most vulnerable Oregonians, including domestic violence victims, children and the elderly.

 *   Now is the time!  The 2014 session gives us a unique opportunity to secure funding for legal aid's future.

 *   HB 4143 simply changes the distribution of unclaimed class action money.  Currently, unclaimed money is returned to the defendant.  This bill would designate unclaimed monies to legal aid, providing a means of funding critical legal services programs. By creating this fund, Oregon is following the growing trend of states, including Washington, dedicating unclaimed monies to legal aid.   While this will not fix the legal aid funding problems, as the fund grows, it will relieve pressure on the budget.

The full text of the HB 4143 can be found here:
To find your state Senator go to:

Monday, February 17, 2014

"What should we do to prepare for the hard times to come?"

Cover of "The Limits to growth: A report ...
Cover via Amazon
Gail the Actuary (Gail Tverberg), a deeply serious person who isn't solumn about it, has a profoundly important post about how how everyone - especially whole citiesful of people in places like Salem - should be preparing for the coming resource downsizing.

Her suggestions should be the meta-curriculum of public and private education -- teaching kids how to live in the world that's emerging, not how to seek cubedweller jobs in the world that's fast disappearing.

Reaching Limits to Growth: What Should our Response Be?

Oil limits seem to be pushing us toward a permanent downturn, including a crash in credit availability, loss of jobs, and even possible government collapse. In this process, we are likely to lose access to both fossil fuels and grid electricity. Supply chains will likely need to be very short, because of the lack of credit. This will lead to a need for the use of local materials.
The time-period is not entirely clear. Some countries, such as Greece and Syria, will be seeing these effects quite soon. Other countries may not see the full effects for perhaps ten or twenty years. What should our response be?
It seems to me that there are many different answers, depending on who we are and what our goals are. The various options are not mutually exclusive.

Option 1. Make the most of the time we have available.
If there are things that are important to you, do them now. If you have been meaning to reconnect ties with family members or old friends, now is the time to do it. If there are things you would like to accomplish that require today’s transportation and services, do them now. If you want to support local charities, now would be a good time to do it.
Appreciate what you have now. We have been privileged to live in a society where transportation is readily available and where most of us can live in homes that are comfortably heated and cooled. At the same time, we can still enjoy many of the benefits of nature—clear skies and plants and animals around us. Life expectancies in the past were generally 35 years or less. Most of us have already lived longer than we could have expected to live in the past.
Develop stronger relationships with family and community.  This is likely to be a difficult transition. It is likely to be helpful to have as many allies as possible in transition. It may be helpful to move closer to other family members. Another approach is to form or join community groups, such as a church group or a group interested in common goals. The ties a person can form are likely to be helpful regardless of what path lies ahead.

Option 2. Prepare at least a little for the future
Learn to bounce back from downturns.  When I was an editor at The Oil Drum, I was editor for a letter from a man who grew up in Kenya and returned there practically every year. He told that the people in Kenya were very happy, even though they had little material goods and mortality was high.  One thing he mentioned was that if things went wrong—the death of a child for example—people were able to mourn for a day, and then move on. They also rejoiced in things we take for granted, such as being able to obtain enough food for the current day.
Do what you can to improve your health. In the United States, we have been used to a combination of practices that lead to overweight: (1) much too large food portions, (2) much processed food including much sugar and (3) lack of exercise. If we can change our eating and exercise practices, it is likely that we can improve our health. If healthcare goes downhill, fixing our personal health somewhat protects us.
Learn what you can about first aid. Injuries are likely to be more of an issue, as we work outside more.
We will need some specialists as well. As long as we eat grains, we will need dentists. As long as babies are born, we will need helpers of some type–doctors or midwives.
If circumstances permit, plant a garden and fruit or nut trees. Eventually, all food production will need to be local. Getting from our current industrialized agricultural model to a model with local food production with little (if any) fossil fuel inputs is likely to be a difficult transition. One approach is to learn what local plants, animals, and insects are edible. Another is to attempt to grow your own. Doing the latter will generally require considerable learning about what plants grow in your area, approaches to building and maintaining soil fertility, methods of preventing erosion, and a variety of related topics.
Find alternative water supplies. We currently are dependent on a water supply chain that can be broken in a variety of ways—drought, loss of electricity, storm damage, or pollution problems. If the long-term water supply seems questionable, it may be helpful to move to another location, sooner rather than later. Alternatively, we can figure out how to bridge a gap in water supplies, such as through access to a creek or lake. For the very short-term, a water barrel of stored water might be helpful.
Figure out alternative cooking arrangements. We humans are dependent on cooking for purifying water, for allowing us to eat a wider variety of food, and for allowing us to obtain greater nutrition from the food we eat, without chewing literally half of the day. We now depend primarily on electricity or natural gas for cooking. Determine what alternative cooking arrangements can be made in your area, in the event current cooking arrangements become unavailable. An example might be an outdoor fireplace with locally gathered sticks for fuel, perhaps supplemented by a solar cooker with reflective sides.
Store up a little food to bridge a temporary supply interruption. We have troubles today with wind storms and snow storms. There are any number of other types of interruptions that could happen if businesses encounter credit problems that lead to supply chain interruptions. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

Option 3. Figure out what options might work for a few years for taking care of yourself and your family 
We have a lot of goods made with fossil fuels that probably will work for a while, but likely won’t be available for the long term. Examples include solar PV, batteries, power saws, electric pumps, electric fences, bicycles, light bulbs, and many other devices that we take for granted today. Of course, as soon as any part breaks and can’t be replaced, we are likely to be “up a creek, without a paddle.”
I expect that quite a few of the permaculture solutions and organic gardening solutions are temporary solutions. They work for now, but whether they will work for the long term is less clear. We are not going to be able to make and transport organic sprays for fruit for very long and irrigation systems will need to be very simple to be resilient. Plastic wears out and even metal tools will be hard to replace.
Purchasing land for agriculture can perhaps be a partial solution for some individuals, with sufficient skills and tools. Ideally, a person will want to be part of a larger group of people using a larger piece of land, rather than a smaller group, using a smaller piece of land, because of the problem that occurs if one worker gets sick or injured. It may be helpful to have multiple non-contiguous pieces of land, to help even out impacts of bad weather and pests. Ideally, the land should be large enough so that part of the land can remain fallow, or be used for feeding animals, and can be rotated with crop-producing land.
Security is likely be a problem, especially if a single home is distant from other homes. Ideally, a family will be part of a larger group in order to provide security.
Other issues include inability to pay taxes and the government taking over property. Because of the many issues involved, any solution is, at best, temporary. Unfortunately, that may be the best we can do. As parts of the system fail, a local group may be able to support fewer people. Then the group will need to deal with how to handle this situation–everyone starve, or kick out a few members from the group, or attack another group, with the hope of obtaining control of their resources.

Option 4. Work on trying to solve the long-term problem.
There are many studies of how pre-industrial societies operated without fossil fuels and without electricity. For example, Jared Diamond gives his view of how some very early societies functioned in The World Until Yesterday. The Merchant of Prato by Iris Origo documents the life of one particular 14th century merchant, based on old letters and other documents.
Through studies of how past societies behaved, it might be possible for today’s people to develop a civilization that could be operated using only renewable resources of the types used in pre-industrial times, such as wood, water wheels, and sail boats. Such groups would probably not be able to use much metal or concrete because of the problem with deforestation when wood is used for energy-intensive operations. (Today’s so-called “renewables,” such as hydro-electric, wind turbines and solar PV require fossil fuels for manufacture and upkeep, so likely will not be available for very long.)  Heating of homes will need to be very limited as well, to prevent deforestation.
As a practical matter, the groups best equipped to make such a change are ones that have recently been hunter-gatherers and still have some memory of how they operated in the past. Perhaps some former hunter-gatherers could give instruction to others in sort of a reverse Peace Corps operation.
We do know some approaches that have been used in the past. Dogs have been used to help with herding animals, for hunting, and for warmth. Animals of various types have been used for transportation and for plowing. The downside is that animals require the use of a lot of land to produce the food needed for them to eat.
Traditional societies have used the giving of gifts and the requirement of reciprocal gift giving to increase the strength of relationships and as a substitute for our money-based financial system. With such an approach, a person gains status not by what he has, but by what he gives away.
Storytelling has been a way of passing on knowledge and entertainment for generations. Songs, games, and simple musical instruments are also part of many traditions. These are approaches that can be used in the future as well.

Option 5. Take steps toward getting population in line with likely long-term energy availability.
The world is now overfilled with people and with the many animals that people raise for food or as pets. Without fossil fuels and network electricity, we probably will not be able to feed more than a fraction of the current population of humans and domesticated animals.
Some steps we might take:
Keep family sizes small. Encourage one-child families. When a family pet dies, don’t replace it (or replace it with a smaller animal).
Eat much less meat. This could be started even now.

Option 6. Rearrange personal finances.
Paper investments are, in general, not going to be worth much, regardless of how we rearrange them, if resource availability drops greatly. Ultimately, paper investments allow us to buy goods available in the marketplace. But if there isn’t much to buy in the marketplace, they are likely to be much less helpful than we assume. Precious metals have the same difficulty–they can’t buy what is not available.

Purchasing land is theoretically better, but even land can be taken away from us by taxes or by appropriation. There is also a possibility that we may need to move, if conditions change, regardless of what property ownership conditions seem to be.
We need to learn to take each day as it comes. If we find that our bank accounts aren’t there, or that only a small fraction of the money can be withdrawn, or that the money is in the bank doesn’t buy much of anything, we need somehow to figure out a way around the situation. Very likely everyone else will be in the same boat. This is a major reason for working on substitute access to food and water supplies.

Option 7. Put more emphasis on relationships. 
Studies show that relationships are what bring happiness—not the accumulation of goods. Starting to work now on developing additional strong relationships would seem to be a worthwhile goal. In traditional societies, extended family relationships were very important.
Religions can teach us how we treat our neighbors and thus about relationships. A version of the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have then do unto you) is found in several major religions. Many readers of this blog have given up on religions as hopelessly out of date, instead choosing such “wisdom” as, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” In fact, this latter wisdom is clearly nonsense. We can expect our fossil-fuel based “toys” to lose their usefulness before our very eyes in the not too distant future. Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen are not gods, even if we are told that they are all-powerful. 
Another aspect of keeping good relationships is finding ways to mend broken relationships. One such approach is forgiveness. Another is through reconciliation procedures aimed at returning broken relationships to wholeness. Such procedures are common in small societies, according to Diamond (2012).

Option 8. Find ways to deal with the stresses of a likely downturn ahead.
As much as we would like to take one day at a time, oftentimes it is easy to worry, even though this does no good.
Even though we think we know that outcome of our current difficulties, we really do not. The universe has many physical laws. Ultimately, the source of all of these physical laws is not clear–is there a Supreme Being behind them? The story of natural selection is in many ways a miracle. The story of human existence represents more miracles—learning to control fire; learning to control our environment through agriculture; learning to modify our environment further through the use of fossil fuels. In my own personal life, I see a pattern of circumstances working together in ways I could never have expected. 
We are not the first to go through hard times. Because of my background, I find myself comforted by many Biblical passages. I am sure other religions have other passages that are also helpful.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for though art with me. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. .  . Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. . . (Psalm 23: 4, 6)
. . . in all things God works for the good of those who love him . . . (Romans 8:28)
For me personally, more things have worked together for good than I would ever have dreamed possible. I will not rule out the possibility of this happening again in the future, regardless of what the external circumstances may look like.

Option 9. For those who are concerned about Climate Change
In my view, the changes we are encountering will bring a quick end to the use of fossil fuels. Thus, the concern that future fossil fuel use will cause rapid climate change is over-blown. If individuals would like to personally reduce their own fossil fuel use, I would suggest the following:
  • Stop eating meat now, especially that raised in our current industrial system.
  • Get rid of pets that are not providing support functions, such as hunting for food.
  • Spend less of your wages. With more of the money left in the bank or in paper investments, this money will lose value and thus will reduce spending on fossil fuel-based goods and services. (While theoretically this money could be lent out and reinvested, lack of credit availability will put an end to this practice.)
  • Use a bicycle for transport instead of a car, when possible. Or walk.
  • Purchase a more fuel efficient car, if you need to replace a current vehicle.
  • Turn down the heat in your home or apartment. Don’t use air conditioning.
I would suggest quitting your job as well, but if you quit your job, the job is likely to go to someone else, resulting in the same fossil fuel use for someone else.  Even stopping a business you own will not necessarily work, if another business will expand and take its place. If the business that ramps up is in a part of the world that uses coal as its primary fuel, stopping your local business may lead to an increase in world carbon dioxide emissions.
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Urban farmers movie

Grow some food. Grow wherever you are.

"Growing Cities" is a new documentary film about the rise of urban farming in the United States. When Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette, two young men from Omaha, Nebraska, become disillusioned with the lack of urban farming projects in their hometown, they strike out on a road trip. They are searching for people who grow their own food, who believe in the tremendous potential of urban farming, and who are changing their communities through growing food.

The filmmakers certainly find what they're looking for. It's not surprising that the West coast has many well-established urban farms. In San Francisco, municipal laws are lenient toward urban farmers, even inner-city livestock; and Seattle provides land to anyone willing to farm. Milwaukee, Chicago, and Detroit boast incredible operations that feed thousands, build community, and offer employment opportunities. New York City boasts impressive rooftop gardens; Boston continues to maintain an original, World War II-era Victory Garden; and farmers in Atlanta and New Orleans are working to make urban spaces green and productive, while training underprivileged youth.

Urban farming is beneficial for many reasons. It can offer much-needed nutritious food to urban dwellers. Many Americans nowadays live in what's called a "food desert," where local stores don't stock fresh produce regularly. In Detroit, for example, 550 000 residents (over half the city's population) don't have close, reliable access to vegetables and fruit.

Urban farming teaches Americans how to view vacant land in a new light. Wherever there's space, there's an opportunity to grow something. Even if you don't own the land, many landowners are happy to have someone actively improve and beautify their empty lot for free, while benefitting the community. As one Atlanta farmer explains:

"The hugest part of sustainability is having people understand the importance of caring for land, regardless of whether you think you own it or not."

Urban farming helps secure the national food supply. Americans have done it before, thanks to the tremendous growth of Victory Gardens during the two World Wars. Just a few years after being established, these homegrown gardens provided 40 percent of all produce consumed in the United States. There's no reason that can't happen again. Americans possess 35 million acres of lawns that could be productive.

What's needed is a cultural shift in the perception of agriculture. Farmers need to be raised up in our society, and regarded in a similar way to doctors and engineers. After all, farmers are the most important people in our lives because they are the ones who feed us. And people need to get their hands dirty, to learn about growing food in limited, compromised spaces. You'd be amazed at what's possible.

Growing Cities Trailer from Growing Cities Movie on Vimeo.

"Growing Cities" is definitely worth watching. It's inspiring, lighthearted, and educational, and has been very well received at film festivals. You can find a list of screenings here, or learn how to host your own. The film's website also has lots of helpful information for starting your own urban farming projects.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sadly, City of Salem and Marion County should send many people to this symposium

The time to prepare for trouble certain to arise is as soon as possible. Worst option is to hope that something will come along that makes preparations unnecessary.

Willamette College of Law CLE
Under Pressure: Fiscal and Regional Difficulties Facing Local Governments  
For the last five years local governments have experienced a wave of fiscal distress unmatched since the Great Depression.  Aggressive policy responses like municipal bankruptcy and state takeovers have raised difficult questions about local democracy and the state's role in supervising municipal governments. 


Join Willamette University College of Law for the 2014 Law Review Spring Symposium Under Pressure: Fiscal and Regional Difficulties Facing Local Governments, a day-long presentation featuring panels of local and national experts who will explore these issues in Oregon and beyond. 


Friday, February 28, 2014
8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
John C. Paulus Lecture Hall, Room 201
Willamette University College of Law
245 Winter St. N.E., Salem, OR
Approved for 4.75 general CLE credits.
For more information contact Reyna Meyers at 503-370-6046. 

Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay

A better plan for the Library and Civic Center Complex

1) because a library district appears to be dead and would only further compress property taxes, the solution for library and information services in Salem is a small tax on all internet, cable TV, and satellite (DishTV) services provided to city residents and businesses, with all the revenue dedicated to full funding for libraries and public information services.

Full funding = seven day a week library services (at least 78 hours weekly, 12 hours x 6 days + 1 day of at least six hours) with a library within walking and biking distance of all residents. Meaning one in W. Salem, one in North, one in NE, one in Central, and one mid-south, one far south. Also, every school library should receive funding to be opened as community satellite libraries open to the public in the evenings.

2) But NOT the current library.
The smart plan for the civic center:

A) kick out the library and divide the collection among the new leased branch libraries as above. Empty grocery stores are especially good, but other vacant storefronts are suitable too.

B) Retrofit the empty library complex and give it to the police. The seismic retrofit would go much more quickly with no tenant, and cost far less with no concerns about trying to maintain the open plan library that makes reinforcing columns a no-no.

C) Move police out and retrofit city hall with no new building construction. Take the lid off and center and stop. Done, for many millions less than the current plans.

You need to move fast-- the library has been gathering funds for a big upgrade to the children's area; it has been delayed, and that money should not be spent at all for an upgrade that will be ripped out, but should be instead used to defray the costs of converting the storefronts and expanding libraries into the whole community rather than having a half-starved main library and a wholly starved library branch within a mile of each other in downtown.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Save the Date - Mayday! May 1 - Special Salem Progressive Film Series Showing

Help Salem's future and yourself: 2014 Youth Farm CSA

PBS morphs into the Plutocrats Broadcasting Service: David Sirota [feedly]

I've long since stopped listening or contributing to NPR, which became only Nominally Public Broadcasting back in the 90s and has rushed even further to the right since 9/11 in a disgusting way, bowing and scraping before the corporate/1% agenda without the slightest balance.

Support local media like Salem's community radio station KMUZ (which, yay!, is acquiring a translator so that it can be heard throughout Salem).

PBS morphs into the Plutocrats Broadcasting Service: David Sirota

Thursday, February 13, 2014

3/13--Salem area religious leaders speak out against the death penalty

Media Release Feb.13, 2014

Salem area religious leaders speak out against the death penalty

Seldom do so many religious leaders gather together to state their resolve against a criminal justice issue.  That will happen on March 13th, when leaders of prominent and important mid-Willamette Valley faith communities come together to denounce the death penalty. 
They will call for repeal of the current law, seeking better alternatives that keep the public save and hand out appropriate punishment.

         Sponsored by Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (OADP) and Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (EMO), pastors, ministers, denominational leaders and church administers will be featured speakers at a banquet being held at  Salem's St. Mark Lutheran Church (Winter and Marion Sts).   A "simple soup supper" will be served, starting at 6PM and the program will begin at 7PM.

Rev. Karen Wood, Chaplain at Willamette University, will be the mistress of ceremonies. 
The faith communities involved as of this date are: Those faiths represented include:

American Baptist Church- American Baptist Oregon Exec. Minister Rev. Steve Bils 
Buddhist Community of Mid-Willamette Valley - Alice Phalan  
Catholic - Fr. Tim Mockaitis, Queen of Peace Parish 

Episcopal - Very Rev. Lin Knight , St. Paul's Episcopal                                                                                                              
ELCA Lutheran - Rev. Charles Mantey, St. Mark Lutheran                                                                                                               
Jewish  - Rabbi Gary Ellison                                                                                                                         
Mennonite  - Pastor Meghan Good, Albany Mennonite Church                                                                                                               
Presbyterian - Rev. John Moody, Westminster Presbyterian Church                                                                                                                                                                          
Sikh Community of Salem - Prof Sukh Singh                                                                                                            
Society of Friends / Quakers - Rose Lewis 

United Church of Christ - Rev. Janet Parker, First Congregational UCC       

United Methodist Church 
- Rev. Wendy Joy Woodworth , Morningside UMC      

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem
Rev. Rick Davis

In addition to the statements by the faith leaders, OADP will be laying out their plans for moving toward repeal of the death penalty in Oregon. Tickets for this event are just $20 and reservations for tables of 8 are available.  For more information on the event and how to purchase tickets, contact Ron Steiner, at (503) 990-7060 or
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Sat, 2/22, Salem Public Library Ask the Experts event spans all ages

Subject: Salem Public Library Ask the Experts event spans all ages
Date: February 13, 2014 at 4:17:47 PM PST

A lively array of activities and information will greet visitors as Salem Public Library hosts the second annual Ask the Experts event.
Visitors will have the chance to learn about everything from bike repair to nail care and from composting to tai chi in this one-of-a-kind gathering of area organizations, businesses, and community groups eager to share what they know.
Ask the Experts
1:00-4:00 p.m. Saturday, February 22
20 activity and information tables on the main floor at Salem Public Library
Event is free and open to the public, with activities to appeal to all ages
Open house, drop-in style, so community members are welcome at any time 
This is a chance to try:

·    Easy bike repair tips from The Bike Peddler

·    Hand massage samples from local massage therapists Gary Hulet, Hope Wilds, and Center 50+

·    Knitting basics with the Mill Stream Knitting Guild

·    Decorative nail wraps from Jamberry Nails

·    Gardening tips from the Marion County Master Gardeners

·    Health and self-care tips from the CHEC Center at Salem Hospital

·    Animal care information from the Willamette Humane Society

·    Upcycled crafts with DIY Studios

·    Ceramic art with local artist Kristin Kuhns

·    Beekeeping basics with the Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association

·    Red worm composting with area expert Sally White

·    Beginning bonsai with the Willamette Valley Bonsai Society

·    Square dancing with the Salem Swingin' Stars Square Dance Club

·    Spanish 101 with the Spanish Conversation Group

·    Disaster preparedness with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

·    Tai chi with Center 50+

·    Ukulele and other instruments with ABC Music

·    Ecstatic Dance with Julie Masters

·    Irish dance with Ceili of the Valley Society

·    24 Math Challenge with students from McKay High School

In addition to the activity tables, there will be two performances in Loucks Auditorium and three interactive demonstrations in the Heritage Room during the event.

The schedule in Loucks Auditorium includes:

  • 1:30-2:00 p.m. – Irish Dance from the Ceili of the Valley Society
  • 2:15-2:45 p.m. – Square Dance from the Salem Swingin' Stars Square Dance Club

Planned Heritage Room demonstrations are:

  • 1:30-2:00 p.m. – Tai chi led by Center 50+
  • 2:15-2:45 p.m. – Group ukulele lesson taught by ABC Music
  • 3:00-3:30 p.m. – Ecstatic dance taught by Julie Masters of Salem
More information is available at or from the library Information Desk at 503-588-6052.


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Dianna Clark
Office Assistant /Administration
Salem Public Library
585 Liberty St. SE
Salem, OR  97301
Phone: 503-588-6071
Fax: 503-589-2011
Visit Salem Public Library at:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Seen Around: interesting new West Salem web site


(Salem: 54) kelly norton: The Pleasant Places to Live

Where in the U.S. will you find the most "pleasant" days in a year?

"pleasant" here means the mean temperature was between (55° F and 75° F), the minimum temperature was above 45° F, the maximum temperature was below 85° F and there was no significant precipitation or snow depth.

It has been a winter of dreadful weather so far. I spent January flying back and forth from New York expecting to find a different set of conditions at the end of each leg. Whichever way I went, bitter cold greeted me at the end of the jet way and often with a coating of slick ice. It's hard not to dwell on anomalous and unpleasant weather. It got me wondering, though, where in the U.S. do you go if you want the most "pleasant" days in a year?

I decided to take a stab at what constitutes a "pleasant" day and then aggregate NOAA data for the last 23 years to figure out the regions of the United States with the most (and least) pleasant days in a typical year. The results, I think, are not that surprising and pretty much affirm the answer given off the cuff by many of my west coast friends when asked about the best places, "Southern California?" For the areas with the least pleasant days, I admit I would have guessed North Dakota. However, it's much of Montana that gets an average of a couple of weeks of pleasantness each year. I'm sure, though, they would shake their frost-bitten fingers at me and remind me that not everyone can take the overwhelming heat of 55° F. True, there is a bit of subjectivity to the range I selected. It's just that a lot of subjects share that same preference.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Let's get a yardsharing movement started in Salem!

This is from the "Hyperlocavore" site (see blogroll to the right). 

We're still looking for a gardener/urban farmer who needs great raised beds to grow organic produce -- here at LOVESalem HQ, we have drip irrigation, double-deep raised beds, good sun, most beds enclosed in a fenced yard where no one will bother them (and have not had much problems with the other beds).  You can have a substantial garden/produce operation right here in the city, less than a mile from the Capital.

So if you are a person who has garden skills and needs space, join the Hyperlocavore group and contact me there.  We have virtually everything you will need, except your knowledge and time. We ask only a fair split, to be negotiated with you, of what is harvested.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A staggering stinker s4@t into the State Capitol by the goons at ALEC

ALEC, the corrupt faux-nonprofit that has its claws and strings into far too many Oregon legislators, vomited up this hideous bill designed to turn all Oregon into West Virginia and Mississippi, play pens for the rich and thuggish who don't like the idea of being constrained by pesky regard for future generations and who don't want to be held accountable for destroying the things that make Oregon so treasured.

Briefly, SB 1548  [and HB 4153] overrides state and local land use laws and potentially every environmental and safety law related to construction and operation of industrial facilities. The bill allows any city or county with 7% or higher unemployment for 12 consecutive months to site "industrial, manufacturing, or natural resource facilities" without regard to state or local land use laws. These uses are defined in the bill to include "power generating facilities and mines, used to treat, process or manufacture materials into products" among other things. The bill has no criteria limiting the siting. Once the siting is approved by the city or county, all state agencies and local governments must issue all permits, licenses, and certificates and enter into intergovernmental agreements necessary for the "construction and operation" of the facility.
Hi all-

One of the most over-reaching bills we have seen in a long time is SB 1548,  currently scheduled for a hearing and possible work session on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 3:00, in the Senate Rural Communities & Economic Development Committee.  The link to the bill is:

I have attached a detailed summary of the bill.  Briefly, SB 1548  overrides state and local land use laws and potentially every environmental and safety law related to construction and operation of industrial facilities. The bill allows any city or county with 7% or higher unemployment for 12 consecutive months to site "industrial, manufacturing, or natural resource facilities" without regard to state or local land use laws. These uses are defined in the bill to include "power generating facilities and mines, used to treat, process or manufacture materials into products" among other things. The bill has no criteria limiting the siting. Once the siting is approved by the city or county, all state agencies and local governments must issue all permits, licenses, and certificates and enter into intergovernmental agreements necessary for the "construction and operation" of the facility.

In addition, this bill provides that a review of any siting decision is by the circuit courts, not LUBA, where it gets priority over all other circuit court proceedings; it requires ODOT to prioritize transportation funding to serve these sites; and it allows employers in a city or county of high unemployment to get a tax credit for creating new full time jobs. 
1000 Friends of Oregon opposes SB 1548, and the Oregon Conservation Network (OCN) has declared it a "Major Threat"  (along with its companion bill in the House, HB 4153)

Please call and/or e-mail the members of the Senate Rural Communities & Economic Development Committee to express your opposition.  The Committee members  are:
Thank you, and please let me know if you have any questions!

Mary Kyle McCurdy
Policy Director
1000 Friends of Oregon