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Thursday, July 29, 2010

In a Tough Fight, Kitzhaber Launches Air Offensive

Posted By on Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 9:00 PM

After letting Chris Dudley have the airwaves to himself since the June primary, John Kitzhaber has rolled out his first TV ad.

Unlike Dudley’s ads, in which other people do most of the talking, the only voice heard in Kitzhaber’s 60-second spot is that of the former governor himself, speaking about how he’s going to bring jobs back to Oregon.

“This isn’t about being a Republican, or being a Democrat, or being an independent,” he begins, “it’s about being an Oregonian. I have a great love for this state. I was raised here … had amazing opportunities.”

Oregonian political blogger Jeff Mapes comments: “Hint to voters: Dudley didn't grow up in Oregon.”

Acknowledging that the state has an unemployment rate somewhere north of 10%, Kitzhaber goes on to say that “it doesn’t have to be that way. But we can’t move beyond that by continuing to cling to the past. We’ve got to start reaching for the future.”

Mapes’s analysis: “This is an attempt to address one of the big criticisms leveled by Dudley: that Kitzhaber, as a former governor, represents the failures of the past.”

On his campaign website Kitzhaber gets in what appears to be another dig at Dudley and the Republicans, who chided him earlier this week for not making many personal appearances around the state: “I grew up here and I know where we’ve been and where we need to go as a state to create a better future for our children. The passion and knowledge I have isn’t something you can get from just shaking hands as you’re running for office.”

The Kitzhaber ad, which is airing statewide on both network and cable channels, didn’t come any too soon: A new Survey USA poll released earlier this week shows him and Dudley in a virtual dead heat – Dudley 46% and Kitzhaber 44%, with a margin of error of 4.2 points.

Predictably, Kitz’s troops tried to put a positive spin on the news. “They've spent $600,000 on advertising since the primary and [Dudley’s] numbers have hardly budged,” Kitzhaber campaign spokesperson Jillian Schoene told Mapes.

But from reading comments in the Oregon blogosphere, I’d say Democrats are really worried – and with reason. Dudley has raised more money than Kitzhaber, he’s got some celebrity status from his years as a Portland Trail Blazer, and in a season when anti-politician and anti-government sentiment is running high his lack of experience in public office is as much an asset as a liability.

On top of that, there’s some validity to the Republican’s gripe that Kitzhaber hasn’t connected personally with Oregonians. He’s never been a particularly enthusiastic campaigner – once joking that he wished there was a way he could get elected without running. If he’s going to pull off a victory in November he’ll have to overcome his natural reluctance and get out there shaking hands and kissing babies.


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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

When Lightning Strikes, Be Glad the Public Employees Are There

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 9:24 PM

I enjoy dramatic weather, such as a good thunderstorm, but yesterday afternoon things got a little too dramatic for comfort.

I arrived home around 4:15 to find my street full of fire trucks and police cars and people standing around watching the action. The house of one of my neighbors had been hit by lightning.

According to KTVZ’s account, the home of Deak and Barbara Preble was a total loss because of fire and smoke damage. Fortunately nobody was injured and the fire didn’t spread to any nearby houses (including mine).

“We're just pleased the authorities were able to get here fairly quickly,” Deak Preble told KTVZ’s reporter.

The experience got me thinking about what might have happened if we had privatized firefighting in Bend instead of having a municipal fire department.

Before you dismiss that as a ridiculous idea, remember that the private-enterprise approach to firefighting has been tried in many places throughout history. The results generally haven’t been very good.

In ancient Rome, Marcus Licinius Crassus – described by one website as “ambitious and an entrepreneur – the kind of man Ayn Rand might have appreciated” – made a fortune with his free-enterprise firefighting business. When a fire started in the city he’d rush to the scene, buy up the adjacent properties at bargain prices and then have his crew put the fire out.

In the late 17th century, London insurance companies started their own firefighting brigades. They wouldn’t put out a fire unless the owner of the blazing house had bought insurance, as indicated by a plaque mounted on the property.

In New York and other colonial American cities, insurance companies paid fire brigades to fight fires. Rival brigades would race each other to get to the scene first, and sometimes the building would burn down while the brigades fought over who would get to put out the fire.

What’s the point of all this? Simply that private enterprise doesn’t always do a better job than those much-despised (by conservatives and libertarians) public employees, and that privatizing public services isn’t always the best idea. Private enterprise, by definition, looks out for private interests, and those don’t always coincide with the public interest.

Arguments over political philosophy aside, I’m glad Bend has a well-paid professional city fire department – and I’m also glad we’re protected by professional city police instead of a crew of private sector rent-a-cops.


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Inquiring Republicans Want to Know: "Where's John?"

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 12:24 AM

John Kitzhaber isn’t getting out and pressing the flesh of Oregonians enough – or at least that’s what the Oregon Republican Party thinks.

In a press release today headlined “Where’s John Kitzhaber?” the party all but accused the former governor of hiding from the people of the state.

“It’s as if this guy expects to be handed the election without actually interacting with voters,” Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bob Tiernan said in the release.  “This tells us that John Kitzhaber has changed little from the unapproachable, isolated and alienated governor who called Oregon ‘ungovernable’ after eight years in office. There are 36 counties in Oregon. How many of them has John visited? Where is he?”

“For months, Kitzhaber has been noticeably absent from campaign stops with Oregonians despite behind consistently down in the polls,” the release continued. “During July, Kitzhaber spoke at a gathering of newspaper managers, made a couple of brief appearances in Corvallis and is planning to make a phone call to a few house parties at the end of the month.  This is in stark contrast to Chris Dudley who is seen almost daily at public events all over Oregon.”

If Dudley and his supporters are going to start asking Kitzhaber questions like that, the ex-governor might want to ask a few of his own – such as:

Where was Chris Dudley before he suddenly decided he wanted to be governor?

Why did he duck out of the debate sponsored by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association to attend a Republican fundraiser in Aspen?

Never mind where John Kitzhaber is – Oregonians want to know WHO Chris Dudley is.

And the $64,000 question:

How does Dudley manage to be “seen almost daily at public events all over Oregon”? Has he cloned himself, or is it done with holograms?


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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dudley Finds Restaurant Owners Are Good Tippers

Posted By on Sat, Jul 24, 2010 at 6:29 PM

The Oregon Restaurant Association, a group that’s lobbied for years to restore Oregon’s “tip credit,” has given Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley a pretty generous tip: $50,000.

The restaurant owners’ PAC contributed $40,000 Thursday to the Dudley campaign, on top of another $10,000 it gave previously.

A “tip credit” law allows restaurant owners to deduct their workers’ tip money from what they’d otherwise have to pay as minimum wage. Oregon had a tip credit until 1977, when it was repealed; right now it’s one of only five states that don’t allow such a credit.

The ORA contends that the lack of a tip credit, combined with the state’s relatively high minimum wage, has “forced Oregon employers to reduce the number of available jobs, cut back hours to employees, and reduce the amount of wage increases they can give to non-tipped employees.” It also points out that restaurants have to include tip money in calculating how much they owe toward an employee’s taxes and workers’ compensation premiums.

Talking to businesspersons at a campaign event Thursday, Dudley declined to take a position on the tip credit issue. “I don't want to focus on singular issues, but I think as a group you want to look at issues that put us at a competitive disadvantage and see what can be done about them,” he said.

Aside from the fact that the ORA historically has tended to support Republicans, it could have a personal reason for backing Dudley. In 1999 it succeeded in getting the legislature to pass a bill restoring the tip credit, only to see it vetoed by the governor – none other than John Kitzhaber.

Musing on the impact of the tip credit issue in this campaign, Oregonian blogger Jeff Mapes commented: “Politically, one problem the restaurant owners have is that there are a lot more people who receive tips than there are employers who would benefit from a tip credit.”

That might be one smart reason for Dudley to remain officially neutral on the issue – while quietly taking hefty contributions from the ORA.


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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Walden Declines to Join the Tea Party

Posted By on Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 8:52 PM

Greg Walden got invited to the tea party, but he says he doesn’t want to come.

A group of 35 Republican members of the House, led by ultra-right-wing Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Uranus), this week formed a “Tea Party Caucus,” which Bachmann described as “an informal group, dedicated to promote Americans’ call for fiscal responsibility, adherence to the Constitution and limited government.”

The office of Oregon’s 2nd District representative told The Bulletin’s Keith Chu that, while Walden is in sympathy with the Tea Partiers’ general philosophy, he’s decided not to join Bachmann’s group because he thinks the movement needs to retain its independence.

Walden “isn't necessarily opposed to joining, but considering that the energy of the Tea Party groups comes from the local and grassroots levels, he's not sure they want Congress to step in and usurp what they're doing,” Walden spokesman Andrew Whelan told The Bulletin.

Walden’s a smart cookie, and declining to align himself with Bachmann was a politically shrewd move. Surely one of the biggest crackpots to hold a seat in Congress since Reconstruction, the Minnesota Republican emits bizarre statements on almost a daily basis, such as hinting that President Obama was responsible for the swine flu outbreak last fall, stating that Terri Schiavo was “healthy,” claiming that carbon dioxide is not a “harmful gas” (tell that to those deceased Drake Park geese) and implying that the movie “The Lion King” could be used to promote homosexuality.

But isn’t it about time to drop the pretense that the Tea Party movement is an “independent” entity that somehow just sprung up spontaneously and has no connection to the Republican Party? As the Infoplease.com website notes: “While the Tea Party movement claims to be a grassroots movement, FreedomWorks, a powerful conservative organization headed by former congressman Dick Armey, seems to play an important role behind the scenes and serves as clearinghouses for information on protests.” (Its role isn’t even really “behind the scenes”; FreedomWorks actually calls itself “Tea Party HQ.”)

More tellingly, why weren’t the Tea Partiers worried about “fiscal responsibility” when George W. Bush and a Republican Congress were turning the budget surplus inherited from Bill Clinton into a trillion-dollar deficit? Where was their dedication to “limited government” when Bush launched an unnecessary trillion-dollar war and illegally wiretapped Americans, among other excesses?

Funny how those “grassroots” concerns didn’t sprout up until we had a Democrat in the White House and a Democratic majority in Congress.


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Bend's Balloon Man Plans a Double Event

Posted By on Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 2:03 AM

Bend, Oregon – home of the Pregnant Man, the Clothesline War and the Great Goose Massacre – is about to gain some more notoriety: Kent Couch, our famous Lawn Chair Balloon Man, is going to do it again.

And this time it’ll be a twofer.

Couch and his friend John Freis of San Diego are scheduled to take off at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, wind and weather permitting, from Couch’s Shell station at the corner of Highway 20 and 27th Street.

Each man will be in a specially adapted lawn chair slung underneath 170 giant helium-filled balloons. If all goes well they’ll arrive half a day later at their destination in Dillon, MT.

“We’ll have 12 and a half hours of daylight to work with,” Couch said. “We have to get down by 8.”

Couch has ballooned into the skies three times before. His first attempt, in September 2006, was aborted and Couch had to parachute to land. On the second try, in July 2007, things went better – he ended up near Brothers, 193 miles from Bend. The following year he made it all the way to Cambridge, ID, a flight of 235 miles.

Couch’s exploits drew worldwide media attention, earning him appearances on “Good Morning America” and Jay Leno and his own entry in Wikipedia.

Couch used 150 helium balloons on his previous flights; this time he and Freis will have 170 balloons each, which Couch said will provide an extra margin of safety: “I’ll have 170 balloons and it only takes 90 [to stay aloft], so I have a lot of room to make mistakes.”

According to Couch’s website, Freis was inspired by Couch’s 2008 flight to make his own lawn chair balloon voyage. In October 2009 he took off from Borrega Springs, CA and flew 46 miles.

The two men will cruise at altitudes of up to 15,000 feet, so they’ll be taking oxygen along. Altitude control will be pretty simple: break balloons to descend, dump water to ascend. As for steering, that’s pretty much up to the wind.

Couch said Wednesday that he’s a little concerned because “the winds aren’t cooperating” right now, but he’s hopeful conditions will improve by Saturday.

Meanwhile, although his website warns that “cluster ballooning is inherently risky,” Couch isn’t worried about the danger. “It’s pretty safe, I think,” he said. “It’s just a lot of fun. It’s so peaceful.”

To Couch’s knowledge, Saturday’s flight will mark the first simultaneous voyage by two lawn chair balloonists over the same route. “We’re calling it The Great Lawn Chair Balloon Race,” he said. “There’s no wager, though – it’s just for pride, really.”

UPDATE: KBND reports that Couch and Freis took off successfully at about 7 am Saturday.


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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Picking Winners in the Oregon Economy

Posted By on Sat, Jul 17, 2010 at 7:19 PM

You might not think there’s much money to be made in guitar picks, but an Oregon manufacturer seems to have found the right formula.

Steve Clayton Inc., based in the southern Oregon town of Talent, recently announced it’s expanding its 11,000-square-foot facility by more than 50% and will be increasing its 10-person workforce. According to a story in the Medford Mail Tribune, the planned new expansion “comes after a recent second-story addition on an existing building that added new offices and a packaging facility.”

Clayton is one of the top two guitar pick manufacturers in the country, the Mail Tribune reported, and “has provided guitar picks for musicians ranging from Johnny Cash to the Foo Fighters.” It was the first guitar pick company to introduce Internet sales, starting eight years ago, and is the only one whose website lets you custom-design your own picks on-line.

“Custom orders range in quantities from as few as 30 picks … up into the millions,” the Mail Tribune said. The company makes picks from 15 different types of plastic and in eight different thicknesses so customers can get exactly the sound they want.

Steve Clayton Inc. is very much a family affair: Steve’s wife, Sue, is the company accountant and their daughter Chrystal handles marketing. The Claytons moved up from Southern California in 1983 to launch the business initially in Cave Junction.

Why am I writing about a guitar pick manufacturer in Talent, OR? Well, first off, because I think it’s a cool success story. And second, because it’s another example of a mom-and-pop business that is NOT fleeing Oregon because of our supposedly crushing tax burden – in fact, it’s growing.

On a larger scale, Mike Rogaway of The Oregonian reported Thursday that Oregon companies attracted $106 million in venture capital in the first half of 2010, which was “the biggest take in four years” and about three times as much as in the first half of 2009.

A key factor in the growth, according to Rogaway, was “the emergence of a new class of startup. Oregon entrepreneurs have historically focused on computer hardware and, to a lesser degree, software and Web services. But the big winners in the first half of the year were medical technology company Home Dialysis Plus, which attracted $50 million from Warburg Pincus, and Medford wind turbine specialist UpWind Solutions, which secured $29 million.

“The state has long sought to nurture growth in the medical technology and clean energy industries. This year, there's evidence that venture capitalists see promise there, too.”

Despite the dire predictions of opponents of Measures 66 and 67, it looks like people are still finding Oregon an attractive place to do business and invest money.


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Friday, July 16, 2010

Developers Renew Assault on the Metolius

Posted By on Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Almost exactly one year ago, Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed into law a bill protecting the Metolius Basin from destination resorts and other intensive development.

Don’t look now, but … they’re back.

A week ago, developers floated a proposal to build 15 “fishing accommodations” on the Metolius arm of Lake Billy Chinook, inside the Area of Critical Statewide Concern created as a buffer around the Metolius.

These “fishing accommodations” are not going to be little tents or one-room shacks – they’re going to be privately owned, detached units of up to 1,600 square feet each.

In other words, houses.

According to Erik Kancler, executive director of Central Oregon LandWatch, there already are “eight camp trailers, 11 docks, five decks, retaining walls, and myriad other uses” on the site, most of which will be grandfathered in if the "fishing accommodations" are okayed.

Not only would the project be a foot in the door for further development inside the buffer zone, but it could have important statewide implications as well, Kancler writes in a post on the Blue Oregon site:

“The statewide issue is that thus far, ‘fishing accommodations’ (which are a conditional use allowed in forest zones within a quarter-mile of Class 1 waters) have been understood to be single ‘guest rooms’ to be used ‘for sleeping purposes.’ To our knowledge, no one’s ever attempted to call privately owned detached dwellings with kitchens, bathrooms, etc. ‘guest rooms.’

“If allowed to stand, such a precedent could ultimately lead to hundreds, perhaps thousands of new residences along the Metolius and other Class 1 rivers throughout the state, such as the Umpqua, the McKenzie, the John Day, or the Illinois.”

Jefferson County’s planning staff has recommended that the project be approved, with the stipulation that none of the “fishing accommodations” can be bigger than 850 square feet and none can be built in a riparian area. The county planning commission has to make a decision next, and the county commission after that.

“I’ve been amazed at the lengths that local elected officials will go through to stay out of the way of landowners or to actively facilitate developments that seem to clearly disregard the letter and intent of the law, the public interest, or the concerns of neighbors,” Kancler writes. “Should Jefferson County ultimately approve this development, it would be among the worst cases of ‘accommodation’ I’ve seen yet.”


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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dudley Ditches Debate

Posted By on Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 8:09 PM

Ever since 1986, the July candidates’ debate sponsored by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association has marked the traditional start of the state’s gubernatorial campaigns. But not this year: Republican Chris Dudley has opted out.

Dudley’s campaign people told the ONPA he won’t take part in Friday’s event because it conflicts with family vacation plans. “Chris made a commitment to his family and he's going to uphold that commitment,” campaign spokesman Leroy Coleman told Portland's KPTV.

Awwwww-inspiring though it is, that excuse – especially coming at the last minute – is obviously phony. If you’re serious about running for governor you don’t pass up an important debate to go on vacation.

Unless, of course, you don’t want to debate in the first place – which could be the smart strategy for Dudley. The polls show him tied with or slightly ahead of his Democratic rival, former two-term Gov. John Kitzhaber, so why risk getting into the ring with the far more experienced and savvy campaigner and getting his nose bloodied?

“If Chris Dudley's campaign said, ‘We need to do this. It's important to us,’ he would be there,” said KPTV political analyst Tim Hibbitts. “Their judgment is that it isn't that important and they can afford to blow it off politically. And, I would say candidly, I think they're correct.”

Dudley has run a remarkably substance-free campaign so far. All his TV ads have told us about him is that (1) he was diagnosed with diabetes at 16, (2) he went to Yale and became an NBA player, (3) he started a foundation to help kids with diabetes and (4) he wants to be governor. He’s casting himself in the role of the outsider opposite Kitzhaber’s consummate insider, and so far it’s paying off for him.

The question is whether Dudley can get away with being this vague all the way to Election Day. Kitzhaber didn’t hesitate to zing him for dodging the debate: “I think [voters] deserve the opportunity to compare and contrast the kinds of experience we bring into it and the kinds of approaches we're going to take to deal with some very, very difficult economic issues. To be able to describe how we're going to resolve these issues, you can't do that in a 60-second television ad, I'm sorry to say. It requires a bit more of a dialogue.”

The Dudley campaign “can get away with it now, but at some point in September and October, they are going to need to do debates,” Hibbitts said.

They might also have to make it more clear just who Dudley is, where he stands on issues and what he would do as governor. Oregonians might not be willing to elect an empty suit – even if it’s a very, very large suit.

UPDATE: It turns out that Dudley's claim that he had to pass on the debate because of a planned family vacation doesn't quite hold water. On Friday, when the debate was to have taken place, he was in Aspen, CO attending a conference for Republican governors and gubernatorial candidates.

Why didn't Dudley just say he was going to a political convention instead of giving the vacation excuse? I guess he or his handlers thought the "he made a commitment to his family" story would make him seem like a nice, regular guy rather than a calculating politician.


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Friday, July 9, 2010

Walden's Shifty Stand on Jobless Benefits

Posted By on Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 7:36 PM

Chuck Sheketoff of the Oregon Center for Public Policy put an amusing post up on Blue Oregon today twitting Greg Walden for his somewhat inconsistent stance on unemployment benefits.

“Remarkably, Congress went on a July 4th vacation unable to muster the votes necessary to extend unemployment insurance benefits,” Sheketoff writes. “I’ll let Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon’s 2nd District explain why extending unemployment benefits is vital when a sustained economic recovery has yet to take hold: ‘Unemployment insurance provides targeted and effective economic stimulus. These critical benefits increase consumer spending in the hardest-hit areas and sustain and strengthen economic recovery.’”

But Walden made that statement back in 2002, and apparently his views have changed in the eight years since. A bill extending unemployment benefits passed the House just before the July 4 recess, with 270 congresscritters voting yes (including Oregon’s four Democratic members) to 153 voting no, including Walden. (The bill unfortunately stalled in the Senate thanks to the threat of a filibuster.)

Walden’s “nay” came even though his district is one of the hardest-hit by the recession, with a jobless rate of 11.5% in May, almost two points higher than the national rate. “In June 2010, 2,994 Oregonians in Walden’s 2nd District filed new claims for regular unemployment insurance benefits,” Sheketoff comments. “That’s unsurprisingly 19% of all new claims in Oregon.”

“As noted by the old Rep. Walden, shutting off unemployment benefits before the economy is firmly on its feet harms the unemployed and the businesses in communities where they live,” Sheketoff continues, quoting a 2003 statement by Walden: “While there are many signs that the president’s policies and the economic stimulus bills passed by Congress are beginning to turn the economy around, it’s essential that we maintain a strong safety net for dislocated workers until new jobs are created.”

What’s different now? Well, in 2003 there was a Republican president and Republicans controlled Congress, whereas now we have a Democratic president and Democrats hold majorities in both houses.

If one wanted to be a cynic one might suspect that Walden and his fellow Republicans want the economy to remain in the crapper until the November congressional elections to make Democrats look bad. But I don’t want to be a cynic, so I won’t suspect that.


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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Good News: The Bulletin Adds a Columnist

Posted By on Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 8:14 PM

I turned to the Local section of this morning’s Bulletin to discover something I hadn’t seen there in many years and never expected to see again: a local columnist.

Lily Raff, whose column will appear twice a week, spent six years as a reporter for The Bulletin and recently completed a prestigious Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan. She’s the first person to have a general-interest column on the Local section front since – damn, since I can’t remember when.

Back in the day, The Bulletin had quite a few local columnists. When I was managing editor I had a column myself – humor, mostly – that ran every Monday. After I left The Bulletin a number of other people got columns, including Doug Bates, who went on to win a Pulitzer for editorial writing at The Oregonian.

After the Gordon Black / John Costa team took over, the local columns rather abruptly disappeared. Until Raff’s debut, the only staff-produced general interest columns were those by Costa himself and by Janet Stevens, who as deputy editor and a member of the Chandler family is in a pretty strong position to have a column if she wants one.

Local columnists can add a lot of fun and spice to a daily newspaper, which I suppose is why The Bulletin finally decided to have one. They often produce the best reporting and most enjoyable writing in the paper. So I’m sincerely glad Bend’s only daily newspaper has one again.

But to do the job the way it should be done, a columnist needs a considerable amount of autonomy in choosing his or her topics and how to approach them. Will Raff’s editors give her a long leash, or will she have to toe the official line? We’ll wait and see.

And a good columnist sometimes has to be an iconoclast, challenge the conventional wisdom, poke a few banderillas into the local sacred cows. Will Raff be willing to do that, or will she stick to the safe and fluffy?

Her first column – about local folks following the World Cup – didn’t give much encouragement. On the other hand, it IS only her first column. And she says in the first paragraph that she’s from New York City. That’s promising.

I wish you good luck in covering what you call “this complicated place,” Lily. And, as Dan Rather used to say years ago when signing off: “Courage.”


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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bend's Goosegate Ruffles Feathers in Canada

Posted By on Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 8:07 PM

I

 knew Bend’s mass Canada goose execution would cause consternation among local animal lovers, but who could have guessed it would touch off an international incident?

Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration – but some Canadians are seriously pissed off about it.

“Canadians shocked by Ore. goose gassing,” headlined a UPI report. “Residents of Vancouver, British Columbia, expressed shock at [Bend’s] actions, with some walking around Stanley Park describing the culling as ‘barbaric’ and ‘crazy.’

“Aaron Jasper, head of the Vancouver Park Board, said he was surprised by the decision. ‘We don't take the approach of culling them. I think, if there's deemed to be a bit of a problem with the population, our staff will identify the nests, and we'll shake the eggs, and that's how we address the issue of overpopulation,’ Jasper said.”

The story about the Bend Metro Park & Recreation District sending 109 of Bend’s resident geese to their deaths in a carbon dioxide gas chamber has been picked up by major news outlets across Canada, including the Montreal Gazette (which referred to the geese as “iconic birds”), Canadian public television, the Winnipeg Free Press and the Toronto Sun.

A

lthough the Canada goose is not Canada’s official national bird – it doesn’t have one yet – Canadians apparently have a warm spot in their hearts for the stately fowl. The Canadian Raptor Conservancy is conducting a poll to pick a national bird, and the goose currently is in second place behind the red-tailed hawk.

And to add insult to injury, the Bend goose massacre took place on July 1 – Canada Day.

Hopefully this unpleasantness will blow over soon and Americans and Canadians will return to their historic good-neighbor policy.

Meanwhile, a memorial service for the slain geese will be held tomorrow evening in Drake Park. Mary Sojourner, one of the organizers of the event, told KBND: “Having dodged dog deposits in the same park, it's very easy not to step in goose poop. So, [it was] very troubling to me that innocent creatures who don't kill others, don't cheat on each other, don't profit on each other were murdered.”

The service will take place at 7 pm near the Galveston Street bridge. Grieving Canadians are welcome.


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