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Posts published in “Day: February 22, 2008”

Annexing the problematic

Drive in Eugene from the University of Oregon area directly east over the Willamette River and you'll soon land in the city of Springfield. But before you get there you will have passed over, and probably not even noticed, another community, called Glenwood.

Not often would a local daily newspaper call one of its home communities "problematic," but the Eugene Register-Guard is using the word to describe the unincorporated Glenwood area, and it makes some of the case for the city of Springfield's plan to annex the area. There are a number of reasons, but one of them is visible for those who take the look: A growing homeless community along the riverfront.

Just down the hill from the popular panhandling spot sit about 10 more men, smoking hand-rolled cigarettes and drinking beer at the base of the north bridge.

These are the men who pester passers-by for money. Who sometimes fight and go to jail after downing one too many underneath the bridge. And who have long posed a dilemma to local officials stymied over how to deal with the Eugene-Springfield area’s most visible homeless camp.

Springfield officials responsible for planning Glenwood’s future say the situation has dragged on long enough. Following years of watching county and state agencies struggle to keep the bridge area safe and clean, the city is now ready to take the lead.

That isn't a fair description of all or most of Glenwood. Some of it is a long-running, traditional blue collar community with real traditions of its own. But as the article suggests, it may need some help.

Abrupt shift

The argument that Oregon Republican Senator Gordon Smith changes his voting pattern as re-election time approaches will find some support in a new round of online stats released by the League of Conservation Voters, which charts congressional environmental voting.

In the first two years of his current term, Smith pulled a 28% grade from the LCV, and 37% in the next two. For environmental votes last year, that jumped through the roof to 73%.

That wasn't because of the issues on the table or ome other fluky factor. Oregon's other senator, Democrat Ron Wyden, actually scored lower last year (87%) than in the four years previous, though his ratings throughout were quite close. Idaho's two Republican senators (who scored low in in the LCV ratings) and Washington's two Democrats (who scored high) all, like Wyden, stayed fairly consistent throughout that period in their ratings.