Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook RSS


Why Lane Co. Has Cavities & Micronesia Has a Dentist , Part 2

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

In Lane Solutions Issue # 58 we introduced readers to Dr. Cedric Ross Hayden, DDS.  His goal was simple – he and his brother had spent $200,000 of their money to construct a mobile dental clinic. Dr. Hayden wanted to take it around Lane County, park it in rural, underserved cities and provide free dental service to low income residents. Sounds like a good deal. Right?

Here’s where it all went wrong. Rural cities didn’t want it. One said they had a zoning ordinance prohibiting shipping containers from being parked in town. Yes, Dr. Hayden’s clinic was a reconfigured shipping container. But inside, you could barely tell it from your own dentist’s office. Would the city give a waiver for medical or dental equipment? “Nyet,” ruled the commissars.

According to Dr. Hayden, who only wanted to serve the poor, about whom these cities say they care so much, the typical reaction was “Great idea – just not in my back yard.”

Watch for Lane Solutions Issue #60 and find out why a faraway island country welcomed Dr. Hayden with open arms – and open mouths waiting for a good dentist.


Paper, Plastic or Unintended Consequences?

Monday, June 24, 2013

The debate about Eugene’s plastic bag ban is getting heated.

The City Council’s champion of the bag ban [Alan Zelenka] on Monday said he will propose that the council exempt people who receive food stamps from paying the 5-cent charge for paper bags in the city’s recently enacted prohibition on thin, single-use plastic retail bags. Southeast Councilor Alan Zelenka said he will propose the exemption as a way to make the ban less of a burden on low-­income people.  – Eugene Register Guard, June 11, 2013

Lane Solutions replies:

We believe that this sort of constant fine tuning is the inevitable result of governments’ attempts to force changes in citizens’ behavior. First the Eugene City Council bans plastic bags in the interest of the environment. Their goal? Encourage use of reusable bags. One result has been increased use of paper bags. Paper or plastic – which uses more total energy? According to a study cited by UO chemistry Prof. David Tyler this March, it’s paper. Which leaves more solid waste? That’s right – paper! Now comes the unintended consequence of poor people struggling to pay $.05 for each grocery bag. Next follows a lengthy debate on exempting the bag charge for the poor. Inevitably, there will be conflicts of interest with the Council picking winners and losers. Which products will qualify for the exemption? Groceries? Soft drinks? “Essential” hardware? Producers and retailers will lobby the Council to exempt their products from the bag charge. The result? More unintended consequences, more debates and more regulations.

Let us know what you think below


Gun Control Issues Updated

Monday, May 13, 2013

By Susanne Penegor

Local stores can’t keep gun ammunition in stock due to panic buying as consumers worry about the government’s willingness to propose new gun control legislation for law-abiding citizens.  This bipartisan issue has turned guns and ammunition into hot commodities nationwide.  Local stores limit the amount of ammunition consumers can buy and customers line up early in the morning to buy out ammunition in a matter of hours.  A local Bi-Mart store said they had not had .22 shells available for sale for 3 weeks.

Gun clubs are adding gun safety and personal protection classes as women who have never shot a gun before are being told by their families to learn how to use one.  Recently there was a proposal in Salem to limit Oregonian households to one gun per house.  If that law had passed, the police would go door to door and take away extra guns from law-abiding citizens.  Even hunters and gun collectors could have been impacted by this proposed bad legislation.

The panic buying of guns and ammunition fueled by recent proposed gun control legislation nationwide is spurred by rumors that the Obama Administration is trying to take away our Second Amendment rights, not by taking guns off the market–but by taking ammunition off of the market.

While the US doesn’t require gun registration yet, gun buyers are subject to background checks and fingerprinting.  According to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey, the US has the best-armed civilian population in the world, with an estimated 270 million guns.  That’s an average of 89 firearms for every 100 residents.  Firearms that do require registration in the US that are subject to the National Firearms Act include machine guns, shotguns and rifles with barrels shorter than 18 inches and silencers.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which handles that registration, there were more than 3.1 million National Firearms Act-registered weapons in the US as of March 2012.  The National Rifle Association estimates that 100 million American own guns legally.

Some American cities have their own gun control laws now which prohibit guns in public parks.  In Utah it is illegal to display a gun in public at all without being subject to a law prohibiting “brandishing” a gun in public.  There is a crazy quilt of local laws for states and cities that have effectively amended the Second Amendment without having to go to Congress to change our Constitution.

The gun control enthusiasts don’t want to address the issue of how gun ownership saves lives or stops crime by using guns for self-defense.  A recent Gallup poll noted that 3 in 10 Americans own a gun and most gun owners say they use their guns to protect themselves against crime, for hunting and for target shooting.  According to a 2012 Gallup poll, Republican and Democratic gun owners are almost equally likely to say they use a gun for protection against crime, 64% to 69%, respectively.  According to Gallup, male gun owners are more likely than female owners to say they use a gun for hunting (53% to 45%, respectively) or for target shooting (68% to 59%), while female owners are slightly more likely than male gun owners to use a gun for protection (74% to 63%, respectively).

History shows that a government that takes away citizens’ guns disarms their populace to gain political control over them.  The first thing that Nazis did in Germany was to take away the guns from their citizens.  Our forefathers understood the need for self-defense of all kinds, including against a tyrannical government.  While various government entities in the US are taking a Big Brother approach to us and would like to strip us of our Second Amendment rights, it is up to us to remain vigilant and to keep our elected officials accountable for their actions–especially involving proposed gun control laws.

Susanne Penegor is an Oregon native, a graduate of the U of O and a former local business owner.


Gun Control – a Surprisingly Complex Issue

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

By Suzanne Penegor

Gun control is a debate that is bipartisan in the sense that there are Democrats and Republicans who care about the Second Amendment and our right to bear arms.  The National Rifle Association includes women and men of all ages and all political persuasions.  It is a constitutional right we don’t take lightly.

So when recent mass shootings bring the subject up again, once more we are asked to give up our right to bear arms to protect ourselves from criminals or maybe from a tyrannical government.

The gun control debate has caused a boom in gun sales as Americans are concerned about Federal legislation that the Obama Administration is considering to restrict gun ownership.  While the discussion of whether to again ban the sale of assault weapons will or will not make our country safer rages, we should also take a less simplistic look at why there are so many mass shootings.

Taking a broader look might include these questions: could there be economic factors related to the poor economy behind the shootings?  Should we be looking at restoring funding for public mental health facilities?  In our area we are still waiting for the Junction City mental health facility to open and, besides providing treatment, create local jobs in a tough economy.  The addition of this facility would address both the mental health and economic issues noted above.

Thanks to cuts in public safety spending and early release of jailed criminals, county sheriffs are telling rural residents they may not be able to respond in a timely manner if they are victims of crimes.  In response to this women are seeking concealed weapons permits.

Criminals will always get illegal guns.  The young man who went on the rampage last year at the Clackamas Mall in Portland stole his gun from a friend.  He did not go out and obtain it legally and he was not subjected to a legal background check.

Gun control, as it is often proposed, is a knee jerk reaction to a more complex problem.  We should be looking at this bigger picture.

We should be entitled to defend ourselves as our forefathers intended when they created the Second Amendment – not only to protect ourselves against criminals in tough economic times, but also to protect our freedoms from a tyrannical government.  We should have a Federal task force study the complex reasons that there have been more school shootings and mass shootings in the last 20 years.  Blaming honest, law abiding gun owners won’t fix this important social problem.

Suzanne Penegor is an Oregon native, graduate of the U of O and a former local business owner


Unnecessary Regulations Strangle Job Growth and Business Expansion

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nearly every day in Lane County the unemployed stream into local businesses looking for work. They can’t pay their mortgages. They can’t pay their bills. They can’t feed their families. They don’t have health insurance. Their jobs are being choked off as the manufacturers, industries, farms, ranches, trucking companies and others who employed thousands here with good family-supporting wages, benefits and vacations, are just quitting.

We need good quality of life regulations.  But excessive regulations are unnecessarily limiting the use of our best assets: our natural resources and population of willing workers.

The key areas in which we could expand our economic development are private businesses and industries consisting of manufacturing, construction, agriculture, transportation and other industries noted below.  Oregon and Lane County are unique in that they possess the natural assets that could pull us out of our economic doldrums.  We can grow and make products; we can add to their value; we can sell and ship them across the nation and around the world.  Local entrepreneurs and established businesses will create real jobs – if we just get out of their way.

Take agriculture, which has been one of the larger and more stable sources of employment for workers in the region.  Before the 2009 recession, Oregon’s agriculture industry was linked to a workforce of  214,511 full or part-time jobs & $25.8 billion in sales. Oregon’s agricultural exports grew 71.6% and comprised one of the top two export industries through the first quarter of 2008 on a year-over-year basis.

Often, private job creation is hobbled by excessive planning processes and resulting regulations. Region 2050 Problem Solving Program, Envision Eugene,  LTD’s West Eugene EmX, Lane Livability Consortium and Smart Communities Project just to name a few. Lane Livability Consortium alone proposed 193 scheduled meetings over the next three years as it plans to duplicate and triplicate efforts of local elected governments in an effort to create a spaghetti-like tangle of regulations and processes.  The strategy seemed to be to overwhelm citizens with thick reports and paperwork, then burden them with a multitude of monotonous meetings that accomplish little.

The past two decades have generated a record number of rules, regulations, fee increases, taxing districts, overlay zones and additional government controls. We need good regulations that help maintain our high quality of life.  Traditional blue-collar workers, who once earned a living wage of about $50,000 per year from manufacturing industries or trades, are losing their jobs in record numbers, in part because their employers – the job providers – simply cannot comply with unnecessary, burdensome regulations and still stay in business. The table below shows the loss of jobs in manufacturing and trades over the last five years here in Lane County.

Since the early ‘80’s, which marked the beginning of spotted owl litigation, our government, state and local agencies and regulators have continued to aggressively restrict and tax the private businesses that create jobs. These private industries and businesses used to purchase millions of dollars of local consumables each year, putting even more people to work. Now they are downsizing, closing or moving out of Oregon.  These employers are being forced away because it can be more profitable doing business elsewhere. We need these jobs back. We need to encourage our Job Providers while maintaining reasonable quality of life regulations.

Our Job Providers are not on strike.  They simply gave up and sought out more hospitable business environments.

Cindy Land
Eugene, OR


Population Estimates: