As the State Turns

stateturnssymbolOne Small Leak for Mankind
Last week the Portland Water Bureau closed down one of the outdoor Mount Tabor reservoirs after someone relieved themselves into the freshwater abyss. The man in question was cited for trespassing and public urination; however, the response of the bureau has some people scratching their heads: they flushed the 38 million gallons of water that were contaminated by the draining of said lizard.

While officials claim that it’s no big deal to replace all of that water as we have access to an abundance, one has to wonder why this man’s urine is cause for such an alarm when animals soil the supply on a daily basis. Not only that, but people just tend to pee in things. The idea that no one has done this before without getting caught is ludicrous.

Let’s think about it in other terms: the average person pees about 10 ounces per “go,” which is roughly the same as about 0.078 gallons. If you spread the waste evenly across the entire water supply, well… let’s just say I did the math, and the calculator spit out some weird stuff with an E in it. It’s such an insanely small amount that it broke the calculator. Perhaps those steering the great ship that is the Portland Water Bureau were just that bored.

Christmas in… April?
An anonymous woman from Eugene had put up $400,000 towards buying private land for the creation of a homeless camp—now commonly referred to as a “rest stop.” So far city council has approved three 15-person camps and seems poised to approve more in the future, following closely on the heels of this month’s closure of the unauthorized camp known as Whoville. While shopping for land and necessary approvals could take up to a year, this seems a good sign for a city that has been at the center of Oregon’s homeless debate for several years now.

Some residents would, of course, prefer the homeless to just leave town so the camps wouldn’t have to be constructed, but until that option rides down from Heaven on a purple unicorn, it’s good to see an Oregon city working to find creative solutions for the less fortunate.

Pepsi Pours at UO
Local Pepsi distributor Bigfoot Beverages is about to finalize a $5 million, eight-year deal with the University of Oregon that will dish out so-called “pouring rights.” This means that Bigfoot gets control over all the fountain drinks and vending machines as well as upwards of 80% of the cooler space in the Duck store and bookstore. The first time all of these venues of sale are being wrapped into a single deal, UO students can expect to see Pepsi products all but wipe out some of their favorites as they storm the campus.

Although over $300,000 will go towards creating internships, scholarships, and sustainability initiatives (whatever the hell those are), few are seeing this as anything but a money grab that’s going to hurt some smaller businesses, topped with a handful of convenient benefits. Eugene locals Genesis Juice and Kore Kombucha were amongst those to get the boot, citing concern for their sales as well as the status of healthy options left over for students.

As American universities continue the march towards evolving into perfect money vacuums, it appears that this particular salvo will be in the form of an avalanche of sweet, fizzy Mountain Dew.

Oregon, the Factual
What do you get with a small staff of mostly interns and volunteers who love knowledge as much as Oregon? That’s right, The Oregon Encyclopedia.

Having grown by 1,250 articles since 2006 alone, the encyclopedia can be found online at www.oregonencyclopedia.org. Although not as sewn up as a traditional encyclopedia, it is far from the Wikipedian crowdsourcing people might be used to: all authors are individually vetted, the documents are fact-checked, and blind peer reviewing is in place.

Based on illuminating even the most minute accounts of Oregon history, environmental knowledge, culture, and more, you’re likely to learn some things you literally can’t find elsewhere. One such example is the “Our Mountain” entry, which discusses a peak that has a place in locals’ lives, yet has no official name on the books. This approach is undoubtedly creating the most unique and informed picture of our great state that anyone has ever seen.

About as worthy a cause as there ever was, many have already contributed in the form of grants, partnerships, and donations. The website has information available for those who would like to get involved, as well as thousands of intriguing entries to share with others….. www.oregonencyclopedia.org.

Your Legal, But Fired
Oregon is one of 20 states that now have legalized medical marijuana dispensaries. As per usual, a major shift in policy such as this has consequences that take time to get ironed out. In this particular case, no system is in place to protect marijuana patients from workplace drug testing—technically they can legally use their prescription and still be tested and subsequently fired for it.

To give you an idea as to just how sticky the situation is, in Colorado (where marijuana is legal for recreational use) the courts have ruled that because marijuana is illegal on a federal level, patients aren’t protected by any laws that declare they cannot be fired for legal activities outside of work. This is a game of musical chairs where the citizens’ role is to just get sat on.

Although time will likely see improvements in these areas, Oregon doesn’t currently have any serious legislation being put together to lighten the load on marijuana-prescribed Oregonians.

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