January 30, 2011 - 7:21 PM
Saturday mornings are usually reserved for much needed rest and relaxation. Waking up at the crack of noon, taking a quick jog around Amazon Parkway (sometimes), and eating a hearty breakfast with my roommates as we watch SportsCenter Top 10 plays of the week. Yesterday was not an average Saturday morning, however, it was much more educational and lot smellier.
Yesterday morning my CPW team and I went on a field trip to gain some perspective on a couple waste disposal sights in Eugene.
At 8:30 AM, Joanna, Monica and I met up with the rest of our team at the Glenwood Central Receiving Station where we were given a tour of several different recycling facilities on site. First, Bob Weller showed us around EcoSort and International Paper Recycling. We saw the inner workings of what happens to our paper and plastic it gets hauled away from the curb every week. Paper is loaded onto a conveyor belt where it's moved into a grinder and then compressed down into a neat three-yard by three-yard cube, called a Gaylord, which is then loaded onto a truck and hauled to a recycling plant.
It was here that I learned that the worst kind of contaminant for recycling facilities is food contamination. Even the slightest amount of grease can ruin an entire batch of recycled paper or plastic. That means that most pizza boxes are not recyclable. As much as you might want to throw that cardboard into the recycling bin, you're just throwing a wrench into the gears. Make sure all paper and plastic has been washed free of food waste before you toss it into the recycling bin. Otherwise, sadly, we have to send it to the dump.
Next we toured Glenwood's Hazardous Waste Recycling center, which was no more than a glorified garage. The facility couldn't have been more than one hundred square feet and it looked like a cross between a high school science laboratory and an auto garage. I forget the actual name of the fellow that showed us around, but his name tag said "Shaggy" and he introduced himself as "Shaggy" to the group, so that's what we'll go with. Shaggy showed us how he separates his materials into acids, like car batteries, and bases, like liquid plumber. Then there's the fun task of figuring out what's in any unmarked bottles. Shaggy said he'd talked with plenty of people that put gasoline for their lawnmowers in an old Apple Juice container. Doesn't take strike you as slightly dangerous.
After Glenwood we drove over to the Short Mountain Landfill near Creswell where Michelle, one of the landfill engineers, lead us around the smelliest mountain I've climbed. I actually don't think I've ever to a landfill, so it was a new experience for me. The engineering and long-term planning that goes into the place is incredible. I always imagined landfill just being these barren wastelands of garbage bags, rotting food, and miscellaneous furniture items. Short Mountain was incredibly well managed. The best part is that they have a small biomass power plant on-site where they can send the methane gases that would normally be fuming from the top of the pile. Instead of filling my nostrils and making my eyes water, that methane gas will be used to generate electricity for the City of Creswell. Cool, huh?
I think I speak on behalf of the team when I say that Saturday morning might not have been the greatest time for a field trip, but it was a nice group bonding experience if nothing else. At the beginning of the quarter we vowed to hang out together outside of CPW once a month for mandatory team building time, so we're staying true to our teach charter. Next time I'm going to suggest Renny's Landing rather than Short Mountain Landfill, though.
January 23, 2011 - 11:43 PM
It's been three weeks - a long three weeks at that - and I can't believe I'm just now telling you all know about my CPW project team. Like I said in the Winter Term Course Preview, the Community Planning Workshop will likely be the most important learning experience I have in my college career, and I'm really excited about the prospects of the next sixth months so far.
For our project, the City of Eugene has contracted UO's CPW to research topics surrounding construction and demolition (C&D) waste materials - current practices in the Eugene-Springfield Metro Area, potential markets and uses, barriers to recycling - in order to recommend strategies for diverting such materials from the local waste stream.
The rationale behind our project is that the United States annually produces an exorbitant amount of construction and demolition (C&D) waste materials - e.g., carpet, concrete, asphalt shingles, gypsum drywall, plastic packaging, etc - that are often thrown away in landfills rather than being recycled or reused. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recycling of C&D waste materials conserves landfill space, reduces environmental impacts associated with manufacturing new materials, creates jobs, and reduces building project expenses by avoiding purchase and disposal cost.
In 2007, the Lane County ‘wasteshed' (that's includes us in Eugene) recorded a recovery rate of 53.5%, which is above Oregon's state legislated goal of 50% of all waste material diverted from landfill by 2009, however, it's just below our county goal of recovering 54% by 2009, so there's still work to do. That's where we come in.
My team and I, "Team Rubbish," will work with Ethan Nelson, director of the City of Eugene's Waste Prevention and Green Building program, to develop strategies that will add local value to selected C&D materials in order to divert them from the waste stream. The Team will focus on four materials: asphalt shingles, concrete, carpet, and gypsum drywall. Plus there's a possibility we'll add food waste to the scope of the our final reports, but that remains to be seen. Our end product will be in the form of a detailed report with of case studies, market analyses, stakeholder interviews, and new market development recommendations for each of these waste materials that we hope can be incorporated into the City of Eugene Solid Waste Management Plan.
I've very excited to get to my hands dirty with this project, which I lament to say I haven't quite been able to do because I've been wicked busy working on this Salem SCY Report. Friday we met with our client, Ethan, and I think we managed to make a good enough impression on him. We gave him a quick spiel of our preliminary research, I was charged with finding case studies of waste management programs in districts outside of Lane County.
Without skipping a beat, we have our first team presentation on Wednesday, and now that I think about it, we're pretty much going to repeat everything I just wrote. I imagine we'll have a PowerPoint presentation in the background, but the script is taken care of at least...cool. Did I just multi-task without even realizing it? Man, I'm good!
January 22, 2011 - 2:16 PM
In the words of our Mayor of Eugene, Kitty Piercy, "Do we know how to throw a party, or what?!?"
Yes, Mayor Piercy, we sure do. Downtown Eugene was the place to be on today's surprisingly sunny Saturday afternoon where thousands of University of Oregon students and Eugene and Springfield locals swarmed to celebrate champions on the field, in the classroom, and among the community...and, man, do we have a lot to celebrate.
Seriously, there were almost fifty groups and floats marching from campus to downtown! If you ask me that might be a little overkill, but this is the first ever Eugene Champions Parade, so we might as well start it off with a bang.
On a personal note I was invited to march (or cycle) in the parade by a few different groups, and I was planning on riding with the Eugene Bicycle Champions, i.e, the UO Bicycle Program plus any other bicycle advocates around, which means just about everyone. Let's just say I didn't make it due to an ‘alarm clock malfunction,' coupled with a desperate need for sleep that overrode my brain's ability to control my body.
So, instead of waking up early to be in the parade, I settled for a few extra hours of shut-eye and a chance to watch the parade as a sidewalk spectator. I was able to watch friends walk with the UO School of Architecture & the Allied Arts, and the UO College of Arts & Science. I saw co-workers on the UO Facilities Services trailer, which I caught a sneak peak of in the Facilities warehouse when I was at work Friday afternoon. All in all, I'm pleased with my decision.
Other parade groups included the UO ROTC & Color Guard, UO Gospel Choir, Emerald City Rollergirls, Oregon Bach Festival, Lane Community College, Oregon Daily Emerald, Ninkasi Brewing Company, On the Rocks, Samba Ja, the Slug Queen, Safe Routes to School, McCornack Unicycle Club, Queer Eugene, Sanipac, and UO Honors College & National Champion Debate Team. Yes, we had plenty to celebrate.
The headliner of the parade, however, was Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks football team. Ironic, I know, because technically speak they aren't champions, but that doesn't mean we can't be proud of what they did accomplish in their historical season. Just because we lost one game doesn't been we should forget about the twelve wins.
Chip spoke very eloquently about the team's loss. "I told our team one thing: we were not playing for a ring, we were not playing for trophy, we were not playing for a crystal ball," said Kelly. "I told them to think of the person in there life that meant the most to them and that all I wanted to do after the game, was that if that person could smile at them and tell them they were proud, then they were successful." Well said, Chip.
For more info on the Parade, check out this article from KMTR Eugene. It includes a recap about the day's highlights and a nice video. Also, check out photos on taken by UO photographers. Finally, I've embedded a video below that my roommate, Kevin, took while he was riding on the football team's trailer.
Video courtesy of Kevin Yamaka
I said it last week after the National Championship and I'll say it again. I still love my Ducks! And, as you can see, I'm not alone.
January 16, 2011 - 3:36 PM
In my three and a half years at the University of Oregon I don't think I've ever set foot inside Knight Library before the fourth week of any quarter - unless of course my actual class is in there. It's not that I don't study during the first month of the term, it's just that I've never had so much work to do that I need the absolute silence and academically conducive environment of the library by then. Well, that all changed this week.
At the end of last quarter I agreed to write the report for the Salem Sustainable City Initiative that synthesized my classmates' research and analysis on bicycle and pedestrian transportation in downtown Salem. Sounds like a hoot, right? Well, actually it is really interesting reading about everyone's projects, but writing 30 pages and 11,000 words about GIS and transportation infrastructure can get really tiresome...really fast.
Needless to say I needed a break from academics - seriously, I had nightmares about organizing this paper - so this weekend I headed for Mount Hood to spend a couple nights at the Loftesness' Cabin in Government Camp with the McAllister crew.
It wasn't the typical adventure you'd associate with a weekend in Mount Hood, but, hey, I've never used the word ‘typical' to describe our group of friends. Friday night, after several incidents of missed turns and unsuccessfully driving through unplowed roads, everyone arrived in time for a late dinner and a collective desire to laze around the fireplace. We played card games and discussed things like how thankful we were for the long weekend and the Ducks' devastating loss last Monday.
Yesterday brought much of the same. A lazy morning with a late brunch and Toy Story 3, which I might add was my favorite movie of all three, and playing every board game from our childhood - Life, Stratego, Trouble, Duckopoly, Backgammon, Cribbage. Later that afternoon we strapped on our snow gear to spend some time sledding. It didn't last for too long for a couple reasons. First, it was pouring down rain all day, which consequently meant that our sledding hill felt more like a luge track. It was all fun and games until Kate's wayward tube launched her into a Douglas fir tree, and that was before Randy brought out the shovel to build a jump. Thankfully, yet surprisingly, we left the hill yesterday will only a few minor bumps and bruises.
Saturday night we enjoyed another few hours playing games in the living room while watching the Packers blow out the Ravens much to the delight of both Lydia and Steven. Later we checked out the local nightlife scene in Rhododendron, Oregon where we quickly discovered that we stuck out life sore thumbs against the regular crowd of townies.
Now I'm halfway home driving south on I-5 with Dana, Boo, and Winston. My conscience is telling me I should probably get some reading done tonight, but I might have to heed the advice of my Geography professor, Peter Walker, who says he lives by the motto of "Why do something today when I could put it off until tomorrow?" Sure do love three-day weekends!
Once again thank you to Randy and Sue Loftesness for welcoming us into their home. As always we appreciate your hospitality from the bottom of our hearts and hopefully we didn't trash the place too badly. The more I look back on my college experience, the more I realize how much of a role each of our parents plays in our McAllister friendship. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
January 11, 2011 - 10:22 AM
Final Score - 2011 BCS National Championship - Auburn 22, Oregon 19
I'll tell you one thing; it was tough to watch. The Ducks were just a few good plays short of a victory, but, like last year's Rose Bowl, we just couldn't make the plays when they needed to happen.
Both teams were rocky at the start. Darron Thomas threw two interceptions, and Cam Newton threw one of his own, which left us with a scoreless game at the end of the first quarter.
The Ducks' defense made a critical play when they stopped Auburn on 4th & Goal from the 1-yard line with 3:44 left in the second quarter. Sadly, it led to a safety when LaMichael James couldn't get the ball out of the end zone. After getting the ball back Auburn needed only six plays to drive the ball sixty-six yards for another touchdown before half time. Auburn 16, Oregon 11.
Every one expected each team's offense to score at will. All the final score predictions I saw were in the thirty and forty. The second half proved to be just as much of a defensive struggle as the first. Auburn stopped Oregon on 4th & Goal from the 1-yard line - déjà vu, right? - with 2:26 left in the 3rd quarter, and the fourth quarter started with both teams punting on each of their first two possessions.
Oregon still trailed 19-11 and Auburn was driving with just over five minutes left in the game. It looked to be everything but over for the Ducks until Casey Matthews forced a fumble out of Newton and Cliff Harris, who already had an interception, was there to scoop it up.
The ensuing drive was two minutes of classic Oregon football, and it drove us nuts. Twenty friends sprawled around our living room, we were a symphony of emotions. We screamed when DJ Davis' 29-yard catch and run on 4th down. We booed a Casey Matthews personal foul call by the refs. We laughed at Nick Fairly's offside penalty that brought us down to Auburn's 2-yard line. Finally, we roared when LaMichael caught Thomas' touchdown pass with 2:21 left in the game, and the roof just about blew off the top of our house when Jeff Maehl caught the ball in the end zone for the two-point conversion.
Everyone in the living room - plus our friend, Leslie, who was on Skype watching our big screen television from my computer - was beaming with excitement. We were ready for this game to head into overtime. Alas, we left too much time on the clock and Auburn was hit with a stroke of good fortune. On the second play of the drive, Auburn RB Michael Dyer had a bizarre 37-yard run.
Oregon Safety, Eddie Pleasant, appeared tackle Dyer around midfield. Everyone on the field and in the stadium, including Dyer, thought he was down. But after reviewing the play officials said his body never touched the ground as he was completely on top of Pleasant. The play stood, and Auburn kicked the game winning field goal as time expired.
When that ball sailed through the up-rights everyone inside the room went silent. The room that was full of excitement and vigor just a few minutes prior seemed to emphatically deflate. Our perfect season was over and once again the Ducks were left with a silver medal and a chip on their shoulder. Bummer.
Pac-10 Blog writer, Ted Miller, provided some much needed insight in an article he posted on ESPN.com, "A pattern emerged: When a good defense get's extra time to prepare for the Duck's offense - Boise State, Ohio State and now Auburn - it seems to thrive."
It wasn't easy getting out of bed this morning, in fact I had to pass on my 8:00 AM running class, and there was a noticeable lack of spirit across campus today. When you make it that far, when you invest that much into a single game and come out empty handed...it stings a little.
There's still a whole lot to be proud of. LaMichael James was a Heisman finalist. Darron Thomas proved that he could lead the team. Both players are returning next season.
At this time I'd like to send a public shout out to Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks football team. Thank you for an amazing season. It was one heck of a ride, and I can't wait to see what happens next year.
I (STILL) LOVE MY DUCKS!