29 Oct 2009, 8:29pm
by admin

Environmental staffers let go

Layoffs strike two attorneys and two other workers form the nonprofit Western Environmental Law Center

By Susan Palmer, The Register-Guard, Oct 26, 2009 [here]

In yet another sign that economic tough times continue to plague Lane County, a public interest environmental law firm will lay off four staff members by the end of the month.

The Eugene-based Western Environmental Law Center has laid off two administrative staff members and attorney Charlie Tebbutt. Attorney Dave Bahr will also be let go sometime in the next few weeks. …

“It was a very unfortunate situation to find ourselves in,” said the law center Executive Director Greg Costello. Together, Bahr and Tebbutt represent more than 40 years of legal experience. The Western Environmental Law Center also has offices in Montana, New Mexico and Colorado, It employs nine attorneys.

While the nonprofit center expects to finish the year with about the same revenue it had in 2008 — $2 million — Costello anticipates a financial hit in 2010 to be as much as 20 percent. …

Foundation grants represent about 46 percent of WELC’s revenue, according to its 2008 annual report, with about 10 percent coming from individual donors and 42 percent from attorneys fees that are won in successful litigation. …

As foundations shift their focus, the law center is undertaking its own strategic adjustments. That played a part in the staff cuts, Costello said.

“Part of my view, and the board agrees with me, is that we unduly limit our ability to succeed by operating solely as a litigation firm,” he said.

The center is adding other projects to its environmental portfolio. It employed a conservation biologist this year to work on the development of wildlife corridors, an effort that has drawn interest from the state agencies and the Western Governors Association, and could lead future grant support, he said.

Tebbutt himself had recently headed a high-profile and successful campaign to persuade the Oregon Legislature to phase out field burning on grass seed farms in the Willamette Valley, an effort that did not involve the courts.

Costello estimates that WELC spent between $250,000 and $300,000 in staff and other costs on the campaign, but that it drew only about $20,000 in public support. It was a good strategic plan with a good result, but a failed business strategy, Costello said. “In the future, we need to align all three,” he said.

WELC isn’t the only local environmental nonprofit group struggling with the bottom line. Eugene-based Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics saw its revenues for the first nine months of 2009 decrease by 26 percent compared with the same period last year, said Executive Director Andy Stahl.

Stahl’s nonprofit group opted to take 15 percent across-the-board pay cuts and eliminated matching retirement contributions to avoid layoffs, he said. “Those cuts kept us from closing our doors,” he said. … [more]

29 Oct 2009, 10:43pm
by bear bait

Sometimes you eat the bear, and others the bear eats you.

The death tax savings to foundations and trusts, coupled with the untaxed earnings of their portfolios, and adding to that the Feds paying 42% of the nut in attorney fees, and what you have is the Federal Government’s own back door environmental law firms running out of money?

Oh, he cried!! Wolf! Wolf!

I am sorry but I am still giggles up on this deal. There isn’t enough money to sue at the drop of a hat anymore, and the swells in Portland and Eugene say “Thanks for the field burning bill, and here’s a nickel so you go buy an ice cream…”

How funny!!!!

No appreciation night for the Environmental Law Center efforts to put the kibosh to field burning and make the chemical companies another fortune in the pesticides that will now have to be used instead of the “gentle fires that creep around in the woods and eliminate fuel”, which by the way, evidently don’t produce smoke. In a pig’s eye. Maybe they ought to be paid in the tons of carbon dioxide emitted from forest burning. Trade that for trees in Ohio. And then log those trees to make lumber for the Chinese furniture business.

We have lost our ever loving minds. It is so bad even the lawyers are having to find work. Ya gotta love that Change and Hope spiel everyone bought a year ago… because you might need to hope you ever have a job again and won’t unless some things change. Wowzie!!! Look at the mess ya got us in, Ollie!!!

29 Oct 2009, 11:06pm
by Mike

Shakespeare, Henry VI, part 2, Act III, Scene 1:

” …and Gloucester’s show
Beguiles him as the mournful crocodile
With sorrow, snares relenting passengers”

Buncha Gloucesters if you ask me. The weeping is crocodillian. The swamp remains dismal and thick with reptiles.



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