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August 3, 2006

HEADING: The Weekly Wrap, photo of graffitied gate at HSU


WHO IS JON MOONEY? The message was bold, spray-painted in graffiti two-feet high on the plywood understructure of a pair of new Humboldt State University gates. "Never Forget Jon Mooney," it commanded.

But who, one had to ask, is this Jon Mooney we're supposed to remember? The dreadlocked woman waiting in the 14th Street bus shelter across from the gate wondered the same thing. "Do you know who this Jon Mooney is?" she asked. None of the passersby she'd asked seemed to know.

The gardener down the street in his pickup truck had another theory. "Jon Mooney was that Monkey Wrench Gang guy, wasn't he?" Momentarily forgetting that George Hayduke was the Green Beret-turned-eco-warrior at the center of Edward Abbey's novel, he concluded, "It makes sense," apparently assuming that the graffiti was some sort of protest statement, perhaps against the university's latest step in its branding campaign. (See Journal cover story, "Please Enter Here," Aug. 18, 2005.)

Figuring out who Jon Mooney is proved fairly simple. A Google search brought up a Jon Mooney who was once editor of the HSU paper, The Lumberjack, and a local Jon Mooney also seemed to be associated with rugby. The phone book showed that Erin and Jon Mooney live in Arcata.

As this reporter launched into a phone inquiry about the graffiti, Mr. Mooney began to chuckle. No, he does not know who "the culprit" is, nor does he know what the hand-painted phrase means.

"I haven't gotten to the bottom of it," he said, noting that he'd first heard about the graffiti Tuesday morning when he got a call from the University Police Dept. asking if he knew anything about it or who might have done it.

"I'm pretty sure it's somebody I know, but I don't know who," he said. "There are also bumper stickers that say the same thing. One was put on one of our friends' cars, and we've seen them on random cars here and there. We're not really sure what it's about." Mooney lives near campus, not far from the new gate, so the UPD's line of investigation assumes that he is the Jon Mooney to be remembered.

The memorial nature of the message has caused some worry among those who know the Mooneys. "We've had friends who called," said Mooney. "One called my wife Tuesday morning after seeing it, very concerned, asking if anything had happened. No, nothing happened. I'm still alive."

Mooney, a graduate student at HSU, figures he's the victim of an elaborate practical joke. "But it's really hard to say who might have done it. I was the rugby coach for the women's team at HSU and I still play, and I bartend at Sidelines. I was the news editor of the Times-Standard after I graduated. I know so many people. I don't even know where to start, but I think that soon whoever did it will come clean."

According to UPD Chief Tom Dewey, there are no leads in the investigation.

Kegan Wohler, a student assistant working in HSU's Plant Operations office for the summer, said the university has no plans to remove the graffiti from the gates, which she noted are now to be referred to as "the monuments."

"They're going to stucco over it," she said. Since plant ops workers are not authorized to do the job, an outside contractor has been enlisted, and was encouraged to get right on it. Friday he stapled tar paper over the graffiti.

One can just imagine the mystery that will arise sometime in the distant future when the "monuments" are dismantled. Might historians be called in to unravel the question of why someone in the past erected a memorial asking people to remember Jon Mooney?

— Bob Doran


GREEN D'S NEW BROWN: Green Diamond Resource Co. (formerly Simpson Resource Co.) announced Monday the replacement of company president James T. Brown with William R. Brown, the former chief financial officer of Plum Creek, a publicly traded, Seattle-based timber and real estate company with more than 8 million acres stretching across the United States. The Browns are not related.

In a written statement issued from Green Diamond, company chairman Colin Mosely said: "This is an excellent fit for our organization and Bill is uniquely qualified to lead the company." Previously, William Brown worked in the areas of strategic business development, resources and planning in his 16 years with the company. Word of his abrupt resignation from Plum Creek came the same day his appointment at Green Diamond was announced. "This is an opportunity I simply could not forgo," he said in the aforementioned missive,wherein he referred to Green Diamond as a "much-admired leader in the forest products industry." Coincidentally, the top dog turnover comes just one week after Pacific Lumber Co.'s CEO Robert Manne bowed out from the Scotia company and was immediately replaced by former International Paper exec George O'Brien.

James Brown announced his plans to retire earlier this year, after more than three decades with the company. Earlier in his career, the outgoing Brown managed Simpson's California operations. The company also owns timberland in Oregon and Washington. William Brown will assume his new role at Green Diamond Sept. 25.

Helen Sanderson


ANOTHER HYDRO VISION: Wednesday morning at 2 a.m., dozens of tribal members from the Klamath River region piled onto buses — the Karuk and Klamath tribes on one bus, the Yurok on another — and began the long ride to Portland. The night before, another bus carrying Hoopa Valley tribal members had also headed north. By 11 a.m. Wednesday, some 200-plus protesters, mostly Native American but some non-Indian river dwellers and activists as well, would be marching from Holladay Park to the Portland Convention Center. By noon, they would be raising an enviro/social-justice ruckus outside the convention center, demanding that the hydropower honchos and wonks inside — soaking up vibes and info at their bi-annual Hydro Vision Conference International — pressure their colleague, PacifiCorp, to tear down the Klamath dams. Or, at least, Iron Gate Dam, for starters. And three more after that. Tear down the dams, the protesters say, and perhaps the Klamath salmon — their numbers in a freefall over the past several years — will begin to thrive again in their river home.

The Klamath dams, owned by PacifiCorp (whose offices are just down the road from the Portland convention center), are up for their 50-year relicensing by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. To the tribes' and activists' way of thinking, what better time to tear them down? For the irrigators and power users upstream, in the Klamath Basin, the solution appears in a different light. But Craig Tucker, a spokesman for the Karuk Tribe, says the many river stakeholders — farmers, tribes, fishermen, environmentalists, PacifiCorp — have been engaged in a parallel process to the formal relicensing one. And those discussions, Tucker says, lately have been promising.

"I'm pretty positive the company's going to make some concessions," Tucker said on Monday before heading up to the protest. "When we started this thing, PacifiCorp would say, `There's no way we're going to remove those dams.' But now they say, `As long as it doesn't hurt our ratepayers, we don't mind removing those dams.' They want to replace their dams with green energy. And we would like to see the state give PacifiCorp some incentives to do that."

— Heidi Walters



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