Clueless Assignment~Jackie Haworth

Jackie Haworth



Clueless Story Final Draft: Wastewater Treatment in Eugene

     Where does waste go when you flush your toilet?

According to The Alliance for Water Efficiency, a non-profit organization dedicated to the efficient and sustainable use of water, people flush their toilets an average of five times throughout the day. That means that in Eugene alone, waste is flushed down the toilet millions of times a week.

But the water and waste from the Eugene-Springfield area doesn’t just magically disappear once you flush.

All wastewater in the Eugene-Springfield area is sent to the Wastewater Treatment Plant located in the River Road neighborhood where the operators work to clean 30,000,000 gallons of wastewater every day.

Rachael Chilton stands infront of large vats containing wastewater in the initial processes of treatment.

After the wastewater is cleared of larger items such as branches, bathroom items that can’t be broken down by water, and the occasional cellphone, the water is mechanically lifted into large tanks to separate out the solids from the wastewater.

Large machines separate out solids in the preliminary processes of wastewater treatment.

Treatment plant administrator Rachael Chilton describes the initial process: “Whenever the solids come out of the water they get sent to the digesters. It stays in there for about 30 days. It’s about human body temperature. Anaerobic organisms [organisms that don’t need oxygen to grow] process that material, and then it gets piped five and a half miles away to our Biosolids Management Facility. It goes through some more treatment and ends up as biosolids.”

A closer view of the large vats where solids have been removed from the wastewater.

Biosolids are organic materials resulting from the treatment of sewage. These materials meet Federal and state mandated criteria and are suitable for land use as fertilizer, or can be safely recycled.

The process of making biosolids with anaerobic organisms gives off byproducts such as methane gas. The Eugene-Springfield Wastewater Treatment Plant utilizes these processes in environmentally friendly ways.

“We use that methane gas to run a big generator that powers much of the plant’s electricity needs,” Chilton said.

According to their website, the Eugene-Springfield Wastewater Treatment Plant annually processes 6,000 tons of dry biosolids. The facility is using these biosolids for the environmental benefit of the Eugene-Springfield community.

A pair of ducks enjoy the water and snack further along in the treatment process where micro organisms are filtered from the water.

Many grass farmers in the Eugene area use the biosolids as fertilizer, while most of the biosolids and recycled water not sent to the Willamette River are used to fertilize poplar trees at the Biocycle Farm, which is owned by the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission.

The Biocycle Farm, off of Awbrey Lane in north Eugene, is about 400 acres of poplar trees being farmed and harvested. The trees are then sold on the market and the revenue is used to fund the biosolids recycling process.

According to the Biocycle Farm’s brochure, after the solid waste is sent from the Wastewater Treatment Plant, “natural decomposition and other processes further stabilize the materials and produce pathogens [microorganisms such as bacteria]. The resulting organic materials are nutrient rich organic biosolids that have beneficial soil enhancement properties.”

In other words it’s good for growing things.

Chilton says it’s a common misconception that they are polluters. In reality, the water that exits the plant after the treatment process is cleaner than any wastewater that enters the plant.

Chilton says, “[The Wastewater Treatment Plant] is taking the community’s pollution and cleaning it.”

Wastewater enters the last stretch of the treatment process.

Rachael Chilton demonstrates the clarity of the water after the treatment process has been completed.

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Cleaning Muddy Paws: Clueless Profile on a Professional Dog Groomer

Soapy water sprayed through the air, the sound of five blow dryers filled the room, and clients whined impatiently as they waited their turn.

This is the scene of an average Saturday morning at Muddy Paws Pet Parlor in Eugene. Located on River Road, the shop is a self-service dog wash, gluten-free dog bakery, and professional grooming parlor.

On this particular Saturday, the next client to be groomed is a black and white Landseer Newfoundland named Rainier. She walked through the parlor doors with her owners, just on time for her morning appointment. All 120 pounds of her, covered in long hair, jumped excitedly as she waited and tried to lick her owner’s face. One of Muddy Paws’ groomers, Rachel, began to talk to the owners and plan how Rainier will be groomed.

“Yes, the lion cut,” the owner said. Rainier is to have a cut that leaves her hair shaved short in the back and long in the front. Rachel worked closely with the owners, taking a long time to talk with them and understand exactly the kind of cut they wanted for Rainier.

Communicating with the dog’s owner is a big part of the job. Customer service is crucial for keeping clients.

“If somebody’s not happy with it (their dog’s cut), you fix it,” Rachel said.

The world of dog grooming is surprisingly cutthroat and competitive, Rachel said. Although not required, many groomers go to a technical dog grooming school or get an online certification. Others, like Rachel, just learn from experience.

Each dog breed has its own specific grooming style, and it takes time for a groomer to learn and perfect these styles.

Once her owners left, Rainier was taken back to one of the six large tubs that are used for bathing the dogs. Rachel clipped Rainier’s leash to a hook on the tub, then began to shower her with warm water. She gets into the tub with the dog as she washed the dog’s long hair with hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner.

“One thing I like about grooming dogs is it’s like a party,” Rachel said. “Dogs are so funny, they each have their own preferences and personalities.”

Depending on the dog’s behavior, the bathing process can be either easy or difficult. Once she was washed clean, the groomer sprayed Rainier with a liquid to detangle and give shine to the hair. Rachel puts Rainier into a drying crate where a large hose blew air into the space, drying her wet hair. As Rainier dried, the groomer began to clip another dog. The groomer usually has several dogs to groom at once, and she also has to keep an eye on the clients using the self-service dog wash tubs.

Once Rainier was dry, Rachel took her to a grooming table where she began to give the massive dog a hair cut. Following the owner’s instructions for a lion cut, she began to shave the dog’s back half to about a quarter inch long. She also shaved the dog’s tail, leaving a large lion cut poof on its tip. Rainier’s front half was left long and uncut, resembling a lion’s mane.

Rachel has found that the best technique to clipping dogs is to make sure they remain in their normal range of motion. This means that unlike some other groomers, she clips the dogs without unnaturally twisting them in order to get an easier clip. Throughout the process, Rainier cooperatively sat still and seemed to shrink in size as her long hair was shaved.

Muddy Paws Pet Parlor is just one of 50 pet grooming facilities in the Eugene/Springfield area. Rachel worked 10 years as a veterinarian technician at a veterinary hospital before becoming a dog groomer. Although there are so many competitors in the area, Rachel feels secure in her job and says that the pet industry is one of the few recession-proof occupations.

“People will always care for their pets,” she said.

Once the clipping was done Rainier was properly groomed and looked like a different dog than the one who had come in hours before.

“Dogs know when they look good,” Rachel said. “They like the extra attention they get from their owners after they’re groomed.”

Rainier seemed proud of her new look as she excitedly wagged her tail and left Muddy Paws Pet Parlor with her owners.

A dog's owner uses the self-serve dog grooming station

A dog’s owner uses the self-serve dog grooming station

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Behind the Building: Clueless profile on Architecture student Erik Larson

Erik Larson working on his project in Lawrence Hall late one night.

Erik Larson working on his project in Lawrence Hall late one night.

Inside the maze of Lawrence Hall, the home of the architecture school at the University of Oregon, aspiring architect Erik Larson sits in a stool, at his desk, simply ready to create building.

The Eugene native is a sophomore and in his second year in the 14th best architecture program nationally.

Although he’s still learning, Larson has the ability to draw and graphically design floor plans, as well as build three-dimensional models of his visions for buildings.

In fact, for Larson’s midterm, he had to combine all three elements for his project.

“The first three things is that we have the project explained to us, then we are given the requirements for each room, and lastly we have to come with a design idea,” Larson said.

But, after the assignment is explained, the fun part really starts for Larson because he is able to have complete creative freedom and construct a vision for his building.

For this particular assignment, Larson had to present his idea of a new culinary institute that would be in Portland. The culinary institute had areas for classrooms and kitchens. The institute also has study lounges, offices, and even a restaurant. These were all elements Larson needed to think about when designing for his project.

“First thing we do is a bunch of drawings,” said Larson We start in plan formation, which is floor plans, where everything is drawn out.”

In order to draw the floor plans, Larson has a drafting board, cutting mat, rulers, t- squares and scales, which are all vital in making sure the sizes are accurate and realistic.

Once drawings are complete, professors or graduate students critique the work. From there, Larson then must look at the building in terms of sections, which is looking at the side view, and seeing how the rooms relate to one another from floor to floor.

After everything is drawn out precisely, Larson must move to the computer and graphically lay out his designs. He uses an intensive computer program called Revit.

“Revit is really cool,” said Larson. “It allows you to create a digital model, it’s like playing the Sims.”

With Revit, once anything is implemented in the design, it can be viewed in a section or aerial view.

“With this program I can truly get a feeling of how the building will look on the work site.”

Lastly, Larson must make a three-dimensional view to get a better understanding of what his building will truly resemble. With a vital tool, known as a laser cutter, Larson is able to take his dimensions from his design on the Revit program and have them mechanically cut for him to use in his model, which is made out of cardboard-like material.

“It’s super helpful to use the laser cuter, but it’s often hard to get time with it since it is in such high demand by so many students,” Larson said.

Although this is only his second year, Larson’s work as an architecture student resembles his intelligence as well as passion for architecture.

However, he sometimes finds there are also negative sides to his studies. Larson has class three times a week for four hours a day. Outside of class he spends countless hours in the studio, as well as holding a job and taking other classes for general requirements.

There is also a surprising element of danger in the studio. Right next to Larson’s desk is a trashcan for biomedical waste. This is needed because students will often cut themselves while building models.

“I had a friend last week have to go to the hospital and get stitches,” Larson said.

There is literally countless blood, sweat, and tears in the studio, all for the hope of landing a dream job in the architecture field. All the work Larson produces he will be able to put in a portfolio as he applies for internships and jobs.

Although Larson has retained immense knowledge about the architecture field through his studies, he humbly admits that he is just getting started.

“If this was the real world, I still have a lot to learn.”

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Conner Gordon Clueless – Andrew Koekkoek: the Creative Process of Music


Andrew Koekkoek has gathered an impressive collection of guitars



Performing where he is most comfortable: at his desk in his bedroom


Listening to a sweet melody can sooth the soul, a powerful chorus can be a tool of motivation, and a sad but sweet harmony can move a listener to tears.

To many, listening to music is a way of life; it is a quick emotional escape from a monotonous routine.  Anybody can easily listen to and benefit from music, but creating it is a complex process.

After being transfixed by his friends creating their own music back in 2006, Andrew Koekkoek made a pact with himself to become a songwriter.

The process of creating a song, from concept through completion, differs from person to person, but the Portland state University business and planetary science student explains that once artists find their own creative niche, it usually becomes routine.

“Typically, every song I write starts on the guitar,” he said. “As I dink around on my acoustic [guitar], I will eventually come up with a riff or chord progression that sounds fresh to me. Kind of a ‘that sounds like song’ type of feeling.”

After initially creating and memorizing that fresh sound, he continues working it until he has enough to play a “rough song.”  To the 22-year-old, a rough song is a song that lacks structure but follows a distinct theme. The theme determines what type of lyrics will be written to accompany it.  This theme is not a time signature, key, or tempo, but the emotion and story that comes to his mind from his music.

“When starting to assemble lyrics, I do it in several different ways,” he said.  “I have a bank of lyrics in my head that I can pull from. I use stories from my life that I put into lyrical form. And often times the song writes itself after I get one good stanza.”

Most often, he begins by writing the chorus. He explains that most of the time, the chorus contains the central meaning of the song.  From there, he writes each verse and the bridge, a contrasting section of the song that prepares the listener for a return to the song’s original material, to best support what the chorus is trying to convey.

Eventually, with enough tinkering and fine-tuning, the formally “rough song” will have developed into a complete song.

This is Koekkoek’s process: identifying a fresh sound on guitar, develop lyrics to the chorus that match the mood of that sound, and build on the rough song with lyrics and guitar patterns until the song reaches completion.

“Some songs take only 20 minutes,” he said. “Other times, I’m working on a second verse for weeks, even months, but I’m still starting with a basic idea, just fiddling with the smaller details.”

Surprisingly, he finds that the songs that come to him straight away, without much thought or effort, tend to be better.  It gives him a feeling of the song writing itself.  Songwriting is engrained into his mind.

“In many ways, my identity is all wrapped up in being a songwriter,” he said.  “It becomes your ‘thing’ and, in a deeper sense, it became my out where I vent my emotions and deal with things happening in my life.  It is very much a stress reliever.”

Musicianship has inadvertently spilled into several aspects of Koekkoek’s life, as he has begun to notice connections between his academics and his music.

“I’ll be in class hearing a lecture on the lives of stars and then go on to write a song about how small and insignificant we are as people compared to the stars.”

Andrew Koekkoek’s songwriting never stops.  His songs are dictated by his life and, in a way, his life is dictated by his music making.

“When you are obsessed with something, it doesn’t just turn off with different scenes,” he said. “It’s a running monologue in [your] head; it is the same mindset that dictates my every action.”

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Clueless Interview, Mike Summers and the Staff of Jim the Shoe Doctor

While everyone wears shoes, almost no one knows what goes into fixing them. Luckily, Eugene has one of the few time-tested shoe repair shops right next to the university. Standing across next to the Oregon Community Credit Union on 1tth and Ferry Street. Established in 1903, Jim the Shoe Doctor is staffed by a few very dedicated people who are happy to fix shoes and share their trade.

Mike Summers, one of the more senior employees at The Shoe Doctor knows pretty much every party of fixing a shoe. One of the most common problems with shoes that Summers works on is parts of the shoe ripping or falling apart at a seam. This is also one of the most trivial problems to fix. If pull-tab (the part of the shoe that holds the shoelaces) is falling off or apart, the only thing that is needed to fix it is a little sewing and maybe some nylon to replace a broken part. The sewing is exactly like any sewing done in the home, the only difference is the sewing machine.

Workin' on a shoe

Mike Summers works on a shoe while Ryan Moon watches intently.

“This is a pretty old fashioned machine,” said Summers, “It’s all done by hand.”

Just looking at the sewing machine, you can see what he means. The device looks like it’s straight out of the early 1900s. To operate the sewing machine, you would turn the crank, move the shoe, and wind the bobbin all by hand.

If the shoe needs new pull tabs all-together, that’s pretty simple too. The basic idea is to recreate exactly what the pull tab was before it fell apart. First, a piece of nylon that looks like the original pull-tab must be selected. Once a fitting nylon strip is found and cut, it has to be burned at the ends before it can be sewed onto the shoe. Burning the nylon stops it from fraying at the ends and thus increases the durability of the shoe. After preparing the nylon, it just needs to be sewed on.

Behind problems with the laces, probably the second largest problem for shoes is holes. To fix a hole, the entire bottom of a shoe will have to be replaced. The replacement rubber for shoes is bought in giant sheets which is then cut down to the size and shape of the shoe. After the original shoe sole is removed, the new one needs to be to be cut just right to make the bottom of the shoe perfectly flat. The back edge of the sole has to be cut at just the right downward angle to assure the bottom of the shoe is perfectly flat.

Once the rubber is cut, the rest of the work is pretty easy in comparison and requires much less finesse. The rubber then needs to be glued on, heated to activate the glue, then finally nailed into place with small, thin nails. Some shoes, such as high-heels require a special, thicker type of nail that is designed for that shoe.

Chattin' about shoes.

Ryan Moons asks Mike Summers about a shoe he’s working on


The final step in fixing a shoe is coloration. The average run-of-the-mill running shoe skips this step, as it only really benefits shoes made out of leather. Using a special machine made of circular brushes that they rub the leather against, the cobblers at Jim The Shoe Doctor re-color the shoe and soften up the leather restoring the shoe to an almost pristine condition.

Chris Summers, Mike’s wife, remarked “We can take almost piece of clothing and restore it to good as new.”

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Clueless Assignment- Julian Massenburg

University of Oregon student Jordan Carter is the proud owner of Portland based clothing brand Chief Repertoire Apparel. “Stay humble, live like a chief” is the motto for the clothing brand founded in December 2011. Chief Repertoire Apparel has an administrative team consisting of three graphic designers, a social media promoter, and a fabrication consultant. Carter happens to be one of the lead designers for his clothing brand.

The clothing brand has a vision to inspire individuality and creativity. Carter wants to create more than just a brand. He wants to create an overall way of life. Chief Repertoire Apparel views the world of fashion as an art form. They make a consistent effort to promote humble service, artistic products, innovative media, and a personal bond with consumers.

Carter uses an Intuos 4 Professional Pen Tablet to create apparel designs. The tablet connects to his computer through a USB port. He uses Adobe Illustrator software to create the designs. When Carter draws images onto the tablet, they automatically transfer onto his computer screen. With this software, Carter can easily create screen print ready designs without having to spend hours manually transforming images for screen-printing. After a design is complete, Carter sends it to a clothing manufacture where the images are printed onto various articles of clothing.

Carter’s infatuation with fashion inspired him to create his own clothing brand. The brand serves as a method for him to express his creativeness.

“I have always taken pride in my sense of fashion,” Carter said. “Through the brand, I want to create a lifestyle that people can connect to.”

Designing apparel is Carter’s favorite part about owning his own business. Each article of clothing is hand-crafted by one of his designers at Chief Repertoire Apparel. Carter and his team use a step-by-step process to create new designs.

A designer must first be inspired by something. The inspiration can come from an object or an experience. After the initial inspiration, the design team brainstorms potential ideas for the design. A designer then draws the design onto the tablet. Once the design is ready, the design team finalizes color schemes and layouts. The design is then sent to a clothing manufacture in digital format. The manufacture then prints the design on various articles of clothing.

“The inspiration comes from our design team’s subjective views of the world,” Carter said. “Each member sees beauty in nature, society, art, and other realms of life. We then try to replicate these visions through our clothing designs.”

“We consider each piece of clothing to be a piece of art.”

In addition to apparel, Carter has experience with designing logos, flyers, and webpages. Carter says that designing items can be difficult.

“A person needs to have a lot of patience, self-motivation, creativity, and an ability to express themselves,” Carter said.

The design team members at Chief Repertoire Apparel are working on designs for an upcoming summer clothing line. The summer line-up will include tank tops and tie-dye t-shirts to capture the essence of the season.


Chief Repertoire Apparel founder Jordan Carter sporting his apparel.

Chief Repertoire Apparel founder Jordan Carter sporting his apparel.


photo (4)

Carter uses this Intuos 4 Professional Pen Tablet to draw designs for Chief Repertoire Apparel.

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Clueless Profile-Adam Bailey

He monitors the activity of every streetlight throughout the greater Eugene’s city limits—daily.  When something goes wrong, he is the guy to call. What he does makes this city run smoothly.


            His job is to keep the time of all the traffic throughout the city, fix it when it gets breaks down, and reset it when it’s time for a new system.  The job belongs to Mike Ferchland, the only traffic signal technician in the city.


            For this reason, Ferchland must know of the ins-and-outs of the city’s traffic signal system throughout the city.  From his computer, he watches as green dots signify the properly working traffic signals throughout the city, according to Ferchland.


            “We have real time communication with 80 percent of the traffic signals in Eugene,” Ferchland said.  “I can click on any one of these dots and see exactly what is happening at that intersection in real time.”


According to Ferchland, the five varieties of dot colors mean different statuses for the traffic signal that it represents.  Green means everything is working fine.  Blue means that there is a small, minor tweak that caused the system to flag the intersection in order to be monitored.


            “It’s not a critical failure,” Ferchland said.  “It’s a non-critical alarm that can be caused by no one driving on it for a while, as an example.”


            As the traffic signal technician, no action is required of this non-critical alarm, according to Ferchland. However, when the color is red the signal is unable to communicate with the technician back at the office.  A red dot means that the controller, the piece of technology that tells the traffic signal what to do and when, shut down or maybe there was a power outage.


            “I get a certain amount of information from (the computer), and then I have to go out into the field,” Ferchland said. 


            As the only technician in Eugene, Ferchland must go to every critical call personally with his team of three electricians.  This solid team of four manages 145 traffic signals and over 9,000 streetlights.


            But, Ferchland’s job is more than just fixing the problems that occur in the traffic signaling system in Eugene. He says he earned the rare opportunity to do the traffic signal timing, a job normally taken on by the traffic engineer.


            “I enjoy traffic signal timing, and in this way my job is unique to the city of Eugene,” Ferchland said. “When we reorganized, because of my experience, I started taking over the traffic timing responsibilities.” 


            Most of the timing that Ferchland has been in charge of is the basic traffic system current Eugene residents have come to get used to.  The downtown traffic signals are on a progressive, fixed-time system, which is different than the rest of the city.  However, Ferchland said that this is a normal system for cities with decent sized downtowns. 


            “We use coordination so the signals progress as you drive through,” Ferchland said.  “So you have to divide up the time accordingly.”


            When this system was first implemented this fixed time was 60 seconds of green light for each traffic signal in the progression.  However, when the EMX bus system was put in, 60 seconds wasn’t enough time for the buses to get through the intersections.


            “So we had to extend it to a 72 second cycle to accommodate the EMX buses,” Ferchland said.


            The technician’s job is weather flexible and there is something to do either when the weather is nice or if it is rainy.  Because of this, the technician always has a job to do and the timing sequences can be changed and improve if need-be.


Ferchland has the most unique traffic signal technician position in Oregon.  An added originality to an already unique city.

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