There have been several major public building projects in downtown Eugene recently: a new bus station, a new library, opened pedestrian streets, a new federal courthouse. Several are planned: a new city hall, a new police station ...
Let's take the new city hall. Since this isn't a dictatorship, it seems like a $30 million city hall isn't necessary to impress the masses, or guard civic leaders from them.
Instead, how about using that money to fund 500 community projects to the tune of $60,000 each? It cost that much to start the Tango Center, or the Center for Approrpiate Transport, or Saturday Market ... all these institutions cost very little to get going.
And many of them have lasted as long as a building ... creating a community economy is as substantial an investment as creating a building. Especially since buildings these days seem to have increasingly short lifespans.