Downtown Eugene


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

What works?

The conditions are right. This is a very good time for a community-oriented plan for downtown Eugene's West Broadway. There are no viable alternatives for the long stretches of unleased space.

The City keeps asking for large-scale development, ignoring the tenants, who have worked very hard to survive downtown, and obviously don't want to move. Because the city keeps pushing this, the area stays vacant -- who would invest in something the city might arrange to tear down? The fear instilled in the tenants keeps most of the businesses and non-profits from being as successful as they could be, and prevents new people from filling the empty spaces.

The City rejected the local option, in the City-framed RFQ process. But, of course, this isn't the only approach to making positive things happen ... in some ways, it was the least likely approach. Because the RFQ process was launched by a broken system. And RFP's and RFQ's exist to decrease public participation in government, not increase it.

Probably nothing will happen in this current round development speculation. But since the process itself is negative, the tenants and those interested in a local solution to downtown need to do something about it.

We'll be circulating a petition to the City council, stating that development planning for properties occupied by tenants is harmful to downtown, violates tenants' rights to pursue their business in peace, without government interference, and is unsustainable because it wastes buildings, businesses, non-profits and public energy by planning to destroy existing downtown, for speculative fantasy. We will ask that the council stop such planning for occupied space, and provide funds to incubate local proposals for filling in the empty space.

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