Downtown Eugene

Friday, July 27, 2007

Real costs

The nightmare project the City staff continues to push for West Broadway, is so lavishly disjoint from reality, that Staff can make expensive promises, that they do not intend to keep, just to keep the project "on track".

The most recent example was during the vote to use HUD money for buying both unoccupied and occupied buildings on West Broadway. The buildings, in fine condition, have been labeled "blighted", and the proposed nightmare "will create hundreds of low-income jobs".

This empty prose, intended to fulfill fig-leaf rhetorical requirements of our insanely corrupt federal government, was questioned by several city councilors. One question was "how about jobs lost through the destruction of businesses and non-profits? are those accounted for in these job-creation figures?"

Denny Braud, Staff point-man for the nightmare, began to make promises, essentially by referring to law he was subject to, that "ummm ... no, I think no jobs will be lost" during the cataclysm of dislocation, destruction, etc. of dozens of businesses and non-profits. Of course, he is not accountable for his words, and knows that. He also knows, as an administer of urban redevelopment loans, that the definition of "jobs" can be dodged in any way he sees fit.

Well, the West Broadway tenants certainly don't want to be dislocated. But if the City is going to seriously consider this crazy and destructive project, they should put the weight of law behind Braud's promises. Maybe then they'll begin to see how expensive, inefficient, insensitive, and ultimately ineffective this project is.

I wrote to the two most sensible members of the City Coucil:

Betty, Bonny,

At last night's meeting, Denny Braud emphatically guaranteed that no businesses, non-profits nor jobs would be lost in the staff's West Broadway neighborhood demolition plan. Of course, with the council majority behind him, he is perfectly aware that he is not accountable for his statements, freeing him to rely upon a list of existing statutes which, hypothetically, would take care of the tenants.

If he is so confident, perhaps the majority of the council could confidently pass a bill, which, in this given footprint, in the event any action under the current West Broadway initiative is taken, guarantees the recovery-of-investment, full-relocation and return-to-sustainability-and-mission, of every business and non-profit in the footprint, as of today. This means tenants, lease-holders, sub-lessees and anyone else dependent upon these organizations or their facilities. We have been under threat by the City for too long, and want these guarantees, which have now been explicitly promised. The advisory committee has been charged to do this, but without the resources to do so -- a situation that makes the chances of relocation funding seem even more remote.

If you could kindly introduce a bill to that effect, it would be most helpful to all of us.

With many thanks!


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