When a business or non-profit is under threat from government aggression, it's important for them to contact their supporters.
The Bijou, Eugene's Art Cinema, is threatened by a random proposal in the City's development plan, calling for an Art cinema. So they handed out pamphlets, contacted their e-mail list, and plan to show slides before films, encouraging people to defend local business, and prevent the City from subsidizing their competition.
I sent something similar to Eugene's Tango Community, asking people to attend the City's "token democracy" events, and make the most of them:
If you want to take a short break from Friday@Five, August 3, wander down to the City Tent at the intersection of Willamette & Broadway, where you have a chance to give the City a piece of your mind, about:
1. The City paying millions for a guaranteed net profit to Portland developers.
2. The poverty of the ideas presented by those developers
3. The lack of local understanding demonstrated by those developers.
4. The suggestions by those developers that the city subsidize imported competitors to the Bijou and the Kiva.
5. The destruction of an entire nightlife district that serves a wide range of the Eugene population.
6. The construction of a sterile new neighborhood, at City expense, that is intended to serve the wealthiest 10% of the population.
7. The lack of guarantees of full reparations (despite claims to the contrary) to businesses and non-profits slated for destruction.
8. The destruction of perfectly sound buildings, in order to create more expensive buildings: subsidized gentrification.
9. The destruction of historic buildings, currently hiding behind the modern facades of DIVA, the Tango Center, and Taco Time.
10. The lack of a participatory public process for improving downtown.
11. The totally abstract, non-local, uninformed and speculative nature of the destructive redevelopment plan.
12. The use of HUD money, intended to help low-income people, to pay for a developer's bottom line.
13. The use of 10's of millions of dollars of public money, for an inefficient, wasteful, unimaginative project, when the neighborhood is already revitalizing without help.
14. Spending millions of City money on subsidies, when the most important public problems of our day are not addressed.
15. Importing businesses at public expense, instead of incubating new local businesses.
Anyway, take your pick: poor quality, wanton destruction, gentrification, unfair subsidization, anti-sustainability, anti-local-interest, human rights abuses (that's us!), anti-democratic civic process, massively wasteful spending ... etc.
The City staff will be listening to the public from 5:30pm - 8pm at a tent on the corner of Willamette and Broadway.
The City Advisory Committee will take public comment August 4, Saturday morning from 9am to noon in the Atrium, 10th and Olive.
Please give them an earful. Tell them to stop threatening us, to stop bombing our neighborhood -- we're surrounded by their failed projects -- to stop making plans for us, and help us to fix things those things we know how to fix! Help us fill the empty spaces with community-based projects and businesses, or create useable open spaces. Help us with investment to fill our own spaces with daytime activity to complement our nighttime successes. Build housing in the empty land where there are parking lots, not where there are buildings with tenants! Help us create space for the community to live, for people to learn, and gather -- not just more places to go shopping.
We can absolutely stop this disaster. All it takes -- is for us to all speak up!