Downtown Eugene


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Creepy Urban Renewal

At a public meeting, I was pulled aside by, it turns out, a publicist for power-and-money. She pretended to be many things, in order to get me to "open up", and reveal, I suppose, some fatal flaw in our "campaign strategy" to stop the destruction of the neighborhood. Then, after a bit of argument, I realized ... she knew my personal history, thoroughly. Perhaps this was an attempt to gain my confidence? I ended our conversation.

Creepy, yes. Luckily, the conversation revealed the paper-thin arguments of her well-funded camp.

"Urban Renewal" she boldly asserted "is what all the great cities do." "There's no viable alternative" she said. I guess only big cities function. A big surprise to those of us who don't live in them.

She even painted a pretty picture of the removal of "neighborhood blight" and "the homeless" in New York, asserting it was a "win-win" for everyone. Destroy communities, defund social services, and then kill the vermin. A kind of "get-tough-on-the-poor" jingoism.

"West Broadway needs a new start" she said. "It's unsafe, and a low-rent district, and that's inappropriate for our downtown". So, affordable housing is ok, but affordable commercial districts are not?

And then, of course, she called me a "vested interest". I'm in the neghborhood slated for demolition, a volunteer coordinator of a popular community non-profit, dedicated to revitalizing downtown, who's fighting against a big-money apocalypse -- and I'm a "special interest"? She, as a representative of developers who want to get rich from public funds, is of course not a vested interest?

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