Downtown Eugene

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Planning is a human rights issue

The City Council / Planning Commission work session last night offered interesting contrasts.

The meeting opened with a recap on a number of Human Rights issues, including the work of city officials to deal with these issues in a sensitive manner. People were definately first, in this discussion.

When the Planning session began, human rights were thrown out the window. Not a single threatened downtown tenant or organization was mentioned in the meeting (except a furniture chain store). Most of the threatened tenants are non-profits or collectives, built with a the community sweat equity of thousands of people.

For some reason, architects, planners and officials have a tendency to treat neighborhoods as if they were play-dough, without any interest in their contents. They may have some fantasies about contents, but the actual existing tenants are inconsequential, not mentioned, with a subtext of bigoted denigration (the hidden "we want a better class of people downtown").

In any case, the existing buildings, can be fully rented, to exciting, active and public organizations -- filling the empty spaces should be the goal for downtown, not new construction. This is just common sense.