Downtown Eugene

Friday, March 02, 2007

Civic priorities

The City Council is even reluctant to ask voters, in a survey, whether or not to spend $100 million on a new City Hall. "They won't have enough information," the councillors protest. As if they needed any. No money should be spent on a new City Hall. No money should be spent on any new construction. There are other pressing matters.

Much smaller amounts of money, $1 million, could revitalize West Broadway. But that doesn't go far enough. The way West Broadway needs to be revitalized, the way the spaces need to be filled, must directly address all the civic priorities.

More or less, here are the real citizen priorities:

1) quality of life
2) accessible healthcare
3) jobs, and meaningful work
4) crime prevention
5) freedom & human rights
6) honesty in government
7) responsible businesses and citizens
8) education
9) sustainable, stable, peaceful society
10) ecological sensitivity

West Broadway, I've said before, is not so far from being a kind of "street university". It can go all the way in this direction, with just a little bit of help from the City.

The first things that needs to be created are incubators of actvity, to enable the citizens to gather and work together to work on civic priorities, and thereby draw community interest to the partly empty area downtown.

2) a active community clinic and healthcare action organizing center
3 & 8) street-level showcase-workshop-schools in many different fields
4) social service action teams
5 & 6) independent community media
7) mutual support resources
9) conflict resolution center
9 & 10) ecologically-oriented centers (appropriate technology, reusable products centers, nature awareness centers, etc.)

All of which improve quality of life. Just a fraction of the material implied here would fill West Broadway with self-sustaining activity. It would be essentially a service-center for community life --- well-placed, in the heart of town, in downtown Eugene.


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