Downtown Eugene

Monday, March 26, 2007

Redevelopment: closed to the public

Purposely, there is no process for public participation in the City staff's plan to redevelop West Broadway.

First the City staff, without even the direction of elected officials, accumulated purchase options on occupied buildings -- obviously not something the tenants want. This forced the City council to initiate an RFQ process. The only people likely to respond to such a process, were developers in favor of demolishing the neighborhood and its businesses at public expense. The exception was my proposal, which was not just making a statement -- it was holding the door open for the democratic process it advocated. When the commitee decided to recommend two private developers, when the City staff recommended one (so they could shut out the public completely), and when the council finally decided on two private developers, they ensured that the only way to do anything -- either a suggestion or an actual proposal -- would be through private channels. The public would be accused of "circumventing the process" if it made suggestions directly to council.

City staff are very well trained to pronounce their undemocratic process "democratic", and the people at large, defending their money and rights, as "undemocratic". People in power fight against democracy at every turn, but use its rhetoric every day, and have done so for millennia.


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