Downtown Eugene

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"Urban Renewal": 0 ; Democracy: 1

Yesterday, a bunch of businesses, who don't want to see $40 million of City money wasted on a mega-project by an infamous Portland mega-developer, filed a petition to challenge the City's unchecked spending on this project. It was the last chance we had to insert real democracy into the process. Urban Renewal spending is generally protected from public "interference", and the City was hell-bent on leveling the West Broadway neighborhood, and paying to make it an expensive district, catering to maybe 10% of the population.

Today, the City council got the message !

They voted to put it on the November ballot !!!

The City has not helped a single business or non-profit, in the threatened West Broadway district. They haven't given us a dime. And yet they want to pay Portland's Thomas Kemper, who has said that community input "is a problem", $40 million in City money for his project. This is the same City money that would otherwise be spent in small increments for social projects ... including nearly $10 million in HUD money, which normally goes to childcare, at-risk youth, women's shelters, homeless bootstrap programs, opportunity centers, pollution clean-up, vocational training, rehabilitation programs etc. It's insane that the City thought they could get away with this. But now, everyone can vote on it.

Of course, the Tango Center is one of dozens of organizations slated to be destroyed by this money, in one fell swoop. No reparations were in the works, despite rhetoric to the contrary. Let your friends know that the City's plan for "revitalization" is simply to bulldoze, waste money, and raise rents. Let them know that denying the large sum of money, will make the process more community-oriented. Slower spending will make real revitalization, for people, possible.

You'll hear this all on the news after 5pm. KEZI may even use some footage of Tango, at the TC, if you'd like to watch.


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