Much Ado About Nothing:
the West Eugene Collaborative report

West Eugene Collaborators want $250 million, more than the West Eugene Porkway cost, to rebuild West 11th

WEC report ignores financial meltdown and Peak Oil which are more important than plans for an overpriced "boulevard"

by Mark Robinowitz
WETLANDS: West Eugene Transportation, Land and Neighborhood Design Solutions

comments on the West Eugene Collaborative report
"A New Vision for West Eugene"
www.odrc.state.or.us/documents/WEC_Report_Final_3_18_09.pdf
March 19, 2009

related pages:

 

www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/search/1553101-47/story.csp
GUEST VIEWPOINT
West Eugene Collaborative being too narrow
BY MARK ROBINOWITZ
Published: Oct 27, 2008

The West Eugene Collaborative is an effort to bring together people from diverse backgrounds to examine solutions to decades of failed land use and transportation policies. However, the collaborative needs a broader range of perspectives to be effective.

The collaborative is an outgrowth of the failed West Eugene Parkway, a highway first proposed in 1951 and formally canceled by the Federal Highway Administration in 2007.

The parkway was not approved because it violated nearly every federal transportation law — including Section 4(f) of the 1966 Transportation Act, which prohibits highways built with federal aid from being built through protected parklands such as the West Eugene Wetlands.

Only $17 million of the required $169 million official price tag was appropriated, despite promises from parkway promoters that “the money was there.” And the state’s traffic analyses showed it would not solve traffic snarls.

In June 2001, an intergovernmental meeting called the West Eugene Charette brought together the Eugene, Lane County, state and federal governments. Participants agreed the parkway could not get federal approvals, and it was time to move beyond this failed proposal.

Mayor Jim Torrey, County Commissioner Bobby Green and Oregon Transportation Commissioner Randy Papé were part of this consensus, but a few weeks later they changed their minds and put a nonbinding resolution on the city of Eugene ballot that passed 51 percent to 49 percent.

This local resolution in favor of the parkway could not force the Federal Highway Administration to approve a road they knew was illegal, and the city never authorized a dime toward its construction.

After the city reaffirmed its rhetorical support for the parkway, Oregon Department of Transportation officials spent at least $2 million to study further a project that privately they knew was unlikely to be approved. If the June 2001 “no build” consensus had been implemented, our money spent on these failed studies could have been used to fix West 11th Avenue intersections to facilitate traffic flows.

Adding extra turn lanes would not solve all of the transportation and land use problems, but it would be part of the solution. If pro-parkway politicians had agreed to remove the parkway from life support when they agreed it was unlikely to be built, these fixes already would have been in place.

During the debates about the Parkway, a citizens-led alternative was developed — Wetlands: West Eugene Transportation, Land and Neighborhood Design Solutions (to read more about it, visit www.greenwasheugene.com/wetlands.html).

One of the West Eugene Collaborative’s consultants told me that the wetlands alternative was well presented, and one of the private citizens responsible for the collaborative told me she thought it was “brilliant.” But despite this private praise, wetlands supporters were not invited to participate, and the collaborative has avoided including it in its deliberations.

Worse, the collaborators did not welcome west Eugene’s neighborhood groups until after more than a year of meetings (they now have included two of the eight groups).

The wetlands alternative recommends a combination of road fixes and land use changes to improve traffic flow, reduce travel demand and mitigate dumb land use planning in West Eugene. West 11th could be improved significantly through intersection work without the collaborative’s expensive and unworkable suggestion for a “boulevard” widening.

A couple of small links, such as between Second Avenue and Garfield Street and First Avenue and Seneca Road, could fix connection issues without having to build any part of the parkway.

Perhaps the biggest bottleneck is the Roosevelt Boulevard/Highway 99 intersection, which the parkway Environmental Impact Statement admitted would remain a problem even if the parkway is built. Since the nearby Highway 99 bridge over the railroad needs to be replaced, a renewed focus on this area might find the resources to reconstruct this intersection.

Any road construction in west Eugene will be inadequate if the underlying land use issues are avoided. While it took decades to create the problems, the city continues to permit uses that make the situation worse.

Eugene could follow Hood River’s lead and ban oversized big-box stores, a law that the Oregon Supreme Court upheld in 2002. The recent approvals near West 11th of a Lowe’s hardware store next to a Home Depot store instead could have included mixed-use residential development — the only way that the proposed West 11th bus rapid transit line could be viable.

The wetlands alternative developed two options for the Belt Line Road/Roosevelt intersection based on projections of energy supplies. If gasoline prices remain relatively low, then this intersection would be expanded into a grade-separated interchange. But if the era of cheap gas is ending, then traffic also is going to be diminished as expensive oil slows travel demand, and therefore an interchange would not be needed.

The collaborative would better serve the community if it refocused on how to mitigate the effects of the energy and economic crises.

Mark Robinowitz was the primary “road scholar” for the wetlands alternative.

 

on this page - analysis of the WEC report:

Press Release announcing WEC report

For Immediate Release
West Eugene Collaborative to Publish Recommendations for Addressing Traffic and Related Problems in West Eugene

Eugene, OR (March 18, 2009) — The West Eugene Collaborative has developed a set of short-, medium- and long-term recommendations to address transportation, land use and environmental problems in and around west Eugene and will release its report at a press conference:

Friday, March 20, 2009, 10:00 am
American Red Cross, Pacific Chapter
862 Bethel Drive, Eugene, OR 97402

Representatives of the group will discuss the recommendations and answer questions. Copies of the 44-page report will be distributed at the conference. The report will also be made available electronically on the group’s website:

http://www.odrc.state.or.us/WestEugeneForum.php

The 27-member West Eugene Collaborative includes west Eugene business owners, community business leaders, leaders of neighborhood groups, and leaders within the environmental community. The group includes a doctor who practices in Veneta, as well as residents of Elmira, Pleasant Hill, and Cottage Grove. It has experts in transportation and land use planning, development, real estate, construction, and wetlands. The WEC also incorporates elected officials and staff from Eugene, Veneta, Lane County, Lane Transit District, Lane Council of Governments, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The purpose of the West Eugene Collaborative has been to “develop an integrated land use and transportation solution, supported by stakeholders, that will facilitate movement of people and commerce from/through/to west Eugene and west of Eugene while enhancing community, business and the environment.”

For more information, contact:
Jan Wostmann, (541) 485-1394, jw at efn.org
Gary Wildish, (541) 228-6284, gwildish at chambersconstruction.com


 

[note: the West Eugene Collaborative did not include any West Eugene neighborhood groups until after a year of public criticism about the exclusions. Two groups were added after the focus of the "collaborative" had already been determined, but their input was minimal and not particularly welcome. No input was allowed about the global financial crash or the Peak Oil energy crisis, factors that are likely to limit the ability of any government to spend a quarter billion dollars on demolition and reconstruction of West Eugene. It is unfortunate that all of this time and money for this committee was not used instead to look at how to keep social cohesion in the region as the economy unravels, a more urgent task than developing pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking plans for West 11th Avenue.]

 

A Personal Note

"My hardest fight as a performer has been with myself, to be as clear a conduit as possible for what needs to be said. That's the ongoing struggle. Get my ego and my brain out of the way and let this stuff happen."
-- from "mouth that roared: Bruce Cockburn says he's not an activist but a concerned voice", Edmonton Sun, 27 March 2002, by Fish Griwkowsky.

From 1999 through 2006, I was at the core of efforts to prevent the West Eugene Parkway. I participated in committees, led public hikes along the “wrong of way,” wrote articles, did legal research, spoke at hearings, organized public meetings, presented slide shows, and maintained a detailed website. I am probably the only member of the public who has read every iteration of the WEP’s Environmental Impact Statement (1985, 1986, 1990, 1997, draft versions 1999 through 2006).

I was the core organizer of an interdisciplinary effort to develop a practical alternative to the WEP called WETLANDS: West Eugene Transportation, Land and Neighborhood Design Solutions.

These efforts built on a lot of other people’s work, especially the 15 year campaign of Barbara Kelley of Save Our ecoSystems (SOS) to prevent the porkway, including a 1996 lawsuit that forced the Federal Highway Administration to withdrawn their 1990 approval. My technical analyses complimented a broader public education campaign that peaked in November, 2001, when an advisory referendum showed that Eugene was evenly split on the WEP if the full cost and impacts of the project were not considered. (The WEP was a Federal issue not subject to local approval or rejection.)

On June 18, 2001, I got Federal Judge Hogan to promise to recuse himself from the issue, which could have been helpful if the WEP wound up in court (Judge Hogan has a well deserved reputation of hostility to environmental lawsuits). He was the emcee for the “West Eugene Charette”, an intergovernmental meeting of the City, County, State and Federal governments discussing how to keep the failed project alive (the report from the “Charette” was a consensus to cancel the WEP, although that promise was not implemented for several more years). I was not welcome to participate in the Charette, but since the public was allowed to observe I sat in the back and watched -- and asked Judge Hogan about the potential conflict of interest of presiding over an effort to salvage a failed project if the WEP ever was in his courtroom. His response to me was to promise to recuse himself.

Around the time of Hogan’s promised recusal, I found out that ODOT had quietly decided the strongest transportation law no longer applied to the Porkway. Section 4(f) of the 1966 Transportation Act prohibits federal funds for transportation projects built through parks if there is a “prudent and feasible” alternative. 4(f) has probably stopped more stupid roads than any other Federal law, and was an insurmountable obstacle for the WEP, since it would decimate valuable parkland that protected extremely rare natural habitat. ODOT asked the Oregon Department of Justice for a legal opinion to claim that the BLM’s West Eugene Wetlands supposedly did not qualify for 4(f) protection, and then kept this determination partly secret. It was publicly exposed when I called the Project Manager to discuss the status of the pending approval, and while talking about 4(f) I was told that this important law no longer applied. I publicized this attitude, and eventually ODOT and Federal Highway Administration backed down and admitted that 4(f) really did apply. Note that 4(f) is a law that protects public parks, the law applies to parkland that has rare habitat and to parkland that merely has a swing set. The Clean Water Act is the primary law that regulates permissible destruction of wetlands.

My legal analyses and the WETLANDS alternative were privately acknowledged as competent by nearly every government agency involved with the potential approval of the Porkway.

However, this quality work was insufficient to be welcomed into the West Eugene Collaborative, a committee composed of bureaucrats, politicians, business leaders and other elites who tried to design their own alternative to the failed WEP project.

The West Eugene Collaborative report “A New Vision for West Eugene” is the result of two years of committee meetings, subcommittees, contractors, public staff time and numerous drafts. The final report recommends that West 11th be completely reconstructed with local and through lanes along with work on other nearby roads -- which would require demolition of every business currently along the sidewalk.

 

WEC would be more expensive than the West Eugene Porkway

The WEC’s price tag would be between $180 million and $250 million, more than the highest official estimate for the West Eugene Parkway of $169 million. One of the reason why WEP opponents objected to the highway was the tremendous waste of money, since there are simpler, cheaper solutions .

we estimate that investments will range from $180 million to $250 million without adjusting for inflation. While this may come as sticker shock to many, in locally relative terms of the Beltline and I-5 interchange costing about $214 million, the I-5 Willamette Bridge at $180 million, and the new University of Oregon Basketball Arena costing about $250 million, the proposed number seems reasonable.
-- WEC Report, p. 35

In other words, because there are other boondoggles wasting public money throughout the region, it is acceptable for there to be yet another black hole for our resources.
A note: the Beltline / I-5 interchange cost was originally around $100 million. The November 2008 Transportation Vision report from the Governor’s office states that this project is $175 million. Getting accurate cost estimates for these mega-projects seems about as difficult as determining what happened to the financial bailouts of Wall Street firms.

 

No matter how cynical you get ...

I was extremely skeptical of the WEC process from the beginning, especially given the contortions its organizers used to ensure that no one who had publicly opposed all of the WEP would be welcome as participants. An initial concern was that the WEC might be used to provide cover for building the eastern half of the Porkway, since that section did not have the legal problems of the western section (except for the legal requirement to avoid “segmentation” of large destructive projects into smaller pieces to avoid approval of the full impacts). This concern was heightened during the March 2008 “Design Storm” workshop, where WEC members created a map of potential components that included building the eastern half of the West Eugene Parkway.

The March 2009 Final Report does not include building the WEP through Bertelsen Nature Park. Page 20 seems to suggest the possibility of extending Stewart Road westward to Beltline (the quality of the map in the report is too small to be precisely legible). The report is deliberately vague about the details, but the only logical connection for Beltline would be the same location as the proposed WEP / Beltline interchange, and the proposals for aligning cross streets for West 11th Avenue would presumably apply to a new connection to Beltline highway -- which would make a road through Bertelsen Nature Park more likely as part of the WEC proposal. Transferring the ODOT and City owned parcels purchased for the WEP to the BLM for conservation and restoration would prevent this possible revival of part of the Parkway, since including these parcels into the surrounding Bertelsen Nature Park would give them 4(f) protection.

"Groupthink is a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. During groupthink, members of the group avoid promoting viewpoints outside the comfort zone of consensus thinking. A variety of motives for this may exist such as a desire to avoid being seen as foolish, or a desire to avoid embarrassing or angering other members of the group. Groupthink may cause groups to make hasty, irrational decisions, where individual doubts are set aside, for fear of upsetting the group’s balance. The term is frequently used pejoratively, with hindsight."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink

"no matter how cynical you get, it's hard to keep up"
-- Lily Tomlin

Even I, as cynical as I am about government committees and the WEC in particular could not have imagined that the final report would recommend a more expensive proposal than the overpriced WEP.

 

May 2008 letter to the editor - not published by Eugene Weekly

On Tuesday, April 29, I observed the meeting of the “West Eugene Collaborative,” a group of bureaucrats, politicians, Chamber of Commerce members and friends of Mayor Piercy (west Eugene neighborhood groups are not represented).
The “WEC” is supposed to create an alternative to the $200 million West Eugene Parkway, yet WEC’s reports censors mention of the WETLANDS alternative, West Eugene Transportation, Land and Neighborhood Design Solutions.
Part of this meeting discussed building a piece of a Parkway route dismissed in the 1970s.  Another discussion proposed to convert West 11th into a “boulevard” even though there is no room to widen the road between Garfield and Seneca without demolishing existing businesses.
Afterwards, WEC participant Kevin Matthews of Friends of Eugene tried to persuade me that the WEC’s "design storm" map -- which includes the eastern half of the WEP through Bertelsen Nature Park -- is only part of a strategy to show it is not a good idea.  However, this is unnecessary: in 1997, the Federal Highway Administration and ODOT admitted that building half of the WEP would be twice as illegal due to laws prohibiting "segmentation."
A disclaimer: In 2002, I was kicked off a Friends of Eugene funded committee by Mary O’Brien and Rob Handy for objecting to promotion of the eastern half and a new, worse route west of Beltline. Their proposal would have undermined a federal lawsuit to stop WEP.
The public money spent on WEC for their year of meetings could have been spent on a traffic light at Fifth and Seneca, the City’s top priority for a new light (rush hour traffic is clogged by stop signs).  The WEC’s map of transportation solutions ignored the City’s priority list.
Greenwash works because environmental rhetoric gets more attention than efforts to see if claims are matched by actions.

Mark Robinowitz

 

Crandall Arambula: why most WEP opponents were not welcome at WEC

In the summer of 2002, a group of WEP opponents approached Portland architecture firm Crandall-Arambula to help flesh out suggestions for the WEP alternative. This good intention quickly morphed into a political disaster for WEP opponents. While the principle in this firm had ties to 1000 Friends of Oregon, the firm was also working for real estate speculator John Musumeci on his plan to relocate Sacred Heart hospital to the McKenzie River floodplain (something that was kept secret from the WEP opponents).

Despite several excellent briefings, the firm (Crandall Arambula) chose to ignore the stated position of the group of opponents, and developed a series of different designs for a new option for the WEP. They had been tasked to help illustrate an alternative TO the highway, not an alternative route of the highway. The first round suggested a "half WEP" option that had already been rejected through the Environmental Impact Statement process as twice as illegal (federal law prohibits this sort of "segmentation" of approving roads). A subsequent redesign crafted a WEP route with nearly twice as much mileage as the option that ODOT was promoting. It is hard to believe, but this new option would have had more ecological and social impacts that the version "we" were supposedly trying to stop. (This new option would have paved over more acres of wetlands, cost more, clearcut more forests and would have gone through the Royal Blue Organic blueberry farm.)

The reason to cite all of this history is that the WEP opponents who opposed this disaster were shut out of this process. The one input that we were allowed to have was to point out that the Crandall Arambula team had proposed replacing a cemetery with a commercial shopping "development" -- that proposal was quietly removed just before publication, which is proof of their incompetence and refusal to look at any maps of the area to see what was in the path of their proposal. If the promoters of the WEP had tried to create an "alternative" to the WEP that was deliberately designed to undermine the pro-environment side in federal court, they would not have been able to craft a version worse than the Crandall Arambula option.

At least our split on the West Eugene Parkway happened before we got to federal court, since if the "Crandall Arambula" proposal had been adopted by the plaintiffs (the environmentalists) while sueing the Federal Highway Administration, an attorney would have to stop their representation since the positions of Mary O'Brien, Rob Zako and Rob Handy in promoting the worse WEP version "Crandall Arambula" were completely incompatible with the opposition to building any part of the WEP that many of the other WEP opponents had.

The only “WEP opponents” and “environmentalists” allowed on the Collaborative are those who either supported the Crandall Arambula report, or those who did not publicly oppose it.

a review of the their alternative indicates that the impacts on the environment are likely to be greater than those anticipated with the construction of the WEP. Even the ever-vigilant Mark Robinowitz says the C/A Alternative would pave more wetlands and cut more forests than the West Eugene Parkway.
-- letter from Robert Pirrie, ODOT Area Manager to Mayor Jim Torrey, October 3, 2002

The surreal details of the Crandall Arambula report, including maps, are listed at
www.sustaineugene.com/crandall.html

 

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others

John Huyler of the Osprey Group, the lead contractor for the WEC, told me that it was very well presented when he interviewed me as part of a community scoping process to determine the feasibility for the WEC. However, that interview happened only after complaints from numerous community members that some voices were being vindictively excluded and after Mr. Huyler had already written his report about the WEC’s feasibility.

Before the WEC had its first meeting, Mary O’Brien, the core catalyst for creation of the WEC, told me that the WETLANDS alternative had “brilliant” analysis. But I guess I’ll never be forgiven for being right about the Crandall Arambula worse version of the WEP, so I won’t be welcome at these sort of planning meetings. A number of long time observers of environmental policy privately told me that it was actually an honor to be banned from participation -- it meant I didn’t have to attend a lot of boring meetings. As Groucho Marx said, I wouldn’t want to be part of a group that would have me as part of it.

Before he left California to take over the Wilderness Society, photographer and lifelong environmental activist Ansel Adams, who knew most of the players well, had warned him: 'You're about to go work with the biggest egos on the planet. They don't get paid much so the drive is ego, and the righteousness is self-righteousness,' Adams added, 'the worst kind.' Turnage says Adams foreboding proved accurate. 'I've never seen so much territoriality and rivalry. Some rivalry is healthy, but this was counterproductive." There were, however, some good meetings, 'although the organizations' staffs disliked each other so immensely it was hard to get them to collaborate on anything we decided to do together.'
-- Mark Dowie, Losing Ground: American Environmentalism at the Close of the Twentieth Century, p. 69-70

I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;" who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from the Birmingham Jail",
1963

 

Mayor Kitty Piercy and Mary O’Brien did not want broader input

[WEC] Inviting select people to join us in our "design storming"?
Pat_Johnston at blm.gov Pat_Johnston at blm.gov
Thu Feb 21 12:35:35 PST 2008

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Dear Rob,

I believe we agreed at our LUT-WEC meeting yesterday to limit the
invitations and not add too many people to the Design Storming activity. I
believe the group was comfortable and had the capacity to add a maximum of
6 people. In particular, we discussed inviting Pete Sorenson, Bonny
Bettman and Mark Robinowitz. The primary concern was to invite people who
might torpedo the project, specific elected officials that have voiced
concern, and under-represented groups that should be brought in at this
juncture, such as neighborhood groups.
I also think that the we didn't
think it appropriate to invite Clayton Walker at this time.

Sincerely,

Pat Johnston

 

Rob Zako 02/21/2008 11:44
Subject [WEC] Inviting select people to join us in our "design storming"?

Dear West Eugene Collaborative friends,

Yesterday, the Land Use and Transportation Committee discussed recruiting
“design scribes” and other details in preparation for our March 13-15
“design storming” meeting. We also began discussing possible next steps,
including when and how to best involved the larger public.

Out of this discussion came a specific suggestion to invite select people
to join us in our “design storming” activities on March 13-15. These could
include:

former members of the WEC
interested elected officials
representatives of stakeholder groups that are underrepresented on
the WEC
people who might try to “torpedo” any agreements we might reach

Please note that the suggestion is NOT to expand the membership of the WEC,
nor to extend a general invitation to the public, but rather to invite
select people on a one-time basis to participate in this critical activity.

We talked quite a bit about the importance of involving especially skeptics
in our work early before we have formed any clear ideas, rather than later
when it would be easier for them to be critical and to complain that they
did not have an opportunity to be involved. Note that insofar as the
“design storming” activity is intended to expand our list of possible
solution elements, more participants and points of view are better
(within
reason). Also note that the “design storming” activity is explicitly set up
to be non-critical: We are not asking anyone what they don’t like but
rather to suggest their constructive ideas. Such an activity could serve
well to diffuse some existing skepticism, even antagonism, around our work.

In particular, we could invite the following people:
Ed Durkee
Ric Ingham
Anita Johnson
Charles Snyder (or Illona Koleszar)
Bonny Bettman
Betty Taylor
Bill Fleenor
Bobby Green
Pete Sorenson
Clayton Walker
other representatives from neighborhoods along West 11th
Mark Robinowitz

(Note: The above list is somewhat expanded from the specific people the LUT
Committee discussed, and is intended merely to be suggestive.)

I am writing to the full WEC now in the interest of time, and will leave it
to John and Dennis to help us all decide if we want to pursue this
suggestion and, if so, who specifically to invite.

Thanks,
Rob Z
_______________________________________________
wec mailing list
wec at westeugenecollaborative.org
http://www.designcommunity.com/mailman/listinfo/wec

 

www.designcommunity.com/pipermail/wec/2008-March/000110.html
[WEC] Tomorrow's agenda
Don Kahle
Fri Mar 14 15:56:24 PDT 2008
I agree with Jan's suggestion and appreciate his attention to the matter.
On a separate topic, if we are confident that our editing of choices will be robust and our process thus far has been to get as many choices as possible on the table, is there any downside to adding Mark Robinowitz's WETLANDS proposal to the mix at this point "in toto" -- as if he and his collaborators were a fourth group yesterday? Or are we hoping that our year together has prompted us to self-censor our proposals? (Maybe that's legitimate -- I don't know.)
I don't really know the answer to my question. I fear one way we might be dismissed down the road could be that we failed to propose and then evaluate an "outside" solution with the same rigor as we used for our own designs.
Just a thought. See y'all tomorrow.
dk

[WEC] Agree: Not Inviting select people to join us in our "designstorming"
Mary O'Brien mob at uoregon.edu
Thu Feb 21 17:24:44 PST 2008

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Am convinced by Kitty and Jack. No invites to design storming.

Mary

At 04:40 PM 2/21/2008, PIERCY Kitty wrote:
>Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
>Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
>boundary="----_=_NextPart_001_01C874EB.830EDC95"
>
>Dear all,
>I believe it is nigh impossible for the WEC to deliberate this
>question about who to invite to the design storming when they do not
>have a meeting in which to deliberate prior to the design storming.
>I think this is a decision of such consequence that it should not be
>made in this fashion.
>
>I understand the intention. I applaud the desire to engage possible
>allies. I applaud the desire to think out into the future. I thank
>the committee for their work.
>
>However, committees are not decision makers. The WEC makes the
>decisions. The WEC cannot make the decision of who to invite on the
>day the invited would be expected to come. This is not doable.
>
>This collaborative will hold together only if we keep everyone at
>the table and are rigorous about how and when decisions are
>made. This is one of those moments.
>
>I give you my thanks and my best advice, don't add people now. If
>you want to figure out how to get some of these folks into the mix,
>bring that to the entire WEC.
>
>Thanks for listening. Kitty
>
>Join me in the Mayor's Climate Challenge! - sustaineugene.com
>
>
>
>----------
>From: wec at westeugenecollaborative.org
>[mailto:wec at westeugenecollaborative.org] On Behalf Of Rob Zako
>Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:54 PM
>To: West Eugene Collaborative
>Subject: Re: [WEC] Inviting select people to join us in our "designstorming"?
>
>Dear fellow WEC members,
>
>In case it isn't clear, the suggestion is NOT to invite new
>permanent members into the WEC.
>
>Rather the suggestion is to invite some select voices one time only
>to the March 13-15 meeting to add their brainstorming ideas for
>solutions to those we generate.
>
>I believe this suggestion was generally supported by those at the
>Land Use/Transportation Committee yesterday: Kevin Matthews, Larry
>Reed. Ed Moore, Rick Duncan, Gary Wildish, Pat Johnston, Rob
>Inerfeld, Sue Wolling, Rob Zako, and intern Christo Brehm. Emily
>Proudfoot and Mary O'Brien also participated in the meeting, but had
>to leave before this particular discussion item.
>
>Also, the list of particular names is intended to be suggestive. The
>Land Use and Transportatioon Committee did NOT agree to a specific
>recommended list of people to invite or not, although we did discuss
>the pros and cons of inviting particular individuals. That said,
>Pat's memory of the people we talked about inviting generally
>matches mine. In any case, it would be up to the WEC as a whole to
>decide who to invite or not invite, if anyone.
>
>Thus I think there are two questions:
>
> 1) Is the general idea of inviting non-members to participate
> in the March 13-15 "design storming" activity a good one?
>
> 2) If so, who specifically should be invited?
>
>Thanks,
>Rob Z
>_______________________________________________
>wec mailing list
>wec at westeugenecollaborative.org
>http://www.designcommunity.com/mailman/listinfo/wec

 

Two Flavors of Elites (Liberal / Conservative), but who’s from West Eugene?

The "WEC" is a committee set up in 2007 ostensibly to look at solutions to West Eugene traffic and land use issues. It is composed of friends of Mayor Kitty Piercy, selected business elites, some governmental staff and elected officials (City, County, State, BLM). The Osprey Group consultants are the facilitators of their meetings. No neighborhood associations from west Eugene are participants, and no environmentalists who opposed the Crandall Arambula worse version of the WEP were allowed to participate.
After over a year of criticism about the exclusive nature of the WEC, which several participants privately told this writer that they agreed it was an omission, in September 2008 two of the neighborhood organizations were allowed to join the Collaborators for their final meetings after all of the main decisions had been made.

Most of the WEC participants live east of Chambers Street, and the largest concentration live near Hendricks Park, on the opposite side of town from west Eugene. While none of these participants should be excluded due to geography, since the issues involved impact the whole metropolitan area, it would have been polite to invite Eugene’s 8 neighborhood organizations to participate from the start. Several WEC participants privately agreed that the guest list was too exclusive, but these private opinions did not result in constructive change for inclusiveness.

Inviting friends of the Mayor plus members of the Chamber of Commerce is not the same thing as involving a diverse range of opinions and expertise -- especially since none of the participants seemed to have much interest in the energy issues that will define the ability of any projects to be built as we pass the point of Peak Oil.

 

Eminent Domain

The WEC report does not mention the issue of Eminent Domain, which would be needed to build most of the West 11th “Boulevard.” Most of West 11th Avenue is already built out to the maximum right of way, so there is no room for local lanes, a Bus Rapid Transit line or any other expansion of the road’s cross section.

It is difficult to understand how a group of seasoned political operatives, government planners and elected officials failed to even hint that dozens of existing businesses would probably need to be removed for their recommended reconfigurations. This would be more disruptive than the shifts proposed by the WEP. If they really believe that these relocations are worthwhile, they should be willing to admit that they would be necessary.

 

Big Boxes and Land abUse

The WEC report has nice boilerplate language about the eventual construction of mixed use development along West 11th, with a goal of 10,000 residential units along this route. However, during the two years of these meetings, the City of Eugene chose not to take actions to make this goal easier to accomplish.

Numerous cities across the country have passed laws to restrict or prohibit excessively large big box stores that suck economic vitality away from local business. A law in Hood River, OR was upheld by the Oregon Supreme Court, paving the way for other Oregon cities to take action. Unfortunately, Eugene has declined to take this sort of step, apparently hoping that claiming to be the “world’s greatest city” and America’s greenest city would be a substitute from passing laws that would give these public relations slogans some enforcement powers.

During the years of WEC committee meetings, the City allowed Office Depot and Lowe’s to open along West 11th, eliminating these areas as potential mixed used developments. Office Depot and the adjacent Applebee’s franchises were built directly along the sidewalk, precluding future “boulevard” widening of West 11th if eminent domain is not to be used.

One of the many wasteful practices of the failed paradigm of suburban sprawl is the assumption that buildings can be quickly built and then torn down to be replaced with another ugly structure. This “recombinant architecture” assumes endless natural resources to build temporary buildings. This attitude is running into the finite limits of quality lumber, increasingly expensive energy inputs for concrete and steel manufacture.

 

Financial Crash? Peak Oil? What’s that?

During the WEC meetings, the ease of getting financial capital got much more difficult, but there is no mention of this problem in the WEC report. Perhaps WEC members are correct in presuming that the crisis is merely a temporary, cyclical recession that will ease with the application of correct monetary policies, but there is a sizable body of evidence that the global financial crash is a permanent condition.

www.kunstler.com/mags_diary23.html
February 11, 2008
James Howard Kunstler, Burning Down the House
“This is not so much financial bad weather as financial climate change”

The only hint about Peak Oil in the WEC report is from the following section:

In terms of traditional air pollutants, the southern Willamette Valley does not stand out as a “hotspot.” Yet people are increasingly concerned about the emission of greenhouse gases that many scientists link to climate change. While some remain skeptical about the causes or consequences of climate change, nearly everyone has had to deal with the instability of gasoline prices. Most agree it makes sense to reduce our dependence on oil.
-- WEC Report, p. 14

First, Eugene is heavily polluted with industrial emissions that concentrate here at the southern end of the valley, especially during the dry summer. We are a non-attainment zone for particulates, and our air is also full of formaldehyde from plywood manufacture and many other poisons that are detrimental to health. Our famous and notorious grass seed industry generates obscene amount of pollen allergens in the spring and vast clouds of smoke in the summer. Timber companies are still allowed to spray 2,4-D (Agent Orange) from helicopters in the hills around Eugene, including in the McKenzie River valley, where Eugene’s drinking water originates.

This weak mention of climate change bypasses how stable climate patterns are needed for large scale agriculture. It is also possible that the Willamette Valley will see continued increases in climate refugees from other parts of the country, especially desert regions such as Las Vegas, Phoenix and southern California -- that is the only “growth” that seems realistic to plan for. Feeding the current population, whether or not we have climate refugees, should have been the top priority for the WEC, not how to draw up an architectural wish list to spend a quarter billion dollars that does not exist.

 

The most important question facing the human race is how we respond to the interconnected crises of Peak Oil, Climate Change, overpopulation, and resource conflicts.

How we use the remaining oil will determine what the “post carbon” society will be:

The global crises of the end of cheap oil and the start of climate change require global levels of solutions (relocalize everywhere). We are not merely at peak oil, we are at peak technology, peak money, peak communication. Real solutions would require us to redirect the energy, talents, resources of global capitalism, the military industrial complex, universities, media and other pillars of our society.

We have enough resources and talent to shift civilization to create a peaceful world that might be able to gracefully cope with the end of concentrated fossil fuels, or to create a global police state to control populations as the resources decline. We don't have the ability to have a peaceful world while embarking on a World War over the last of the fossil fuels that power civilization.

This is a simple question that has a complicated answer - since these decisions were not made democratically. Understanding why civilization did not respond to the warnings of resource depletion decades ago is needed if a shift toward sanity is still possible at this late date.

We are not "addicted" to oil -- the modern world is completely dependent upon it for our industrial agriculture systems, our transportation networks, and the global economy. Addictions are things you can give up -- but oil runs our civilization.

Peak oil, minerals depletion, deforestation, depletion of fisheries, soil degradation, toxic and nuclear waste, declining per capita food production, desertification, climate change, ultraviolet radiation increases, overpopulation, declining natural gas extraction, the limits to growth on the electric grid and other "critical infrastructure" -- these and many other facets of our overload on the planet are natural limitations on the cancer-like endless growth of industrial civilization.

 

All civilizations are ultimately dependent on natural resources.

We are dependent on oil for our civilization to function - it is not an "addiction."

If we stop using fossil fuels our industrial civilization will collapse and the ensuing chaos could lead to global wars that would wreck the biosphere. If we continue to use fossil fuels, the pollution will continue to foul the world and create more resource conflicts. Damned if we do, damned if we don't. Solving these problems is the greatest challenge ever faced by our species.

There is a possible, positive future after Peak Oil, but the blind faith in technological exuberance is not going to get our society to make the substantial shifts to relocalize production, live much more simply, and take responsibility for our bioregions.

 

Peak Traffic:
The Achilles Heel of Highway Expansion Plans

As the world passes the peak of global petroleum production, gasoline prices are likely to increase to the point that traffic demands on roads will be reduced. While it is impossible to accurately predict the price of fossil fuels five, ten, or twenty years in the future, it will be surprising if gasoline is not rationed on the downslope of the Peak Oil curve (either directly by ration cards or indirectly by pricing it out of reach of many who currently consume it). US federal transportation law requires that new federal-aid highway projects consider the traffic demand twenty years in the future -- so the reality of Peak Oil and climate change means that the continent wide rush to build more bypasses, wider bridges, Outer Beltways and NAFTA Superhighways will not be needed.

The WEC believes that within five years, traffic congestion on and along West 11th Avenue will be reduced if the short-term recommendations are implemented.
-- WEC Report, p. 39

It is likely that within five years - in 2014 - traffic congestion everywhere will be reduced no matter what recommendations are implemented. Peak Oil will be even harder to ignore half a decade from now, since the impact of the decline of the supergiant oil fields (Cantarell in Mexico, Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, the Arabian / Persian Gulf) will accelerate oil price volatility, with associated financial chaos.

For more detail about Peak Traffic and its impact on transportation planning, please visit www.road-scholar.org

 

WETLANDS Alternative recommendations

The WETLANDS alternative is detailed at
www.greeenwasheugene.org/wetlands.html

Here are a few of the highlights:

In 2002, the WETLANDS alternative proposed two options based on whether Peak Oil was here or near. If Peak Oil was imminent, then there would be no need to widen Beltline to four lanes between Roosevelt and West 11th (which was approved in a 1995 Environmental Assessment). Peak Oil means Peak Traffic, and also likely trigger a crash of the financial system based on exponential growth and compound interest (as happened in 2008). This more modest option would still be able to add turn lanes at West 11th and Beltline, along with other safety and efficiency upgrades. But if Peak Oil would still be a number of years in the future, then traffic levels on Beltline would require the “Phase 3” upgrade (four lanes), with the proposed WEP interchange moved to Roosevelt Blvd.

For West 11th Avenue, fixing the most congested intersections would probably require adding a few turn lanes, a cheap and effective way to speed up through travel and separate turning movements from higher speed cars. One ODOT official privately estimated a few years ago that this would cost about $2 million -- roughly the amount that ODOT spent to “study” the Porkway after they agreed to cancel it at the June 2001 West Eugene Charette. Some very minor property acquisition would be required in a few places, although no buildings would probably need to be demolished. This would not be as fancy as a “multi-way” boulevard but it would be possible to build it quickly, without the need to pay consultants for endless studies (perhaps the reason why the consultants don’t push for its implementation). The money could have been diverted from the $17 million that was reallocated away from the WEP after the Federal Highway Administration canceled the highway in 2007. $2 million for a complex transportation project is very cheap. it is very interesting that the City has shown so little interest in actually building any turn lanes, perhaps if they hold more committee meetings to discuss why they are a good idea somehow these additions will materialize in the roadway.

The recent construction of a coffeeshop on the northwest corner of 11th and Chambers shows that the City planners did not consider the need for turn lanes on busy streets when granting construction permits.

The WEC report does suggest they looked at the possibility of extending First street from Seneca to Highway 99, which was part of the WETLANDS alternative. WETLANDS further recommends that this connector be extended to Second and Garfield.

The relocation of the EWEB maintenance yard and headquarters to the West Eugene Wetlands will increase Roosevelt Blvd. traffic and reduce employment in the downtown core. This relocation is also a means of facilitating the further spread of Eugene beyond the current Urban Growth Boundary, since building new subdivisions would require new substations and other electrical work. EWEB’s future substation on Green Hill Road just south of the CORP train tracks suggests plans for this future UGB expansion.

The WETLANDS alternative never had a professional land use or transportation review of its recommendations. However, several experts at various levels of government did provide critical input and feedback. There were even planners who are pro-WEP who made constructive criticism that made the alternative stronger.

Curiously, none of the WEC participants ever chose to provide any input into the WETLANDS process. It is likely that most are aware of its existence, and some have even privately made compliments, although never in public and certainly not in the official reports from the West Eugene Collaborative and its Osprey Group consultant.

At the start of the WETLANDS alternative, two of the WEC participants (Deborah Noble and John Allcott) offered $1,000 and $4,000, respectively, toward having a professional land use analysis on WETLANDS. But these offers were withdrawn in favor of a fruitless series of professional mediation sessions between Mary O’Brien and myself, among others -- sessions that never provided an answer to the question “why did they propose a much worse version of the WEP and then exclude those who didn’t want to build a worse WEP from their process?”

 

Psychology of Denial

George Orwell wrote a short story about watching a man in Burma being led to the gallows -- who walked around a puddle to avoid getting his shoes wet as he was about to be executed. This parable about denial suggests that severe crises are often difficult to accept psychologically.

Similarly, the WEC report recommending a quarter billion dollars for an overpriced boulevard on what is probably Eugene’s ugliest street is symptomatic of extreme denial about the reality of the financial meltdown triggered by Peak Oil.

I hope that future efforts to “bring the community together” will focus on tangible needs that we are likely to have on the downslope of Peak Oil -- food, shelter, education, local currency -- and that a diverse range of voices will be welcome, rich and poor, Democrat / Republican / Green / Libertarian, town and gown, neighborhood organizations, and even people who aren’t schmoozers with politicians and bureaucrats.

 


 

The "WEC" is a committee set up in 2007 ostensibly to look at solutions to West Eugene traffic and land use issues. It is composed of friends of Mayor Kitty Piercy, selected business elites, some governmental staff and elected officials (City, County, State, BLM). The Osprey Group consultants are the facilitators of their meetings. No neighborhood associations from west Eugene are participants, and no environmentalists who opposed the Crandall Arambula worse version of the WEP were allowed to participate.

After over a year of criticism about the exclusive nature of the WEC, which several participants privately told this writer that they agreed it was an omission, in September 2008 two of the neighborhood organizations were allowed to join the Collaborators for their final meetings. Perhaps in another few years the rest of the West Eugene neighborhood organizations will be allowed to participate, too.

see the map prepared by the Collaborators at:

http://wiki.eugeneneighbors.org/w/images/d/da/WEC_design_storming_map-focus_area-combined-200801315b.jpg

"transit on WEP route"

The graphic is hard to read, and certainly not a final proposal, but looks like some people didn't learn from previous mistakes.

Crandall Arambula was the 2002 proposal to reroute the WEP and build 10 1/2 miles of roadway (ODOT wanted 5 1/2 miles). It would have gone through more wetlands, more forest, farms, homes and would have cost more than ODOT's version. Federal highway law prohibits building federal aid transportation projects through parks if there is a "prudent and feasible" alternative, and requires that the least damaging alternative be selected if parkland is involved. Offering an alleged alternative with greater damage merely makes one look stupid in court, it does not help prevent anything other than sanity.

No wonder that Kitty Piercy refused to protect the City of Eugene owned properties as parkland now the WEP is supposedly dead, since that protection would also block a federally funded bus route through parklands, as shown on the map of the "collaborators."

It is not a surprise that the West Eugene Collaborators didn't want anyone in their clique who actively opposed the 2002 effort to sell out the WEP campaign, since there would be vocal opposition to paving an express bus route through the wetlands (which makes no ecological or transportation sense).

It seems likely that rising oil prices are going to make these sorts of endless planning processes moot in the near future. The money wasted on the Collaborators would be better spent thinking about how the region will cope with oil rationing and other emergencies caused by the end of cheap oil.

 

West Eugene Collaborators webpages

http://wiki.eugeneneighbors.org/wiki/West_Eugene_Collaborative
page maintained by Kevin Matthews, Friends of Eugene, about the WEC
(Friends of Eugene is the only environmental group that was allowed to be part of the WEC)

www.odrc.state.or.us/WestEugeneForum.php
West Eugene Collaborative
Purpose Statement:
Develop an integrated land use and transportation solution supported by stakeholders that will facilitate movement of people and commerce from/through/to west Eugene and west of Eugene while enhancing community, business and the environment.

"Stakeholder" is a public relations term that is a substitute for "citizen," technically, a "stakeholder" is a person who holds the "stakes" (bets) of a gambler in a casino. Perhaps it is a subtle way to acknowledge that citizens who participate in these sort of governmental planning processes are gambling that their concerns might be taken seriously.

There is no definition of who constitutes an interest group (or "stakeholder" or "survey stake holder"). If it only refers to the membership of the WEC, then it excludes the neighborhood organizations of West Eugene (groups officially recognized by the City of Eugene). There does not seem to be any interest at the WEC in addressing the serious energy crises that Peak Oil is going to have on the region's functioning - planning how to build more roads and/or bus lines without looking at energy shortages is an enormous missed opportunity.

The only groups represented at WEC that have membership beyond a handful of people are all pro-WEP business interests. There is no grassroots community or environmental representation.

 

WEC Members: two flavors of elites

www.designcommunity.com/pipermail/wec/2007-October/000026.html

PIERCY Kitty Kitty.PIERCY at ci.eugene.or.us
Tue Oct 9 09:39:37 PDT 2007

The council last night supported both staff and funding of $40,000 for the WEC. The vote 6-2, with Bonny and Betty as no votes. Bonny wanted a designated railroad advocate on the WEC before saying yes. She once again stated that the WEC was just the same old people, not enough environmental activists, too agency heavy, not balanced, not accountable, not enough detail re workplan, and so forth. Betty just agreed to support Bonny. Everyone is interested in regular check-ins and benchmarks.

Kitty Piercy
Mayor


http://wiki.eugeneneighbors.org/wiki/WEC_members
has a complete list of WEC members

WEC members - April 2008

33 members total, including:
13 government members (10 are unelected bureaucrats, 3 are elected officials)
4 "facilitators" who work for government
4 "community" representatives who don't live in west Eugene
5 representatives listed as "environment," but none represent any grassroots efforts with significant membership (and two promoted building Crandall Arambula worse version of the WEP)

 

Allcott, John Preferred Futures Environment
anti-WEP, "Preferred Futures" is a project of Dr. Allcott, no website or other material seems to be available
In 2002 Dr. Allcott offered $4,000 to have the WETLANDS alternative professionally analyzed but that offer was withdrawn and subsequently forgotten after Mary O'Brien found out about it.
Shortly after this withdrawal, a series of private mediation sessions were held at Dr. Allcott's home between anti-WEP activists and those who had promoted the Crandall Arambula worse version of the WEP (Mary O'Brien, Rob Zako, Rob Handy). These took place several times throughout the fall of 2002, but none of these professionally mediated sessions resulted in any explanations as to why the sponsors of the worse WEP version sabotaged a group agreement to oppose the highway and had publicly proclaimed support for an option that violated basic common sense (especially since their proposal would have gone through the Royal Blue Organic blueberry farm, owned by friends and colleagues of Ms. O'Brien). You can't make this stuff up if you try.
A year later, Dr. Allcott asked Mark Robinowitz to volunteer time and energy to help a friend of his (who he was presumably paying) to examine how to build commercial facilities in the Union Pacific railyards should they ever be abandoned by the railroad (an action that Dr. Allcott claimed would somehow prevent the WEP from being built). Dr. Allcott also suggested that he was interested in a fundraising campaign to protect wetlands from the WEP, and was surprised to learn that nearly all of the natural areas directly threatened by highway construction were already in the public domain, so the fundraising campaign would not be required to protect these parklands from pavement.
Medicine and political / legal action require different skills -- being good at one does not automatically mean that one is expert at the other.

Ban, Susan social justice Community
appointed to the LTD board by the State legislature

Bellows, Scott Dispute Resolutions Facilitator

Crinklaw, Rick Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce Business
Mr. Crinklaw is the manager of the Lane Electric Co-op

Donald, Dennis The Osprey Group Facilitator
paid consultant to the WEC

Duncan, Rick Eugene Planning Commission Business

Gardner, Lisa Eugene Planning Government

Gaydos, Gerry Lane Transit District Board of Directors Government
pro-WEP

Hallmark, Elaine Oregon Consensus Program Facilitator
state government

Huyler, John The Osprey Group Facilitator
paid consultant to the WEC

Inerfeld, Rob Eugene Public Works Government

Ingham, Ric City of Veneta Government

Johnston, Pat West Eugene Wetlands Partnership Environment
actually "Government" (Ms. Johnston works for the BLM)

Kahle, Don at-large Community
pro-WEP (wrote an op-ed for the Register Guard recommending a four lane WEP plus an express bus lane), no known representation of any "community" interests

Mahaffie, Bill USF Reddaway Business
trucking company

Matthews, Kevin Friends of Eugene Environment
Friends of Eugene is the only environmental organization representated at the WEC. It has a small board and little (if any) membership. Disclaimer: Mark Robinowitz was kicked off a legal committee examining WEP issues that was paid for through Friends of Eugene after opposing initial plans for the Crandall Arambula worse version of the WEP.

Moore, Ed Oregon Dept. of Land Conservation and Development Government

Noble, Deborah at-large Environment
treasurer of Friends of Eugene, major donor to Mayor Piercy's election campaigns and other liberal causes (the Register Guard states she donates more to liberal political campaigns than anyone else in Eugene)

O'Brien, Mary at-large Environment
primary instigator of the collaborative, primary promoter of Crandall Arambula worse version of the WEP

Piercy, Kitty Eugene Mayor Government

Proudfoot, Emily Eugene Public Works Government

Pryor, Chris Eugene City Council Government
pro-WEP

Reed, Larry transportation planning Business
pro-WEP

Rexius, Rusty west Eugene business owner Business
formerly pro-WEP, is not now - his "Rexius" business markets itself as "sustainable solutions" yet emits vast amounts of dust into west Eugene's air and has a large fleet of delivery trucks (using a blend of petroleum diesel and biodiesel is not "sustainable")

Roberts, Jack Lane Metro Partnership Business
a quasi governmental entity that is somewhere in-between government and business

Schwetz, Tom Lane Transit District Government

Snowden, Ollie Lane County Public Works Government

Stewart, Faye Lane County Commission Government
family's money comes from clearcutting old growth forests

Thompson, Paul Lane Council of Governments Government

Welsh, Jim Eugene Association of Realtors Business

Wildish, Gary Chambers Construction Business
builds roads

Wolling, Sue alternative modes of transportation Community

Wostmann, Jan Neighborhood Leaders Council Community
only neighborhood group representation, lives in the easternmost section of Eugene (Laurel Hill)

Zako, Rob at-large Environment
primary creator of Crandall Arambula worse WEP alternative, defended it after other supporters had withdrawn their support for it, not a representative of any "environment" interests.

 

City of Eugene Neighborhood Groups were excluded

There are eight neighborhood organizations -- officially recognized by the City of Eugene -- that are in the area of west Eugene that the "Collaborative" is looking at for road, transit and zoning changes. None of them were invited to be part of the WEC, although after a year of criticism about this exclusion the WEC may be willing to consider a more inclusionary approach.

Active Bethel Citizens, Churchill Area Neighbors, Far West Neighborhood Association, Jefferson Westside Neighbors, River Road Community Organization, Trainsong Neighbors, West Eugene Neighborhood Association, and Whiteaker Community Council would all be directly impacted by any WEC decisions that become adopted policies.

A co-chair of the Neighborhood Leaders Council is part of the WEC, but he lives in the easternmost part of the City. One of the other neighborhood associations has told this writer that he has not provided detailed feedback (or requested detailed input) about what the WEC is doing. While these issues are city wide and regional in their scope, excluding west Eugene citizens from this process suggests either gross incompetence or a duplicitous agenda -- neither of which are acceptable or democratic.


www.designcommunity.com/pipermail/wec/2008-February/000085.html

[WEC] Inviting select people to join us in our 'design storming'?

Jan Wostmann
Thu Feb 21 13:26:03 PST 2008

There seems to be some agreement about involving neighborhood associations. I think this is important because, with the departure of Charles Snyder, there are no representative of any of the neighborhood associations in the W 11th corridor. Here is contact information for the leaders of each of the neighborhood associations in that part of town, for consideration by the committee.

[note: this message only referenced four of the eight directly impacted neighborhood organizations, but even those four were not invited to participate. In addition, Mr. Snyder lived west of downtown but was not put on the WEC to represent his neighborhood's association.]


[note: the City of Eugene's website generates excessively long web links to reference important pages. Before the website was overhauled by the last set of consultants, weblinks on the City's website were short and easy to remember.]

www.eugene-or.gov/portal/server.pt?
space=CommunityPage&control=SetCommunity&CommunityID=230&PageID=368

This site provides information on the 19 Neighborhood Associations and 2 business organizations recognized by the 1976 "Eugene Neighborhood Organization Recognition Policy," which states; "The City of Eugene recognizes that public participation through neighborhood organizations can produce benefits for the general health, welfare, and pride of the total community."

In May 1999, the Eugene City Council adopted the following mission statement for Neighborhood Associations:

Our mission is to build community at the neighborhood level and improve the livability of the City's neighborhoods. Neighborhood Associations do this by:

Sponsoring neighborhood improvement projects and social events;
Providing a forum to identify, discuss, and resolve neighborhood issues;
Establishing two-way communication between neighborhoods and the City, and between neighborhoods and other external agencies;
Educating neighbors on issues, public process, City services, and elections, and;
Identifying and advocating the Neighborhood Association's position on issues such as land use, transportation, public safety, and social services.

Neighborhood Association Overview

Active Bethel Citizens
Amazon Neighbors Association
Cal Young Neighborhood Association
Churchill Area Neighbors
Crest Drive Citizens Association
Downtown Neighborhood Association
Fairmount Neighbors
Far West Neighborhood Association
Friendly Area Neighbors
Harlow Neighbors
Industrial Corridor Community Organization
Jefferson Westside Neighbors
Laurel Hill Valley Citizens
River Road Community Organization
Santa Clara Community Organization
South University Neighborhood Organization
Southeast Neighbors
Trainsong Neighbors
West Eugene Neighborhood Association

West University Neighbors
Whiteaker Community Council

 

note: organizations highlighted in bold are in areas under consideration by the WEC but not invited to participate in the discussions

 

West Eugene Forum