Great hearing tonight, team Eugene!

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Great hearing tonight, team Eugene!

Postby Kevin » Tue Mar 14, 2006 5:16 am

Some 200 people in attendance, 97 signed up to testify on the Whole Foods Garage Giveaway proposal.

I was very proud of our community's great participation in a short notice, extremely technical set of combined public hearings.

A couple of tough older architects made significant statements about how a parking garage does not make a good gateway to downtown, and is not the way to create and celebrate a great street.

I was embarassed for a trio of younger architects <!-- , especially two who tried to conceal their profession while testifying, apparently to avoid tipping off the city council that they are integral members of the development community -- and who at the same time made essentially false statements --> who made statements, not supported by the plan as I read it, that this bogus garage is in the Downtown Plan, and that not to build it would be a failure of planning.

<!-- I doubt they have actually read the plan, if they can say such a thing ('cause it just ain't in there!). But it makes me sad for the profound levels of their professional integrity, knowing that each is a proud and hard working architect, yet apparently feels a need to suck up to the ruling families with strongly delivered yet ultimately decitful, or at best ignorant, public testimony. -->

No such conflicts for the 80 or 90 percent of the people who testified against the benighted garage proposal, as the meeting ran from 7:30pm until past 11:30pm.

Thank you, thank you, for coming through with all your care and integrity and wisdom and passion, dear Eugenians!

--

Please note: I have edited this posting to its current because two of the architects I mentioned have contacted me directly and have assured me that they did not mention to the hearing that they were architects because they did not want to claim any special priviledge for their comments. While I feel in general that mentioning a professional affiliation is an appropriate disclosure when an architect testifies on a development proposal, I will take them at their word that no concealment was intended. - KMM 2006.0314.1150
Last edited by Kevin on Wed Mar 15, 2006 3:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Greg Brokaw » Tue Mar 14, 2006 8:08 pm

Kevin,
Thank you for allowing me to present my views on your forum:

Last night we spoke as citizens. As you may recall from my testimony I made it clear that I am a resident, a business owner, and a building owner. In reaction to the irresponsible use of one's profession that I have witnessed in these discussions, I elected to not seek further support for my views by claiming special status for my views. We are well known in this community as practicing architects, and citizen/architects who care about this city. Less than one week ago a 950-word essay was published in the Register Guard, signed by Greg Brokaw and John Rowell, Architects. Your claim of concealing our profession is absurd. I'm trying to remember, did you announce your profession?

On the Downtown Plan: Yes, we have read the plan. We have studied it. Remember how I explained in my testimony that before we made our investment in downtown we did our homework? We wanted to know if Eugene was serious about pulling its downtown out of the doldrums. The Downtown Plan was part of that research. It's a good plan--a vast improvement over previous thinking about the downtown. There was a lengthy public process to create the plan. We are actually on the front lines, living the talk; trying to build a downtown we can be proud of. What are your concrete steps to bring about a downtown revival? I'm not talking about advocacy or trashing other people or projects, but actual on the ground concrete steps to building a better, safer, more enjoyable, and successful city center? What are YOU actually doing? What IS your vision? Not a fantasy of how you would like the world to be/or work, but a real, viable vision that has a chance to realized?

Ruling families: You sound downright medieval here.

Professional integrity: See above. Either I claim special status as an architect, or I am concealing my profession. Which is it Kevin?

On why this project fits into the Downtown Plan: here is a good start, from John Rowell, on where you can find the support for this project in the Downtown Plan; it’s only a beginning:

Quote:
“- In the Downtown plan see Page 40: "A key strategy is to foresee, plan, and direct developments. . .where planned developments are likely to occur. In downtown, development around the Federal Courthouse. . ." etc.
- See page 41 under Projects, last bullet "Construct a new parking garage to support the east side of downtown and the new Courthouse district."
You can say it's on the wrong side of the street, but I think it's clever that it's on the side biased toward the downtown core. It's in the right place. It will also force the city to make a decent crossing for safety reasons. Aesthetics rarely rule the day.
- Why a big market? See Page 7: Strong Regional Center
- Why work with developers? See Page 11 Building Partnerships, Capitalize on Development Opportunities. Note big circle 7 at Broadway and High on Page 45.
- I interpret this to support the kind of development proposed. It says nothing about not partnering with non-local businesses. That would be a very foolish message indeed.

Of course any planning document is going to be somewhat flexible to allow responsiveness to opportunity and can be interpreted to fit your image of the world (see the Oregon experiment). I'm all for aggressively growing the in city inward, not at the boundary. It's hard and expensive, but it's the core of the downtown plan.” - John Rowell

Thanks again for this opportunity to respond.
Regards,

Greg Brokaw
Rowell Brokaw Architects, PC
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Postby Kevin » Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:07 pm

Greg, nice to hear from you here! I think this dialog on the downtown plan deserves its own thread, so I've posted John's email and mine here:

http://www.designcommunity.com/forums/topic-9025.html
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Postby Kevin » Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:38 pm

The Eugene Weekly has provided excellent coverage of the garage hearing here:
Garage Blasted
Citizens pack hearing to oppose Whole Foods subsidy.
http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2006/03/16/news2.html

"In one of the largest public hearings the city of Eugene has ever had, about 300 citizens packed the City Council chamber on Monday to oppose a city plan to subsidize Whole Foods with a $9 million parking garage."

I also happened to come back across a Weekly article from nearly a year ago, in which noted landscape architect Jerry Diethelm commented on the garage idea:
Building Up Downtown
Great streets can link the multiple hubs of our city.
http://www.eugeneweekly.com/2005/05/19/coverstory.html

"The proposed Whole Foods-Shedd complex has the potential to help the city realize a long-desired major entry to the downtown on East Broadway. If in the process we can once again avoid locating a parking garage on 8th, it will keep plans for 8th Avenue's pedestrian greatness on track in its march toward the riverfront."
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