Jean Stacey, one of 11 SLEEPS activists arrested at a sit-in at Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz’s office on April 1, asks “did city officials fear of testifying under oath lead to dismissal of charges?” The activists had been trying to meet with Ruiz to talk about his plan for Whoville, a legal camp for at risk unsheltered community members, but he kept refusing their requests. The sit-in was a last ditch effort by SLEEPS to engage Ruiz and prevent the premature shut down of Whoville. Stacey believes that a trial would have embarrassed and shamed city officials while revealing the extent of the debacle surrounding the closure of Whoville. The City Council had previously stated that they wanted another site to be available for the people at Whoville before the current site was closed. Ruiz instead chose to close the camp, in a military style police action, while the Council was on vacation.
The City now claims that they want to work “collaboratively” with community members and “maintain a positive relationship with homeless advocates as the City progresses toward finding solutions…” Stacey says that she and other activists will be “watch-dogging the City’s promise.”
On Monday, Sept. 8, the City Council, at the urging of architects and activists, decided to slow down their headlong rush to raze our old City Hall to the ground and give opponents of the destruction the chance to make their case that it would be greener and more cost effective to remodel. The following commentary was written by Don Bishoff who gave us permission to post it here.
They’re Gonna Rip Down Eugene City Hall. WHY?
Remodel our neglected City Hall for less than $15 million, and you get:
• The entire 75,000-square-foot structure refurbished, spruced up and brought up to modern earthquake and insulation standards
• The iconic round City Council Chambers and art work saved
• Some 35,000 square feet of office space ready for move-in, with another approximately 40,000 square feet of shell space available for future development as city offices.
• A phase-out of the $1.2 million a year the city currently pays to rent office space scattered around town, once city departments move back into the refurbished City Hall
• 125 parking spaces under the building saved
Spend $15 million to tear it down and build a new building, and you get:
• A small ceremonial building, not really a “new City Hall,” on one corner of the current square block, housing only council chambers and offices for the mayor & council, city manager and one or two city departments
• Three-fourths of a block of parking lot
• The need for a new city office building next door at a cost of $44 million or more in taxpayer money to house the rest of city offices. City officials aren’t talking much about this – for now.
City Hall was once a beautiful building – you need only to look at photos of when it was completed in 1964 to understand that. If it seems ugly now it’s because of years of official neglect. Deferred maintenance has become no maintenance. It didn’t have to be that way.
Its award-winning design by local architects Stafford, Morin & Longwood, is an outstanding example of Mid-20th Century Modern architecture. It is an historic survivor in a town that’s torn down too much of its history. The building is eligible for the National Historic Building Registry – which the city doesn’t want, willfully ignoring state historic preservation law.
Rather than destroying this public asset immediately, why not pause and consider all of the above? Even if the building will not to be saved as a City Hall, it has potential millions-of-dollars in value to the city for private redevelopment as retail/office/market space.
Why the rush to bring the wrecking ball to millions of dollars of value in our City Hall? DEFER DEMOLITION!
If you agree this is no time to Rush to Demolition, contact Mayor Kitty Piercy and Council members at (541) 682-5010 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Do it now!
(Save City Hall Committee, 541-343-0892 or 541-342-3755)
On Sept 10 a federal judge in Eugene ruled that government officials had infringed on the First Amendment rights of OE protesters in December 2012 when it unfairly limited the hours of protest and evicted them from the plaza in front of the Federal Building at 7th & Pearl in Eugene. During the eviction two protesters, Emily Semple and Terry Purvis, were arrested after they refused to leave, telling officials that their constitutional right to free speech was being violated.
The December 2012 action was the culmination of a series of protests organized by OE and SLEEPS (Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep) that had started in May 2012 to raise the issues of economic justice, shelter as a human right, and government and corporate accountability.
Attorney Lauren Regan, director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center, said this is a victory for all activists who protest at traditional public forums and serves notice to the government that they must obey the law.
Check out this beautiful short documentary which tells the story of The Wizard, James Hardin, an un-housed man in Eugene. Shout out to Occupy Eugene videographer Jana Thrift and friends (Gina Ginsberg, David Zupan, Liddy Soto, Ryan Stefan, and others) who put this together so that we can know. https://vimeo.com/102178725
OE and allies staged a Potty Protest in Kesey Square to put pressure on the City Council to reopen park bathrooms and keep downtown bathrooms open 24 hrs. People voted in a penny poll by pitching pennies into a toilet marked “Tax Breaks for Developers” or a toilet marked “Public Bathrooms.” It’s all about priorities.
Some call it economic revitalization, we call it class cleansing. In Eugene’s “downtown activity zone” there were more police, more security, more people being hassled and vendors publicly selling their art told they had to be regulated. Kesey Square, the only public space downtown, was threatened. Occupy challenged that – and won.
Burrito Brigade feeds the hungry of Eugene & Springfield through a community network of food banks and personal donations while engaging our community in the fight to end hunger. You can become a member of their family by volunteering to help with cooking and hand delivery of their nutritious burritos every Sunday.
Even though Lane County has enough food to feed every hungry person, excess food is not widely distributed, and some don’t have the knowledge or resources to access the food. Burrito Brigade gives away hot burritos to hungry locals and travelers on Sundays, when free food is especially scarce. For more info about the project and ways you can help go to:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/BurritoSundays/ or email email@example.com.
Kickoff fundraiser: Sat., Jun. 7, 11am-6pm, Madison Meadow, W. 22nd and Madison; featuring Walker T. Ryan, SugarBeets, other local musicians & talented students.
Funds raised will support NHS and will provide amenities like port-a-potties for current homeless camps. NHS will provide safe community for un-housed people with disabilities living alongside individuals who can provide support.
Eugene is the 1st US city to pass a resolution to ban bee-killing pesticides & make pesticide-free parks a priority!
Live music, yo-yo demo, bubble art, face painting, field games, kid’s book give-away & poetry workshop, prizes, beekeepers, coloring books, open mic poetry reading.
Sponsor: Smith Family Bookstore. Coconut Bliss provides “SCOOPS FOR A CAUSE.”
Global Climate Convergence (GCC) will be meeting and protesting fast-food employees’ low wages Thursday, 5/15/14. GCC is joining the worldwide call for a livable $15.00 per hour wage for workers in the fast-food industry.
Join Global Climate Convergence 11:30 AM at McDonalds, 659 E. Broadway in Eugene to hold signs, chant labor slogans and pass out leaflets. At 12:30 PM, GCC will march to Wendy’s, 1895 Franklin Blvd.