Slant 3-20-2014

• We hear from the UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence that the UO has “terminated” the campus coordinator position provided by Sexual Assault Support Services, but the UO tells us that’s not exactly the case. A letter was sent to the UO president and provost March 14 demanding “to know why this decision was made, particularly at a moment when the need for these services has been made so public and evident in incidents at institutions of higher education around the country.” Rita Radostitz, director of strategic communication and marketing at UO, says the ASUO (Associated Students of the University of Oregon) has “decided to increase the allocation for SASS to include funding for a proposed position at SASS that would provide direct services to UO students,” but that contract has not yet been finalized and therefore cannot be terminated. The UO administration has in the past viewed the SASS position on campus as duplicating UO services, according to a Jan. 13 story in the Daily Emerald. Radostitz says UO does “provide opportunities for students who have been sexually assaulted or harassed to confidentially report and receive support services.” Meanwhile, sexual assault cases on campus are reportedly on the rise and many go unreported.

School District 4J and the YMCA are talking about the Y building a new home at the site of the Roosevelt Middle School, which is targeted for demolition and reconstruction nearby. Sounds good, but one issue the community needs to look at is the trade-off of much-needed public playing fields for parking lots and private tennis courts. Back when the Y was looking at the Civic Stadium site, the Y architects figured the facility would need 275 to 300 parking spaces, way more than it has now. That’s a lot of concrete.

• A significant big book is just out from Routledge, written by former Eugene city manager Vicki Elmer and Adam Leigland. Infrastructure Planning and Finance is a smart and sustainable guide for local practitioners and college classrooms and it’s not too dense for wonks concerned about infrastructure in America. We like the emphasis on sustainability in every element of the book. Elmer is now director of a graduate program she started at the UO called Oregon Leadership in Sustainability (OLIS). She teaches climate action planning and water and the urban environment. Before that, she taught housing, infrastructure policy and finance at UC Berkeley’s Department of City and Regional Planning. This book reaffirms our view that she would have done the right things for Eugene with more time as a visionary city manager. Our loss.

Corvallis and OSU have put together a housing taskforce as part of their Collaboration Corvallis: A Project to Manage the Impacts of a University’s Growth. We learned that from Steve Clark, VP for university relations, and Patricia Daniels, from the Corvallis Neighborhood Association, at the City Club of Eugene meeting March 14. City of Eugene staff members at our table didn’t know of a parallel in our city. If such a taskforce has integrity, it sounds like a good idea. We’ve certainly seen an impact from student housing on our city.

• Eugene made’s top-10 list of best downtowns and garnered a banner headline on the front page of the R-G this week. It’s a silly list based on reports of new investments and new businesses, and we have a long way to go before we can claim to be a “hip, urban playground” like San Francisco, Portland, Madison, Corvallis or other cities that didn’t make the list. It’s ironic that the new Capstone student housing project pushed Eugene onto the list, but city planners missed a huge opportunity to make the massive project contribute to downtown’s ambiance and livability with decent setbacks, balconies and a pocket park or two.

Cover Oregon’s website is still on the fritz as the March 31 Obamacare enrollment deadline nears. But with all the fussing and finger-pointing, it’s pretty easy to get insurance the old-fashioned way with paper, like it’s been done since great-grandma bought a policy on her shiny Ford coupe. Get the forms from community agencies or private insurance agents or download them from Even local Democrats are getting in on the act, a wise way to connect with potential voters. Lane County Dems are holding an “Affordable Healthcare Enrollment Fair” with Cover Oregon specialists at noon Saturday, March 22, at 228 E. 11th Ave. downtown. 

• Lots of letters bashing homeless campers in the daily paper recently, complaining about trash, poop and unsociable behavior. Well, do only homeless people live in squalor? Are only the unhoused alcoholics, drug addicts, violent or criminally inclined? We’re all pretty much the same, but the housed have the luxury of flush toilets and trash service, plus doors and walls to conceal their sins and muffle their outbursts. Once again, we need to provide some kind of housing for everyone.

• Longtime reader and chiropractor Vip Short sent us a photo of a bench in Eugene with a puzzling sign. He labeled it “WTF?” It’s behind U.S. Bank at 17th and Oak near Brails. Likely there are other such oddities and ironies around town. Send photos to with WTF in the subject line.