Letters in Response to EW’s Design Issue

Downtown design gets people fired up!


Too often the line between news reporting and editorial seems to be erased in Eugene Weekly. Last week’s story “Student Housing Eyesores” (3/8) is an example.

It’s fine that the author has an opinion about what is pretty. It’s not fine that she doesn’t know her facts. The MUPTE program, established in 1978, was not an effort to address affordable housing. Rather, it was a way to implement Senate Bill 100, which had recently created statewide land-use planning.

In order to encourage compact urban growth rather than sprawl, incentives were needed to promote redevelopment — which costs substantially more. In response, the Oregon legislature adopted the program and jurisdictions could choose to use it.

At the time, and since, there are better exemption programs for low-income housing, which provide longer benefits. Eugene has used MUPTE and, over the years, the City Council has changed the rules numerous times to encourage a particular public benefit. For many years it was used to encourage higher quality and greener buildings, for instance — but always to promote compact urban growth.

Additionally, the reporter asserted that two housing projects were cheaply constructed, but she offered no support for that claim.

Richie Weinman


Editor’s note: The story was a design review, which is opinion.


The proposed redevelopment of the riverfront area in Eugene and Springfield would reduce the river to simply a view shed unless planning also included access and restoration of our beloved river (“Designing a Waterfront Town,” 3/8).

Of particular concern are the man-made riprap debris and wire relics in the river just north of the I-5 bridge. For years this has been an ongoing safety hazard for river users, as well as a visual blight. The Sheriff’s Marine Patrol often makes rescues of summer tubers floating down the river.

With the phenomenal growth in paddle sports in our region, we should make better use of the magnificent river-wide whitewater rapids just below the hazards that range from easy to thrilling for river runners. Many other cities have capitalized on their urban rivers to create the kind of recreational venue that we already have.

All we have to do is restore the free running river by removing manufactured hazards that should not be in there. A new non-profit called Cascade Wave along with local paddle clubs is envisioning such a venue.

As development planning continues on land, it should logically include the river itself.

Mark Murphy



Kelly Kenoyer writes (“Life, Library and Happiness,” 3/8): “High vaulted ceiling, natural light streaming through …”

However, her excellent article fails to mention the 2002 commissioned artworks that are found throughout the Eugene Public Library — from James Carpenter’s bronzes “Eugene Skinner” and “Leif’s Dream,” Marvin and Lilli Ann Rosenberg’s “Outdoor Children’s Play Area,” John Rose’s two-story “Stained Glass Windows,” James Ulrich’s “Reading Islands,” Robert DeVine’s paintings “The Wells,” Dennis Keogh’s prints “Artifacts of an Event Unknown,” to my site-specific exploration “Works: Fragments of the Material Age,” which preserves 50 obsolete library paper cards.

The Eugene library begins the new millennium dominated by post-industrial computer tools, such as the online-card catalog. Computerized library catalogs began replacing the paper-and-wood-drawer variety in the early ’80s, and few libraries still rely on the pre-digital paper card version.

I invited 50 Eugene citizens (12 to 80 years old) to select a memorable fiction or nonfiction book. Each participant selected a book quote and wrote a comment, which appear on 50 Plexiglass book-sized wall placards, each 9 inches by 7 inches. Each placard includes an obsolete paper index card from the libraries original paper card catalog.

Infused with both nostalgia and reverence, “Works: Fragments of the Material Age” is a quiet, potent act of mourning — it laments not just the passing of the card catalog, but the spirit and sense of our won history that vanished with it, as we forgo slower, more scenic routes, the green valleys, for the sterile speed of cyberspace.

Mike E. Walsh


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