Chinatown 2021

Eugene’s city government is getting ready for the 2021 World Track and Field Championship. Unfortunately, it’s showing every sign of getting ready for it by doing what it usually does — by showering money on private interest and letting the residents of Eugene foot the bill.

Eugene is undergoing a construction boom, as do all cities that host events of this nature. And it seems natural that Eugene would want to pass a construction excise tax to help provide badly needed affordably housing.

The City Council’s response, however, was to pass a CET that was only a third of that of other Oregon cities. And, as Councilor Betty Taylor noted, a waver of licensing fees for construction accompanies this, so it is a revenue-neutral measure paid for out of the general fund.

Eugene is also increasing its police force, as do all cities that host events of this nature. However, people should find it disturbing that the city is currently planning on paying for it with a regressive payroll tax that will not exempt minimum wage workers and will not be voted on by the people.

In the days of Big Timber, Eugene exported lumber to the rest of the world. Ever since the collapse the timber industry in the 1980s, the people of Eugene have been subjected to an endless series of development schemes that have exported taxpayer dollars upwards to the rich and, usually, out of state.

The Track and Field Championships promise to be more of the same, only worse. 

Art Bollmann