I, too, was puzzled and dismayed at watching the city of Eugene pay millions to throw away a city hall that was younger than I am (“They Put Up a Parking Lot,” EW 3/4).
Just the cost of demolition alone could have financed a heck of a lot of seismic upgrade and renovation. If nothing else, an entire block of underground parking garage could have been preserved and reinforced to allow for a new city hall or major renovation on top. One must wonder at the mindset of city government and staff that they will specifically poo poo the idea of renovating an existing structure in favor of pouring a lucrative contract into the laps of their developer friends to get a shiny new building.
Whatever the city ends up doing in the way of a new city hall, it better be designed to last this time. If reinforced concrete becomes truly unsound after 50 years then perhaps we should use even more fossil fuels to make it a steel framed structure. Or, a less energy intensive design could showcase large wooden timbers like the airport or the Hult Center.
Fifty years from now, our fossil fuel and other resources will be largely exhausted so we’ll be stuck with whatever we end up doing.