Remember Who Really Owned All That Real Estate

One hundred and seventy years after the forced removal of Kalapuya people from the Willamette Valley, Eugene City Council continues manufacturing lucrative land deals like 1059 Willamette and Riverfront to benefit white political insiders.

Indigenous people lived and thrived in the area called “chanchifin,” encompassing present day Eugene and Springfield. After contact, while the white population swelled (300,000 today), the Indigenous population in Eugene/Springfield fell precipitously to 4,674. From 100 percent of the population, the Indigenous population fell to 1.5 percent. This population decline can be described as genocide. 

Policy makers, like city councilors and city managers, accomplish genocide through dislocation and economic and physical violence (sticks) against non-white and dislocated people to facilitate wealth accumulation (carrots) for insiders who share policy makers racist and classist ideologies. 

Policy makers like the city council perpetuate a white hierarchy through a whites only economic pyramid scheme, with predictable outcomes of genocidal population decline of non-white people.

Even after our witness of the murder of George Floyd, our city council claims ignorance to their contribution to entrenched white supremacy in Eugene, through their non-action to halt state sanctioned killings of non-white, landless people; and their gifting publicly controlled common land to white elites, as in case with 1059 Willamette and Riverfront.   

Our City Council does not represent the will of the people of Eugene who wish to address Eugene and Oregon’s racist history through material action, not empty symbolism. Return 1059 Willamette and Riverfront to the Kalapuya people. 

Otis Haschemeyer