First the good news. Eugene’s long wait for a new City Hall may finally be over. The rag-tag assortment of satellite offices has found a nest. Years after our City Hall was prematurely demolished, the subsequent embarrassment of leaving the site an ugly eyesore of a parking lot lingered while the powers that be dithered over costs, design and suitable locations, a solution was miraculously discovered — purchase the old EWEB headquarters, a proposal which was advanced at the outset of this debacle.
Now the bad news. While the EWEB building’s new residents will enjoy a beautiful view of the Willamette River, its new cousins, currently under construction — the new five-, seven-, 12- and whatever-story “market rate apartments” flanking the Fifth Street district and Ferry Street Bridge — will obliterate the public’s view of our beautiful eastern skyline. Don’t believe me? Drive across the bridge and look.
In all fairness, one new building will have four floors of dedicated parking — all on top! Why not dig a hole and park underground, thus preserving the view? Thanks to misguided fiscal policies and poor public planning, big holes in the ground and gravel parking lots in the middle of town are nothing new to Eugene.
Market economics evidently trumps Eugene’s livability and aesthetic appeal, apparently rendering our citizens’ opinions insignificant and bothersome. Pandering to corporate interests smacks of bureaucratic effrontery and public disrespect. Eugene deserves better than this. To quote Jeffrey Lebowski, “This aggression will not stand, man!”