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Letters to the Editor: 9-18-2014

NEW LIFE FOR CITY HALL

To the mayor and councilors: Most of us who have lived and worked in Eugene since the 1960s remember the “urban renewal” that took the lives of historic structures that should have been updated — no longer “viable,” they said. Let’s build what so-and-so city has built, they lauded. Buildings have come and gone in Eugene — the city is not know for its sympathy to commercial and civic structures (e.g., its history). 

Eugene is now “envisioning” progress once again. As a supporter of preservation, whether by retrofitting or rehabilitation of a structure, I feel that we must examine such an important issue with at least as much empathy and effort as we have asserted with Civic Stadium, the Willamette Street pre-1964 commercial corridor (and resulting Lawrence Halprin fountain, long gone), the Penny’s building, the re-purposed Joe Romania dealership, the Mayflower (but look what happened there) and so on. The point being that the potential of our existing City Hall for a new life as a successful, sustaining member of our fading inventory of historic examples of period architecture is possible. Will our new, modern, “viable” City Hall work as a sustaining social structure or become an example of compromise? 

You can see your reflection in all that glass — what do you think?

From Wikipedia: 

“Adaptive reuse refers to the process of reusing an old site or building for a purpose other than which it was built or designed for. Along with brownfield reclamation, adaptive reuse is seen by many as a key factor in land conservation and the reduction of urban sprawl. However adaptive reuse can become controversial as there is sometimes a blurred line between renovationfacadism and adaptive reuse. It can be regarded as a compromise between historic preservation and demolition.”

 Kip Amend, architect Nagao Pacific Architecture and Planning, PC, Eugene

 

GREEN RENOVATION

Several powerful misconceptions are being disseminated in the race to “clear-cut” historic City Hall: 1) Seismic upgrading costs are prohibitive, 2) the building is unsalvageable and 3) a new building will be more energy efficient.

In fact, seismic work would cost roughly half of what demolition would; the building’s foundation and “skeleton” are reusable; renovation absolutely can be as “green” — and cost effective.

Immediately contact your city councilor and Mayor Kitty Piercy and tell them to take a closer look at renovation. Renovation saves millions of dollars not wasted on demolition, site preparation and framing. 

Jayme Vasconcellos, Save City Hall Committee member

 

UNIFIED OPPOSITION

On Aug. 6, I attended a meeting of Seavey Loop neighbors concerned about Springfield City Council’s plan to earmark their neighborhood for industrial development. Residents were unified in their opposition and spoke eloquently about the negative impacts of the proposal.

A viewpoint [“State Law vs. Natural Law”] printed in this newspaper Aug. 21 described the event but included a false description of what I said and what I think about the proposal. I write to set the record straight.

I said how important local farms are to our economy, how important it is that we protect agriculture and that inappropriate industrial development may pose a very real threat to area farms. While I’m no expert in land use planning, allowing industrial development in Seavey Loop doesn’t make sense to me. In any case, I can’t imagine local leaders would approve the plan without a thorough study of the environmental impacts, which so far has not been done.

I appreciate the newspaper bringing the Springfield urban-growth boundary discussion to the public attention, because it is an important conversation. Thank you also for letting me correct the record.

 Rep. Phil Barnhart, Eugene

 

POLICE ‘FORCE’

EW’s July 24 news article, “EPD Sustained Rate of Misconduct Grows” states that in 2013 there were 400 complaints against Eugene Police Department officers; 44 percent were determined to be true, most involving the use of force. These statistics obviously do not include the victims who did not choose to complain.

Here are a few things you may not be aware of:

• A police officer en-forces poli-ce (policy), whereas a peace officer simply keeps the peace.

• The EPD, like all police departments, is similar to a private security company (it is listed on Dunn & Bradsteet). It is not a “government” agency. It is hired by the city of Eugene (a corporation also listed on Dunn & Bradstreet) to enforce city policy. It is not beholden directly to us but to the corporation that hires and pays it.

• The EPD is a paramilitary style organization with similar uniforms, the same ranking system and a similar disciplinary structure.

• The sheriff, on the other hand, is voted into office and is therefore directly beholden to us. His deputies are all of the same rank, they all wear cowboy hats and have very few if any complaints about the way they interact with us.

After reading this EW article, and many similar ones in the past, I can certainly see how appropriate it is that EPD calls itself “the police force.”

Abraham Likwornik, Eugene

 

PEACE, BEAUTY, VEAL

“Be Their Guest” reads the headline of the article about the Oregon Electric Station [Chow!, 8/28]. Next to the headline is a photo of a smiling waiter standing at a table of comfortable diners in that restaurant. 

The second page of the article features a photo of “Braised Veal Shank Over Milanese Safron Risotto.” The headline next to the photo quotes the manager: “When you get older, you realize who you are and what you really want in life. Which is peace and beauty. “

The 20-week life of the calf that sourced that veal was not a life of “peace and beauty.” Veal calves commonly live in wooden crates with chains around their necks. The chain is tethered to the crate which measures 6 by 2 feet, which restricts the movement of the calf to either lie down or stand; the calf cannot turn around or stretch its limbs. It is fed a milk substitute deficient in iron and fiber in order to produce anemia, which results in the pale-colored flesh typical of veal. Veal calves are unable to walk to slaughter as their muscles are severely underdeveloped. 

I am older, as the manager says he is. Thankfully, I don’t share his experience of “peace and beauty.” 

I am shocked by this article about the Oregon Electric Company.

Chuck Silberman, Ashland

 

SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

I was surprised that Genelle McDaniel’s letter [“Unethical Meat,” 9/11] discussed the trauma of veal, but said nothing about a more locavore problem: lamb! We see those little guys gamboling in local fields every late winter along I-5, but how many imagine what happens to them before that roast leg of lamb hits the Easter dinner table? Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?

I’m also worried about all the mice and voles who are destroyed when Big Agriculture ploughs their homes under to grow soybeans that will end up as tofu. I hope people reflect on the “stolen lives and stolen energy,” as McDaniel puts it, next time they open a container of Toby’s Tofu Paté or visit the carryout food buffet at Sundance.

Chuck Kleinhans, Eugene

 

TASTELESS

“Best DUI Lawyer” [Best of Eugene ballot]? Really, EW? How tasteless can you get?

 Dan Owen, Springfield