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October 3, 2009 02:57 PM

Oh, Joss Whedon.

See, last week I was going to write a post called "Dollhouse is Not Going to Hold Your Hand Anymore." It was going to be a post about how the show's season premiere, while it didn't live up to the fantastic potential of the first season's unaired 13th episode, "Epitaph One," had a lot of promise. It pretty much threw the viewers into the river and expected that we could damn well figure out how to swim —  a tactic that works for some of us, who like having to work out what's changed, what's the same and which direction we might be headed in this time. Things had clearly progressed without us, and Whedon and his team expected us to keep up.

Where we seemed to be: Echo (Eliza Dushku) is remembering things, kind of. Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) is working for the 'house — kind of. Everyone's a little suspicious and rattled, especially Dr. Saunders, the active also/once known as Whiskey (Amy Adams), whose grasp on herself and reality was gradually turning fragile.

The episode's basic plot was a mostly throwaway thing involving an arms dealer (another Battlestar Galactica alum, Jamie Bamber), but it still mattered in that it showed us that Ballard was somehow working for the Dollhouse while being a client — being paid in Echo's time, maybe? Things, this episode showed, are tangled and complicated, particularly where Dr. Saunders is concerned; she's having strange conversations with Boyd (Harry Lennix) one minute, and scaring the shit out of the creepy genius Topher (Fran Kranz) the next. She's falling apart. And then she's gone.

It was the scene with Saunders and Topher that had me; she's so cracked, so lost, so trying to form her own world out of the one he, as the Dollhouse's programmer, has given her. And she's aware but not; she knows she's not Dr. Saunders, but she doesn't know, or want to know, who she is. This one dark, incredibly strong scene managed to pack all the show's weirdness about identity and malleability and power and control and half a dozen other things into precise bits of dialogue between two characters who clearly could use some more exploring.

It was so promising. It was so complicated. And then it was over, and Saunders was driving away — Acker on the way to Happy Town, though I think she's supposed to be back later this season. The premiere dropped in one interesting scene with a well-intentioned senator, Daniel Perrin (Alexis Denisof, from Whedon's Buffy and Angel), who wants to figure out what the deal is with the Rossum corporation, the Dollhouse's parent company, so we've got a new guy outside the house to balance out Ballard's involvement within. It all worked, in a slightly uncomfortable and appealing way.

And then there was tonight's episode, "Instinct," which put us right back at monster-of-the-week-with-a-small-side-dish-of-intrigue.

Spoilers ahead; click here to continue!

Sure, we got Madeleine (the sublime Miracle Laurie, who can steal a scene right out from under Olivia Williams' nose) back in the picture, at least for a bit; we got to meet the senator's wife, whom I immediately suspected could be a doll; we got the interestingly elaborate setup for the episode, which involved not just Echo being someone's wife and mother to his child, but also Sierra being the woman's best friend; we got the new programming trick that Topher has figured out but, in typical Topher fashion, not really thought through.

But we also got a bland and cliché-littered standalone plot that basically boiled down to a weirdly and ooky commentary on the power of the maternal instinct that pretty much dissolved when the husband character explained, ever so calmly and rationally, that Echo was not in fact the baby's mother, and Echo, a ferocious and unstoppable mama lion minutes before, just turned and walked away. In the end, we got the character's best moment of the episode: All this was just so that we could understand that Echo doesn't just remember who she's been and what she's done, but she feels it.

That's great! And interesting! But there was no more original way to approach that part of Echo's existence than the potentially murderous mother storyline that felt, fairly or not, like some strange twist of a Lifetime movie of the week? First science masters the maternal instinct, then the maternal instinct kicks the ass of science, then the nice husband fellow just ... talks Echo out of her disoriented and ragingly protective state? Sure, Echo is often fragile and not entirely there, but, well, the more I think about this series of events, the less sense it makes.

So. It wasn't a truly terrible episode, but it was corny — blue light and lightning for the capital-D Dramatic confrontation! Oh, Joss, how could you! — and it was the second week in a row in which Echo's assignment involves a pretend marriage. Next week, Victor gets sent out as a serial killer. That's something different. But I can't help but think it'd be more interesting if we reversed the plots. Make Victor the dad who gets incredibly attached to the kid; send Echo or Sierra out as a serial killer (if you've got to do that at all; does this plot not just sound incredibly inane from the word go?). Dollhouse is a show with built-in moral questions, a lot of which surround sex and identity and agency, but it seems like it's backing away from a lot of those, forgetting that a lot of viewers are deeply skeptical about a Fox show's ability/willingness to engage with the messy moral issues the show has to address in order to keep it from being a shallow thing that just plays with its characters because it can — just like the Dollhouse's clients play with their dolls.

October 2, 2009 05:54 PM

UO football coach Chip Kelly announced today that he may allow a player who punched an opponent and threw an embarrassing violent fit on national TV to play for the UO after all.

Sports columnists are all abuzz about with speculation on exactly why Kelly suddenly changed his mind about kicking LeGarrette Blount off the team. But in the past, such dramatic flips in UO decisions haven't been made by the football coach, the athletic director or the UO president, they've been made by Phil Knight.

ESPN has reported how UO officials "genuflect at his Nikes" and "coddle and fawn over their rich uncle at every turn." The story noted how pressure from the UO megadonor forced the UO out of an anti-sweatshop group and forced out a track coach.

There's no direct evidence Knight made the decision. He may make decisions at the UO, but he doesn't do press conferences about them. But does anyone believe Blount could be reinstated if Knight objected?

September 28, 2009 03:23 PM

LEED certification for supposed leading work on green buildings, a focus of the city of Eugene, is facing criticism.

Las Vegas Weekly reports on LEED Gold certification by the private U.S. Green Building Council for two new Las Vegas Casinos. The paper writes:

"Giant buildings that welcome and encourage the extravagant, wasteful behavior of thousands of guests at the same time hardly seem like a recipe for saving Mother Earth."

The article also notes use of LEED certification for parking garages and for building a new school in Texas on the edge of town to replace one requiring less driving to get to. "Sure, it features a bioswale to capture storm-water runoff from the parking lot-but the old school didn't have a parking lot."

In Eugene some dubious LEED buildings include the UO's Lillis business school (which put solar sells not on the roof where the sun shines, but on the front windows where they could be seen for the PR value) and the Royal Caribbean call center which chose to locate not downtown but next to a freeway exit on the edge of Springfield where employees drive to acres of parking lots.


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The City of Eugene has claimed a leadership role on green building, but its biggest building project involves moving 250 police employees out of downtown to a building next to a freeway in north Eugene with ample parking lots.

September 28, 2009 02:44 PM

Here's a gory example of what can happen with texting while driving:

Wow. Who could be so irresponsible, so unsafe, such a danger to society?

Police, including Eugene police, have had full-sized in car computers conveniently tilted to driving officers for years. Catching cops who type while driving would be easy with GPS or other cheap technology, but then police would have to police police. Eugene police keep accidents involving officers secret.

Even more scary—given their huge, too often explosive loads and long stopping distances—are texting truckers . Texting truckers are 10 to 23 times more likely to crash studies have shown, but the powerful lobbying group is having success opposing proposed anti-texting rules that would apply to them.

September 24, 2009 03:37 PM

So I'm still recovering. STILL. Sleep schedule thrown off. Ears hearing things funny. And Friday? Friday is to blame for a lot of this.

(Thursday went like this.)

Friday was another late start; I feel like I just saw The Arctic Monkeys at the McDonald, so I skipped their Wonder Ballroom set, even though skipping all the Wonder Ballroom shows made me feel like I wasn't entirely really at MFNW; a lot of those sets were highlights of last year, particularly Les Savy Fav, a band I would really have liked to see again this year.

But at 9 pm we planted ourselves, not for the last time, at Berbati's Pan, where Say Hi were already playing when we arrived. "I don't know any of these songs!" my companion said. I recognized a few, kinda sorta — at least "Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh," for sure — but for the most part the live Say Hi experience is very different from the record; live, the band is a three-piece, playing stripped-down and adjusted versions of Eric Elbogen's one-man-band compositions. You might think more people wouldn't make for simpler versions of the songs, but in this case, they did.

Since this was a Barsuk showcase — something I didn't realize until a friend mentioned it in a text message; clearly my powers of observation were at full force — Say Hi was followed by another Seattle act, Rocky Votolato, who I describe as an "act" partly because while he was playing alone in Portland, I'm reasonably certain that last time I saw him, Votolato was playing with a full band. It was a homecoming show in Seattle in April 2007, and it was the reason I went back and gave a few more listens to Makers — which I'd liked, but not entirely fallen for; I sometimes think Votolato's singer-songwritery tunes are bare and gorgeous and catchy, and sometimes think they don't quite stretch as far or stand out as well as they could — and finally picked up a copy of Suicide Medicine. The show came at the end of tour; on "Suicide Medicine," Votolato sounded like his voice might go out at any moment. And that, according to this recording, that was only the seventh song of the night.

This show was a bit mellower, but no less charming, despite my inability to shake the feeling that, with his slicked-down, longish-in-back hair, Votolato looked like an untrustworthy drifter in a certain kind of dated road movie. But he played a good mix of songs, a cover or two, and both the songs I so wanted to hear.

And some jackass behind me talked the entire way though "Suicide Medicine." Hence, the title of this post: DUDE, SHUT UP. I know there are a lot of bands at MFNW, and that you won't care about every one. I know that I, too, talk to my friends during bands I'm not into. But when there's one dude on stage? And he's not playing very loudly? Get the hell away from the people who are clearly standing near the stage because they want to see this guy.

Thus ends your extremely cranky public service announcement for Friday.

Keep reading: Sunny Day Real Estate and The Thermals are up next!

Votolato didn't play a particularly long set, so I convinced my companion that we ought to trek up to the Crystal Ballroom to see if Sunny Day Real Estate was still playing. Which they were. The first person I noticed when I got to the main floor of the Crystal was a clean-cut teenager who looked a touch out of place; the next was a frantically flailing/dancing guy in a tie-dyed T-shirt who was clearly having the time of my life.

A confession: I've liked Sunny Day Real Estate since Diary came out in 1994 (good lord, really?), but I've not listened to them all that often. "Guitar and Video Games," from 1998's How It Feels to Be Something On (which came after the band broke up the first time) is on a mix CD I have, and I love that song, despite its not-too-distant relationship to prog rock; I love the builds and breaks and sense of muted desperation that soaks Jeremy Enigk's voice. I remember seeing the video for "Seven" on 120 Minutes way back when and, if this isn't selective memory rewriting things, being somewhat captivated. It didn't sound like anything else I was listening to, which was probably a lot of Blur and Juliana Hatfield and Weezer. It was far denser, musically; it stopped and started and had an angular quality that I hadn't yet learned to appreciate. (Jawbox and a certain admiration, if not adoration, for Fugazi came later.)

But I had to look up the name of the song, at this late date. SDRE just doesn't have quite the power over me that they once did, despite all the associated memories. That said, there was something powerful about the few songs of their set that we caught. I didn't recognize most of them — clearly it's time to revisit Diary — but I was delighted that when we stuck around for the encore, we got "In Circles." I couldn't keep the smile off my face.

My companion was far less impressed. I spent the walk to our final destination trying, tiredly, to explain why SDRE mattered; why they seemed so different when they appeare; why it is actually indie rock and/or emo, but emo in the way I think of it (which is to say a musical genre born of hardcore and punk and indie, traced back to the likes of Rites of Spring and epitomized, whether they like it or not, by bands like Jimmy Eat World and The Get Up Kids — not just a fashion statement for glossy rock bands); why it wasn't their fault if certain other bands took that sound and made crap out of it. (Isn't that what always happens?) I didn't win him over, but I've got people working on it.

Our last stop of the night was a sort of official afterparty thing at which The Thermals were playing. This, I didn't know was happening until I picked up my MFNW passes; this kind of made my weekend.

I just had to wait until 1:30 in the morning for that to happen. The show was at BodyVox, a big, semi-industrial dance space painted all white, with largely concrete floors and with what I assume was the main dance floor carefully covered with some sort of tarp so we couldn't fuck it up. Doors for this event opened at midnight, and there was no indication as to when the band would go on. We ate sandwiches and partook of the various open-bar options that would help us stay awake: vodka and Red Bull at one bar, espresso shots at another. And we people-watched (at one point I became convinced there was some sort of Nike involvement in the event — maybe a room to which unsuspecting music fans were swept away to have their shoes stolen and replaced — because there's just no reason for that many people to be wearing ugly retro sneakers like that).

And finally, finally, the band went on. Tiredness was no longer an issue.

Once, I saw The Thermals at the WOW Hall, and while they didn't draw a large crowd, they drew a great crowd: We congregated close to the stage and bounced, giddily, with smiles on our face. This was like that — or at least it was up in the front. I didn't bother looking behind me, because the band was too good to allow for distractions. The Portland trio played everything I could possibly have wanted to hear — selections from every album, including "Test Pattern" and "No Culture Icons," two of my absolute favorites of their precision-crafted, buoyant, intense, smart, poetic rock songs — and they were, well, fantastic.

This had at least a little bit to do with the fact that I'm not sure anyone there was having more fun than the drummer.

The Thermals have had a few drummers. The current fellow is Westin Glass, who a) sounds like either a hotel chain or a really fascinating literary hero and b) looked downright giddy when he was playing, when he wasn't playing and when he took a drum-free intro as an excuse to run through the crowd, high-fiving people. It was charming. And he's a durn good drummer, too, which, y'know, helps.

So that was a highlight, if a highlight that knocked me out for much of Saturday. If you are not yet a Thermals fan, I cannot recommend them enough, live or otherwise.

Coming soon: Saturday! In which I fall in love with The Brunettes and indulge my nostalgic side with The Get Up Kids!

September 18, 2009 04:38 PM

You know what's hard to come by during Musicfest NW? Time. Time to do anything like, say, blog. There's plenty of time to stand around impatiently as the band before your favorite band seems to play forever and you're stuck sweating and trying to sip a beer slowly, but when Frightened Rabbit goes on at 12:30 in the morning (in theory) and you, as a result, sleep in so late you almost miss lunch, well, shit, my friends, you run out of time.

What isn't hard to come by in this town is a surprisingly high number of people who look vaguely familiar. I got a familiarity nod from at least two random dudes last night; I think I smiled at someone I didn't actually know at least once or twice. Everyone looks like someone else. Except this one really tall guy at the Frightened Rabbit show. He was his own man.

Thursday, in brief:

• I skipped The Helio Sequence in part because I was bitter that James Mercer was no longer the opening act; Dr. Dog was. I got enough Dr. Dog at Pickathon, thanks; that's just not my cup of tea. I do slightly regret this decision.

• Tu Fawning: Portiscarnival. (Look, "Portishead" already seems like a really random line of syllables, and thus I think Portiscarnival is perfectly reasonable as a description.) This is not in any way meant as an insult. There are catchy slivers jabbed into the Tu Fawning sound, but mostly it's too arty for that, too disconcerting and strange and occasionally really pretty. And fascinating. The festival writeup desribed Tu Fawning as "Never boring, and at moments inspired," which sounds a bit like a backhanded compliment, but I don't think it is. The band's music isn't the sort of thing you get attached to, but a thing you experience; it elicits a response more intellectual than emotional, except when it suddenly pings a heartstring or two.

• We Were Promised Jetpacks: Young, slightly burly Scotsmen with energy to spare. Like seemingly every Scottish band, they have a song about keeping warm (this one's called "Keeping Warm," and there's a Frightened Rabbit song called "Keep Yourself Warm," and I swear there's also an Idlewild song on the topic). WWPJ's fairly conventional guitar-centric indie rock felt like the kind of thing you need to know before you see them, so that you're bringing your own memories and associations to the songs, of what they call to mind when you're listening to them at home alone in the dark or barreling down the freeway on the way home from a show. But even as a first listen, they were promising. And charming, too. Darn Scots.

(I did not see Girl Talk at the Roseland because I saw Girl Talk on Wednesday at the McDonald, and I do not think I've recovered yet. But it was a delightful sweaty, sticky mess of Bananarama! Metallica! Mary J. Blige! Journey! Cyndi Lauper! Kelly Clarkson! Eight thousand other songs you barely have time to recognize! Girls with glowsticks and dudes with headbands! Don't like this tune? Wait 30 seconds; it'll change. And then change again.)

• The Twilight Sad proved that not all Scottish bands are unbelievable charming. The band plays reasonable, dense, heavily Joy Division-influenced rock, light on dynamics and high on repetition, but as a live act they lacked stage presence. They also overran their time, and when you're waiting to see a band that goes on after midnight, you sometimes run out of patience. I was getting there.

• Frightened Rabbit: This is the third time I've seen Frightened Rabbit in Portland, and it made me a touch nostalgic for those earlier, less crowded Holocene shows. The trouble with seeing a favorite band in a festival setting is that you have to share them with people who don't really care, who are just there because they read an interesting description in the program or who came with a friend (of course, you also wind up being that person at another show or several). It changes the audience dynamic in peculiar ways. This crowd seemed to like the Rabbit well enough — and they were certainly just as good as they have been, even without singer Scott Hutchison's solo acoustic version of "Poke," which hushed everyone in Holocene last November — but the show lacked the charged atmosphere their shows have had before.

But to be fair, the band's been touring on Midnight Organ Fight for ages, and Hutchison mentioned from the stage that they've finished (I believe) their follow-up. If they seemed a tiny bit less invested in the old songs, the ones they've been playing for ages and ages now — if Hutchison was rarely sticking to the recorded vocal melodies, instead dancing around them, mixing things up — it's understandable. The show was sort of a tease, I think: Two new songs and a sense of impatience. More, now, please.

Tonight: A vicious lineup pits The Jealous Sound and Sunny Day Real Estate at the Crystal Ballroom against Say Hi and Rocky Votolato at Berbati's Pan. I think Rocky's gonna win this fight, at least where I'm concerned, but so long as I make it to the "official afterparty" with The Thermals, I'll be more than happy.

PS: The Portland Mercury's End Hits blog's Twitter feed (technology, you're making me use too many words) speaks truth about Frightened Rabbit: "The only thing that could make this Frightened Rabbit show better is if people danced on the Dante's catwalks. Like an emo sinferno."

September 17, 2009 04:05 PM

Is the state freedom of information law free?

No, the Oregon Attorney General's office charges $25 a pop for the public's document and has refused to put a free download online.

UO Economics Professor Bill Harbaugh—a longtime critic of UO athletic and administrative spending and affirmative action—didn't like that. So he scanned the whole AG manual on the law and put it on his blog.

Harbaugh says the AG office claimed it, not the public, owned the public document on how to get public documents.

So will the AG go after Harbaugh for alleged copyright infringement? The professor doubts it. And the records may be virtually out of the AG's barn. Harbaugh says hundreds have downloaded the document and several sites have now also posted it (here's one mirror.)

Harbaugh's action has called big attention to the failure of Oregon's public records law to actually deliver public records. The public record liberation drew hundreds of outraged comments on the widely read slashdot.org. The Oregonian also blogged the freedom of infromation action.

Journalists and other reformers have been trying to push new Oregon Attorney General John Kroger to follow up on campaign promises and address long delays, exorbitant charges and legal maneuvering that bureaucrats have for decades used to keep the public in the dark. So far Kroger hasn't acted.

Locally, the city of Eugene has a long history of blocking freedom of information with outrageous fees. In a digital age when video, audio, images and text are searchable in a blink and whisk over the internet in seconds, the city still charges $10 for a two page police report and $10 for a one minute recording of a 911 call. The city even wants the public to pay inflated wages for city employee or private attorney time spent trying to hide public records or make them harder to get. Of course, the city will ream citizens with all the PR spin they can bear for free.

The city of Eugene charges appear to violate state law requiring governments only charge their actual cost of providing records, but the attorney general doesn't enforce the law.

At the county level, the Lane Council of Governments shadow government used taxpayer money to create an extensive mapable database (RLID) of home values, sales, taxes, liens, deeds, demographic, zoning and other data. But if taxpayers want access to the public records, they have to pay $200 plus $1,080 a year for a subscription to the public information they ostensibly already own.

As founding father James Madison wrote:

"A popular Government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both."

As Harbaugh pointed out, Oregon's freedom of information law is a farce.

September 14, 2009 04:43 PM

Literary Arts has announced the finalists for the 2009 Oregon Book Awards, and five of them are particularly local: Miriam Gershow, Debra Gwartney, Bonnie Henderson, Barbara Pope and Leslie What are all among the finalists for this year's awards. (Perennial finalist Deborah Hopkinson of Corvallis has already won; her book is the only contender in the children's category.)

I've read three of the fiction finalists and ... well, that's a tough field the judge has to choose from. To see the complete list (with links to EW reviews of several titles), click here.

2009 Oregon Book Awards Finalists
KEN KESEY AWARD FOR FICTION
Miriam Gershow of Eugene, The Local News
Gina Ochsner of Keizer, The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight
Barbara Pope of Eugene, Cezanne’s Quarry
Jon Raymond of Portland, Livability: Stories
Leslie What of Eugene, Crazy Love: Stories

STAFFORD/HALL AWARD FOR POETRY
Alicia Cohen of Portland, Debts and Obligations
Matthew Dickman of Portland, All-American Poem
Endi Bogue Hartigan of Portland, One Sun Storm
Andrew Michael Roberts of Portland, something has to happen next
Crystal Williams of Portland, Troubled Tongues

FRANCES FULLER VICTOR AWARD FOR GENERAL NONFICTION
Tracy Daugherty of Corvallis, Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthelme
Bonnie Henderson of Eugene, Strand: An Odyssey of Pacific Ocean Debris
John Laursen of Portland, Wild Beauty
Donna Matrazzo of Portland, Wild Things: Adventures of a Grassroots Environmentalist
Jeffrey St. Clair of Oregon City, T Born Under a Bad Sky: Notes from the Dark Side of the Earth

SARAH WINNEMUCCA AWARD FOR CREATIVE NONFICTION
Bibi Gaston of The Dalles, The Loveliest Woman in America: A Tragic Actress, Her Lost Diaries, and Her Granddaughter’s Search for Home
Debra Gwartney of Finn Rock, Live Through This: A Mother’s Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love
John Kroger of Salem, Convictions: A Prosecutor’s Battles Against Mafia Killers, Drug Kingpins, and Enron Thieves
Floyd Skloot of Portland, The Wink of the Zenith: The Shaping of a Writer’s Life

ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Deborah Hopkinson of Corvallis, Keep On! The Story of Matthew Henson, Co-discoverer of the North Pole

LESLIE BRADSHAW AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE
Carmen Bernier-Grand of Portland, Diego: Bigger Than Life
David Greenberg of Portland, A Tugging String
Graham Salisbury of Lake Oswego, Calvin Coconut, Trouble Magnet
Roland Smith of Wilsonville, I.Q. Book One: Independence Hall
Virginia Euwer Wolff of Oregon City, This Full House

Special Awards
THE STEWART H. HOLBROOK LITERARY LEGACY AWARD
Matt Love of Newport

THE WALT MOREY YOUNG READERS LITERARY LEGACY AWARD
The Dove Lewis Animal Assisted Therapy Program: Read to the Dogs Program of Portland

September 9, 2009 11:25 AM

Two UO students have won prizes in a short video contest for college students.

Rebecca Purice won a $3,000 first prize for a video about the First Place Family Center in Eugene and a homeless single dad. Here's the video:

Lorie Anne Acio of the UO won third for a video about a Special Olympics coach and also an honorable mention for another film about a ministry for homeless kids.

The Christophers is a non-profit that "uses the mass media to encourage individuals to use their God-given abilities to change the world for the better."

September 5, 2009 10:48 PM

Here's a slideshow of the Eugene Celebration parade:

September 4, 2009 09:49 AM

If you missed the Duck game, here's the highlight (or lowlight):

September 4, 2009 12:05 AM

Looks like former Mayor Jim Torrey did a commercial on KVAL:

Maybe progressives were right that he was deaf to their concerns. It could be worse. Here's a commercial by another has been Republican:

September 4, 2009 06:04 PM

While Portland and other cities are putting forward innovative bike and transit friendly transportation projects for a $1.5-billion pot of flexible, green-oriented federal stimulus funds, Eugene only wants yet more roads.

Portland's Metro planning agency selected $76 million in active, bike, walking and transit projects to apply for federal TIGER funding, according to the bikeportland.org blog.

One $38-million project would saturate the city with bike lanes and separated trails to serve as a national model of green transportation to fight global warming and increase livability. Here's a draft map:

Another $17 million grant application would build a bike trail from Portland to the foothills of Mt. Hood, allowing city-dwellers non-motorized access to the scenic area. The rest of the money would fund improved pedestrian and bike access to light rail stations.

Other cities have also put together innovative green transportation proposals for the rare pot of non-freeway centered federal transportation money. For example, Kansas City wants a trolley and Washington, D.C. a bike sharing program.

But in Eugene/Springfield the focus is on more road construction, according to a memo from the local LCOG planning agency. The city of Eugene wants to reconstruct Highway 99 with another turn lane at Roosevelt and added driveways and resurface 5th Avenue and add a roundabout to accommodate industrial truck traffic in west Eugene. Springfield wants to widen Franklin into a boulevard concept that will include EmX transit lanes but not lined bike lanes.

Portland Metro spent the summer soliciting ideas in a public process to come up with its green list. But LCOG's dirtier, non-innovative transportation stimulus ideas apparently came solely from secret meetings within the undemocratic agency's unelected bureaucracy.

Long dreamed local green transportation projects that didn't make LCOG's dirty list include:

  • A river bike path and bridge all the way to Mt. Pisgah.
  • A trolley down Willamette Street.
  • Bike lanes, wide sidewalks, trees and pedestrian crossings on south Willamette Street.
  • Extending the riverfront bike path through Glenwood.
  • A bike bridge over Beltline to Chad Drive.
  • A separated cycletrack (bike path) down High Street connecting the Amazon trail to the riverfront trail.
  • A dramatic expansion of Eugene's bike lane system.
  • Funding to accelerate the buildout of the EmX system into west and north Eugene.
September 4, 2009 01:19 AM

The city of Eugene is planning to spend $16 million to move its police to a new headquarters across the river from most crime.

Here's a map from a website the police department uses to map their crime data. The map shows violent crimes since March. The blue arrow depicts where the police headquarters is now (red dot) and where City Manager Jon Ruiz is planning to move it.