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Design Matters

March 1, 2017

When people come to Eugene for the 2021 World Track and Field Championships, they will, like all tourists, spend a large majority of their time in our outdoor public spaces. The most charitable way to describe our present situation is that we are not yet quite ready for them downtown.

A year ago last December people filled the LCC downtown center to express their revived hopes about improving our downtown park and open spaces and to let city officials know unambiguously that they didn't want to sell Kesey Square.

December 15, 2016

So, I asked my friend Rosie Scenario: I know you just sold your prediction business for a big loss after the last election, but what would you do now about City Hall?

 “Well, I wouldn’t move to EWEB," she says, “even if that siren sounds like a cheap and easy way out for people grown weary and ready to stuff six pounds of wax in their ears.”

Why not?

 “Edifice complex, rock-in-the-pond, ‘Old Town’ and T.S. Eliot.”

 (Confused look.)

December 1, 2016

You have to ask yourself: Why such extreme prudence by our Eugene City Council when it comes to the official renaming of what everyone now calls Kesey Square?

And what was it that occasioned the flurry of letters to the City Council from the business community urging delay? 

July 28, 2016

Big changes are shaping up that could turn a faltering Eugene City Hall process into a real win for downtown. Perhaps it will yet turn out to be a good thing that the old City Hall was torn down prematurely before there was a solid master plan for the city’s block or a true and reliable estimate for what a City Hall replacement was going to cost.

June 16, 2016

You know those puzzles where you push one piece out of the way in order to place another? 

May 5, 2016

The big surprise revealed about the new Eugene City Hall at the Wednesday, April 27, City Council work session was not that the cost had climbed from the original $15 million to $25 million. The surprise was that the council voted not to pause and become more knowledgeable and accountable for the situation. Councilor George Brown’s motion to hold “at least one more session” on the project’s budget, costs and financing went wanting when it failed to pass, garnering just three votes.  

April 16, 2015

What is there about Kesey Square that needs fixing? It depends on whom you ask. Even the little bird sitting on Ken Kesey’s shoulder knows that there has long been a desire by those concerned with the need to improve the pedestrian and shopping experience downtown to fill up the space with a new building. Theirs is a defensive point of view. They see the square’s present clientele as a public nuisance that seriously detracts from their shopping mall ideal. Filling in the square would move that problem to somewhere else.

December 31, 2014

Ketchup (from the 17th-century Chinese kôe-chiap or kê-chiap): the Rs in Congress will be playing it for the next two years, and BO in Washington will be rampant. 

When Hillary Clinton is elected president in 2016, she will nominate Barack Obama to the empty Thurgood Marshall seat on the Supreme Court.

August 28, 2014

It’s slowly dawning on people who have been busy at other things that our old block-sized City Hall is about to be torn down and replaced by a quarter-block sized structure with a three-quarter block surface parking lot. 

June 12, 2014

Foxes and Hedgehogs

Foxes, they say, know many things, while hedgehogs only know one thing. And the one thing they know is that you can never do just one thing. So it has gone with the City Hall project. 

March 20, 2014

Rhymes with aw-shucks, but since many of you have asked me what a new City Hall on the North Park Block might look like and what would happen to the existing council chamber and mural, I propose something like this. The Council Chamber building, as it turns out, has its own separate structure and is movable. It would need to be moved nearby anyway under the present 8th Avenue scheme, and I think it would have a much more striking, important and symbolic public presence if located on Oak Street (see map) across from the County Courthouse. 

March 6, 2014

I see the present City Hall design process in Goldilocks terms. The first one at $130 million by THA from Portland was too big but initially in the right place. This second round is going to prove to be too small and in the wrong place. But if we’re willing to stop and reassess, the third try could get it just right — the right building in the right place.

December 26, 2013

And it is written that:

More and more polytheistic people will worship the plastic goddess Polly.

Concealed whistle checks will be required for all government workers. And on the stand, the U.S. government will, instead of taking the Fifth, continue to take the Fourth.

The NSA will create a vast meta-database of toilet flushes, mega-clip newspaper predictions, adopt Snoopy as its mascot and tag X-Box rats in recycled data dumps. 

June 27, 2013

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a reprint of a column we ran June 30, 2005, and we think it’s as relevant today as it was eight years ago.

Dear Diary: People have been asking me of late if it isn’t time we thought again about building the Emerald Canal. I usually respond with a “Don’t hold your breath unless you can hold it for years or some such,” but they are persisting.