Seven Appointed By One
“Instead of Envision Eugene the way that it isn’t, I think we should enjoy Eugene the way that it is.”
- Scott Rohter
by Scott Rohter, April 2012
Instead of Envision Eugene which is our City’s long range plan for the future, I think our community needs another plan to appreciate our little City just the way that it is. I think we need a different plan for the future. I will call it “Appreciate Eugene.” Instead of envisioning Eugene the way that it isn’t, I think we should learn to appreciate Eugene just the way that it is! I would like people living here to know what a wonderful place Eugene already is. I would like them to realize just how much better Eugene is than most other places in the country. We should all love our little City just the way that it is, instead of trying to change it. Instead of trying to turn this beautiful little swan into some sort of an ugly duckling just in order to be like everybody else, or just in order to be politically correct, or literally trying to re-invent the wheel with the EmX, we should all just stop trying to envision it, change it, or re-invent it! After all something that is already this good hardly needs to be re-invented, does it? And there is an old adage that says, “If something isn’t broken then you shouldn’t try to fix it.“
Eugene’s Mayor and the City Council should stop trying to follow somebody else’s footsteps by using somebody else’s pre-fabricated model that was designed somewhere else, by someone else, and for some other place! There are just way too many cooks in the kitchen right now, trying to prepare the future for Eugene, and they are starting to spoil both the future and the present! Who are these "cooks" that are spoiling our present and our future? They are the land planners in the City and County Planning and Development Departments, and the elected or appointed members that serve on the various Planning Commissions.
In Eugene there are about fifteen to twenty of these meddlesome individuals, who are all mapping out our City’s future in the most infinite detail. These pencil necked geeks are all headed up by one central Planning Director who reports to an interim executive Planning and Development Director, Sara Medary. She is also the assistant City Manager and she reports directly to Jon Ruiz who is the City Manager. He answers to the Eugene City Council. Most of these meddlesome planners are busy trying to accommodate and direct all of the development that they can, by mapping out areas around the City that they have targeted for future growth, based upon who is or who is not in political favor at the moment. There is no choice but for our City to grow of course! There will be more on that shortly.
These Planners were responsible for the illegal attempts by the City of Eugene in the 1990s to force people living outside of the City limits to hook up to the Eugene Municipal Sewer System. Along with the Eugene City Council they are the ones who were responsible for re-writing local ordinances against the advice of their own legal counsel, in order to compel non-City residents to comply with their devious plans for annexation and urban development, and to illegally force them to pay a $5000 sewer assessment. They were also behind the foreclosure and the forced sale of the Neely house on Horn Lane for the exact amount of the sewer lien, just $7,411. See my articles: Property Rights Come Under Attack in Oregon by State Constitution, and Oregon House Bill 4111 Reform Bill Passes Legislature.
In a 1998 landmark decision called the City of Eugene v. Nalven, the Oregon Appeals Court ruled that the City of Eugene had no authority to order anybody living outside of the City limits to hook up to the Eugene Municipal Sewer System, nor to pay the $5000 sewer assessment. Eugene twice appealed that decision to the Oregon Supreme Court, and it was twice denied, so the Appellate Court decision stands.
In 2012, a piece of legislation that I wrote back in 1995 when the City of Eugene expropriated the Neely house, finally passed the Oregon Legislature and was signed into law. The vote was unanimous!
But in 2010, another group of land planners from Eugene and Lane County were again responsible for another egregious attempt to confiscate private property! There was a county-wide attempt to take a 200 foot strip of land away from any property owner in Lane County who owned land that had a creek or a pond, or even a drainage ditch on it. This was the rather famous or infamous Lane County Overlay Map with its 200 foot setback proposal. Eugene and Lane County land planners dreamed this up and collaborated on it in conjunction with EWEB, the State Land Use Board, and the United Nations Agenda 21 Goals. Luckily for property owners however, the proposal was tabled when over five hundred angry Lane County property owners showed up for a meeting of the Lane County Board of Commissioners.
Today there is another ongoing battle that is occurring between the City of Eugene, its land planners and LTD on the one side, and the good citizens and property owners of West Eugene on the other side who don’t want the Eugene EmX running down 6th and 7th Streets, or on West 11th Avenue.They have not been allowed to vote on this very important issue, but they have been forced to spend over $100,000 of their own money while trying to get their voices heard by policy makers. The Eugene City Council, The Metropolitan Policy Committee, and Lane Transit District all continue to ostensibly ignore them!
Finally there is another growth related encroachment issue also on the table now for Eugene and its rural Lane County neighbors. It is the addition of about one-hundred acres of land in West Eugene that is now scheduled for residential development (i.e. sidewalks, curbs, streetlights, sewers, subdivisions, and tract homes) along with about four-hundred acres of land zoned commercial in Northwest Eugene which is slated for commercial development.
The land that is slated for commercial development will provide more jobs in West Eugene for all of the new people who will soon be moving into the new housing in West Eugene! This is perhaps another reason why the City wants to build the West Eugene EmX project. The urban development juggernaut just keeps on going...
Why Does The Urban Development Juggernaut Keep Going?The fundamental question which is even more basic than what kind of development we will have, or where and when it will occur is, “Do we have to grow?” and if we have to grow, then who is telling us that we have to grow? Do local communities have any say in whether they grow or not? Is there anything that local communities can do to preserve their rural lifestyle and small town character? Can we just say no to growth, or even yes if we chose, but if not, then why not?
“The only thing that keeps growing forever is cancer.” - Scott Rohter
"A journalist has no better friend than the truth." - Scott Rohter