dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog

Quips, queries, and querulous quibbles from the quirky mind of Don Kahle

dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog random header image

Planning to Plan in Eugene

April 5th, 2007 by dk

There’s nothing we love more in this town than planning, unless it’s planning to plan.

The mayor and I have been part of a group that has spent the last several months planning to invite a group to plan for the necessary changes to a certain plan. Planning to plan to plan a plan. Is that Eugene, or what?

When certain developers come to town and announce a project, there’s always a group that opposes it. Let’s consider that it might be because we like planning so much more than getting. We can sometimes be like the child who enjoys opening the package so much that the package becomes more the focus than what’s inside. We play with the box more than the toy.

And why shouldn’t we? We’re liberal arts people. We think about — no, we make a plan to think about the plan of what other people should plan to do. This is what we playfully refer to as “our contribution to the process.” No, folks. We ARE the process.

OK, so who wants to return to the river, raise your hand? It’s practically unanimous, but it should be noted that one third of those who voted to return to the river have never been to the river — they were voting to return to the IDEA of a river.

So if we want to return to the river, what do we need? A PLAN! (See? In any other town, the answer would be a BOAT.) But who will do the planning and how will the plan be crafted and will it have any holes? How fast will it go and who will steer it? Remember, we’re still talking about a plan, not a boat.

If Noah had been a Eugenean, we’d have reems of drawings of the sorts of animals that are worth saving, still drying out somewhere in Mesopotamia.

Tags: 1 Comment

Leave A Comment

Are you human? *

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Jennymoose Apr 17, 2007 at 11:37 am

    The nomenklatura in the Soviet Union did a really good job of “planning” their society out of existence. As “The Wisdom of Crowds”, the recent best-seller, pointed out in other contexts, a “crowd”, be it a jury or the traders in the stock market, is collectively going to make far wiser choices than the wisest planner[s]. Trying to “plan” downtown revitalization will be no more successful than were the Soviet 5 year plans or the pedestrian mall downtown. Steve Korth, who envisioned and executed Oakway Center’s stunning remake, is absolutely right: not only do too many cooks spoil the broth, but you have to let the market dictate development, since folks with “skin in the game”, and not idealistic “planners” are far more likely to anticipate and meet what “the people” want. I expect The Eugene Weekly and Bonnie Bettman to get their way, this being Eugene, after all, and Oakway will continue to thrive, while those who enjoy the “diversity” of transients, street kids, and a few fearful bourgeoisie scurrying about their necessary business will continue to dominate West Broadway.