Alan Pittman's blog
The U.S. finally got Osama bin Laden. Whoop de doo, George Bush taught us years ago to just forget about him:
Good thing we finally got a Democrat in office to get the job done:
Maybe EmX advocates here need to get out their Legos:
Construction begins this month on some of the greenest housing digs ever built in Eugene-LCC's downtown apartment building for 250 students.
"Sustainability is one of the college's core values," said Lane Community College spokesman Brett Rowlett. The LCC housing is part of its $53-million downtown campus project in the Sears pit across from the library.
Instead of sticking spades into some green farm field on the sprawling edge of town served by an expensive freeway, officials plan to "break ground" tomorrow at 10:30 am by slinging dirt into the pit. The LCC project will recycle the enduring eyesore into model green density offering car-free, low carbon, low-cost living and a much-needed redevelopment spark to the heart of the city.
The five-story, 87,000 square-feet apartment building will include serve students with a mix of single, double and quadruple apartments and studios. The building's ground floor will have a campus store and meeting rooms.
The building's carbon footprint per resident will likely be far less than even the greenest low energy homes built in Eugene. Apartments, with their shared walls and floors, share heating and cooling. They also share infrastructure, greatly reducing the embodied energy carbon impact of building materials. In addition, LCC plans a LEED Gold certified building with some of the latest insulation, appliance and lighting techniques for reducing power.
But, since most Eugene electricity to run buildings is from hydropower, the building's greatest carbon reduction benefit may be simply it's downtown location.
Students going to classes downtown or to LCC's business services office will have to walk just steps to the adjacent 90,000 square-foot LEED Platinum academic center. To get to LCC's main campus, students can cross the street to LTD's main transit hub, for frequent buses running to the campus in just 17 minutes. The LTD bus station also offers express EmX routes to the UO, downtown Springfield, RiverBend hospital and Gateway Mall, a future EmX route planned for West Eugene and other direct bus connections to destinations all over town.
Just a few more steps away is downtown Eugene-offering one of the nation's best city libraries, restaurants, bars, music clubs, Kiva groceries, the Hult Center, coffee shops and bakeries and the largest concentration of jobs in the region.
The student housing will also include significant bike parking. City code for bike parking requires one bike parking space for each two residents in a dormitory.
In perhaps its greenest element, the apartment building will not include a parking garage for cars. Not including car parking in a building can save up to $50,000 per space in construction costs, substantially reducing rents.
More parking isn't needed in the area. The city's six downtown parking garages with more than 2,500 total spaces stand half empty, according to past city parking studies. The LCC housing is across the street from two city garages at Broadway Place (almost 800 spaces 80 percent empty) and under the Library. The city's massive Overpark and Parcade city garages are just a two block walk.
Counting private lots, downtown has more than 15,000 parking spaces-four times more parking than Gateway Mall. Downtown parking is so underused, that the city recently removed hundreds of meters to provide free on-street parking.
LCC's Rowlett doesn't expect LCC will have trouble filling the green housing. He said a housing market study found high demand for student apartments downtown. "There was a definite need," he said.
Rowlett said the housing will go first to LCC students and then to UO students if space is available. Rowlett said he expects residents will reflect LCC's diverse group of students, including many older, returning students and some international students.
The community college creatively cobbled together financing for the building from a variety of sources including $9 million in voter approved LCC bonds, $8 million in urban renewal funding from the city and $5 million in tax credits with the remainder coming from a combination of other federal tax credits, energy tax credits, bond sales and grants.
LCC plans to fast-track construction on the green downtown housing with completion by fall 2012 and doors opening January 2013.
Here's a look at LCC's two minute promotional video for the downtown campus project:
The Eugene City Council voted 8-0 tonight to continue discussion of a May ballot measure on an income tax for schools.
The council plans to discuss details of the measure on Feb. 14 and take a final vote. The 4J school board may vote on whether to support the additional city funding and how much on Feb. 9.
Several councilors appeared to indicate they may ultimately oppose referring a school funding measure to a May ballot vote, but a majority of four councilors and the Mayor spoke in favor of a May ballot measure.
Details remain undecided, but school supporters have discussed a graduated income tax that would raise at least $10 million for 4J and $4 million for Bethel schools per year. The income tax discussed would exempt lower income people and sunset in six years.
"When everyone is carrying a firearm, nobody is going to be a victim," Arizona State Rep. Jack Harper told the Arizona Republic in the wake of the mass shooting of a congresswoman, 9 year-old girl, judge and others in his state.
Here's a look at what happens when "everyone is carrying a firearm":
An armed man at the Arizona shooting almost mistakenly shot another man who had already disarmed the real shooter, the Arizona Republic and other media reported.
"That's what happens when you run with a firearm to a scene of bloody havoc. In the chaos and pressure of the moment, you can shoot the wrong person. Or, by drawing your weapon, you can become the wrong person—a hero mistaken for a second gunman by another would-be hero with a gun. Bang, you're dead. Or worse, bang bang bang bang bang: a firefight among several armed, confused, and innocent people in a crowd. It happens even among trained soldiers. Among civilians, the risk is that much greater. "
At the Eugene 4J School Board Meeting tonight:
—Superintendent George Russell revised his $22 million estimated budget cut to $28 million, due to new numbers from Gov. elect John Kitzhaber.
—District staff argued for a May school construction bond measure because it would leverage $15 million in federal construction funding and they could claim that the district wasn't raising taxes because of an expiring previous school construction levy. But a May bond vote to build new schools could cause the district to lose $10 million dollars or more in operating funding from a proposed city tax to keep the schools the district already has open. But two board members and Russell spoke favorably of the city tax effort for schools.
—A majority of 4J board members appeared to oppose closing Adams elementary, one of the brownest and poorest schools in the district, to give the building to the Charlemagne French immersion elementary, one of the whitest and richest schools in the district. But the board opposed officially taking the option of closing Adams off the table, forcing Adams parents to go to more late night meetings to defend their school. Fox Hollow parents apparently won’t have to plea for their school. The school board, which includes one French immersion parent, has not applied the same closure tests and criteria to Fox Hollow as it has applied to neighborhood schools. The board now appears to be targeting Parker to make room for Fox Hollow. The board rejected the least disruptive option of simply leaving the French school where it is pending a proposed reevaluation of 4J alternative schools next year. Moving Fox Hollow to Parker may apparently save almost no money as it would require a new large parking lot and drop off area because almost all the French school parents drive their kids to school, according to 4J staff.