For those who missed (or were too bashful to attend) the Eugene version of the World Naked Bike Ride last Saturday, June 11, here's some photos from Eugene Weekly photo intern Rob Sydor. About 60 people rode buff downtown to protest for bike transportation.
Words by Dante Zuñiga-West
Hip hop was honored Wednesday, June 8, at the WOW Hall when Pharoahe Monch stepped to the stage. Smash-mouthed unabashed microphone-murdering lyrics had the crowd jumping (literally, the WOW Hall floor felt like a trampoline) to songs that Monch wrote ten years ago — he is that type of legend in the hip hop world, creating music that has what industry booking agents call “replay value.” The songs off his new album, W.A.R., though not as iconic as his previous work, offer the same reality check that hip hop heads need — and that they were given when Monch first hit the scene. Back then the declaration was one of defiance in the face of mainstream bullshit ghetto-fabulous rap made by studio (wanna-be) gangstas giving suburban white boys who play too much Grand Theft Auto San Andreas wet dreams. Now that same declaration sparked and owned by Monch and his (few) peers is one of pure existence. “Is hip hop in the building?” Monch asked. It was. He was answered by a screaming horde of true underground heads who knew his lyrics and shouted them back to him.
Monch is a throwback, a hip hop dinosaur from a time not long past that seems to be lost and forgotten by everyone who stopped coming out to “conscious” hip hop shows — which is exactly the reason such shows ceased coming around. We were fortunate to have an MC of Monch’s talent come to town, and it was a testament to his stature how off-the-hook his show was.
The self-proclaimed “most obligated“ MC sat in the green room after his killer performance, looking like a man who’d just walked away from an explosion. I told him I got his first album when I was 17 years old, and he told me he’d just spoken to a man who said the same thing, but the age was 14. Monch smiles. “That’s some amazing shit,” he says, then tells me he always wanted to make something people would remember, like the music he grew up on: Coltrane, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Hendrix. His genre is not as all-penetrating, but his influence in that genre is.
Though visibly haggard from a hard tour, the Queens-raised Monch continued to give an enthusiastic interview. He sounds a little like Mike Tyson in cadence and pitch — a far cry from his commanding stage-voice on the mic, which sounds like some big spooky fool that would stomp you out in the parking lot of a Dodger game. Monch’s intellect is sharp, he breaks down the underground hip hop scene (or what is left of it) in succinct language: “The failure to sell records has caused people to revert back to the basics,” those basics being a sick beat and an ill verse. It was Monch’s showmanship that won the crowd; it is this same energy that will continue to carry him into the minds and boomboxes of those who know, remember or just found out.
DJ Boogie Blind of The X-Ecutioners
People on bikes and foot will finally have a way to cross the great wall of Beltline in north Eugene, but they may have to go through a warren of underpasses to do it.
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) unveiled draft plans for a long-sought bike path under or over the Beltline freeway that severs north and south Eugene. The proposed $1 million route would include six underpasses winding through ODOT's I-5 Beltline, $200 million highway spaghetti interchange project.
Here's a look at the ODOT plan:
Members of the Eugene Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) questioned why ODOT wouldn't build a single bike bridge with a safe, direct connection (added in blue above) rather than the complex system of underpasses.
The proposed plan creates a "rabbit warren" of safety issues, BPAC member David Gizara said. "Why are you building so many things? Why aren't you doing a straight line?"
Anya Dobrowolski said many women may not feel safe going under the roads. "The night time issues are huge," she said.
BPAC city staffer Lindsay Selser said an existing narrow underpass under the railroad tracks in southeast Eugene near I-5 is "horrible, stinky, smelly, creepy, gross." She said, "it's where attacks happen in my head."
But ODOT's project leader Anne Sanders said the state highway department quickly dismissed the bike bridge alternative. "Economically and practically, it wasn't going to be an option."
ODOT interchange designer Carl Deaton said he started to look at a bike bridge, but found that at an acceptable grade, it would have to be "very long" to get over the elevated flyover ramp and need more right of way. He estimated such a big bridge could cost roughly $6 million, almost three times the cost of the new bike suspension bridge over I-5 to the Gateway Mall. "I knew it was a big cost; I knew I'd have to start taking homes, so I stopped," Deaton said.
"We really don't have the budget for it," Sanders said.
Here's a look at how high the flyover is:
Gizara made a motion that BPAC formally ask ODOT to perform a more complete analysis of a bridge.
Gizara said a bridge crossing will be more used than the undercrossings and could serve growth and big employers in the area like the new hospital. "Cutting it down to that one crossing is going to be money well spent," he said. "How much are you spending on cars?"
But BPAC member Fred Tepfer, a UO planner, said many people wouldn't want to climb such a long, tall bridge to get over Beltline. "It's ridiculously long," he said. "There is no good solution here, so I'm not sure spending more money is better."
Gizara's motion died for a lack of consensus on BPAC.
Deaton said the underpasses would have more open, slanted walls and possibly lighting to increase safety.
Another option would be one longer underpass under Beltline. But Deaton said that would add the expense of a new Beltline road bridge to the interchange project.
"Long tunnels are enormously scary to people," Tepfer also said.
Another option not discussed at the BPAC meeting would be to move the bike bridge farther west to avoid the flyover and cross at a lower point. But that could require buying a right of way from The Register-Guard headquarters.
Here's the possible location:
BPAC members thanked ODOT for working on the bike connection. A way to get past the Beltline wall has long been sought by local bicyclists. Busy Coburg Road offers only a long and dangerous detour. The path would connect to existing paths leading to the riverfront paths and Gateway mall and could be heavily used by neighborhoods and commuters to businesses on Chad Drive and/or recreational cyclists heading to rural routes.
Here's a look at how Beltline cuts off north Eugene now:
Bike advocates won a partial victory in getting the city of Eugene to install long-sought bike lanes on a three-block stretch of Willamette Street in south Eugene, but the decision could also mean a tough fight to install the safety measure on the rest of the busy arterial.
The city had planned to repave Willamette from 29th to 32nd avenues without adding bike lanes, even though the lanes have been in city plans as a top safety priority for decades. Members of the city's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) and the local GEARs bike group objected to the City Council that the city should include the safety lanes in the rare repaving project.
Here's a map of the stretch:
The city agreed to install the lanes on part of the stretch, but have them disappear about 200 feet before the intersection with 29th going north and 50 feet before the intersection going south.
Here's the city's design:
The city and its consultant argued that removing one of the five traffic lanes near the intersection to improve human safety could cause too many seconds of delay for motorists during a half-hour, weekday morning peak traffic period.
The city's position on elevating traffic speed over cyclist safety could make for a fight in trying to remove a lane on Willamette north of 29th to make room for bike lanes and wider sidewalks, a major goal of bike advocates for decades and a top priority in a new draft bike pedestrian plan for the city.
If the city wouldn't install bike lanes on the three-block stretch, BPAC urged the city to at least install "sharrows" before 29th to encourage cars to share the road with cyclists. But the city also refused to paint the sharrow bike marks in the car lanes, arguing that they shouldn't be placed on busy streets. That's contrary to other city's use of sharrows and the city's own planned use of the markings on busy 13th near the UO.
Northbound cyclists can use an easement through an apartment complex to reach a parallel street, the city argued. But the easement requires a detour, is frequently used for parking and some apartment residents have objected to its use.
Here's the easement:
The stretch of Willamette before 29th is a major safety choke point for cyclists trying to reach the Woodfield Station shopping center's Market of Choice and the many businesses south of 29th. To the east a lack of through streets provides no parallel alternative route and to the west lie steep hills. Willamette has the third highest number of bike accidents in Eugene, according to a recent city study.
Here's a topo view:
With the rallying cry "Less Gas, More Ass," the Eugene World Naked Bike Ride plans to roll tomorrow, Saturday, June 11, meeting at 4 pm near Skinner Butte Park at the corner of Cheshire and Lawrence.
According to organizers, the purpose of the fun protest ride is "to celebrate the human body and the bicycle, which together form the most efficient transportation ever created. We will ride our bikes nude (or nearly nude) to remind our fellow travelers that bicyclists are vulnerable when facing 2-ton metal monsters and all of us are vulnerable because of our addiction to fossil fuels."
Here's a KVAL video of last year's Eugene ride: