Which of these did the Eugene planning department require a conditional use permit (CUP) for?
The Dharmalaya Meditation Center, straw bale backyard shelter for quiet retreats:
The UO's 12,500-seat basketball arena, at roughly $250 million, the most expensive arena ever built with plans for games, rock concerts and other mass events almost every weekend:
The Eugene planning department required a CUP for the meditation center but not for the huge arena. Both decisions were thrown out on appeal by a hearings official. Now the arena requires a permit and the meditation center does not.
Did the city of Eugene get bad legal advice on this? The city doesn't have any attorneys on staff. It gets almost all its legal advice from the private law firm Harrang Long Gary Rudnick P.C.
Harrang Long's president is Bill Gary. Gary served with his friend UO President Dave Frohnmayer as his top deputy when Frohnmayer was Oregon attorney general.
In the past , Gary and his firm have denied any conflicts of interest between the private firm's work for the city and private clients.
UO big wigs have been taking a lot of hits in the media recently for kowtowing to the almighty swoosh.
On April 16 the Oregonian reported that the UO had evaded state anti-corruption laws to hand the contract for the basketball arenaâ€”the most expensive public building in state historyâ€”to a Nike subsidiary and Nike related contractor and architect without a competitive or public bidding process.
On April 20, Oregonian columnist Steve Duin wrote that under President Dave Frohnmayer, "This public university has, on any and all questions about the arena, suddenly adopted a code of secrecy worthy of the KGB."
On April 23, Willamette Week awarded Frohnmayer its "Rogue of the Week" award for "hiding the ball" when it comes to Nike, the arena and the state's public records law.
Who's making all these decisions at the UO? Frohnmayer is helped by three "retired" UO vice-presidents who recently got a big pay increase by converting their full time jobs to half time, according to numbers in an Oregonian story last month.
The paper reported that John Moseley, Lorraine Davis and Dan Williams all recently retired but were hired back as half time contractors. According to numbers in the story, Williams earned $162,800 before he retired. After retirement he earned PERS at about 83 percent of salary or, by our estimate, about $135,000. Frohnmayer then hired him back to work at the UO half time for $100,000 a year, according to the Oregonian. So in retirement working half time Williams earns a total of about $235,000 a year, a 44 percent raise over what he earned working full time.
For Moseley the raise works out to 35 percent or a total of $285,000 in post "retirement" salary, by EW's calculations. Davis got an estimated 33 percent raise for going half time, a total of $222,000 a year in post retirement pay.
These three Frohnmayer cronies working half as much for almost half more pay are now among the highest paid public officials in the state. By comparison, the Governor's salary is $93,600.
Wow, no wonder the UO has a hard time getting funding from the Legislature. Of course Frohnmayer or his princely paid assistants won't pay the price for the public esteem swooshing out of the institution. It will be some kid busing tables for tuition.