11/29/2010: The RG has an editorial with a clear and succinct summary of the issues around the proposed ORI building. At least it seems clear to a casual observer like me:
… But now another obstacle has arisen. When the research park was created in 1986, the UO, the city and the state Board of Higher Education entered into an intergovernmental agreement spelling out processes for its development. Included are provisions for public oversight and review that appear to have atrophied through disuse. … The agreement further requires joint approval by the city and the UO of developers chosen for research park projects. The city was not involved in the selection of Trammell Crow as developer of the ORI building, even though the company’s lease makes reference to the intergovernmental agreement.
So the UO lawyers who drafted the contract with Trammell Crow knew of the agreement and requirements for public input etc – but they forgot to tell the public. I wonder how much they told Trammell Crow? The last time the GC’s office hid public records from the public we ended up paying Bellotti $2.7 million. I wonder how much we’ll pay the developers and ORI on this one?
There is more background at the Connecting Eugene website, run by the people who are opposed to the project as is, and who dug up the agreement.
As I’ve said before I’m in favor of more development along the river. But saying one thing to the developer and another to the community, and then hiding public records and stifling public input when there is an agreement in place requiring this input, is not the right way to get it done. Or the right way to run a public university.