New “Free Speech Skybridge” perfect place & manner for protest banners

The Eugene Weekly’s Bob Keefer pans the Knight Campus’s still under-construction “bridge to nowhere”, here. While I agree it’s not up to the architectural excellence of, say, the Hayward Field Phallus, it will provide the perfect location for students and union members to hang protest banners from – with none of the issues General Counsel Kevin Reed raised regarding Time, Place, and Manner, when he had the Divest UO banners removed from Johnson Hall:


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28 Responses to New “Free Speech Skybridge” perfect place & manner for protest banners

  1. ScienceDuck says:

    I really don’t get the ire about the bridge not being available for casual crossing of Franklin. It starts in the middle of a science building and ends in the middle of another…it sounds like anybody will be able to cross it during regular hours when the buildings are open. Adding street-level stairs and giant ramps for accessibility would not be trivial. Casual use has the risks of people bumping into precious samples or spilling hazardous materials or causing stress to research animals being transported from one building to the other.

    Keefer says “Pedestrians still will have to find their own way across Franklin” as if this is a difficult task. Maybe he needs to be shown the well-demarcated crosswalks and exceptionally long walk signals on all sides of the intersection.

    • Richard Bohloff says:

      Preach! Why do people keep assuming that just because the construction only hss a budget of $500 million, that they could afford non-trivial luxury features like “stairs” and “ramps” for the so-called “public” to help safely “cross the street”?

      • ScienceDuck says:

        I think regardless of the budget, large numbers of people using the bridge poses safety problems given the research materials that will be transported. Imagine some kids running along with inner tubes, heading to the river. They knock over a cart with chemicals and suddenly everyone will be suing the university over negligence. Or they knock over a cart transporting research animals and break the legs and the animal facilities get closed down while the feds investigate which animal safety protocol was violated.

        Have there been a large number of accidents for pedestrians currently using the crosswalks or is that just a post hoc worry made to juice up the discussion?

        Anyway, I don’t get it. Who wants to hike up and down 4 flights of stairs to cross the street? People have been crossing the street for decades at the crosswalks. It just strikes me as a bizarre fixation. Aren’t there dozens of crosswalks along Franklin? Where are the yells to build pedestrian bridges at each of those crosswalks if that is so desirable? The 515 apartments got a crosswalk smack in the middle of the road with no intersection…wouldn’t that be a first priority for wanting a pedestrian bridge?

  2. Deplorable Duck says:

    A substantial number of pedestrians already can’t be bothered to use the marked crosswalks across Franklin. Do we really think that they’d climb up and down long flights of stairs instead?

    Most of the buildings in the science complex are already connected by corridors and walkways. Connecting this one to that group makes perfect sense, especially in a rainy climate.

    Beyond that, the DeFazio bridge really is a bridge to nowhere. Have you ever seen anyone on it? What a waste.

    • Old Gray Mare says:

      Yes, the DeFazio bridge is used. I use it and I see others using it.

      • uomatters says:

        I thought it was for bikes, not horses.

        • Anonymous says:

          The grass is always greener on the other side.

          • Fishwrapper says:

            Erma Bombeck said it better: The grass is always greener…over the septic tank.

            • uomatters says:

              As former UO Senate Pres I know a bit about shit. A good concrete septic tank with PVC pipes will not leak, so the tomatoes will do better if you plant them over the drain field, which is usually 20 feet or so away.

              • Fishwrapper says:

                Not all tanks are new…

                And as Tom Lehrer put it so well, Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it depends on what you put into it…

                (An aside: count me as missing the like button, too…)

    • ODA says:

      DeFazio Bridge: Have you never been there? It is used all the time and very useful for bike commuting downtown to north of the river, perhaps as much or more so than Autzen and definitely more than Knickerbocker (at this time). With the campus stretching down the old EWEB property that bridge will be even more useful… Now if light rail could cross Autzen… :)

      • Deplorable Duck says:

        I see it from the Delta several times a week, at varying times. Yes, I was being cranky and hyperbolic, and I have seen people on it sometimes. But surely less than half of my samples, which suggests it doesn’t get much use. Compare that to the EMX, which for all its faults, there is no doubt about.

        As a taxpayer, I’d much rather that the money spent on that bridge had been used for an extra lane on our choked main roadways. Or to fix PERS. Or even for more SEIU positions. All are far more desperate needs.

        • Julie says:

          Deplorable Duck, perhaps you mean the Delta Ponds Pedestrian Bridge, which crosses the Delta Highway near the Delta Ponds? The DeFazio Bridge is located immediately east of the Ferry Street Bridge and is used constantly. (The Delta Ponds Bridge gets a lot of use too, by the way.)

          • Deplorable Duck says:

            Oops, yes, I had them confused. The DeFazio Bridge is certainly not a “bridge to nowhere”.

            Hard to find a concrete number, but perhaps $10M for initial construction of the Delta Ponds Bridge.

            • CSN says:

              Deplorable Duck,

              All I had to do was google “Delta Ponds Bridge” and the very first link was containing the line “A dedication event to mark the substantial completion of the $5.6 million bridge project was held in September 2010.”

              $5.6 million. Oh, and later on in the piece you find out that that $5.6 million “also included constructing sidewalks along Robin Hood Avenue, a raised median island on Willagillespie Road at Robin Hood, the largest raised median island in the City at the bridge’s west terminus on Goodpasture Island Road, 11 wayfaring signs, LED lighting, and a public art piece titled ‘Bountiful.'”

              So by “hard to find” what you mean is “I can’t be bothered to do even the simplest search.”

              • ODA says:

                Oh yea, Delta Ponds Bridge… Total waste… Unless they ever put the road to connect north of VRC through Rasor Park… Naa still a waste :) Total waste but kind of cool when all red and glowey in the fog!

                • uomatters says:

                  Fog? Seems like our Knight Bridge will be better for free-speech banners.

        • ScienceDuck says:

          The Defazio bridge cost $2.8 million. Just to give a sense of scale, the repairs to the I-105 ramps are costing $18 million. According to generic cost calculators, you could trade the Defazio bridge for a quarter mile of 1 additional lane on our highway system.

  3. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    I’m inclined to see it much like ScienceDuck. First of all, Bob Keefer doesn’t like the looks of the skybridge. I think the arches are kind of dramatic — a quality lacking in most UO architecture — to say Eugene architecture. Not that it rivals the Golden Gate Bridge, but it is pretty good given the local competition.

    I haven’t heard anyone but Bob Keefer complain about the supposed lack of public access. As ScienceDuck says, how many people would want to hike up and down steps to cross in skybridge. Or maybe escalators should be built? Well, maybe the Legislature, or the City of Eugene should have thought of this and maybe sprung for the cost (and upkeep) if it occurred to anyone that this was important.

    I’m glad that the Knight Campus, about which I have a lot of reservations, is going to the expense of this skybridge. What if they had just asked for a crosswalk in the street, maybe with yet another red light? Or just used the existing crosswalks?

    Now if you want to get me going, ask me about the Knight Campus and the coming parking nightmare ….

    • Adopted Handle says:

      “the coming parking nightmare…”

      Clearly you have not been on campus recently.

      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        AH – Oh yes, I am on campus every day — you ain’t seen nothin yet! Fall approaches … we will find out if campus planning is really as bad as some say …

    • ODA says:

      The arches look to be an OK idea; however, it looks like the function of the suspension bridge was not well designed for the size and looks out of proportion and the glass box around it is an afterthought… perhaps to keep the rain out, or to keep the inevitable protest signs off.

      From the picture my first thought was ‘it is the usual ugly architecture that tries to look like something else and in the end fails in both function and form.’ If someone with vision and money had taken on the project perhaps we could have done something dramatic to link our campus back to the river (re-route Franklin or bury it and a parking garage under a slightly elevated pedestrian plaza and buildings to replace PLC, thereby increasing function, form, and space utilization). The 9 or 10 lane wall bisecting campus is just bad planning.

      • uomatters says:

        The obvious solution would have been to use the field formerly known as Hayward for academic buildings, and put the track & field stadium somewhere north of Franklin. Like Portland.

        • ODA says:

          Can you bring back the like button yet? Still would be nice to get rid of Franklin between us and the river… When down that way looking at the stench hole that is the mill race and the old canoe rental house, I wonder if there may have been a time past (in black and white no less) when it was used by doe eyed undergrads in canoes and for sophomoric hi-jinx and revelry.

          • uomatters says:

            Your assignment is to watch the 1929 silent film Ed’s Co-Ed, on youtube at
            with a recent musical score added by SOMD & HC Prof Brian McWhorter, and report back on canoes and other hi-jinx.
            Sorry, the like button was a never-ending hassle, and discouraged actual comments like yours!

            PS – what does ODA stand for?

            • ODA says:

              ODA? I will loosely echo PK when he said something like: ‘PK could stand for the baseball stat Pick, or perhaps Phil Knight, or Penny Knight, or who knows…’ In the end it stands for nothing. (except perhaps a giant mega-maid size vacuum sucking up all those athletic Benjamins)

        • Environmental necessity says:

          Two recent mistakes: 1) destroying Hayward Field; 2) not putting the new Sanders Stadium somewhere on Leo Harris Parkway, thus freeing that space for more offices and classrooms (not that I am convinced we need all these new monoliths, what with enrollment plummeting).

          All the sports should be across the river. As much as I love track, the UO should cede title to the stadium and the land to Nike and tell them to cover the cost of maintaining that monstrosity. UO should then build a reasonable track and field space across the river and wash their hands of Knight’s egofice.

  4. Sun Tzu says:

    Hmm, these comments and this subject are yet another reason why UOMATTERS and most commenters on these pages have become irrelevant. UO continues to decline in all national rankings over past 20 yrs. What about discussing and solving the serious problems facing the University such as 1) Undergrad tuition too high; 2) Classroom overcrowding; 3) Students unable to take classes they need to graduate; 4) TTF not increasing at the rate necessary to maintain teaching and research standards; 5) Too many (underpaid and overworked) NTTF and adjuncts; 6) A caretaker President who is completely out of touch and has little or no vision; 7) An administration who doesn’t care about anyone except themselves; 8) GEs treated abominably; 9) OAs badly overworked; 10) SEIU classified staff treated like dirt; 11) Continued cuts to student services and faculty support while increasing the number of administrators. and 12) An ineffective University Senate that lost any impact when it was taken over by the union.

    As the administration is neither interested or capable of righting this sinking ship, it falls upon the faculty, staff and students to push for change . This is not a Herculean task (e.g., Hong Kong). It requires only energy, constant pressure and enduring perseverance from those who care about this institution. UOM and those who comment on these pages can lead the way. Or you can continue to complain about the little stuff.