Testimony on Bascom Village may have brought out lies. Story by Pat Farr

Last night’s Eugene City Council public hearing lasted almost until this morning.  Thirty seven people signed up for testimony on Bascom Village, but by the time a couple dozen had testified on other issues a few had gone home before their time came.  The testimony was impassioned and by the time I had stayed to talk with a handful of neighbors of the proposed project I found myself getting home at nearly midnight.  Still yesterday but almost today.

A motion was made to allow Mike Reeder, the neighborhood group’s attorney, to combine the time of other testifiers and offer a 40-minute cohesive testimony.  I supported the motion in favor of hearing a coordinated presentation.  The Council voted 4-4 (Ortiz, Taylor, Zelenka and Brown in opposition) with Mayor Piercy splitting the vote and killing the motion.

So instead we heard three-minute testimonies from a long line of speakers.  Which was good, but I believe a presentation that placed all of the concerns about building the project in a sequenced delivery would have given a clearer and more understandable set of information.  Thirty seven three-minute talks only add up to 111 minutes, but with the lag time as presenters step to the microphone it ends up taking much longer.  It was not the longest public hearing I’ve attended in my nine years as a Councilor, and each presenter made a worthwhile presentation.

The testimony was grouped mainly into the six areas plus two that I listed in the previous post, no real surprises, but it was an opportunity for the entire Council to see and hear the opponents and supporters face to face.

What is very disconcerting is an allegation by one Councilor, Mike Clark, that a 4J School District official and a former 4J School Board member lied in their presentation of school facts.  The use of the word, “lie” is serious and must be taken with great gravity.  If they knowingly lied, that’s a problem.  If they didn’t lie, that’s a different problem.  The facts will be brought forward in the coming days.

The Council will act on the proposal Monday November 28.


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