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<br /> - u_____ ---- <br /> e Ms. Wooten said the City Council has made a decision regarding the proposed <br /> reopening of Willamette Street to vehicular traffic. She did not think it <br /> was productive to suggest that downtown's problems revolve around that single <br /> issue. She said the public and the council have not supported the proposed <br /> reopening; therefore, plans (at least for the immediate future) will have to <br /> be made for downtown that do not include the reopening of the street. <br /> Mr. Bennett said the City's goals for downtown cannot be accomplished without <br /> revisiting the issue of access and circulation. <br /> Mr. Schwartz agreed, saying that in downtowns across the nation, vehicular <br /> access has proven to to be crucial to economic vitality. He also noted that <br /> recent street reopenings in Eugene have led to increased economic activity <br /> (Willamette from 7th to 8th and from 10th to 11th, as well as Broadway from <br /> Oak to Pearl). Mr. Schwartz said the current mall configuration simply does <br /> not work well. He noted, for example, the vacancies and low rents on parts <br /> of the mall. He said skepticism was one reason for the opposition to the <br /> proposed reopening of Willamette from 8th to 10th; people wanted proof that <br /> reopening the street would improve the downtown economy. He said that if <br /> Olive Street from 8th to 10th were reopened to vehicular traffic, and if this <br /> proved to be successful, there might be more support for opening Willamette. <br /> Mayor Obie said he supported the proposal to reopen Willamette Street; <br /> however, the public did not. He said the City should directs its efforts <br /> toward things that can be accomplished politically. For example, he said the <br /> e proposed cons\ruction of a library as part of a mixed-use development at 8th <br /> and Willamette is not a "done deal" yet. He said the City needs to focus on <br /> making this project a success. <br /> Ms. Ehrman said one of the problems in the City's effort to improve the <br /> economic vitality of downtown may have been an over-emphasis on retail <br /> development. She said the downtown economy may be shifting toward the <br /> direction of more office development. <br /> Mr. Neustadter said more efforts should be made to encourage office <br /> development downtown. He said downtown retail is healthiest when it has a <br /> strong office sector supporting it. Mr. Neustadter also expressed concerns <br /> that West Broadway, where large capital investments were recently made, might <br /> become downtown's "backyard" after the 8th and Willamette lot is developed <br /> and if The Bon leaves downtown. He said the opening of Olive to vehicular <br /> traffic might be one way of preventing this, because improved access would <br /> help maintain the economic strength of the area. <br /> In response to a question, Mr. Bennett said Downtown Eugene Incorporated <br /> (DEI) was formed in order to broaden the base of private representation in <br /> downtown to include retailers, the office sector, and property owners. DEI <br /> is still trying to build its strength as an organization (e.g., through <br /> membership recruitment). It is trying to assume only those responsibilities <br /> that it believes it can successfully handle at this time (e.g., security and <br /> marketing). Mr. Bennett said centralized retail management (CRM) is an <br /> e MINUTES--Eugene City Council November 28, 1988 Page 3 <br />