FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 11, 2010
UNIVERSITY OF OREGON SENATE UNANIMOUSLY PASSES RESOLUTION SEEKING COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW–ADMINISTRATION DOESN’T RESPOND
The faculty, staff, and student members of the University of Oregon Senate unanimously approved a resolution on Wednesday asking that the required public review process occur before moving forward with plans to expand the Riverfront Research Park. The resolution asks President Lariviere to explain how the University has and will maintain compliance with local laws and an Intergovernmental Agreement. Expansion plans were to include a new office building and parking lot on the Willamette riverfront for the Oregon Research Institute.
“We want the administration to demonstrate that the University has maintained compliance with the binding agreements they’ve signed,” states Paul Cziko, a UO graduate student and co-sponsor of the resolution. Members of the Senate have been seeking a response to questions concerning compliance for more than two weeks. Notably absent from Wednesday’s discussion, however, were University officials who could respond to questions raised regarding the University’s contractual obligations — including President Richard Lariviere, Provost Jim Bean, General Counsel Randy Geller, and Research Park director Diane Wiley.
All evidence indicates that the binding 1986 Intergovernmental Agreement remains in effect. An email received in June 2010 from the Deputy City Recorder in response to a public records request for information related to the dissolution of the agreement states:
“This contract is currently active in our system.”
Additionally, a Ground Lease executed last year by the University and the Texas-based developer for the proposed Oregon Research Institute building includes the following conditions:
Lessee acknowledges that…the development of the Riverfront Research Park is governed by an Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Eugene, the University of Oregon, and the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. The Research Park is [also] subject to the…Land Transfer Conditions to the Riverfront Research Park of [the State Board of Higher Education] dated October 18, 1985.
The 1986 agreement resulted in a City Ordinance requiring a Riverfront Research Park Commission to be created. Among its duties as set forth in the city code, the commission is required to provide a forum for public participation.
As one of the most prominent issues on campus, many are dumbfounded that there has been no discussion. “At the University of Oregon we are taught the virtues of democracy, honesty, and open discussion. We are taught the importance of the law and due public process. For our administration to foreclose on our right to a democratic process shines poorly on our institution,” Nathan Howard, the UO’s Student Environmental Advocate remarked.
Members of Connecting Eugene remain hopeful that Oregon Research Institute will locate their new building south of the railroad tracks. Allen Hancock underscores that: “We want a win/win solution that brings the community together. Fortunately, building sites exist that aren’t shrouded in controversy that could be more readily developed.”
Connecting Eugene is an organization of students, faculty, and citizens who share a vision of strengthening the relationships between the University, the city, and our local natural heritage.
For more information contact Connecting Eugene at email@example.com