September 29, 2022

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Open letter to Pat Farr: Stop the MovingAhead boondoggle

3 min read
Opponents of the MovingAhead project are asking Lane County commissioners for a public discussion. The project would convert and reserve two lanes of River Road for diesel-powered EmX buses.

by Charlie Rojas

Last week, the Eugene City Recorder ratified that enough petition signatures had been collected to put the recall of Claire Syrett, Eugene city council president and Ward 7 councilor, up for a vote. The recall election will be held within the next 35 days.

Over 2,000 of your constituents signed the recall petitions, indicating Councilor Syrett has done a very poor job representing their interests. Among the myriad complaints, arguably the one that created the most vehement opposition is EmX build-outs along River Road.

I know you received a stack of over 600 petitions vehemently against the MovingAhead / EmX plans. People signed the petitions for many reasons, one of the most important being that it’s a failed project. What that means—and this is from LTD’s own analysis: Actual ridership has never come close to initial projections. With the exception of the EmX serving the UO, most buses run near empty most of the time. If you don’t know this, then we must question your leadership.

In fact, we have to question your capacity to be commissioner mainly because you’ve said nothing regarding the EmX coming into your district. Why have you failed to notify citizens of the massive destruction of property value, customer accessibility to businesses, and the fact that far more fuel-efficient and environmentally-supportive hybrid buses, on the 51 and 52 lines, will be replaced by diesel-powered EmX buses?

The City of Eugene and LTD voted for this multi-million dollar catastrophe that will impact both city and county residents—and we in the county have had no representation.

Caitlin Vargas, president of the LTD board of directors, is lying when she says there has been vast public engagement. There have only been dog-and-pony shows that have not revealed the actual plans. The main supporters she cites, the River Road and Santa Clara community organizations, represent only a tiny number of people in the area and do not represent the majority’s views.

Your silence, and that of the other commissioners, on this matter is unacceptable; it needs to be corrected. To that point, please put on this week’s commissioner’s meeting agenda a time for debate and public statement regarding MovingAhead / EmX.

Your colleague, Lane County Commissioner Joe Berney, said he respects you but the EmX is a tremendous waste of public resources and he is with us opposing the MovingAhead plan. Commissioner Berney also said it is up to you to put it on the agenda for the Board of Commissioners to address and intervene on behalf of Lane County residents, especially those outside the city of Eugene who have homes and businesses along River Road that will suffer immensely if the MovingAhead plans proceed.

It’s time for you to express your views publicly, to hear from your constituents regarding this matter, and to stop the MovingAhead boondoggle until you see proof that people have received proper notification and input and the plans have been revised to address their concerns.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to your response.


River Road resident Charlie Rojas supports the effort to Recall Claire Syrett.

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