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Politics & Government

Council Rejects Seismic Upgrade For Eugene City Hall

Rachael McDonald

The Eugene City Council voted 5 to 3 Wednesday not to build its new City Hall to withstand a major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. The plan is to build it to the minimum required under state law.

City staff had proposed an upgrade to the building’s seismic standard to 1.5, which would allow it to survive a major quake. Three councilors supported the idea; including Claire Syrett who pointed out the $1 million for the upgrade is in the city’s risk fund.
Syrett: “I think it would be irresponsible for us to build a new city hall without this upgrade because we would essentially be planning for the building to be unusable in the event of a major quake which we have a 1 in 3 chance of having apparently—Thus losing a major investment of public funds that we’ve made.”
The council voted in favor of making the building LEED Gold certified, and against putting councilor offices in the initial phase of the project. Some councilors complained about the budget which has grown to nearly $25 million. City Manager John Ruiz acknowledged he should have told the council sooner that the costs were going up.

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