Young Professionals Get It: Time For Us To Move Over

Perhaps it’s time for us to step aside and allow youth to rule?

Sitting at a bar packed with people, that thought occurred to me as people my age talked of why we couldn’t do something and people of the millennial generation said: “Why not?”

The meeting was over tax exemptions for developers who create housing in Downtown Eugene. The city council is talking about big changes to the program that could make it useless. (My opinion)

The meeting was not a city function or held in a city building, that’s how my generation looks at government. The meeting was sponsored by a bunch of concerned citizens who did all the work. They held the gathering at The Barn Light coffee shop and bar.

For the older generation politics is the big problem, that and fear. Capstone student housing is a somewhat failed project that sticks in the craw of some and since Capstone used the tax exemption program (MUPTE) and a segment of the community just can’t seem to get over it. They are so afraid it’s gonna happen again they are stifled and gather the sheep back inside the fence where everyone is safe, or so it seems.

Student housing would not be part of the new program it seems city leaders have learned a tough lesson. But why do we plan around yesterday’s failures rather than plan for a prosperous future?

I didn’t come up with that line someone much younger than I said it and it rung true for me. Eugene seems to spend a lot of time planning out of fear of change or making a mistake. We’ve seen what bad decisions in the past have led to and rather than simply learning from those mistakes and moving forward our mistakes seem to paralyze us.

It is so nice to see a group of young professionals pushing the ranks of Eugene. Young people who are not afraid of change or thoughtful planning but do fear the kind of insanity that says if we keep doing the same thing over and over again something will change.

Change can’t grow out of fear. Fear is a crippler and sometimes I think the older generation, yes us, tend to plan for the worst and become our own enemies.

Eugene is changing and I think it’s changing for the better. Youth is stepping up and pushing just a little. I hope we as the older generation will act as true sages and offer guidance as we step aside and allow the twenty and thirty-something’s to take their rightful place at the helm.

I hope our old, tired ways will not discourage them. I hope they will show up at city meetings, join planning commissions, run for public office and do it their way not ours.

I know it won’t be easy for those who have held the power for so long. Leading from behind never is very attractive. But if Eugene wants to grow thoughtfully and with great energy it’s time the old dogs and the same old media message move aside for a new more hopeful group of people.

On June 15th at 7:30 pm the Eugene City Council will talk about changes to MUPTE. You don’t have to come and speak but to show up and simply be there says a lot to the city council. If you like the changes happening in Downtown and want to see them continue don’t sit on your hands and hope someone else does something, get off your butt and get involved.