Prismatic has been at the forefront of some of the most talked about issues in Lane County.
Our story starts in 2010 when news first broke that the then governor of Oregon had decided for reasons that would become apparent, to rename one of Lane County’s most traveled highways after his late friend and campaign contributor Randy Pape. The road was to be renamed from Beltline Hwy to the Randy Pape Beltway at a cost to taxpayers up to half a million dollars.
Believing that this was a gross abuse of power and a misuse of scarce public funds when the economy was already suffering, Prismatic founders along with other members of the public fought the name change tenaciously by holding demonstrations on busy street corners, attending city council and Oregon Transportation Committee meetings, and promoting the issue on a Facebook page of nearly 10,000 supporters.
Watch “The Beltline Boondoggle” on YouTube
Though we weren’t able to convince the governor or ODOT to reverse their decision, here is what our efforts accomplished:
- Instead of using Beltway in the name as planned, the name of the Hwy became the Rande Pape Beltline (keeping the original name of Beltline as part of the renaming.)
- Instead of replacing 50 signs all at once, ODOT agreed to place two small signs at each end of the Hwy at an initial cost 0f $1,500.00. The rest would be replaced at the end of their normal “useful” lives. This saved taxpayers money in the long run. (side note: amazingly, many of the signs in choice locations were replaced quickly while other signs that desperately need replacement remain unaltered. In addition, several new signs at new locations were installed.)
- The Eugene city council (the only public entity in the region to support the name change) implemented a policy requiring public input when considering renaming any named city assets (streets, buildings, parks, and even public conference rooms.)
The video linked from this page is about 10 minutes long but does a great job highlighting the efforts made during 2010 to overturn what was essentially a vanity renaming of a state asset.
When concerned west Eugene business owners wanted to call attention to their issues with the EmX expansion project, Prismatic founders were asked to help.
Prior to our involvement, Lane County had very little notion that there was concern over the expansion. Signs were ordered, demonstrations were held, and the social media campaign was set in motion. Press releases and clever event planning contributed to broad media coverage and exposure.
Within a couple of short months, public perception about the project had shifted 20 percent – enough to tip the balance in our favor. Had the public been given an opportunity to vote on the project, we are confident that our efforts would have lead to a victory for the business owners.
West Eugene EmX Support Before Prismatic
- Supportive - 65%
- Non-Supportive - 35%
- Supportive - 65%
- Non-Supportive - 35%
West Eugene EmX Support After Prismatic
- Supportive - 45%
- Non-Supportive - 55%
- Supportive - 45%
- Non-Supportive - 55%
In 2011 with the economy still performing poorly, the 4J School District found itself entertaining offers to buy the vacant and dilapidated former Civic Stadium property that it owns. Of all of the proposals submitted, Prismatic maintains that the option that would have most benefited the city and school district was the Fred Meyer Civic Village proposal.
While ultimately it would have been nice to restore the stadium or build a new YMCA facility at the location, none of the other project proposals that were submitted before, during, or since had the actual funding to move forward. The Civic Village option would have thoughtfully re-used wood from the former stadium as part of its design which would have included a sports-bar honoring the heritage and history of the former stadium. Not to mention, the property-taxes and land lease payments (or proceeds if the property were sold) would have provided benefit to the community for years to come. Prismatic worked to promote the Civic Village option but ultimately, it was rejected.
Unfortunately, at that time, nobody else had come forward with a solid plan and funding to do anything with the property. In 2015, money was raised by the Eugene Civic Alliance to purchase the property. That same year it burned to the ground as a result of arson. This story does have a happy ending. A groundbreaking ceremony was recently held for the new “Civic Park” which includes the construction of a new sports and recreation center which will include a 40,000 square-foot Kidsports Fieldhouse, two outdoor sport courts, outdoor multi-sport turf field, Pocket Park, and a 2,500-seat stadium. Congratulations, ECA!
When the business owners in West Eugene were unable to convince civic leaders in the area to reconsider their EmX expansion plans, other options for changing the course were considered. One option would have been to introduce a citizen sponsored initiative that would have put the project up for a public vote. That effort might have been successful but there was concern about being able to put an initiative like that forward in time to affect the outcome.
Another option was to put a candidate forward in the upcoming local mayoral election. Such a person could have influence on the direction of the project. With the incumbent running unopposed, there was no harm in giving it a shot. Though the chances of winning were slim, Kevin threw his hat into the ring and with the help of friends managed to capture 29% of the vote in the primary election and won in one of the city’s eight wards.
Success is all in how you define it. Though Kevin may have lost that election, he has gained a stronger appreciation for those who perform public service as elected representatives. The experience gained during that campaign can not be measured and was a key success factor in managing the Creswell project that resulted in an unprecedented and historic 85% win.
Kevin now happily serves his local community of Creswell as a city councilor which includes service on the Water Rates Advisory Committee, Budget Committee, Public Safety Committee, and the Transportation and Public Works Committee (chair.)
When Oregonians voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2014, the measure provided local municipalities the option to opt out on legal sales by referendum. In Creswell Oregon, prohibition of commercial production and retail sales of marijuana passed narrowly (52/48%) in November, 2016.
Enter a startup cannabis company in 2017 who sought to overturn the 2016 prohibition of sales that had just recently passed citing concerns over the wording of the previous measure. They put forward their own measure that sought to repeal the prohibition and legalize the sale of marijuana in Creswell. Infused with cannabis investment money, their campaign was well funded and staffed. Given the close nature of the 2016 vote and the generally low voter turnout during an off year special election, it wouldn’t be difficult for the company to swing the vote in their favor. The cannabis climate in Oregon and Lane County certainly suggested that the expansion into Creswell was not really a matter of if as much as when.
But something about the company behind the measure didn’t sit well with Creswellians. Certain things did not add up and it became apparent that regardless of one’s position on recreational pot sales, the company sponsoring this initiative was not a good fit for Creswell. Prismatic founders (Mike and Kevin) along with many of our Creswellian friends (and those that love Creswell) formed an opposition group.
The story behind the 2017 Creswell marijuana initiative (Measure 20-280) is an epic tale for the storybooks – one that ends with an historic and unprecedented 85% defeat of the measure despite being outspent 10 to 1.
Prismatic founders served as the campaign manager and PR spokesperson helping other members of a core group to facilitate the strategy and the activities of the campaign team. The success of the campaign was entirely a group effort. That success inspired the formation of Prismatic Media Group.