Eureka sets positive tone for zones, but economic disaster still in the forecast

This past Tuesday, the City of Eureka held a “set the tone for your zone” community meeting to gain input from Eurekans about how they envision the future look of the city.

There was quite a bit of buzz leading up to the event. Take this quote from Councilmember Kim Bergel, which sums up most of our political leaders’ approaches to planning and building in general:

““I think it’s going to be a really fun meeting and I don’t know a lot about it but I’ll be there,” she said.” (from the Times-Standard.)

Bergel, indeed, was there. Thanks for showing up, Kim.

We’re told there was quite the crowd, and it wasn’t just for the pizza and donuts. Rob Holmlund, Eureka’s Community Development Director, unveiled his master plan for the future development of Eureka, and it received quite the reception.

The top points he made were aimed at easing some irritating code restrictions and allowing for taller buildings. Sounds good on the surface, but what’s the catch?

Get ready for a major shocker, THC-heads: we actually really like the direction that Rob Holmlund is taking this, from what we’ve heard of it. Despite some of our previous criticisms, it sounds like Eureka’s Community Development Director is doing what he can to encourage building in Eureka.

Of course, the proposed zoning changes don’t address all of our problems, such as a lack of available industrial land and the apparent total lack of interest in providing more of it in the future.

But we digress. The real story here is this: Eureka is at least going through the motions of making changes that will allow for the type of growth needed to survive beyond the inevitable pop of the green rush bubble. Problem is, relaxing zoning restrictions just won’t be enough.

THC is told that a community member asked specifically about a plan moving forward to attract businesses, encourage building, etc., and received virtually no response other than “we’re working on a lot of things”. Sound familiar?

What’s even less encouraging is yet another quote from whiz-kid Kim Bergel from the same Times-Standard article, in reference to Eureka:

“For me I see it as a thriving business community.”


Lest you think we’re picking on Bergel too much, we will add that she is a great cheerleader for any cause in the community. You can see the response to her enthusiasm in the community – go ahead and sign that lady up for another term.

But popularity isn’t the point. The point is that there’s a pervasive view in local leadership that our area is just one big break from Humboldt County becoming an economic powerhouse.With the way things are going, between industry trends and increasing regulations, we’ll be lucky to be afloat in ten years.

What we actually need is a break from our government’s half-assed attempts to generate jobs through visioning workshops and Quickbooks training. We’re tired of hearing lip service about “jobs” and “growth” when, aside from cannabis, nothing has changed for decades.

So the proposed changes to Eureka’s zoning are great, but just because someone is legally allowed to build a certain type of building doesn’t mean that they will. Hell, we’d argue that an economic turn-around could be accomplished even without proposed zoning changes, as long as Eureka would make it easier to build and for businesses to thrive.

It might require a little more than our politicians showing up to meetings about things they don’t understand, like providing incentives and actively recruiting businesses, or making permits less expensive, but the test of time has proven that it’s stretch to rely on decision makers to do what’s needed. Or to even understand that something more is needed.

But we’re really excited about the ability to build taller buildings.

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8 Responses to Eureka sets positive tone for zones, but economic disaster still in the forecast

  1. Good luck says:

    Please tell me THC, why would anyone want to invest in a Eureka?


  2. Rusty says:

    Let’s see, who would want to invest in Eureka, himmum, ummmm, non profit grant funded social service industry?? Heroin dealers?? Fleabag motels??
    At least we’re finally getting some decent Mexican food again.


  3. Lynn Mae says:

    Tall buildings. How tall? I get emails from various architecture and design websites (I’m just curious and sometimes horrified) and I see all the huge buildings being planned (including the tallest building in Seattle now on the drawing boards).
    I wonder how any architect or engineer can state with full authority that XX building will withstand a 7.1 earthquake. Have they even done core drillings? (no). And this is Seattle where their big tunnel dig ran into delays of years because the engineering was faulty. (I stopped following it, too depressing). ( a link for that for fans of government screw-ups )
    I would hope any planning for new buildings (over a couple stories) would include planning for
    how the rise in the water table will affect foundations, present and future. Funny how false enthusiasm doesn’t include serious conditions like that.
    Great ideas. People think they have them. Solutions to serious problems. Yes, those also.
    The most offensive, new generation approach to a real problem (homelessness) is here. The article makes it sound like it could work (for anyone who hasn’t encountered actual homeless people) but for an enjoyable evisceration of the concept, read the comments. Good to know some people do know what works, and what should put the proponents in the design/architecture hall of shame:
    Another not-so-great-idea: Ikea designed buildings for refugees and made them available (got an award, also I think) but had to take them back as they forgot to remember that the refugees would probably need to cook inside in bad weather and the shelters weren’t fireproof. Poof!
    So as Eureka considers not what it might do, but rather, what might be possible. Require that the first and foremost requirement must be Common Sense.
    Maybe instead of a pledge of allegiance or reading of minutes, a reading of The Emperor’s New Clothes would be useful. And the audience could join in with the boy is proclaiming: “But the Emperor has no clothes!”
    I think I learned more practical knowledge from Aesop’s Fables and some ‘fairy’ stories than from all the moral literature the schools offered. But that’s me.


  4. Disillusioned says:

    Bergel is enthusiastic for all types of things including more dope and helping addicts shoot up their drugs. She however doesn’t know a thing about the business community in Eureka or how they are doing. She also appears nice but if you don’t worship at your feet she can be very rude and curt with you. There is a reason why the only job she could get is a part time, barely above minimum wage.


  5. Fieldbrooker says:

    “like providing incentives and actively recruiting businesses”
    A committee needs to be set up, a delegation, offer to pay for infrastructure.
    Why do I need to say it, don’t we have assembly person James Woods, or someone at State, Huffman, to help us where the supervisors are falling short?


  6. Rusty says:

    Rise in the water table?? Less than 24 months ago the water table was all but about to vanish. Nature poking fun at us again? Does it really matter if the foundation is wet or dry when the subduction zone earthquake hits? Stop listening to weather “scientist” geology will tell you where the truth is.
    How about just dumping all the tax payers funded handouts that enable the Junkies, bums and hangers on to lay about and give the false impression of a housing crisis. If your sober, not high and have a job you can get housing. If your sober and not high, judging from all the help wanted signs, there are jobs to be had. Liberals say the drug war is over. What’d we do surrender? Looking around the war is escalating and drugs are winning.
    Incentives, here’s a big one, Stop stonewalling Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s or any number of big box stores or restaurants that want to come here and the collateral jobs that will follow. It will ruin our quaint Victorian charm you say, um humm , that ship has sailed with the daily shitshow of drug addicts and zombies parading about the streets 24/7, and the murders, WTF are you people dumb, deaf and blind? Yeah, Zones, great idea.


  7. Rusty says:

    Worked for Crescent City and Ukiah. Let’s hear your plan genius.


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