Pubdate: Sat, 23 Jun 2001
Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)
Copyright: 2001 The Register-Guard
Author: Matt Cooper , The Register-Guard
Note: The appeared under the heading "Springfield City Beat"


City Council members will discuss Monday whether to pursue a drug- and
prostitution-free zone downtown.

An undercover officer working downtown can make two or three arrests just
about every time out, Police Chief Jerry Smith said. Officers would use an
ordinance to slap trespassing charges on offenders who keep coming back to
the same spot.

But Smith acknowledged that the zone isn't a cure-all: "We're not dealing
with the problem, we're merely moving it around," he said.

That's part of the reason the American Civil Liberties Union is opposed to
some exclusion zones - cities keep expanding them at the expense of basic
rights, said Polly Nelson, coordinator for the southern district of the
Oregon ACLU.

Nelson said the ACLU's response to a Springfield exclusion zone depends on
what's drawn up, but she's preaching caution while other legal wrangles are

The Oregon Supreme Court will review a Portland exclusion case dealing with
whether someone can be excluded from a zone before trial, Nelson said.

Hundreds of other cases are based on that decision.

One of the ACLU arguments is that, if there are to be exclusion zones,
judges - not police officers - should determine who gets excluded, Nelson said.

"What if someone is excluded until a trial, and then found innocent."
Nelson asked.

The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Jesse Maine Room of City Hall, 225
Fifth St.

Museum Movement

Speaking of downtown, a nonprofit is looking at it as a home for a
children's museum.

Land of Awe Children's Museum wants to create a hands-on learning
environment for children and families, and is looking at a site in downtown
and one in Eugene, said co-founder Amy Scott.

"We're trying to see what would work best for us - we definitely have not
committed to anybody in any way," Scott said.

The Springfield Renaissance Development Corp. will consider options to
bring the museum to town - everything from technical help to money for a
lease, said board member Cynthia Pappas, who is also city development
services director.

The museum would fit well with the city's planned cultural district, which
includes a renovated McKenzie Theater and Emerald Empire art center, Pappas

Land of Awe hopes to find a site in the next three months, Scott said.

Money matters

The Springfield Community Development Corp. recently won a $65,650 grant
from the Meyer Memorial Trust, which has supported tax-exempt groups in
Oregon for 19 years.

The money is more than one-quarter of that necessary for renovation of the
Springfield Neighborhood Center at 1025 G St., said Alisa Carrillo,
executive director of the corporation.

The center houses the corporation as well as basic needs for low-income and
homeless Springfield citizens. It's used for community meetings, weddings,
funerals and cultural celebrations.

Carrillo hopes to start using the money in July to paint the building,
repair the roof and to improve siding, the kitchen and access for people
with disabilities.

"I picked out some real priority needs that will make the building more
marketable," Carrillo said.

"It's going to look better and more people will be able to use it," she said.

Instead Of Counting Boxcars

Next time you get caught at a railroad crossing, check your watch: If more
than 10 minutes passes, you might be able to do something about it.

Trains that block crossings for more than 10 minutes between 6 a.m. and 10
p.m. face fines between $100 and $3,000, said Mac McGowan, a spokesman for
the rail division of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

A woman recently e-mailed the paper and said she was hung up 25 minutes at
42nd Street near Weyerhaeuser Co.

McGowan said that blockage was one of the exceptions to the rule - "that
train was in emergency mode at the time" - but it's protocol for the police
to be contacted for traffic control.

If you're waiting in vain for a passing train, write down the specifics -
where it occurred, how long the wait was, what railroad company - and
contact Kathy Schamp of ODOT's rail division at (503) 986-4230.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart