Oregon daily emerald. (Eugene, Or.) 1920-2012, August 05, 1980, Page 5, Image 5

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    Downtown finally attracts first-class hotel
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By ALAN HARRIS
Of the Emerald
Long-time residents of Eugene may not like it, and
new-comers probably don’t appreciate it.
But like it or not, downtown Eugene is taking on a
cosmopolitan flair.
The $15.5-million Hilton hotel under construction
along Sixth Avenue between Willamette and Oak streets
is the latest addition to the two city blocks that also will
feature a convention center complex. The city's new
performing arts center is being built across Willamette
Street.
Landing a major hotel franchise like the Hilton
didn't happen overnight.
The city has been trying to attract a first-class hotel
to the downtown area for almost 11 years. The last new
hotel to open its doors in downtown Eugene was the
Eugene Hotel (now the Eugene Quality Inn) in 1923.
Over the years several developers and hotel fran
chises took a look at Eugene but were frightened away.
They either considered the city too small or the project
too risky because downtown business expansion was in
trouble.
But Eugene’s Urban Renewal Agency, established
in 1968, changed all that. In addition to organizing
development of the performing arts center and the
Hilton hotel, the renewal agency was a major factor in
making the downtown mall a reality and revitalizing
downtown business.
"Eugene is just now being seen as having a service
industry that isn’t tied to the wood industry,’’ says
Jeffrey Tashman, assistant supervisor for the agency.
The 12-story, 283-room Hilton is scheduled to open
in January, 1982, to coincide with the opening of the
new performing arts center. A transparent walkway will
connect the two complexes, and the hotel’s eating and
drinking areas will be designed around themes related
to the performing arts center.
The ground-floor bar will be called the Intermission
Bar, and the restaurant will be the Act One Restaurant.
The rooftop restaurant will be named the Encore, and a
bar on the rooftop will feature late night entertainment.
Also scheduled to open in 1982 are a
35,000-square-foot convention and conference center
and underground parking facilities on the south half of
Construction is under way on this $15.5 million Hilton hotel, the first new hotel in Eugene since 1923.
the block. The city and the renewal agency are provid
ing those facilities.
Construction on the performing arts center is well
under way, and the city's commitment to provide a
multi-use convention complex made the difference in
finally landing the hotel franchise, Tashman says.
Because Eugene isn't a resort or primary tourist
destination and isn’t considered large enough to guar
antee sufficient business for a major downtwon hotel,
hotel operators will promote the city as a state and
regional convention site.
The projects, costing a total of about $40 million,
will provide hundreds of new jobs, city council pre
sident Betty Smith said at the recent Hilton ground
breaking ceremony. “The complex will make downtown
Eugene a more vital area.”
The Salt Lake City firm of Development Associates
is developing the new Hilton, and Gaber-Jacoby As
sociates, also from Salt Lake, is the architecture firm
Vik Construction Co of Eugene and Cannon Con
struction Co. of Salt Lake City have been hired to build
the facility.
An average of 150 people per day will be working
during the construction period, and the Hilton is ex
pected to employ about 250 people when it opens
Student leader threatens Abuu wiw suit
By SALL Y HODGKINSON
Of the Emerald
WASHINGTON, D C. - A confrontation
between staff members of the two largest
national student organizations has left
the ASUO with a potential lawsuit.
Frank Viggiano, executive director of
United States Student Association, has
threatened to sue American Student
Association staff members who he
claims “punched, pushed, grabbed,
bruised, burned and scratched" him as
he was handing out leaflets at the ASA
national student convention Sunday.
One of the staff members who may be
sued is Jerry Bernau, ASUO vice pre
sident.
Viggiano says he was encircled by
seven or eight ASA staff members while
handing out USSA informational leaflets
and was “rudely confronted and at
tacked."
But ASA staff members say Clif Ber
man, a local printer who does most of the
ASA printing, grabbed a leaflet out of
Viggiano’s hand and chased Vigianno up
the escalator after he grabbed the leaflet
back. Bernau also chased Vigianno, but
says “I never touched him.”
In a letter hand-delivered to ASA Pres.
Tom Duffy, Viggiano says unless he
receives an apology from the staff
members who he claims attacked him, he
will pursue legal action. Viggiano says he
suffered a twisted knee, swollen ankle
and stomach pain in the alleged attack,
but Duffy says he believes no ASA
members attacked him.
"I don’t want to make a big deal out of
nothing, but if you let things like this go,
you’re just inviting the situation again,”
Viggiano says. ‘‘I think I deserve an
apology.”
If the USSA sues Bernau, he will be
sued as an ASUO staff member Because
the University is hosting the week-long
USSA national congress beginning Sa
turday, Bernau says the suit would
amount to the USSA suing its host or
ganization. The ASUO has memberships
in both student organizations.
Officials of the ASA say any legal ac
tion by Viggiano would be wrong
because the USSA should not have been
at the rival organization’s conference in
the first place.
Many delegates were “confused and
mad" because of the USSA leafletting,
Bernau says. The USSA should have
shown professional courtesy by staying
away from the Hyatt-Regency Hotel, he
says.
Bernau's older brother Jim, who is the
executive director of the ASA and a
former ASUO president, says the USSA
presence at the convention was “totally
devoid of decency.”
“I thought it was a desparate act by an
executive direcor of a dying organiza
tion,” he says. “It’s like the Ku Klux Klan
distributing information at a black rally;
it’s almost an invitation to riot. What’s
amazing is that we kept our cool. "
But Viggiano says he simply wanted to
share information with the hundreds of
student leaders in town and invite them
to the USSA congress at the University
“My aim was to meet students," Viggiano
says. “I kind of stayed away from getting
into discussions about the ASA. I wasn t
interested in sparking up debate."
1
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