The Canby Civic Center was buzzing with excitement Wednesday night, as the mayor and City Council unveiled renderings for the latest planned revamp of the downtown core, which would include replacing the city’s streets and sidewalks with giant, glass hamster tubes.
According to the plans, the project would leave much of the city’s crumbling downtown buildings, streets and other infrastructure intact, but would build large glass tubes all around them, for some reason.
“The one word that we as city leaders have always strived to embody is transparency,” Canby Mayor Bill Bootie said at Wednesday’s council meeting. “What could be more transparent than four miles of giant glass tubes?”
Officials say the unique project is a key component of their plans to economically revitalize downtown Canby, drawing new and returning visitors to the city’s business center.
“This project fits in beautifully with and adds magnificently to our city’s growing tourism base,” agreed Economic Development Manager Jackie Jingle. “Our message to the world is simple: Break free from the rat race, and come hang out in some giant hamster tubes.”
Surprisingly, public response to the plans has been overwhelmingly negative.
“If I wanted to feel like a giant hamster, I would buy that costume and go to a furry convention like a normal person,” Glenna Rapzadoodle wrote in the local Facebook group Canby No. “This is the second-worst use of public funds in history, after that stupid arch.”
While the clear majority of those who spoke out online as well as during public comment Wednesday night appeared to doubt the wisdom of the project, most seemed to agree that with the money pouring in from the city’s new oil contracts — it has to be spent on something.
“Quite frankly, I think it’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen,” said local accountant Kip Qwikley, who owns a tax office downtown. “But at least it will keep the rain off people who have to park in Molalla because there’s never any parking downtown.”
The mayor later explained that the tubes will be perforated with millions of holes to help facilitate air flow. The negative response didn’t seem to bother him.
“For years, people have been telling us not to build arches and giant glass hamster tubes, but to fix the roads instead,” he said. “Well, if we had fixed the roads, all that oil never would have been found, would it? So, you know, you’re welcome.”
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