The Neighborhood Plan has been approved. Now on to using it to improve our Neighborhoods!

On April 22 the Eugene City Council approved the Neighborhood Plan 8-0, and the Code Amendments (with the removal of River Avenue) 7-1. The video of the City Council deliberation can be found HERE (10:36 to 24:00).  The Council also unanimously passed an additional motion for the Council to hold separate work sessions before 1/1/25 to:

  • discuss possible options for addressing on street parking issues in the River Road and Santa Clara areas. (made by Lyndsie Leech. Seconded by Randy Groves)
  • a separate work session on Voluntary annexation that partners with the parking session (added by Mike Clark)

On April 23 the Lane County Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the Neighborhood Plan!

The deliberation video is HERE (6:30-21:20). The Commission voted unanimously to approve the Plan with three Commissioners (Farr, Ceniga, Trieger) discussing parking issues and hoped they will be resolved. Additionally, Commissioner

Ceniga requested information on revised building heights and creating 20 minute neighborhoods.

Earlier in the Council deliberation the City Manager noted that “after Council action the City Staff will continue to work with neighborhood leaders to organize the annual Coordination Meetings to advance high priority action items in the plan.”

Additionally, at the 4/10 City Council Worksession on the plan Terri Harding agreed that incentives for neighborhood serving retail (mix of development regulations, tax reductions, zoning code changes, fee reductions) is a great idea and will be part of the discussion for the Urban Growth Strategies Project Overview which is the topic of a Joint City Council and Planning Commission Work Session at noon on May 15th.

The next step to implement the plan is for The City Staff will work with neighborhood leaders to organize the annual Coordination Meetings to advance high priority action items in the plan.” That process will need to be designed. Stay tuned for more information on how to get involved with that.

LTD revises River Road Proposal for Moving Ahead

After further analysis LTD staff is proposing that the Eugene City Council and the LTD Board of directors consider re-designating the Locally Preferred Alternative for River Road from EmX to Enhanced Corridor after legal staffs have determined the process for amending that designation. 
 

Should the re-designation take place, LTD will provide the City of Eugene with the analysis data collected for the corridor so the City can develop a plan to make the street safer and more accessible for all modes of transportation including pedestrians and cyclists as well as increase the frequency of bus service during busier usage hours.  LTD also plans to participate with the City in seeking funding for these improvements once they are defined.

March 12, 2024 JOINT LANE COUNTY AND CITY OF EUGENE PUBLIC HEARING

The River Road -Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan and Code Amendments

(Summary by Jon Belcher)

Councilors present: Leech, Yeh, Zelenka, Semple, Groves, Clark, Evans, Mayor Vinis

absent: Keating,

Commissioners: Ceniga, Buch, Farr, Lovall, & Trieger

Link to Agenda and Video timeline:

Staff presentation and formalities: (6:30à16:10)

Testifiers

Bill Kloos (Start at 16:20) Representing Action Rental on River Avenue. Stated code amendments will run River Avenue out of business (did not acknowledge Staff recommending removal of River Avenue from code amendments). No basis in plan for removing Auto Oriented Businesses. Asserts that being a non-conforming use is a death knell for business

Teresa Bishow (19:05) Represents Action Rental. Businesses affected aren’t Auto Oriented. Amendments conflict with Goal 9. No basis in plan for amendments.

to Electeds

Tiffany Edwards Eugene Planning Commission Chair (21:56) Refers to Commission Memo to Electeds in support of adopting entire plan. Spoke to Covid, New State Controls & Staff turnover which changed the trajectory of plan. (I thought there was going to be another commissioner to give minor position but there was not)

Mike Reeder (25:05) represents Meekers of Clemens Marina on River Avenue. Oppose the Code amendments.

Louie Vidmar (27:56) CAC member. Spoke to the Neighborhood’s efforts despite difficulties including waning support from City.

Clemens Marina (30:00) Mr. Meeker outlined Marina’s history and products.

Jolene Siemsen (33:15) Please approve reduction of C-2 Height (especially in Greenway and adjacent to R-1 residences) and limit auto oriented businesses (because we need more other use businesses). Please add back commercial business requirement in mixed use developments.

Louisa de Heer (36:00) described the involvement process. Promised neighbors that efforts were valuable, and results will be enacted. Only a few needed code changes remain in proposal. If only aspirations are approved, it will reduce trust in community.

Jon Belcher (39:00) asked record to be open a week.  Request 3 key issues be reviewed.

  1. Lack parking enforcement. Ask Council to direct staff to report on solutions. 
  2. Potential Loss of Commercial Property.  Request language to require commercial on ground floor and feasibility study. 
  3. (time elapsed before requesting reconsideration of Staff’s proposal of one size fits all ordinance for densifying Key Transit Corridors).

Dawn Lesley (42:00) Described suspicion from Sewer Wars, We told neighbors that this time things will be different.  Please pass the code amendments to show them their trust is justified.

Hillary Kittleson (44:15)  Adopt code amendments and add requirement for commercial on ground floor of C-2. Lost robust code amendments so please pass remaining amendments to avoid a document left on the shelf.

Kate Perle (46:30) requested record stay open, Described extensive outreach process. Needed unprecedented collaboration with staff and neighborhoods. We took uncomfortable role as bridge between them. If code amendments aren’t passed, an opportunity will be lost

Staff Comments (49:05) normally would respond to issues raised in hearing but because both elected bodies must approve identical ordinances, will return with response later.

Elected questions/response (most thanked the neighbors who participated and many thanked staff)

Councilor Clark (50:15)

How will you justify 3.5 in support of businesses and land use plan to promote businesses?

Terri Harding: goal 11.2 & 14.1 economic development policy in plan. Will elaborate more in memo. 

Clark: respond to allegation proposed code changes will harm businesses.

Harding: River Avenue is removed from code amendments.

Commissioner Buch: (53:50) Concerned with commercial on first floor removed.

Harding: removed from proposal as Commercial is allowed but not required anywhere in Eugene. Additional reason is that state requires cities to remove/waive barriers to housing.

Councilor Groves: (56:10) 

Will Public record be kept open? 

Atty Lauren Summers: record doesn’t close until decision.

Groves: Supports mixed use. Doesn’t understand business concerns outside River Avenue, will look for information from staff. Likes the process other than how long it took. Wants a debrief of process.

Commissioner Farr (59:30) Raised time spent working on parking issues especially ECCO apartments. Include how parking will be treated in staff memo. 

Commissioner Ceniga (1:01:15) Please discuss incentives for mixed use in staff memo. Supports reduction of C-2 height. Concern over Auto oriented restrictions but they seem to be removed.  Agrees that parking enforcement is an issue.  Hears neighbor’s frustration.

Councilor Zelenka (1:02:55)  Glad River Avenue has been removed from proposed code amendments.  Agrees that code amendments are needed for Plan to have teeth. Sees this as a different approach and backing out of proposal will be a big mistake.

Commissioner Loveall (1:04:30)  Heard a lot of frustrations in testimony.  Supports mixed use but how will we attract them?   Wants incentives to attract businesses as they did in Springfield (who reduced SDCs & created support programs)

Councilor Groves (1:04:44) Parking concerns biggest problem for neighbors. Also concerns about current height allowed in C-2 especially along River edge but also River Road Corridor.

Mayor Vinis (1:06:55) honored Carleen Reilly

City Council 4/22 deliberation and possible action. Lane County Commission on 4/23.

We can submit testimony until decision made but encourage input by 10 AM. 4/22.

County voted to approve second reading. 

Video ends (1:11:10)

Summary of Issues mentioned by Electeds:

Limiting Auto Oriented Businesses:

Councilors Clark, Groves

Commissioner Ceniga

Limiting C-2 Commercial Maximum Height:

Councilor Groves

Commissioner Ceniga

Supporting mixed use/commercial use on C-2 ground floor:

Councilor Groves,

Commissioners Buch, Ceniga

General Support for Code Amendments:

Councilor Zelenka,

Parking Enforcement issues:

Councilor Groves

Commissioners Farr, Ceniga 

Requested Process Debrief:

Councilor Groves

Mentioned Neighborhood Frustration with Process:

Commissioners Ceniga, Loveall, 

RRCO Board Testimony for River Road / Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan Hearing

      River Road Community Organization                                The River and Garden District

Date: March 11, 2024

From: River Road Community Organization Executive Board
To: RRSCPlan@eugene-or.gov.
Re: Testimony for River Road /Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan and Code Amendments Hearing before Eugene City Council and Lane County Commission
Dear elected officials,

We, the members of the River Road Community Organization Board, are writing in unanimous support of the Draft River Road/Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan being submitted by the Eugene Planning staff, the RR/SC Community Advisory Committee, and the River Road and Santa Clara community organizations.

For the past seven years, our community and board members have engaged in this effort with enthusiasm and with the needs of our unique and fast-growing neighborhood in mind.  The plan does not address all of the requirements outlined as part of the Envision Eugene initiative.   However, we believe that the current draft should proceed through the adoption process, moving us forward from the refinement plan of 1986 that currently guides the development for our area.  We are ready to partner with the City and County and are willing to accept some of the shortcomings of the document in order to proceed.

While the new plan will define much of the direction for the neighborhood, the River Road Community Organization Board has identified three core areas of opportunity that were eliminated from the plan. As these are central to the desires of our community, we are committed as a board to continue to advocate for them to meet the needs of River Road residents. 

  1. No Parking Resolution for County Streets:  Lane County controls 76% of River Road Local Streets (58% of Santa Clara’s) and they have little capacity to enforce on-street parking standards. The reduction in on-site parking requirements through the middle housing code amendments and other State standards means that our experience with parking overflow near ECCO housing will become more intense.  Many of the county streets in our neighborhoods are not developed to urban standards and have limited capacity to accommodate the overflow parking almost certain to occur.   Without some way to regulate on-street parking, further densification will lead to more unsafe streets in our neighborhoods.


Howard Meadows, an under construction Middle Housing development at Lake Drive just north of Howard Avenue, illustrates our concern. The project consists of 11-fourplex lots, appearing to have 2 on-site parking places each.  The planned Safe Routes to School project to be built this summer will only allow on-street parking on the north side of Howard Avenue.  Howard Meadows residents with additional cars will be parking on Rosewood Avenue which is a one-lane County Local Access Road with limited off-site parking opportunities. Eight other nearby streets are also under County jurisdiction with neither capacity nor authority to regulate parking.  This and many other middle housing projects in our neighborhoods will likely result in parking conflicts for neighbors just like we have seen on the streets surrounding ECCO apartments off River Road.

We request that the City Council direct the City Manager to explore and report to the

Council potential solutions to the parking issues in our Neighborhoods as part of the Climate Friendly and Equitable Community Parking Reform process.

2.  Potential Loss of Commercial Properties:  When we asked our neighbors to set goals for the Neighborhood Plan, they placed strong emphasis on having more commercial opportunities, especially restaurants, gathering spots & groceries. They also called for 20 Minute Neighborhoods– businesses they could easily walk or bike to.  However, the staff decision to eliminate the proposed Corridor Mixed Use zone which would have required commercial use on the ground floor leaves the majority of our current commercial properties in the C-2 Community Commercial Zone.  This zone allows 100% of the properties in the zone to be residential with no commercial. 

The economic study included in Sera Architect’s River Road Corridor Study showed that economic demand for housing is high and commercial use is low.  Without regulation requiring it or some kind of incentive to encourage it, the commercial facilities we currently have may well be replaced by multifamily housing that ironically will create an even greater need for the commercial properties they replace.

At the February 20,2024 Council Public Hearing, staff presented proposed code to require that the building frontage for C-1 & C-2 Mixed-Use Residential Developments include either 80% or 60% of the ground floor be used for commercial or non-residential purposes1. We are requesting that similar language be adopted for C-2 buildings in River Road and Santa Clara.  We also question why it is important to preserve commercial uses in C-2 when middle housing is a component of a building but not in the C-2 zoned properties in our neighborhoods likely developed at even higher density. 

We request that the City Council direct the City Manager to conduct a feasibility study to determine how to encourage more commercial services in the River Road/Santa Clara area and report the results to the City Council for your consideration.

3. Need for Neighborhood Specific Regulations for the River Road Corridor: We continue to believe that we need neighborhood-specific regulations to guide the development of the River Road corridor.  We appreciate the C2 code changes proposed instead of a special area zone but we recommend that you reconsider a one-size-fits-all ordinance for all seven corridors, as proposed to be enacted in 2026. 

We wish to recognize the efforts of the Eugene Planning staff, the RRCO and SCCO boards, the Community Advisory Committee, and all of the members of our joint communities who have engaged with us over these past seven years to reach this milestone.  It is our hope that we will continue to collaborate over the coming years as we work to implement the Action Plan and resolve our parking, commercial, and corridor issues.

We request that the public record remain open for 7 days after the hearing for additional public testimony.

Thank you for your consideration,

/s/ River Road Community Organization Board Members

Footnote:

1. (from City Council Agenda Page 72 February 20, 2024 Public Hearing – Item 4)

9.2161 Commercial Zone – Land Use and Permit Requirements Special Use Limitations:

(6)  In the C-2 zone, up to two dwellings are allowed in a structure

if the ground floor of the structure is used for commercial or non-residential purposes consistent with Table 9.2161.

Senior Meals Winter Bowling Tournament on January 20

Winter Bowling Tournament FUNdraiser, benefiting LCOG Senior & Disability Services’ Senior Meals Program! We have partnered with Playground Sports to host this event and invite all who are interested to come out and have a ball!

The tournament is Saturday, January 20, 2024 from 12:00-5:00 p.m. at First Bowl, 1950 River Road, Eugene, OR 97404.

Click here to register.

The cost to register is $75.00 per individual, or $450.00 for a team of 6. Registration fees include shoe and lane rental, with a portion of all registration fees going directly to the Senior Meals Program. Up to 12 teams will participate in a no-tap tournament, meaning 8 or 9 pin bowls will count as strikes. There is a 3-game guarantee, prizes for winners, and raffle for ALL! Children are welcome to attend but only 18+ are allowed to bowl.

The Senior Meals Program is a nutrition Wellness program which helps Lane County adults aged 60 and up to maintain their independence by providing healthy meals and opportunities to develop vital social connections through Cafe 60 Dining Rooms and the Meals on Wheels program. To find out more about these vital programs, please visit our Senior Meals Program page.

RRCO Board Recommendation on Draft Neighborhood Plan – Your opportunity to review at July 9th General Meeting

After five years and thousands of hours of neighbor’s collaboration, the Draft Neighborhood Plan is ready to move to the next step. The RRCO Executive Board has unanimously agreed on our feedback on the Draft Plan, Action Plan & Proposed Code Amendments to the Neighborhood Plan Community Advisory Committee (CAC). In summary we support the Plan documents, but we list three areas of concern that have been eliminated from the draft documents.  

The CAC will meet on July 27th to review the feedback from both the River Road and the Santa Clara Community Organizations and craft their response to the Eugene and Lane County Planning Commissions.  
 

Those Commissions will then deliberate to review the proposed documents and forwarded River Road / Santa Clara recommendation and prepare their joint recommendation to be presented at a public hearing sometime in the Fall. Once they review that public feedback, they will produce a recommendation to the City Council and County Commission who will also hold a public hearing and eventually produce an ordinance implementing a new River Road /Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan, Code Amendments and an Action Plan to guide our Neighborhoods’ development over the next 30 years. And to think it only took six years!

Following the RRCO charter, the general membership of RRCO will have an opportunity to vote on the Board’s letter of approval. We will have time for  questions, discussion, and potential membership action on substantive issues at the beginning of Monday’s General Meeting.

Here is the RRCO Board letter to the Plan Community Advisory Committee:

Dear Mayor Vinis and Members of the City,

We, the members of the River Road Community Organization Board, are writing in support of the Draft River Road/Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan being submitted by the Eugene Planning staff, in conjunction with the Community Advisory Committee, and the River Road and Santa Clara Community Organizations. 

For the past 6 years, our community and board members have engaged in this effort with enthusiasm and with the needs of our unique and fast-growing neighborhood in mind.  The plan does not address all of the requirements outlined as part of the Envision Eugene initiative; however, we have heard from our community via a variety of vehicles and believe that the current draft should proceed through the adoption process, moving us forward from the refinement plan of 1986 that currently guides the development for our area.  We are ready to partner with the City and County to move the draft plan forward and are willing to accept some of the shortcomings of the document in order to proceed. 

While the new plan will define much of the direction for the neighborhood, we have identified three core areas of opportunity that were eliminated from the plan. As these three areas of opportunity are core to the desires of our community, we are committed as a board to continue to advocate for resolution of these issues to meet the needs of River Road residents.  These are:

  1. No Parking Resolution for County Streets:  Lane County controls 76% of River Road Local Streets (58% of Santa Clara) and they have negligible capacity to enforce on-street parking standards. The reduction in on-site parking requirements through the middle housing code amendments and other State standards means that our experience with parking overflow near ECCO housing will just become more intense.  Many of the County Local streets in our neighborhoods aren’t developed to urban standards and have limited capacity to accommodate the overflow parking almost certain to occur with new properties lacking minimum on-site parking requirements.   Without some way to regulate on-street parking on a significant majority of our streets, further densification will lead to more unsafe streets in our neighborhoods. One potential resolution would be for the City Manager to include deliberation on how to address the issue as part of the Climate Friendly and Equitable Community Parking Reform process.
  • Potential Loss of Commercial Properties:  When we asked our neighbors to set goals for the Neighborhood Plan, they placed strong emphasis on having more commercial opportunities, especially restaurants, gathering spots & groceries. They also called for 20 Minute Neighborhoods– businesses they could easily walk or bike to.  However, the staff decision to eliminate the proposed Corridor Mixed Use zone leaves the majority of our current Commercial properties in the C-2 Community Commercial Zone.  This zone allows 100% of the properties in the zone to be residential with no commercial at all.  The eliminated Corridor Mixed Use zone would have required commercial use on the ground floor.

The economic study included in Sera Architect’s River Road Corridor Study showed that economic demand for housing is high and commercial use is low.  Without regulation requiring it or some kind of incentive to encourage it, the commercial facilities we currently have may well be replaced by multifamily housing that ironically will create an even greater need for the commercial properties they replace. We encourage the City to conduct a feasibility study to determine how to encourage more commercial services in the River Road/Santa Clara area.

  •  Need for Neighborhood Specific Regulations for the River Road Corridor: We continue to believe that we need neighborhood-specific regulations to guide the development of the River Road corridor.  We appreciate the C2 code changes proposed instead of a special area zone but recommend that you reconsider a one-size-fits-all ordinance for all seven corridors, as proposed to be enacted in 2026. 

We wish to recognize the efforts of the Eugene Planning staff, the RRCO and SCCO boards, the Community Advisory Committee, and all of the members of our joint communities who have engaged with us over these past 6 years to reach this milestone.  It is our hope that we will continue to collaborate over the coming years as we work to implement the Action Plan and resolve our parking, commercial, and corridor issues.

With kindest regards,

River Road Community Organization Board Members

RRCO Board Changes

The RRCO Board Meeting on April 17th resulted in the following changes:

1. Clare Strawn submitted her resignation as RRCO Co-chair. The Board appointed Dan Isaacson as interim Co-chair and secretary Michele O’ Leary assumed the role of treasurer. Thanks to Clare for her years of service as Co-chair and to Dan and Michele for stepping into their new roles!

2. The board also voted to move the monthly board meeting from the third Monday of the month to the fourth Wednesday. The next board meeting will be held via Zoom on May 24th from 7 to 8:30 PM.


Pat & Carleen Thank You Celebration

Carleen and Pat Reilly are hosting a ‘Thank you’ Celebration in response to all of the help and kindness that have been shown to them during Carleen’s illness. Please join Carleen and Pat at the River Road Annex (1055 River Road) from 1 to 4 PM on Saturday May 20th and give them an opportunity to ‘Thank You’ in person. Tasty refreshments will be served. This is being held at the River Road Annex.

Ward 7 City Council Applicants Announced

The City of Eugene has announced that the following individuals have applied to be appointed by the City Council to the Interim Ward 7 City Council Position. The Council is expected to appoint one of these individuals on December 12th to serve until a new councilor to be elected in the May 2023 Primary Election takes office in July 2023.

• Barbie Walker
• Carol Zorn
• Daniel Isaacson
• Daniel Takamori
• Don Heady
• Janet Ayres
• Lyndsie Leech
• Marlene Pearson
• Stephanie Dugger
• Thomas Hiura