River Road Community Update #204

By Carleen Reilly

Time to buckle down and get back to regular order–report on events and alert you to upcoming calendar items. Lots of stuff going on.

River Road Corridor Study. In my Supplemental message #203, I mostly spoke about the tone of the charette. Instituting ground rules for our meetings should improve the tone of our community meetings and increase what we can accomplish together.

This report is my perspective and highlights of the charette. Three gatherings occurred in addition to the 3 open houses: Business round table of River Road and Santa Clara business people with a few neighbors on or near River Road; a meeting focused on transportation with staff and concerned activists; and Technical Advisory Committee (city and county staff with expertise across departments).

The business round table was remarkable to me with the varying types of businesses and their willingness to take an hour from their work to share their thoughts. One person from PeaceHealth in Santa Clara was the only representative from that neighborhood. She voiced concern for the safety of their patients and staff getting to and from their location. She also noted that it was hoped that with better safety protocols, more people would access their services by bike and public transit. I hadn’t expected that comment.

River Road businesses were insurance, produce market, property owners who wished to develop property–either commercial or housing–or managed property for others. We asked them what barriers they faced as they set up their business, expanded their business, or encountered other development challenges. It was exciting to hear that they have plans for our neighborhood and are motivated to engage in our future.

The transportation folks raised issues of connectivity (getting around in our neighborhoods by walking, with bikes, or driving without going to River Road or Northwest Expressway) and safety. The context is that we have lots of transportation projects underway. (I can send you an electronic copy of these projects, their locations, some specifics, and funding.)

The transportation group reviewed the prior day’s work tracing a potential bike/ped loop through the west River Road neighborhood, across Beltline to Ruby Ave. in Santa Clara, and followed through to the east side of Santa Clara connecting with the West Bank Trail along the Willamette River. (Many neighbors seemed interested in that speculative route, too.) A comment was that buffered bike lanes along River Road would be a priority before tackling the inner neighborhood connectivity.

They discussed not knowing what increased housing along River Road Corridor would look like, and they are pleased that funding is available to study this aspect. One comment was that we don’t know, yet, whether River Road will be selected as an EmX corridor. It was speculated that it would be about 5 years or so before it would be constructed.

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) reviewed the same materials that the transportation folks saw. They commented on the concepts of developing commercial centers that were called Barbells (large center at each end of the corridor with smaller ones in between), String of Pearls (equal-sized commercial centers), or various sized centers (can’t remember name). A comment was made that the String of Pearls might be called “Charm Bracelet.” Another person noted that each commercial center could tell its own story, giving each its own identity.

At other moments in the charette, it was noted that there is the potential that all of the commercial nodes along the corridor might join to create a single commercial strip. No one wants that, so it will be important to have housing between nodes, appropriately landscaped, to protect livability. I really liked the way the consultants talked about developing a rhythm along the corridor from housing to commercial, and they voiced their hope to help us implement our vision of being the River and Garden District.

I could go on, but I am sure you are tired of reading. We were all pleased with the numbers of interested people at each open house, perhaps 70 the first evening, fewer the second, and many more than 70 the third evening.

Beltline Project representation. We are so fortunate that our neighbor, Michele O’Leary, has agreed to be our new representative on the Beltline Project. Much of our congestion on River Road derives from a cue of vehicles ready to enter Beltline. Because Michele is on our Neighborhood Planning Community Advisory Committee, facilitates the Transportation Working Group, and is now on the Beltline CAC, she will be able to help us integrate our transportation projects. She can make sure they accomplish what our neighborhoods want, facilitate communications between projects to coordinate with one another, and communicate next steps to neighbors. A program to update RRCO about Beltline will be in order after Michele attends a quarterly meeting.

Howard Elementary Sidewalks. A sweet video “Thank you for sidewalks around Howard Elementary!” is on the web. It was good to see our school implement this safety measure.

4J Bond Measure improvements. Your input is requested to help design new buildings recently approved with a bond measure.You can sign up to receive updates. bond@4j.lane.edu

Our neighborhood will have a new North Eugene High School constructed as a result of this bond. An open house is scheduled for Thursday, March 7, 5:30 to 8:30, at NEHS. A follow up event is scheduled for April 16, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. I can forward to you the complete message if you are interested.

Grattan Kerans Obit. Many of you will remember Grattan Kerans. He devoted his life to public service and lived in the River Road neighborhood for many years. In fact, he lived just around the corner from us on Willa Lane. We were fortunate to have him represent us in the legislature and in other positions.


Plastics Recycling. 141 people attended training for 2-4-5 plastics Community Collectors held in Eugene. More attended and will attend in Florence. Community Collector registrations are closed. Additional applicants re encouraged to review instructions and use resources on the website, collect from 10 or more people and come to the round up on April 7. Registered Community Collectors will make appointments to drop off plastic throughout the month of March. Please refer people who ask to www.lanecounty.org/plasticsroundup for details including posters to download.


  • MONDAY, February 25, 11:30. Eugene Planning Commission. Sloat Room. Neighborhood Planning update.
  • LAST SUNDAY OF EACH MONTH, Eug-Art404 meets at Maynard and Copping. Contact Meisha Linwood kdxsnook [at] yahoo [dot] com for info.
    March/April, 2019, Neighborhood Planning Public Event. More info to come.
  • TUESDAY, March 5, 2019, 6:00 p.m. Lane County Planning Commission Work Session, RR/SC NP.Lane County Customer Services, Goodpasture Room. 3050 Delta Highway.THURSDAY, March 7, 5:30 to 8:30. Public meeting to start design work at NEHS
  • MONDAY, March 11, 2019, 5:30 p.m. Eugene City Council Work Session, RR/SC NP. Harris Hall
  • MONDAY, March 11, 2019, 7:00 p.m. River Road Community Organization. Election for 3 board positions. Candidates needed. Bike path improvements, including lighting.
  • MONDAY, March 18, 2019, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. MovingAhead Community-Wide Open House. Baker Center, 975 High St., Eugene plus Open Comment Period from Mark 11-April 10. Your input will help us develop a preferred package of investments for City Council and the LTD Board to approve later this year. MovingAhead.org.
  • MONDAY, March 18, 2019, 7:00 p.m. River Road Community Organization Board meeting. River Road Annex, 1055 River Road.
  • TUESDAY, March 19, 2019, 9:00 to Noon. Lane County Board of Commissioners work Session. Harris Hall.
  • TUESDAY, April 7, 5:30 to 8:30, Building design meeting. NEHS

Disclaimer: The RR CRG weekly messages are my personal views and interpretation of community events and neighborhood planning efforts. I am not a Board member of RRCO (River Road Community Organization); SCRRIPT (Santa Clara-River Road Implementation Planning Team) has transitioned leadership to the Community Advisory Committee (CAC); and I have never been a City employee.

Carleen Reilly has lived in the neighborhood for over 40 years. She served on the RRCO board of directors from 2007-2013, and has been involved over the years with the Joint Strategy Team (JuST), the Santa Clara-River Road Outreach and Learning project (SCRROL), and the Santa Clara-River Road Implementation Planning Team (SCRRIPT)

She publishes a weekly e-newsletter called “River Road Community Resource Group Newsletter” that focuses on land use, transportation, parks and open spaces, economic development, and Community interests as they are related to our Neighborhood Planning activities in conjunction with the Santa Clara neighborhood. If you would like to subscribe you can contact Carleen at: carleenr |at| gmail dot com.