Support for Eugene’s Paid Sick Leave ordinance, by Eugene region, can be seen here.
Familiarity with Eugene’s Paid sick leave ordinance, by Eugene region, can be seen here.
The Eugene City Council’s approval rating, by Eugene region, can be seen here.
Mayor Kitty Piercy’s approval rating, by Eugene region, can be seen here.
Mayor Kitty Piercy’s favorability rating, by Eugene region, can be seen here.
Polling on the name ID of Eugene City Councilors in West Eugene can be seen here.
Willamette High School girls won the state 5A basketball championship last year. And they are ranked #1 entering the final weeks of this year’s season.
Annah Hickey, a Willamette High School senior, won the highly competitive Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce Future First Citizen award last year. This year another Willamette High School senior, McKenzie McCausland, won the award.
And this just in: Willamette High School and the Bethel School District has the highest public school graduation rate in the Eugene Springfield area. See the story: “Bethel Graduation Percentage Soars.”
Congratulations and thanks are in order for the students, parents, staff, administration and school board for the discipline and effort it takes to excel in education.
I am in favor of Lane Transit District’s (LTD) West 11th via 6th and 7th Avenue EmX bus rapid transit (BRT) line addition. This leg of the BRT system will link the downtown Lane Transit District terminal via Oregon Highway 99 to a western terminal at Commercial Street on West 11th Avenue. West 11th Avenue is also Oregon Highway 126.
Serious concerns have arisen during the planning phase of the link and have been voiced by a broad coalition of members of the community. Most of the concerns are reasonable and valid and either have been or will be addressed. As with any undertaking of this magnitude is not likely that everybody involved will be satisfied with the outcome.
BRT, and public transit in general, is an integral component of Lane County’s transportation plan. As fuel prices increase it is ever more urgent and desirable for travelers, particularly in the metropolitan area, to access public transit. BRT offers the ever growing and densifying urban area a means of traveling for business, recreation and public purposes in a dependable and rapid manner.
Completion of a BRT system, including routes that will eventually cover the metropolitan area of Eugene/Springfield and beyond, is essential for assuring dependable and affordable access to facilities and amenities.
The decision more than two years ago by the Eugene City Council to pursue the West 11th option over the Highway 99/Bethel option was unfortunate at best. A route linking the large growing urban area of northwest Eugene to the downtown core and the University of Oregon/Springfield BRT routes (that are already in place) would have addressed imminent needs more directly and would have met with less opposition. The route to Bethel would have caused less business and thoroughfare interuption and could have built a greater general public confidence in the future buildout of the system.
In light of that unfortunate decision, along with the Eugene City Council and Mayor’s radical decision to kill the long-planned West Eugene Parkway, we find ourselves in a less than ideal position to clearly satisfy the concerns of the opponents of the EmX line. Nonetheless, the ultimate successful build-out of the system, including multi-governmental financial support, places us in the postion of needing to approve the project.
Concerns that a large amount of Federal tax dollars are being expended on the system have been articulately stated. That being noted, in the United States one of the main functions of federal government has been and will remain providing integrated transportation systems. The Interstate Highway system, airports and US Highways are examples.
Historically the US government has backed large transportation public works projects. This project will be one such example of the government’s role in providing roads and addressing transportation needs. The tax money that will be spent on the construction of the project in Lane County will be granted from a list of competing projects nation wide. The money spent in Lane County comes from a large pool that is funding nation-wide projects.
The jobs and infrastructure that Lane Transit District’s project will provide will not only put people to work but will also facilitate public transportation long into the future.
There will of course be business disruptions during the construction phase of the project. That is unavoidable, but can be minimized and ultimately improve access to existing businesses along the route and future businesses and residences that will be developed as we densify our urban area.
During the construction phase it will be important to make certain that minimal interruption of business occurs. Contruction will be staged such that small sections of the route will be affected at any one time. Concerns that road building will take place along the entire route throughout the duration of the construction have been registered and will be addressed.
In order to be responsive to individual business operators, driveways will be kept open and signage in place to direct traffic into the affected business. I will suggest that a contact person will be available at all times to respond to the changing nature of the project build-out, and that if any business operators have concerns that arise due to unpredicted changes in building they will have a direct means to report the concern via phone or electronic media.
A part of the ongoing EmX project will be a study of other subsequent components of the BRT system, including a McVay Highway link to Lane Community College and a link to Bethel.
Rapid public transit exists in a large number of cities and metropolitan areas in the United States. By moving forward at this time Lane County can have a model system that will address the needs of public transit and supplement individual vehicle travel long into the future.
Pat Farr is a Eugene City Councilor representing Ward 6 in Northwest Eugene and a Lane County Commissioner-elect (presumptive) from the North Eugene District.
At a public hearing held at Caesar Chavez Elementary School regarding the possible location of a homeless camping site (like the ones Occupy Eugene inhabited last winter, see 33 articles here) the local area residents came out in full force with their opinion. By and large the opinion was: “Not in our back yard, please!” See the article in the Wednesday July 25 Register-Guard
Yielding to pressure from Occupy Eugene principals and supporters the City Council has charged the City Manager to identify sites where a homeless camp could be located. Who is to say what other neighbors in other neighborhoods would have to say about a tent city next door to them? In order to find out it has to appear to them that it could happen. Because, under the scenario being considered, it could. Why limit the discussion to West Eugene?
Therefore, when the manager is considering other sites for the City Council to consider regarding a permanent/semi permanent tent village inside or near the city of Eugene he should consider geographic and land use code distribution. Sites located from one corner of Eugene to the other and beyond.
The former Marine Reserve Center site near Caesar Chavez Elementary School has been highlighted as the first site to consider. It is essential that other sites throughout the community be considered. (For a number of reasons, one of which would be to give more people in the community direct reason to look at the issue of homelessness).
If remote or concealed sites are the only ones looked at it would be likely that few people would pay attention, would provide their personal input on the location or would examine the stated need for a camp and conditions that exist surrounding homeless camping.
Therefore we need to look at a variety of sites. An examination which includes a variety of considerations:
2. Current Ownership, and,
3. Land use designation
We should look at land that is:
1. In public use,
2. Land that is publicly owned and is not being fully utilized, and,
3. Private land.
Additionally we need to be able to consider land that is designated for a variety of uses including
3. Industrial, and,
4. Public use.
And we should invite every neighborhood to weigh in on how it would work in their part of the city.
Regarding public ownership we should look at land that is owned by various jurisdictions, including but not limited to land owned by:
1. the City of Eugene,
2. the City of Springfield,
3. Lane County,
4. EWEB, and,
5. 4J and Bethel School districts.
Sites to consider should include:
1. Closed 4J school sites
2. Civic Stadium
3. Land owned by Bethel such as the corner of Avalon and Legacy, and,
4. Parks such as:
_a. Alton Baker Park
_b. Tugman Park
_c. Amazon Park
_d. Bethel Park
_e. Sheldon Park
_f. Emerald Park
_g. Perkins Peninsula Park, or,
_h. Glenwood area parks or open space
These are examples and should all be included. Others sites similar to these should also be considered in a variety of geographically diverse locations in Eugene and the immediate vicinity.
I have few specifics to offer on currently privately owned land, but it could include:
1. Country Fair site
2. Small parcels that are currently agricultural
3. LCC/Goshen area privately owned land
All of these sites have distinct reasons that preclude them as a possible location, but if we do not include areas located in geographically diverse areas we will be remiss in engaging the entire community in the discussion.
In order to facilitate a full conversation across the entire community we should give the entire community a chance and a reason to weigh in.
Stay tuned to see what the City Manager brings back to the City Council for discussion in September. It could be your street corner.
EmX bus rapid transit (BRT) to west Eugene via West 11th/Highway 126 continues to draw mixed results. While the signs along the route give the impression that it is distinctly not wanted, quite often public opinion voiced at Eugene City Council meetings and in other forums call for support of the system.
Lane Transit District conducted its own poll recently which has drawn a new set of mixed results, with about half the respondents supporting the west 11th/Hwy 126 leg. Other polls by Lindholm Company, posted on the company’s blog and reported in Forum Lane, show results that demonstrate waning support.
An editorial in today’s Register Guard headlined, “Not a vote of confidence” concludes that the “LTD poll finds EmX support lukewarm at best.” Well stated. See the entire editorial here.
Having heard and read many hundreds of testimonies in an array of venues—email, LTD forums, Council Forums, Joint Elected Officials Forums, on the side of the street on West 11th, the list goes on—I decided to ask people who use a business along the route what they thought. I held a pair of open house meetings at Courtsports Athletic Club on Commerce Street. Commerce is the proposed terminus for the BRT line. The target audience for the meetings was intended to be club members, however the word got out and a lot of non-members showed up.
It was a non-sponsored event that I conducted without any support, other than maps, from city or LTD staff. I held it on a Monday evening and a Tuesday morning in February and invited both oral and written comments. Greg Evans, an LTD board member accepted an invitation to join me to help answer questions. In that it was not a scientifically selected group of respondents I will not say that the results are in any way an accurate measurement of the community at large. I will say, however, that the people who use the facility at the end of the BRT line wanted to be heard.
I received nearly a hundred comments on 3 X 5 cards. Comments were grouped into three basic categories: response to the terminus location, response to EmX in general, concern about LTD’s other service.
Here are a few samples of comments received:
“We totally need EmX rapid transit. It will connect West Eugene to the rest of the city…but please have LTD (leave) us parking spaces for the gym—we need them.”
“Why choose the W11th route? These businesses are mostly auto services and drive through. Other routes would be better.”
“Have the turnaround where nobody parks, like (empty ends of parking lots.)”
“The Wal-Mart parking lot closest to west 11th…”
“Why spend all that money?”
“I live west of Eugene and would like the EmX terminus on Commerce and would regularly ride the EmX. The west Eugene EmX is an important leg of a metropolitan wide system. With global warming we need (it),”
By and large the many people who wrote love LTD and many are riders. But like the editorial in today’s paper I found the response to the proposed west 11th extension and terminus on Commerce to be “lukewarm at best.”