Community Helps Create South Willamette Draft Concept Plan
(This article was originally printed in the December 15th, 2011 edition of the Eugene City Council Newsletter)

Exciting ideas and shared challenges are emerging from the pilot study of area planning in South Willamette. Area planning is one of the strategies of the “Compact Urban Development and Efficient Transportation Options” pillar of Envision Eugene. Businesses, residents, property owners and customers in the area, as well as design professionals and City staff, have brainstormed how the area might change in desirable ways to accommodate additional housing and a more vibrant business district over the next 20 years.

An online presentation, survey and public workshop on Dec. 7, offered the community opportunities to explore and provide feedback on the draft concept plan. The plan sketches out an integrated vision for the future of the area. View the presentation and take the survey through Jan. 9 at www.eugene-or.gov/SWillamette. Community interest in the project is growing; so far, the concept plan has been viewed over 450 times online and over 60 people have submitted surveys.

The Draft Concept Plan offers ideas about where more commercial buildings and denser kinds of urban housing might be located, ideas for enhancing the shopping districts, and better ways to access the area for all users of the streets and sidewalks. In the spring, a focused study of Willamette Street will begin, funded by a Transportation and Growth Management Grant.

Participants involved in this project are working to make a really great place by building on all the good things that are already happening in and around the area. Kate Boney, owner of Turtles Bar and Grill in the South Willamette district, says it well, “A community’s growth is inevitable... having a good plan in place to support that growth in a positive way is priceless.”

For more information, or to learn how to get involved, contact South Willamette Project Manager Patricia Thomas at patricia.thomas@ci.eugene.or.us or 541-682-5561. Have a great holiday season and stay tuned for more updates about South Willamette in the new year!
Below is a map of the South Willamette Draft Concept Plan as identified in the December 15th, 2011 Eugene City Council Newsletter:

This is a map of the South Willamette Draft Concept Plan as identified in the December 16th, 2011 edition of the Eugene City Council Newsletter
South Willamette interest growing
(This article was originally printed in the Spring 2011 edition of the Friendly Area Neighborhood Newsletter

The Opportunity Siting Program in South Willamette is proceeding with residents, business owners, property owners, and city staff collaborating to create a vision for the future. First steps were to identify best and worst outcomes for street and development changes in South Willamette. Results of recent conversations and upcoming events can be found on the Opportunity Siting web page: www.eugene-or.gov/oppsiting.

Opportunity Siting and South Willamette Pilot are important livability and compact urban growth strategies identified in the draft proposal for Envision Eugene. For more information see the article on Envision Eugene in this newsletter.

A University of Oregon architecture design studio will be held spring term, April through June. Students will get to know the area, study Willamette Street and its surrounds and develop their conceptual designs for the street and for urban housing nearby. They plan to meet with neighborhood and business representatives and provide a presentation to the public at the end of the term in June.

Application is underway for a Transportation and Growth Management grant from the State of Oregon to develop a concept design for improvements to South Willamette. If awarded this will help pay for public involvement and design concepts to help make this section of Willamette Street a "complete street" that will provide for a better walking, biking, and driving experience.

If you would like to keep informed, participate in discussions, or provide feedback, please check the website (www.eugene-or.gov/oppsiting). You may also contact:

Nancy Ellen Locke: n_e_locke@hotmail.com
Matt Sprick: matt@pacificnwpublish.com
Patricia Thomas: patricia.thomas@ci.eugene.or.us
Shopping & Living around South Willamette - How is it Changing and What does the Future Hold?
(This article was originally printed in the Winter 2011 edition of the Friendly Area Neighborhood Newsletter

At the January 20th FAN General Meeting, we'll listen to one another's concerns and ideas about what might happen- or not happen- in the South Willamette area as we plan for the future.

As you heard in the last FAN Newsletter, the blocks around South Willamette between 24th and 29th Avenues are the subject of a promising planning study. FAN leaders and the Southtowne Business Association (SoBA) started working together to find a way to enhance South Willamette as a pedestrian, bicycle and shopping street and to attract more kinds of housing development into the area. FAN and SoBA then invited city Planning and Public Works staff and other neighborhood leaders to participate in discussions about South Willamette, and initiated a pilot visioning process aimed at achieving these goals.

Envision Eugene, the current city-wide project studying how Eugene will accommodate homes and jobs for approximately 34,000 more people during the next 20 years, is looking to this pilot project in South Willamette to see what ideas the community has for using this anticipated growth to build on the successes of the area.  The goal of the pilot project is to find the best way for growth to contribute to thriving and appealing residential neighborhoods with nearby vital commercial districts.

If you attended the October general meeting, you heard an update on ideas people are talking about.  The program at the January 20th meeting will allow you to share your ideas about what the potential outcomes of actively planning for the future: by deciding how Willamette St. can be improved and determining where different kinds of urban housing, such as row houses and apartment buildings, might best be located.

If you are not able to attend but want to stay informed, please use the contact information below to let Nancy Ellen, Matt, or Patricia know about your interest!

Next Event: Project update at FAN General Meeting January 20, 2011, Washington Park Cottage, 2025 Washington Street.

Project leads and contacts:
FAN: Nancy Ellen Locke, n_e_locke@hotmail.com
SoBA: Matt Sprick, matt@pacificnwpublish.com
Planning: Patricia Thomas, patricia.thomas@ci.eugene.or.us

South Willamette Area Pilot Planning Project
(This article was originally printed in the Fall 2010 edition of the Friendly Area Neighborhood Newsletter

As you heard in the July FAN Newsletter, the blocks around South Willamette between 24th and 29th Avenues are the subject of a promising planning study. FAN leaders and the Southtowne Business Association (SoBA) had started working together to find a way to enhance South Willamette as a pedestrian, bicycle and shopping street and to attract more kinds of housing development into the area. After hearing about city initiatives under way to address these kinds of issues, FAN and SoBA invited city Planning and Public Works staff to participate in discussions about South Willamette, and initiated a visioning process aimed at achieving these goals.

The project is taking advantage of the city’s Opportunity Siting (OS) program, which targets finding good locations for desirable denser housing such as apartments, condos and row houses. As a starting point, the community has begun to paint a vision for what Willamette Street and the area between Amazon Park and the base of College Hill might look like in the next 20 years. This project is serving both as a pilot for the OS program and a tool to test some of the ideas in Envision Eugene…the planning process underway to determine how our city is to grow by 34,000 people in the next 20 years (see Envision Eugene meeting announcement in this newsletter). Those who have been involved in the visioning work for the South Willamette area thus far are supportive of quite dense housing development in the area and want to start talking about possibilities for street and transportation improvements.

It is time for more neighbors and business owners to get involved. It is still early in the process, with interesting preliminary ideas being proposed by people from the area… a great time to join in the discussion! Please use the contact information below to let Nancy Ellen, Matt, or Patricia know that you would like to participate!

Next Event:
WHAT: Project update at FAN General Meeting October 21st, 2010

Next Steps:
Fall and Winter 2010-11: Opportunities to share your ideas and concerns through stakeholder surveys, focus groups, or workshops.
Spring University of Oregon Design Studio: Studying the streetscape and the types of buildings that would work well in the area.
Spring: Apply for grant funding for street design

Project leads and contacts:
FAN: Nancy Ellen Locke, n_e_locke@hotmail.com
SoBA: Matt Sprick, matt@pacificnwpublish.com
Planning: Patricia Thomas, patricia.thomas@ci.eugene.or.us

As the conceptual vision above shows, neighbors and business people are starting to imagine a very vibrant business street along South Willamette and Oak Streets and an active neighborhood with interesting new housing options! From 24th to 29th Avenues this vision shows lots of trees along Willamette Street to improve the atmosphere for business, shopping and walking. Over the next 20 years, the participants envision much more housing in all types of buildings from row houses to high rises. This is a view looking north along Willamette St. Notice the Amazon Park in the upper right corner. This very preliminary, concept level vision from a FAN and SoBA workshop illustrates the level of housing density and street improvements the participants would like to see in the next 20 years. Next steps include additional workshops and market evaluation of development potential.
Opportunity Siting Heats Up
(This article was originally printed in the May 20th, 2010 edition of the Eugene City Council Newsletter)

As Envision Eugene begins to engage the community in how it grows for the next 20 years, the role of Opportunity Siting (OS) as a tool to sensitively locate new and denser housing types is increasingly important. Created by the City Council as a parallel project with Infill Compatibility Standards (ICS), OS promotes dense housing designed and located in ways that enhance the community. Lessons learned by the Opportunity Siting Task Team led to focusing on areas in and around “Hot Spots” locations that are already magnets for activity.

Based on these hot spots, the OS program now has a pilot study underway. The pilot “Hot Spot” is the area around South Willamette, roughly between 24th and 29th avenues. Last year, the Friendly Area Neighborhood and the Southtowne Business Association began working together to find ways to make the South Willamette area a more vibrant business center and enhance its attractiveness as a place to walk, bike, shop and live. In recent months, they have engaged City planning and transportation staff in helping to envision the future and find tools to promote goals about mixed-use living and commercial success.

Though Opportunity Siting continues to be a tool to promote the right kind of dense housing, this wider visioning approach, as developed by the OS Task Team, also considers the surrounding neighborhood and amenities that make it a good place to live, before narrowing in on a specific site. Involved Friendly Area neighbors and Southtowne businesses are enthusiastic about gradual but important changes to their area. Their work can serve as a model for future efforts in other hot spots and for possible ways to increase density as a part of Envision Eugene.

For more information, contact Patricia Thomas at 541-682-5561 or patricia.thomas@ci.eugene.or.us.
Below is a map of the Opportunity Siting "Hot Spots" as identified in the May 20th, 2010 Eugene City Council Newsletter:

This is a map of the Opportunity Siting
Moving South Willamette toward a "20 Minute Neighborhood"
(This article was originally printed in the Spring 2010 edition of the Friendly Area Neighborhood Newsletter)

The Southtowne Business Association (SoBA) and Friendly Area Neighbors (FAN) held a couple of informal discussions with several members of the City of Eugene Planning Division, to share concerns and creative ideas about the South Willamette commercial and neighborhood area. These discussions were initiated in response to FAN's and SoBA's enthusiasm for improving the area for operating businesses, making it a safe and accessible place for residents and customers, and making the area a more vibrant and attractive place to live. The idea of a "20 minute neighborhood," is emerging: a place where people can accomplish a lot of what they want to do...find a place to live and do their errands, enjoy the outdoors and possibly even work, all within 20 minutes on foot, bike or bus.

The South Willamette area already has the components needed for this way of living: a range of shopping and businesses providing food, goods, entertainment and services, various kinds of housing from single family houses to apartment buildings, a wonderful park, a school, bike paths and bus service, and enthusiastic residents and business operators. South Willamette has it all yet it could become a more successful area with additional residents and shoppers to support the businesses, restaurants and services and to enjoy the community's investment in parks, schools and bus services.

Over the next 20 years, Eugene is forecast to grow by about 35,000 people... people who may be our friends, relatives and those we've yet to know. Determining what this growth means in terms of how and where our city will change to make room for all of us - with places to buy and produce goods and services and places to live and work - is the subject of intense focus right now. Past planning efforts, in which you may have participated, have formed the foundation for this work and ideas on how to accommodate our continuously changing community. A pilot program to put what we have learned to work can make a difference in South Willamette and provide an example for other areas of Eugene.

The South Willamette area seems to have the right characteristics to benefit from the kinds of changes that can accommodate growth while enhancing an existing vital neighborhood for everyone. The energetic group that has met is ready to roll up its sleeves to see how the South Willamette area (roughly within a few blocks of Willamette Street, from 24th to 29th Avenues) can be an even better neighborhood! Your perspective would be a valuable addition to the work. The pilot program is meant to be quick and efficient with a few events scheduled March through May.

Please let Nancy Ellen Locke, Matt Sprick, or Patricia Thomas know by e-mail or telephone call if you want to participate.

Nancy Ellen Locke, Friendly Area Neighbors (FAN) Board
(541) 431-0533 nancyl@friendlyareaneighbors.org

Matt Sprick, Southtown Business Association
(541) 232-3127 southtownedistrict.com

Patricia Thomas, AIA, City of Eugene Planning Division
(541) 682-5561 Patricia.THOMAS@ci.eugene.or.us
Below is a map of the pilot "20 Minute Neighborhood" study area:

This is a map of the pilot
You may find additional documents relating to this topic (such as Willamette Street traffic studies and a walkability analysis) under "documents" on the FAN website navigation bar.

For further reading, see the City of Eugene web pages on:

Eugene Climate & Energy Action Plan
Envision Eugene
Eugene Comprehensive Land Assessment (ECLA)
Opportunity Siting (OS)
Your input is valuable! Residents of these neighborhoods are encouraged to participate in the discussion:

Friendly Area Neighbors
Amazon Neighbors
Crest Neighbors
Southeast Neighbors