[FoE-M] Envison Eugene [was RE: [NLC] Important City meetings (and the mixed-use option)]
cemayor at earthlink.net
Thu May 6 17:53:15 PDT 2010
Although there are differences of opinion I am a fan of Paul, Rob, Shawn,
Kevin and Paul. I think they all are the consciences of our community and
work for better community. I also understand that they do not always agree
with each other and certainly are not voices from West and North Eugene.
Eugene in many ways has representation for all the major debates of Oregon
and this country. I also am a fan of our staff and clearly see all the work
we give them. Elected change and the direction swings and navigation is
challenging. I don¹t know honestly whether a stronger council/mayor form of
government would improve things because you always have to think about what
that strength means in certain hands. On the other hand, being able to move
more swiftly and to have your own staff choices has its appeal, no matter
the swings. Kitty
On 5/6/10 5:11 PM, "Ann Tattersall" <tattersa at bossig.com> wrote:
> I'm with Paul. I haven't put in anywhere near as much time as he has. I
> participated in the Lower River Road process in 2007 and went to 1 or two
> meetings on City Hall. The City Hall "process" was stacked against any
> independent thought of any kind from before it started. It was awful. Lower
> River Road MUC put on a big show of being inclusive ane responsive but was
> neither. They didn't like the inconclusive results of allowing neighborhood
> input so they moved it 3 miles away the next year and repeated the whole
> exercise with richer participants. Evidently, that gave them "better"
> Ann Tattersall
> Paul Nicholson wrote:
>> How many of you have attended previous exercises of this sort? How did those
>> Eugene Decisons, Downtown Visions, City Hall workshop "thingies work for
>> you?" I put a lot of energy into the many and elaborate public processes
>> over the last couple of decades. I haven't noticed that our elected
>> officials have often taken any citizen advice that would in the least disturb
>> our speculator / developer community. In the rare instances that elected
>> officials have shown a little independence, the bureaucracy that is supposed
>> to implement council policy has instead erected sufficient obstacles to
>> derail or emasculate these rare acts of rebellion.
>> Aren't there more promising avenues for our energy? How about an initiative
>> to replace the city manager system with a strong Mayor and council system,
>> for example.
>> From: Shawn Boles <shawn at ori.org> <mailto:shawn at ori.org>
>> To: Paul Conte <pconte at picante-soft.com> <mailto:pconte at picante-soft.com> ;
>> Kevin Matthews <matthews at artifice.com> <mailto:matthews at artifice.com>
>> Cc: Eugene Council <mayorandcc at ci.eugene.or.us>
>> <mailto:mayorandcc at ci.eugene.or.us> ; MCRAE Matt A
>> <matt.a.mcrae at ci.eugene.or.us> <mailto:matt.a.mcrae at ci.eugene.or.us> ; NLC
>> <nlc at eugeneneighbors.org> <mailto:nlc at eugeneneighbors.org> ; WEISS Carolyn J
>> <Carolyn.J.Weiss at ci.eugene.or.us> <mailto:Carolyn.J.Weiss at ci.eugene.or.us> ;
>> Jon Ruiz <Jon.R.Ruiz at ci.eugene.or.us> <mailto:Jon.R.Ruiz at ci.eugene.or.us> ;
>> SEN Members <members at southeastneighbors.org>
>> <mailto:members at southeastneighbors.org> ; FoE Members
>> <foe_members at friendsofeugene.org> <mailto:foe_members at friendsofeugene.org> ;
>> GARDNER Lisa A <Lisa.A.Gardner at ci.eugene.or.us>
>> <mailto:Lisa.A.Gardner at ci.eugene.or.us>
>> Sent: Wed, May 5, 2010 10:57:24 AM
>> Subject: [FoE-M] Envison Eugene [was RE: [NLC] Important City meetings (and
>> the mixed-use option)]
>> Hi All:
>> I attended the 7-9 pm EE meeting at the Conference Center last night and
>> found it deeply disappointing. The setting presentations were weak and the
>> table exercises, while potentially useful, failed in that the staff took NO
>> notes of any of the points raised. At a minimum I would have expected to
>> have some information about the results of our past 20 year efforts to make
>> Eugene more livable while accommodating more residents. If the object was to
>> inform the citizens as to what has worked or not worked in the past and to
>> listen to new ideas, it was an abject failure.
>> Finally, the whole event essentially ignored the energy and climate
>> challenges that are all too real factors influencing the decisions we make
>> with respect to land use, especially use of our precious agricultural lands.
>> This is sad. I had hoped we might do better.
>> I agree with Paul Conte¹s analysis, below.
>> Shawn Boles.
>> From: foe_members at friendsofeugene.org
>> [mailto:foe_members at friendsofeugene.org] On Behalf Of Paul Conte
>> Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 12:40 PM
>> To: Kevin Matthews
>> Cc: Eugene Council; NLC; WEISS Carolyn J; Jon Ruiz; SEN Members; FoE
>> Members; GARDNER Lisa A
>> Subject: Re: [FoE-M] [NLC] Important City meetings (and the mixed-use
>> [Kevin would you please forward my response to listservs that I'm not able to
>> post to. Thank-you.]
>> I'm in fundamental agreement with Kevin's point about a "third way," which
>> is that we can do much better than considering only a blanket ramping up
>> numerical densities in zoning code (as seems to already be under
>> consideration by staff) and/or or blowing out the UGB and using exurban lands
>> as thoughtlessly as we've done in recent history.
>> My attempt to boil things down, and my haste in posting so as to urge
>> participation in tonight's meetings, led to some confusion.
>> For the first of the two Council alternatives, I meant "increase overall
>> density within the UGB". The two options I listed were just to clarify the
>> mathematical reality, nothing more. (You either put more dwellings in the
>> same area, add more area, or some combination.)
>> Increasing overall density within the UGB could be done as Kevin suggests and
>> through other sensible approaches, such as a properly implemented
>> "Opportunity Sting" program.
>> And the point of the fundamental growth management principle I proposed was
>> that we must not accept simplistic, "take your medicine for the good of the
>> community/planet" policy or code changes that would both degrade our
>> neighborhoods (and city) and, in the end, be counterproductive to wise land
>> use (since economically mobile households will simply move to nearby
>> communities more distant from our urban center).
>> Referencing the Mayor's reply to Kevin ... From discussions with the Mayor, I
>> think she agrees and supports this principle, and I read her comments as
>> mainly suggesting we not limit ourselves to just a single proposed strategy
>> that follows this principle, which is a sensible starting point.
>> I do take gentle issue with the Mayor's comment that: "This should be a
>> conversation about what we would like, not what we are afraid of (although
>> getting those on the table is helpful)."
>> A substantial reason many of our neighborhoods are in the mess they're in is
>> because the former community process produced a set of aspirational "Growth
>> Management Policies" that are so ambiguous they are practically useless for
>> real guidance. The code that came out of that process; however, is very
>> concrete and is a disaster -- allowing all kinds of incompatible development
>> justified by increasing density, and providing no standards to assure
>> neighborhoods aren't degraded or destabilized by infill and redevelopment.
>> As in any successful relationship or social contract, understanding what
>> isn't acceptable and where the boundaries lie are as essential as
>> understanding the parties' aspirations. And this part of the discussion
>> requires more than a perfunctory tip of the hat by staff managing the
>> "Envision Eugene" process.
>> I'm not "afraid" that at the end of properly conducted "Envision Eugene,"
>> City Council will adopt policy and code changes that would harm
>> neighborhoods, because if the process is properly conducted, it will be clear
>> that the overwhelming majority of Eugene residents do not believe
>> neighborhoods should be sacrificed to achieve higher density. (I also believe
>> a majority of Eugene residents are willing to be part of a neighborhood-based
>> approach to identifying where and how higher-density development can occur in
>> a way that will be a benefit to the neighborhood community. This is what the
>> lagging "Opportunity Siting" program is supposed to provide.)
>> My concern is that City staff are unprepared and not adequately trained or
>> experienced to manage the complex "Envision Eugene" process effectively,
>> especially under the demanding time constraints. A major element of my
>> concern is that -- after two years as a very active member of the ECLA CAC --
>> I became firmly convinced that neither City staff nor the paid consultants
>> have adequate training and experience to provide essential quantitative
>> assessments of policy impacts that the community can rely on to make
>> well-informed, concrete choices with respect to changes in policy, code
>> and/or the UGB. Despite all the upbeat talk, we are going to be winging it,
>> I'm afraid.
>> Therefore, I think a necessary strategy for neighborhood advocates is to
>> enlist their communities to establish unequivocally one or more new growth
>> management policies that assure no other actions arising from Envision Eugene
>> will harm our neighborhoods.
>> My hope is that, even if we don't get it right, we won't make the gross
>> mistakes of the last decade or so and exacerbate the damage to neighborhoods,
>> which are the fundamental building blocks of a community.
>> Hope to see many of you tonight.
>> -- Paul
>> At 10:06 AM 5/4/2010, Kevin Matthews wrote:
>> Dear Friends and Neighbors,
>> Paul makes a very timely plea for participation in the Envision Eugene
>> process. I couldn't agree more - this is important stuff!
>> However, I think the framing of our choices in his note (below), while
>> traditional and well-established, is simply too narrow. And, if
>> unchallenged, this narrow view will set us up for a classic divide-and-fail
>> scenario within Eugene's progressive community. That's good for no one.
>> Paul says, in his message below, that our choice for growth boils down to
>> these two options:
>> - Increase residential density
>> - Expand the UGB
>> If those were the only options, then from a neighborhood and environmental
>> perspective, it boils down to choosing between bad and worse.
>> Fortunately, there is a third choice, just a little outside the box, which is
>> actually a GOOD option:
>> - Intensive mixed-use redevelopment in existing commercially-zoned areas
>> How would this third option work? Why is it so fundamentally different?
>> In the big picture, the two classic UGB options both tend to make Eugene
>> worse as it grows, either by degrading our neighborhoods, or by gobbling up
>> the surrounding countryside - or potentially both. Paul's strong concerns
>> about the destabilizing impact of the traditional infill-infill-infill
>> approach are very well founded.
>> The mixed-use option, in contrast, can actually help Eugene get better as we
>> grow up.
>> Heresy? No, really, it's just good integrated planning, taking into account
>> all our contemporary issues. Intensive mixed-use redevelopment is a way for
>> us to grow "up-not-out", while still preserving our established
>> The mixed-use option also helps preserve housing choices, by protecting the
>> irreplaceable value of our beautiful and beloved established traditional
>> neighborhoods - and by protecting our remaining natural areas, both inside
>> and outside the UGB - while providing the increasing amount of high-quality
>> multi-family housing, of various types, that our changing community
>> demographics actually call for.
>> Our existing commercially-zoned areas in Eugene are largely occupied by
>> utilitarian single-story buildings surrounded by extensive surface parking -
>> representing very low densities of use. As such, these core commercial areas
>> represent the single largest land bank available, in the right places, to
>> accommodate projected growth.
>> Replacing a cheap building in a big parking lot, creating a new mixed-use
>> building with ground floor commercial (offices, services, retail) and quality
>> condominiums or apartments upstairs, tends to improve the livability of the
>> surrounding area, in terms of walkability, support for neighborhood services,
>> and even the visual image of the streetscape - at the same time as it
>> dramatically increases density of use.
>> It's really not rocket science. The idea is that Eugene could grow its core
>> areas into a more European, naturally denser, more lively and economically
>> robust community. Needing less driving, easier to get around with walking,
>> transit, and bicycling, more efficient in our use of tax-payer provided
>> infrastructure and services.
>> Friends of Eugene released a white paper last year that goes into more detail
>> on how the mixed-use option can work:
>> Lots of details need to be done right, as in any growth scenario, for
>> mixed-use redevelopment to work, and to work well. Protection of adjacent
>> neighborhoods is fundamental and essential, as is beefed-up historic
>> preservation, planning and development of additional parks to support
>> additional density, and so on. The housing construction industry needs real
>> help to adapt to these new community needs.
>> But the basic thrust of the mixed-use growth option is positive, while the
>> basic thrust of each of the two standard options is negative.
>> The divergence between the options is especially clear in terms of combating
>> climate change - in terms of integrated planning to reduce our community
>> carbon footprint.
>> Increasing residential density across the city simply packs in more people
>> and houses, gradually adding traffic and congestion, without helping the
>> basic outmoded structure of how we get from here to there, spread out and
>> heavily dependent on private vehicles. This option would tend to gradually
>> increase the transportation climate footprint of our community.
>> Expanding the UGB is even worse, in terms of climate change. By adding our
>> growth at the farthest distances from the urban core, this option would tend
>> to sharply increase the transportation climate footprint of our community
>> (see white paper for details).
>> In terms of climate change, in other words, the traditional approach gives us
>> two bad options.
>> However, mixed-use redevelopment will help to gradually reduce the
>> transportation climate footprint of our community, because our existing
>> commercially-zoned areas are concentrated in the inner half of the UGB area,
>> and even outside the core, generally along potential transit corridors.
>> Concentrating our residential growth into these areas will tend to reduce
>> car-dependency, enhancing walking, bicycling, and transit use (see white
>> paper for more detail).
>> The mixed-use option provides exactly the kind of positive climate solution
>> we need!
>> To Paul's credit, it appears that the City planning staff have been focusing
>> in Envision Eugene to date on the traditional two option, bad-or-worse
>> approach. The survey recently done by City staff on "land use efficiency
>> measures," for instance, seemed to be stuck solidly inside that box. I'm not
>> trying to beat up City staff, who are facing a tall challenge. I'm just
>> trying to illustrate how the Eugene community needs to participate, and needs
>> to help widen the conversation, to reach a wide enough scope that a win-win
>> solution is actually possible.
>> As a leader in our community around progressive planning, and in wider
>> circles, around architecture and climate change, I see truly great potential
>> (despite the harsh challenge of an absurdly short timeline) for the Envision
>> Eugene process to help us get to a better place together.
>> City staff and City Council alike need intelligent, active, critical, and
>> supportive participation from each of us, to be able to get this worked out
>> The future of Eugene is at stake.
>> with all best wishes,
>> Kevin Matthews
>> Southeast Neighbors
>> Friends of Eugene
>> ----- Begin forwarded message -----
>> From: Paul Conte <pconte at picante-soft.com> <mailto:pconte at picante-soft.com>
>> Date: Mon, 03 May 2010 22:36:37 -0700
>> To: NLC <nlc at eugeneneighbors.org> <mailto:nlc at eugeneneighbors.org>
>> Subject: [NLC] Important City meetings affecting our neighborhoods
>> Tomorrow (Tuesday, May 4) the City will hold two-hour kickoff meetings for
>> the "Envision Eugene" process. It's very important for neighborhood leaders
>> and members to attend a kickoff meeting and express strong support for
>> protecting and enhancing the stability and livability of all Eugene
>> Location: Eugene Hilton, 66 E. 6th Ave.
>> Time: There are two sessions (you can attend one or both): 4-6 p.m. and 7-9
>> More City info is available at: www.EnvisionEugene.org
>> In a nutshell, the Envision Eugene process will lead to City Council taking
>> one or both of the following actions to accommodate future anticipated
>> residential, commercial and industrial growth:
>> Adopting new development policies and zoning code that
>> increase residential density inside the current Urban Growth Boundary (UGB),
>> Adding additional land to the area encompassed by Eugene's
>> The public process is happening on an extremely compressed time frame
>> (several months) and with very limited City resources. It's critical that
>> neighborhood advocates actively participate in the process to be sure our
>> neighborhoods are well-served by the outcome.
>> While this City process aspires to lofty goals, my experience as a member of
>> the ECLA Community Advisory Committee leads me to believe that the time and
>> resources allotted to Envision Eugene are frankly inadequate for the City to
>> thoroughly inform residents and carefully craft recommendations for City
>> Council on the broad range of issues involved.
>> Consequently, unless all of us who are committed to the long term well-being
>> and vitality of our neighborhoods speak up forcefully, there's a significant
>> risk that the outcome could produce more of the disastrous zoning code
>> changes that allowed the extensive incompatible and destabilizing infill that
>> has occurred in the many neighborhoods over the past twenty years.
>> Many of the issues are complex, and "solutions" are sometimes reduced to
>> meaningless slogans, such as "grow up, not out." Despite these obstacles, I
>> hope you will, in your own individual way, deliver this simple message to
>> City staff and officials:
>> A livable, sustainable city is built on great neighborhoods; and therefore, a
>> core growth management policy must be that City Council takes no action to
>> increase density that will harm or degrade established neighborhoods.
>> In my experience, most neighborhoods are willing and capable of welcoming
>> many new residents to the JWN by encouraging compatible development in
>> appropriate locations.
>> However, we must not stand idly by and watch a repeat of recent history where
>> neighborhoods have been sacrificed in thoughtless pursuit of numerical
>> density goals.
>> I'll see you at tomorrow's meetings!
>> Paul Conte, Chair
>> Jefferson Westside Neighbors
>> nlc mailing list
>> nlc at eugeneneighbors.org
>> Please note: This is an announcements list.
>> For discussion of postings to this list, please reply to:
>> foe_discuss at friendsofeugene.org
>> foe_members mailing list
>> foe_members at friendsofeugene.org
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