How We Got Here
This page provides an overview of Envision Eugene’s historical background – the key events and project phases in the Envision Eugene process that have gotten us to where we are today. It also includes information about the extensive public involvement and technical analysis that has led to a robust set of plans.
2007 – House Bill 3337
In 2007, the Oregon Legislature passed Oregon House Bill 3337, which required Eugene and Springfield to each establish separate urban growth boundaries (UGBs), by dividing the metropolitan boundary that the cities had shared since 1982. This represented both a challenge and an opportunity for the City of Eugene and its residents.
2008 – Eugene Comprehensive Lands Assessment
In January 2008, the Eugene City Council directed staff to conduct an inventory and assessment of residential, industrial and commercial lands, as well as land for public uses such as parks, open space, and schools. Consultants at ECONorthwest conducted the Eugene Comprehensive Lands Assessment(ECLA), within the Eugene urban growth boundary. The project was completed in 2010 and included an inventory of buildable lands within the city’s UGB, an estimate of the need for land to accommodate residential, commercial, industrial, and public uses, and a determination of whether the city had sufficient land within the UGB to meet the estimated needs if city policies remained unchanged. ECLA provided the foundation for understanding what kind of growth Eugene needed to plan for in establishing its own UGB.
2010 – Envision Eugene Kicks Off
The City decided to take the mandate to develop a Eugene-specific UGB as an opportunity to develop a community vision – a vision that would guide Eugene’s growth and development into the future. An extensive community consultation effort was launched, with residents of Eugene collaborating to develop a vision for Eugene’s future.
This video was released early in the Envision Eugene process, explaining the purpose of UGBs in Oregon and inviting the public to participate in Envision Eugene.
In May of 2010 a Community Resource Group (CRG) was formed. The citizen advisory group was made up of thoughtful and knowledgeable community leaders representing a broad spectrum of interests. A full list of CRG members can be found here. In addition to the CRG, six open houses were held in neighborhoods around Eugene to hear how residents wanted their communities to grow, a student art contest engaged young people in the conversation, one on one meetings were held with interested parties and 300 people engaged with the process through Facebook. All in all, City planning staff heard from hundreds residents who contributed to our community vision.
Watch these videos to find out what residents of Bethel, River Road/Santa Clara and Sheldon/Coburg had to say about their vision for Eugene:
2012 – Envision Eugene Recommendation
The extensive public participation in 2010 and 2011 resulted in a community vision supported by seven pillars. The seven pillars of Envision Eugene are:
1. Provide ample ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES for all community members
2. Provide HOUSING AFFORDABLE to all income levels
3. Plan for CLIMATE CHANGE and ENERGY RESILIENCY
4. Promote COMPACT URBAN DEVELOPMENT and EFFICIENT TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS
5. Protect, repair and enhance NEIGHBORHOOD LIVABILITY
6. Protect, restore and enhance NATURAL RESOURCES
7. Provide for ADAPTABLE, FLEXIBLE and COLLABORATIVE implementation
This video, produced at the end of the visioning process, describes the each of the seven pillars in turn.
In March 2012, City Manager Jon Ruiz presented his draft recommendation for managing the next twenty years of growth in our community. The 2012 Recommendation included strategies to accommodate all of our new commercial jobs and multi-family housing inside the current UGB. It also proposed an urban growth boundary expansion and strategies to accommodate our new industrial jobs, single-family homes, parks, and schools, while balancing the seven pillars of Envision Eugene. Key concepts like 20-minute neighborhoods and key corridors are major elements of the vision, supported by technical documents. The Eugene City Council endorsed the 2012 Recommendation in the spring of 2012.
2012 to 2015 - Land Use Efficiency Strategies Adopted
Following direction of City Council, staff have been working to implement the 2012 Recommendation. This has involved efficiency strategies, refining technical analysis, and preparing the documents necessary for adopting a Eugene-specific UGB. Since that time, City staff have been busy working on code amendments and other strategies aimed at using land inside the existing UGB more efficiently. Over the past few years, City Council has adopted several of these measures in order to increase the number of jobs and homes within the UGB and minimize any UGB expansion. Based on the community visioning process, the seven pillars, ECLA and subsequent technical analysis including a UGB expansion survey, staff began preparing recommendations for a new Eugene-specific UGB for Council’s review and direction. The UGB must accommodate the City’s twenty-year need for jobs, public facilities, and housing.
In December of 2014, the City Council provided direction to staff to expand the UGB for jobs, parks and schools. The expansion would add 924 acres to the UGB northwest of Randy Papé Beltline and Highway 99, and 35 acres in the Santa Clara area. Most of the expansion would help meet the city’s projected land need for large business sites during the next 20 years. It would also provide 54 acres for a future school site in the Bethel School District, as well as 257 acres for future community parks (222 acres for Golden Gardens Park, and 35 acres for Santa Clara Community Park).
On July 20, 2015, as a result of new information, the City Council gave direction to staff to establish a Eugene-specific UGB with no expansion for single-family homes. This decision was supported by considerable technical information. Council also requested that staff pursue a growth monitoring program, improve the land use code for needed housing development and begin urban reserve planning for longer term (50 years) population growth.
2016 - Multi-family Strategies + UGB Adoption Package Outreach
Concerns about previously identified strategies for accommodating multi-family homes arose in the fall of 2015, leading to additional analysis and outreach about possible strategies to meet our remaining need. This outreach made extensive use of the Envision Eugene Newsletter, public events, and videos.
In October 2016, the City Council directed staff to prepare the UGB adoption package using two strategies to meet our remaining multi-family housing need: 1) High Density Residential Downtown Redevelopment Strategy, and 2) Medium Density Residential (Option B) to increase minimum density requirements in R-2 zones with exemptions for lots under half an acre in size and subsidized affordable housing developments.
With this direction from City Council, staff began finalizing the formal adoption package that will be reviewed by the City of Eugene and Lane County Planning Commissions, and then sent to the Eugene City Council and Lane County Board of Commissioners for adoption.
2017 (current) - UGB Adoption Process
The UGB adoption process, that began in January of 2017, includes several key components:
- a new Eugene-specific comprehensive plan, which will lay out goals and policies that guide land use planning related to growth management for Eugene over the next twenty years
- the urban growth boundary itself, including two expansion areas to support jobs, parks and schools
- the multi-family housing strategies selected by City Council
This package of materials will align closely with the 2012 Envision Eugene recommendations and subsequent Council direction. The initial draft of the UGB Adoption Package was published in January 2017. A first round of edits was made to these documents in February to address minor corrections, additions, and clarifications. The February version of the Adoption Package is the version that went through the Planning Commission process.
Through January - May of 2017, the City of Eugene and Lane County Planning Commissions held work sessions (January 30, February 13, and February 21) followed by a joint public hearing (March 7), and deliberations (April 10, April 17, April 24, April 25, and May 2) before formulating recommendations on the UGB Adoption Package to their respective elected bodies (the Eugene City Council and the Lane County Board of Commissioners). Links to Eugene Planning Commission meeting agendas and webcasts can be found here. The Planning Commissions’ recommendations took into account public testimony, staff edits and concerns raised by the Planning Commissioners themselves. Version 2 (the Planning Commission recommendation) of the UGB Adoption Package was published May 2017 and is available at Adopting Our UGB.
Community involvement has been an important part of the Envision Eugene process from day one and will continue to play a vital role in finalizing the plans, implementing them and monitoring their success. This section provides an overview of the key groups that have been involved in Envision Eugene at various times during the process.
Community Advisory Committee (CAC)
A 15-member Community Advisory Committee (CAC) was established during the completion of ECLA to provide technical advice and oversight. This group was made up of community members who met with City staff and decision makers from 2008 to 2010.
Community Resource Group (CRG)
The Community Resource Group (CRG) was a group of community members convened by the City Manager in 2010. The CRG met for about nine months to hold collaborative conversations about how the City of Eugene should grow. This group included a broad range of community members, including business owners, commerce and housing representatives, environmental advocates, neighborhood representatives, City Councilors, Planning Commissioners, Sustainability Commissioners, County Commissioners, partner agency staff, school districts, other community members at large, and City staff from Planning, Transportation, Community Development, Human Rights, and the City Manager’s Office. You can find a list of participants here.
Technical Resource Group (TRG)
The Technical Resource Group, or TRG, was formed out of the Community Resource Group to review and vet the technical assumptions and analysis methodology for Envision Eugene. This group has been meeting over hundreds of hours since January 2011 and continues to help staff by advising and reviewing technical products, maps, and other information on an as needed basis. The TRG and the materials on their webpage provide a conduit to the public for those that want to delve deeper into the technical analysis of UGB planning. TRG meeting materials can be found here.
The most important partner is…you!
At the heart of Envision Eugene is the mission to facilitate community conversations about growth and how it affects us in our daily lives. Eventually, the City Council will make decisions about what future growth strategies we will pursue. Since 2010, we have held hundreds of community listening sessions to expand the conversation via community networks that are already in place. We’re interconnected in many, many ways.
In addition to engaging community members like you, Envision Eugene engages with a variety of partners, boards, commissions, and projects, including the following:
- City of Springfield
- Bethel School District
- Eugene 4J School District
- Eugene Water and Electric Board
- Lane County Planning
- Lane Transit District
- Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development
- Neighborhood Services
- Oregon Department of Transportation
- Walk Score
Boards and Commissions
- City Council
- Planning Commission
- Sustainability Commission
- Housing Policy Board
- Human Rights Commission
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
- Eugene Climate & Energy Action Plan
- Eugene Comprehensive Lands Assessment
- Eugene Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan
- Eugene Transportation System Plan
- Infill Compatibility Standards
- LTD Long Range Transit Plan
- South Willamette Concept Plan
- Moving Ahead
Envision Eugene Decision Process
The timeline below (click for a larger image) shows key decisions that have been made throughout the Envision Eugene process, and how public input has informed those decisions.
Urban Growth Boundary Assessment
Generally speaking, technical analysis for Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) planning begins with an estimate of a city’s buildable lands supply for various uses (e.g. homes, jobs, parks, schools and utilities). Following this, the projected demand for new jobs, homes and public uses is estimated, and a determination is made of whether the demand can be accommodated within the existing land supply under current development trends. If demand cannot be accommodated, the City looks for additional actions it can take (efficiency measures) to fit more jobs and homes inside the current UGB. If there is still a portion of the estimated demand that cannot fit inside the UGB, the City then looks at expanding the UGB for that type of land.
Envision Eugene’s technical analysis for our UGB generally occurred in this standard order, however we also responded to new information as it came in. New information resulted in revisiting the estimates for UGB expansion throughout the process, which had the most significant impacts for housing; a UGB expansion for housing was originally projected in 2012, but revised in 2015 and is no longer projected.
The Envision Eugene Technical Resource Group (TRG) has been instrumental in advising staff and reviewing technical products, maps, and other information. The TRG website includes a catalogue of the materials they have reviewed.
Below are some of the key topics of technical analysis. In this section, the information is in reverse chronological order to highlight what’s most recent and relevant. Links to technical documents or presentation summaries are contained under these topics:
UGB Expansion (2012-current)
The current analysis shows that there is enough land inside the UGB for low density (typically single-family) housing. Medium and high density housing can be met inside the UGB as a result of the efficiency measures. Therefore, no UGB expansion for housing is recommended. Key points of analysis include:
In October of 2016, City Council directed staff to prepare the urban growth boundary package using two strategies to meet our remaining multi-family housing need of 1,600 homes: 1) High Density Residential Downtown Redevelopment Strategy, and 2) Medium Density Residential Option B to increase minimum density requirements (in R-2 zones) with exemptions for lots under half an acre in size and subsidized affordable housing developments. For more information, see the work session materials, the presentation, and the multi-family housing outreach results report.
In 2015, Portland State University issued a new population forecast for Lane County, which included a 20 and 50 year forecast for Eugene. The forecast projects a higher population growth than the adopted population forecast on which Envision Eugene is based. In July 2015 City Council direction was to finish the Envision Eugene work to establish a 20 year UGB using the previously adopted forecast and use the new forecast to establish urban reserves in the land surrounding Eugene that can be used for UGB expansion over the following 50 years. Key population information:
July 20, 2015- City Council presentation (population forecast options)
July 2015- PSU July 2015 population forecast (final)
The housing recommendation was revised to reflect that a UGB expansion is not needed for low density housing. This was due to new information submitted about land on slopes and above 900’ in elevation having a higher capacity than what was previously assumed. Key revised low density housing analysis:
Preliminary recommendation to expand the UGB for low density residential housing presented to Council. At that time, the recommendation included a modest expansion for single family housing (approximately 530 homes or 6 percent of the total single family housing need). The proposed expansion included:
- Adding 230 acres near Bloomberg Road, north of 30th Avenue and Lane Community College, to provide land for about 400 homes. Bloomberg/McVay Recommendation, and;
- Adding 60 acres near Bailey Hill and Gimpl Hill Roads to provide land for 135 homes. Bailey Hill/Gimpl Hill Recommendation
Check here for additional information about the residential expansion study areas.
As part of the analysis the costs to provide services to each of these areas were estimated. See:
Jobs, Parks and Schools
The current analysis shows that a UGB expansion is needed to accommodate jobs, parks and one school site. Key analysis of need and UGB expansion locations include:
Buildable Lands Inventory & Assumptions Update (2013)
The estimates in ECLA and the 2012 Recommendation were based on the available land supply as of 2008 and development trends from 2001-2008. Given the length of the project, in 2013 we updated the land supply and updated a majority of the development trends and other demand related assumptions by adding in data from 2009-2012. Key updates include:
Draft Residential and Employment Land Supply maps; depicts the full land supply for 2012-2032 meaning that they map all three ways (where possible) to accommodate growth; existing land supply, land supply changes due to efficiency strategies, and land supply added through a potential expansion.
Land Supply & Capacity depicts the available supply of land, prior to efficiency measure actions or urban growth boundary expansion and illustrates how much housing capacity is assumed to be provided on vacant and partially vacant land. (Maps for Part II and Part III including the efficiency measures and UGB expansion are under development.)
TRG documents on updating the land supply and demand assumptions:
Nov. 15, 2013
Efficiency Measures (2012- current)
Efficiency measures or strategies are actions the City can take (e.g. rezoning, land use code amendments, financial incentives) to facilitate the accommodation of more jobs or homes inside the UGB than would otherwise occur under business as usual. Most of the efficiency measures below have been adopted and include how many additional jobs and homes are anticipated to be accommodated inside the UGB as a result of these measures.
Alternative multi-family strategies. Council discussions regarding the South Willamette Special Area Zone raised concerns about the City’s original efficiency measure approach to accommodate a portion of the City’s multi-family housing need through future area planning projects along key corridors. In response, our Planning staff has been exploring other ways to accommodate our multi-family housing needs now, without relying on future area planning efforts. Preliminary technical analysis of these strategies is available here.
The Residential Re-designation project re-designated land planned for medium density residential to 201 acres of low density residential land and 10 acres of Commercial in order to fit more low density (typically single-family) housing inside the UGB. For summary analysis of housing capacity gained, click here.
The Downtown and Mixed Use Code Amendments project amended the zoning code to make it easier to do multi-family housing downtown and in C-2 Community Commercial zoning in order to fit more multi-family housing inside the UGB. This is one of a package of strategies that, together, were intended to accommodate about 1,600 multi-family jobs.
The Employment Zone Code Amendments project amended the zoning code to make it easier to do office uses in campus industrial and light-medium industrial zones (now E-1 and E-2 zones respectively), in order to fit more office jobs inside the UGB. For summary analysis of additional office jobs gained, click here.
March 2012 Recommendation (2011-2012)
The 2012 Recommendation includes preliminary estimates of how many additional jobs and homes could fit inside the UGB by adopting efficiency measures and how many industrial jobs and low density residential homes would need to be accommodated through UGB expansion.
Technical Components document including the preliminary estimates and identifying steps to move forward.
Other 2012 technical support documents are included here, such as the Eugene land model, land need and capacity summaries, analysis for individual assumptions and the commercial redevelopment estimating tool.
ECLA, The Eugene Comprehensive Lands Assessment (2008-2010)
ECLA provided the initial determination of how much buildable land we have, how much demand there will be for the next 20 years, and whether or not we have enough buildable land supply if we continue developing in the same way that we have in recent years. While the technical analysis had been updated through Envision Eugene as reflected above, many of the ECLA methods have been carried forward.
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