2019 State of the City - Year in Review
2018 in Eugene – a year we were called on to meet new and growing challenges, learn from one another, build new connections, and celebrate what we love about this place we call home.
Looking back, we can take pride in what we accomplished while acknowledging the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.
Early in 2018, the City Council focused on city-wide challenges related to community safety, homelessness, and housing affordability.
Following a thorough recruiting process, Eugene welcomed Chris Skinner as our new Police Chief and he quickly got to work.
Eugene’s growing public safety needs highlight concerns that run throughout our community safety system.
- Increasing calls for service
- Flat staffing levels
- Increasing police response times
To address these needs, the City Council unanimously approved a one-time, $8.6 million 18-month funding strategy to expand prevention services while also adding police officers, 911 dispatchers, and jail beds. Council also committed to working toward finding a long-term solution in 2019.
In 2018 EPD purchased three guardian trailers. These mobile security systems use cameras to help deter crime through their visible, well-marked presence.
Officers also utilized two new radar trailers in neighborhoods throughout the City to help curb speeding.
Meanwhile, Eugene Springfield Fire launched two new apps. The Fireworks Alert mobile app allows people to report illegal fireworks via a smartphone, and more than 1,000 people have downloaded Pulse Point, which notifies people if someone nearby needs CPR – saving time and lives.
- Identifies activity hot spots
- Supports safer celebrations
Eugene Springfield Fire now has 43 new cardiac monitors in all medic units and front line fire apparatus thanks to a grant.
Creating a safe, vibrant, and welcoming city for all means continuing to provide support to victims of hate and bias activity.
For the seventh consecutive year, the City issued its Hate and Bias Report. The City partners with community organizations to proactively educate and provide resources in response to hate and bias activity.
While Community Safety was a theme throughout the year, the growing needs of people with no place to live continues to be a significant concern.
The City committed more than $1 million to Lane County Human Services for social services that support people in need.
Councilors also approved a new Dusk to Dawn site for people with children, St. Vincent de Paul’s First Place Family Center Annex.
- Sheltering up to 20 families a night
Understanding the need for long term solutions, the City and County partnered with Technical Assistance Collaborative to conduct a shelter study. The City and County will explore solutions to reduce homelessness based on the study – including plans for $1 million that the Council dedicated to creating a public shelter.
While Eugene continues to support emergency and affordable housing, housing growth has not kept pace with demand. The Housing Tools and Strategies work group took on this challenge in 2018. Working together they identified shared community values and interests which became the cornerstone of the process, prioritizing a list of strategies to remove barriers, reduce costs and increase supply.
- Work group of 36 community members
City staff worked with community members across the city to bring forward community-driven solutions in 2018, including the River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan. Led by a committee of volunteers from the two neighborhoods, along with City and County staff, community members collected feedback, organized workshops, and wrote elements of their new neighborhood plan.
- Over 450 neighbors participated
The design of the Downtown Riverfront Park engaged people across Eugene to envision the transformation of an industrial site into a vibrant Downtown Riverfront, including a 4-acre park at the heart of the greater riverfront redevelopment.
- Input from 3,500+ community members
Similarly, in 2018 the Council adopted a 30-year plan for Eugene’s entire park and recreation system. More than 12,000 Eugeneans helped shape the vision during a dynamic and inclusive outreach process that earned the City two citizen engagement awards.
- New parks, trails, and river access
- Revitalized pools and community centers
- More recreation opportunities in underserved areas
In addition to planning for our future, several projects made significant strides in shaping what the future of our community will look, feel, and sound like.
Eugene's Urban Renewal Agency completed the purchase of the Downtown Riverfront site, and is currently working with Williams and Dame to bring the public’s vision for a vibrant, active neighborhood into reality.
- Road and infrastructure construction beginning soon
The railroad quiet zone for downtown Eugene and the Whiteaker is on track to be in place by 2021. City staff are working on design plans for the safety improvements and coordinating construction with the railroad.
- 70% less train horn noise
Eugene’s sustainability efforts keep future residents in mind as we work to reduce our impact on the planet and ensure we are prepared for climate change.
The City began working with community partners that have system-level impacts as part of the Climate Action Plan 2.0. The City also established an Equity Panel of local organizations to elevate the concerns of marginalized communities.
From plans to practice, 2018 was a year of continued excellence for the Wastewater Treatment Plant, receiving a Platinum award for the sixth consecutive year – recognizing our plant’s dedication to returning safe, clean water to the river.
Wastewater staff also continued sustainable practices utilizing a process that turns waste into nutrient rich, beneficial organic material at the biosolids plant.
Fire’s new, shorter and significantly lighter fire truck also supports our climate goals by reducing fuel consumption while still performing all the functions of the vehicle it replaced.
As part of our triple bottom line of sustainability, the City continued to support local economic prosperity. EUGLoans, a rebrand of four City loan programs, focuses on art, business, downtown, and the river.
- $2.5 million loaned to stimulate investments and job growth.
Virtual reality and game development technology that builds job skills came to the Eugene Public Library thanks to a grant from the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund. The technology is now available daily at the Downtown Library.
Community members had greater access to a wide range of services in 2018.
With the launch of the Open Budget website anyone can view the city’s budget online to see how public funds are put to work – making it easier to understand how community resources are collected and used.
- Viewable from any device
- Translates City budget into charts, graphs, and images
Teen Services at the Eugene Public Library expanded, and began focusing on building a creative and safe atmosphere that provides teens support, safety, and inspiration.
- Teen space doubled in size
- Hundreds of teens visit daily
Recreation’s 1Pass offers a low-cost summer youth pass that combines 15 options for summer fun with accessible transportation. Last summer, the 1Pass had a record breaking year and helped nearly 7,000 local youth to access healthy and fun summer entertainment.
Transportation options increased for all Eugeneans last year. UBER and Lyft launched ridesharing services in Eugene and Springfield in the summer, and PeaceHealth Rides rolled out their blue bikes last spring, helping the City lower emissions while taking another step towards achieving its Climate Recovery goals.
- 900+ certified drivers
- 10,000+ PeaceHealth Rides accounts
People in northwest Eugene can ride and walk easier thanks to the recently completed Jessen Path and lighting project. The two-mile concrete path provides a safe and comfortable alternative to busy roads while increasing accessibility and usage of the treasured Golden Gardens Park.
A busy road construction season saw the resurfacing of 20 roads throughout the City, and marked the completion of the 2012 road bond measure. Funding from the 2012 road bond fixed 80 local streets.
- Bond savings will pave 4 additional streets
In May, Eugene voters passed a $39 million Parks and Recreation Bond and a $3.15 million Parks and Recreation Operations and Maintenance Levy. This critical funding will strengthen park safety and security efforts, increase park maintenance and renovations, and create new parks in underserved areas. In Recreation, the bond supports renovations to Echo Hollow Pool, Campbell Community Center and Sheldon Pool, as well as the creation of a master plan and Phase 1 of a future Sports Complex.
In addition to our treasured parks and recreational activities, Eugene also celebrated what makes us who we are – our people, our creativity, and our spirit.
In April, the City Council unanimously approved renaming Westmoreland Community Center to Dr. Edwin Coleman, Jr. Community Center, and the naming of a park located in Bethel to Andrea Ortiz Park. Dr. Coleman was an educator, musician, and community activist. Andrea Ortiz was a local Latina leader, equity advocate, and former City Council member. The renamings honor the numerous civic contributions of Ortiz and Coleman and provide a lasting reminder of their impact on our community.
More than one million people travel through the Eugene Airport each year, and as of 2018 they’ve been greeted by new display cases showcasing Eugene’s local artists. The gallery’s creation is a part of the newly completed Airport Art Master Plan, increasing the amount of art at the airport.
Over the summer, Eugene celebrated visual arts with the inaugural week-long Visual Arts Festival. The inspiring and engaging event brought hundreds of people to downtown to experience murals, performances, and contemporary art installations.
- 20x21 Mural Project’s Eugene Walls
- Eugene Biennial at the Karin Clark Gallery
- Mayor’s Art Show and Salon des Refusés
- BRIDGE Exhibition
2018 laid the groundwork for projects across the city, and 2019 promises to be an eventful year as we move forward as a community continuing to find solutions, make connections, and work together for all of Eugene.