The project that restored parts of Amazon Creek through south Eugene was chosen as one of the state’s best. At its fall conference, the Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) named the Amazon Creek Stabilization and Enhancement project as a 2016 Environmental Project of the Year.
“This project is important to me because it combined the multiple objectives of clean water, habitat, flood control, recreation and multimodal transportation,” said Doug Singer, civil engineer.
The restoration project, conducted between Chambers and Garfield streets in 2013 and 2014, stabilized the creek’s eroding banks through the use of boulders and smaller rock and more than a thousand feet of bioengineered soil wraps. The creek bank was cut back and widened on the north side, creating a floodplain area to slow water during high flows. Crews also installed more than 14,000 native plants including Oregon ash, big leaf maple trees, willow trees, wildflowers and native grasses to help promote a natural environment.
Amazon Creek was once a natural series of drainages and floodplains throughout what is now Eugene. The US Army Corps of Engineers channelized the creek in the 1950s in order to reduce flooding and provide more developable areas for Eugene.
Due to the advanced planning of the creek project, Public Works was able to secure “shovel ready” ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) Federal Highway Administration stimulus funds in 2012 to relocate and rebuild the Fern Ridge Path through Garfield Park in an alignment that would allow for the creek restoration.
In addition to the restoration, the City paved one block of Grant Street, from 15th Avenue to the park, and added a concrete path from Grant Street to the Fern Ridge Path which created a needed connection to the neighborhood.
Numerous ducks and other birds including great blue heron can be seen daily in the creek. This City of Eugene project combined the multiple objectives of clean water, flood protection, habitat enhancement, transportation and recreation.