Climate-Friendly Areas are intended to be higher-density, mixed-use areas with plenty of housing, services, jobs, and businesses. Downtown Eugene is a promising area for the designation, along with some other core commercial areas and key transit corridors. The Climate-Friendly Areas designation aligns with Envision Eugene Comprehensive Plan policies and the community’s vision for future growth and investment in these priority development areas.
Climate-Friendly Areas designation will have certain implications. The City will adopt policies or land use code amendments for CFAs to:
- Require development standards that prioritize walkable, pedestrian friendly design
- Serve as priority locations for future public-facing government facilities
- Ensure adequate parks, open spaces, and other public amenities are within or adjacent to the areas
- Plan for connected walking and biking infrastructure
Climate-Friendly Areas must have the capacity to meet at least 30% of Eugene’s current and future housing needs (currently, that is approximately 25,600 units). Alongside designation, the City will also adopt housing production strategies to enable increased housing development within the designated areas, along with measures to retain affordability and mitigate or avoid displacement of vulnerable residents. These strategies will align with other City policies and priorities and will be a part of the city-wide housing production strategy program developed during the next UGB analysis which is due for adoption in 2026.
The policy requirements for Climate-Friendly Areas align closely with the 2023 proposed amendment to the Downtown Urban Renewal Plan. The proposed Urban Renewal amendment identifies three focus areas of possible projects:
- Housing (including property acquisition for the development of housing and financial assistance to cover the cost of permits and fees for development of new housing in the downtown);
- Physical Improvements to Address Safety and Comfort (including street, curb, alley, and sidewalk improvements, streetscape projects, and pedestrian, bike, and multi-modal transportation improvements); and
- Emerging Projects Directed or Initiated by the Agency Board (could include open space, community facilities, and investments targeted at filling vacant and underused spaces).
Assuming downtown is designated a Climate-Friendly Area, the designation could stretch beyond the Downtown Plan boundary and the Downtown Urban Renewal District boundary. The exact boundaries of Climate-Friendly Areas in Eugene will not be determined until 2024 based on City Council direction. Adopted Climate-Friendly Areas policies will further Eugene’s vision for a downtown that is vibrant, connected, and safe, with plenty of housing that is affordable to all income levels, in alignment with Envision Eugene, the Downtown Plan, and other guiding housing and transportation policy documents.