The board of the Southwest Hills Neighborhood Association, SHiNA, voted (7-0) July 6 to oppose EWEB’s proposed 40th and Patterson water project until and only if EWEB can better demonstrate need: need to build two massive reservoirs rather than one, need to clear cut more than two acres mature Eugene forest.
But the front page Register-Guard story 7/18 and an EW letter 7/22 have disparaged close-by neighbors as “NIMBYs” who oppose the larger public good. Our SHiNA neighborhood, I point out, is more than a mile from the proposed project. The site is not in our visual backyard, traffic backyard, etc.
The emerald city Eugene, however, is suffering death from a thousand cuts to backyard forests.
The grove of large conifer trees in question, about 60 percent water by weight, sequesters carbon and counters climate change. The grove helps cool all of Eugene on hot days, helps clean the air of pollutants, retards the fast spread of wildfire, as well as contributing other civic values including aesthetic value and wildlife habitat, notably for Monarch butterflies.
The Eugene Climate Ordinance and Climate Action Plan — CAP2.0 — calls for 30 percent minimum forest canopy. But Eugene is less than 21 percent, going backward as one small woodlot after another is cut for housing, roads, utilities, better living room views.
Councilor Emily Semple and Councilor Matt Keating have proposed a stronger Eugene tree protection ordinance, an important step to protect our trees.