Rethink ‘Envision Eugene’

Scarcely an issue of EW has come out lately, without an article, op-ed or gaggle of letters condemning ugly “development” in one part or another of our “most livable city.”

Sure, even with ecologically hazardous subdivisions around Hendricks Park, a massive new set of high-end apartment blocks along River Road, a pathetically overbuilt Hayward Field and the frighteningly-named “Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact” along Franklin, Eugene will still appear more livable than Los Angeles. But how close to Los Angeles do we want to get?

Portland, my hometown, has become a “Little L.A.” Now I hear planners talking about Eugene becoming a “Little Portland.” Like that would be a good thing?

There’s time to stop a lot of the planned “development,” if we dig in. “Development” mainly benefits for-profit (often out-of-state) corporations. And a moment’s reflection reveals that it has a very negative effect on your peace and happiness.

Housing the homeless is one thing, but housing rich climate refugees is another, and we shouldn’t have to sacrifice our happiness for theirs.

Pat Farr has declared that “Envision Eugene” mandates huge, ugly apartment blocks because it limits expansion of the urban growth boundary. But there are other options, like eliminating fees and assessment increases for “accessory dwellings” (mother-in-law homes in backyards).

Limitless growth is madness, anyway.

It’s time we envision a city that gets prettier each year, not uglier. We need not be bound by bad decisions made years ago. It’s time to rethink “Envision Eugene.”

Christopher Logan