M I N U T E S
Joint Adopting Officials
Eugene City Council, Springfield City Council
Lane Board of County Commissioners, Lane Transit District Board
Council Chamber—Eugene City Hall
May 29, 2002
EUGENE COUNCILORS PRESENT: David Kelly, Gary Papé, Nancy Nathanson, Scott Meisner, Pat Farr, Betty Taylor, Gary Rayor, Bonny Bettman.
SPRINGFIELD COUNCILORS PRESENT: Lyle Hatfield, Anne Ballew, Tammy Fitch, Christine Lundberg, Dave Ralston, Fred Simmons.
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS PRESENT: Bill Dwyer, Peter Sorenson, Anna Morrison, Bobby Green. ABSENT: Cindy Weeldreyer.
LANE TRANSIT DISTRICT BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Hillary Wylie, Dave Kleger, Pat Hocken. ABSENT: Gerry Gaydos, Robert Melnick, Susan Ban.
JOINT PUBLIC HEARING: LANE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, EUGENE CITY COUNCIL, SPRINGFIELD CITY COUNCIL AND LANE TRANSIT DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS
1. PUBLIC HEARING: West Eugene Parkway Plan Amendments:
Ordinance No. 1: An Ordinance Amending the Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Area Transportation Plan (TransPlan) to Include the Entire West Eugene Parkway Within the 20-Year Financially Constrained Roadway Project List And to Make Related Amendments; Amending the Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Area General Plan to Adopt Exceptions to Statewide Planning Goals 3, 4, 11 and 14; Adopting a Severability Clause; and Providing an Effective Date
Ordinance No. 2: An Ordinance Amending the West Eugene Wetlands Plan to Re-designate Property Within the Modified Project Alignment of the West Eugene Parkway from Protect and Restore to Planned Transportation Corridor; Adopting a Severability Clause; and Providing an Effective Date
Mayor Torrey called the meeting of the Eugene City Council to order.
Commissioner Dwyer called the meeting of the Lane Board of County Commissioners to order.
Mayor Sid Leiken called the meeting of the Springfield City Council to order.
Ms. Wylie called the meeting of the Lane Transit District to order.
Mayor Torrey reviewed the protocol for the public hearing.
Commissioner Dwyer read the second reading of Ordinance PA 11-74, an ordinance amending the Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Area Transportation Plan (TransPlan) to include the entire West Eugene Parkway within the 20-Year Financially Constrained Roadway Project List and to make related amendments; amending the Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Area General Plan (Metro Plan) and Lane Rural Comprehensive Plan to adopt exceptions to Statewide Planning Goals 3, 4, 11 and 14; and adopting a severability clause. He set a third reading and deliberation for the Board of County Commissioners on July 24, 2002. Commissioner Dwyer read the second reading of Ordinance PA 1175, an ordinance amending the West Eugene Wetlands Plan to re-designate property within the modified project alignment of the West Eugene Parkway from Protect and Restore to Planned Transportation Corridor.
Ms. Morrison, seconded by Mr. Green, moved to approve the second reading. The motion passed unanimously, 4:0.
Mayor Torrey noted that the public hearing would end at 10 p.m. but written testimony would be accepted for one week after the hearing (June 5, 2002).
Commissioner Dwyer said that the County’s hearings would be consolidated, and testimony accepted on both items.
Jan Childs, Planning Director for Eugene, reviewed the items distributed to the adopting officials at their places: a document containing responses to most of the questions posed by the adopting officials to staff; and written testimony received through Tuesday, May 28, 2002. She noted that written testimony received from today through the close of the record would be provided to the adopting officials. She noted that the Springfield Planning Commission minutes of April 16, 2002, were made available at the adopting officials’ places, and should be included in the packet in Attachment B as Item 11.
Ms. Childs noted the entire record was available at the Eugene Planning Division Office at 99 West 10th Avenue.
Greg Mott, Springfield Planning Director, said that the Springfield City Council was holding the hearing for the purpose of hearing testimony and conducting a first reading on an ordinance amending TransPlan to include the entire West Eugene Parkway (WEP) within the 20-Year Financially Constrained Roadway Project List and to make related amendments; amending the Metro Plan to adopt exceptions to Statewide Planning Goals 3, 4, 11 and 14; and adopting a severability clause.
Mayor Torrey opened the public hearing for Eugene.
Commissioner Dwyer opened the public hearing for Lane County.
Ms. Wylie opened the public for Lane Transit District.
Leo Stapleton, 89839 Ben Bunch Road, Florence, Lane County Roads Advisory Committee Chair, noted the committee’s participation in the process to this date. He said the committee voted 4:2 in favor of the amendments, because it believed the parkway was needed to address congestion in west Eugene. He expressed support for the parkway project.
Jon Belcher, 1190 West 17th Avenue, Eugene, Eugene Planning Commission President, reviewed the commission’s reasons for rejecting the amendments. He submitted written testimony on behalf of the commission.
Tim Malloy, 909 South 67th Street, Springfield, Springfield Planning Commission President, said the Springfield commission voted 4:2 to approve the amendments. The majority of the commissioners believed that the public vote was sufficient reason to approve the parkway, and agreed the findings were sufficient to meet the burden of proof. Those in opposition believed the burden of proof had not been met, and that there was no evidence to support the changes proposed in the TransPlan project list. Those commissioners also wished to defer to the Eugene Planning Commission as they perceived the project to be a Eugene project. He said a majority of Springfield commissioners disagreed with that conclusion.
Chris Clemow, 95 Springwood Drive, Eugene, Lane County Planning Commission Chair, said the commission voted in favor of the amendments. The commissioners agreed it was not a Eugene project but was a metropolitan area project. The commission focused its review on wetlands and transportation issues. He said the commission agreed that none of the wetlands being impacted were of high quality, and the West Eugene Wetlands Plan (WEWP) allowed for mitigation of lost wetlands. In terms of transportation, the commission agreed the project was not a magic bullet, but a needed component in the transportation system.
Mark Wigg, 355 Wilke Street, Salem, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), project manager for the WEP, said the amendments must be approved before ODOT proceeded. He noted the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was a cooperating agency with ODOT. He anticipated the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) would address BLM’s concerns and describe the project impacts with the best information available. He reviewed the SEIS process and noted the wetland fill permitting process that lay ahead if the project was to proceed, which would provide the public with another opportunity to contact. Mr. Wigg said the BLM policy related to lands purchased with Land and Water Conservation Funds (LWCF) strongly discouraged disposal of those lands, and it would require a waiver signed by the BLM Director for those lands to be acquired by ODOT. He said that ODOT was working with various agencies, including Eugene, on the wetland mitigation issue, and developing a strategy on how to proceed.
Dave Riley, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Salem, reviewed the NEPA process requirements as they related to highway projects in which it had financial involvement. He emphasized the importance of the WEP to the national highway system. Mr. Riley submitted written testimony.
Jeff Schiecke, ODOT, emphasized ODOT’s commitment toward construction of the parkway. He submitted written testimony, with the testimony submitted to the advisory committees attached. Mr. Schiecke said the parkway was needed and the purpose cleared stated in the SEIS of 1997. He submitted the SEIS. He also submitted a letter from Bruce Warner of ODOT regarding the deadline established by ODOT for completion of the amendments process. He spoke to the monetary commitment made by ODOT and Eugene to this point. He requested approval of the plan amendments.
Randy Papé, Oregon Transportation Commission, Eugene, emphasized ODOT’s commitment to the parkway to meet growing transportation demand. He described the benefits of the parkway, including increased connectivity to other parts of the community. He acknowledged the local and State actions needed to complete the parkway. He said that the amendment process must be complete by August 1 or the project could be dropped from the STIP. The money could then be reprogrammed to other projects in the state. He believed the need for the parkway was obvious. He emphasized the importance of partnership between ODOT and local government. He asked the adopting officials to approve the parkway.
Bob Ackerman, 975 Willagillespie Road, #200, Eugene, State Representative for District 14, noted the November 2001 election during which the parkway was approved by the voters. He reviewed the ballot measures presented to voters at that time. He said that it was clear to him that the voters made a policy choice for the City of Eugene. The council made the decision to refer the issue to the voters. He believed the adopting officials had an ethical obligation to carry out the vote. He thought to do otherwise would be unfair and a triumph of technical objections over the will of the people. He noted the negative economic impact of not building the parkway on west Eugene. Mr. Ackerman said that the adopting officials should recognize the rights of working people who need family-wage jobs and move ahead with the parkway to sustain economic growth.
Gary Dunbar, 2222 Willamette Street, Eugene, opposed the parkway and called for the promotion of local businesses and the creation of a more efficient transportation system. He called for new ideas to serve future generations.
Mark Rabinowitz, 28549 Sutherlin Road, Eugene, stated the WEP would cost more than was available or projected to be available, and asked who was going to pay those costs. He noted the nondisposal policy for BLM stated the entire project must be funded, and that was not the case. He said ODOT’s property in west Eugene would be a wonderful addition to the wetlands.
Jeff Miller, 2425 Lariat Drive, recalled the actions taken by previous councils to make the parkway possible. He said that was done because of a recognition that the City needed to maintain ODOT’s partnership. He recalled the vote taken in the 1980s to provide additional reassurance of local support to ODOT. He called for follow-through on the community’s long-term planning so the community continued to receive ODOT funding. He said that the parkway was not just a Eugene issue. He urged the joint adopting officials to respect the will of the voters.
Tom Bowerman, 33707 McKenzie View, Eugene, called for transportation alternatives that were sustainable in nature and asked the adopting officials to show leadership by rejecting the parkway.
Paul Conte, 1461 West 10th Avenue, offered his “Top Ten Reasons” for opposing the Eugene parkway.
Jan Wellman, City of Veneta, encouraged the adopting officials to approve the Eugene parkway. He said that Veneta residents used Highway 126 daily and it was very congested, and projected to be more congested in the future, resulting in significant delays. He noted growth that was occurring in Veneta, resulting in more people commuting to Eugene. He said the parkway was needed for safety.
Beth Adelott, 3690 University Street, Eugene, opposed the parkway because she had not personally experienced a significant delay in using West 11th Avenue at peak hours. She was concerned about spending money on a problem that did not exist. She described a situation in Memphis that also involved a highway passing over a park purchased with LWCF dollars. She suggested that Eugene would not be able to build the parkway because of the BLM policy.
Dylan Gnojek, 2325 Blackburn Street, Eugene, opposed the parkway because he did not think the highway should go through the wetlands, which were visited by school children and served as habitat for wildlife and provided a function for pollution.
Jim Hanks, 3672 Riverpoint Drive, Eugene, supported the parkway as necessary because people continue to move to Eugene. The parkway was planned 25 years ago to accommodate that growth, build the economy, and improve lifestyles. Development in the metropolitan area was predicated on the parkway. Potential for growth was limited elsewhere, so it was directed to west Eugene, which was not constrained by such limitations. Mr. Hanks noted the public’s votes in support of the parkway. He urged the adopting officials to support the parkway.
Ellen Kantor, 1290 West Broadway, Eugene, said the parkway would funnel traffic away from the city’s “heart of downtown” and would foster sprawl. She asked how the investment in West Eugene Parkway fit into the City’s investments for downtown. She asked how her neighborhood would be affected when 6th and 7th avenues became the terminus of the parkway. She envisioned gridlock and suggested the ultimate solution would be a highway along those routes, dividing the neighborhood.
Beth Middler, 8794 Shoreline Route, Florence, opposed the parkway and asked the adopting officials to listen to those who would speak later in opposition to the amendments. She believed there were higher priorities for improvements to Highway 126.
Mike Foote, 1846 Heitzman Way, Avalon Village Homeowners Association President, supported the parkway because it was essential to traffic in west Eugene. He said residents of Avalon Village would benefit. He said that West 11th Avenue was already highly congested, and the parkway was needed.
Mike Myer, 4408 West Amazon Drive, opposed the parkway because it would facilitate the community’s “addiction to driving.” As a bicyclist, he considered the fumes from cars an unacceptable health risk. He did not believe the vote was fair, and it would have been different if the spending had been equal. He believed that Mr. Papé should recuse himself because of what he asserted was his economic interest in the situation as the owner of an equipment company.
Steve Moe, 3698 Franklin Boulevard, Springfield, supported the parkway because it was essential to the metropolitan area. He said the parkway was long-envisioned and supported by two votes of the people. He believed the cost of the project had been increased by the delay. He respected those who opposed the parkway but said they should respect the democratic process. He asked that the project be built.
Lora Bixbee, 677 West 23rd Avenue, Eugene, opposed the parkway because higher priority projects would be postponed. She believed the parkway violated existing laws and lawsuits would ensue. Those costs should be added to the cost of the parkway. She quoted from an article in the latest publication from 1,000 Friends of Oregon in opposition to the parkway.
Azra Kahlidi, 4023 Donald Street, Eugene, supported the parkway because of traffic congestion on West 11th Avenue. She questioned the reason for the public hearing when the ballot measure was approved. She asked that the voters’ decision be respected, and the parkway constructed without further delay.
Linda Swisher, 3285 Bell Avenue, Eugene, opposed the parkway because of the impact of the parkway on the wetlands. She noted the historic loss of wetlands and called for maintenance of local natural systems. She called for control of “runaway sprawl.” She submitted materials regarding a plant she studied in the wetlands, timwort, which she said was rare and endangered. She had found several plants growing in the path of the parkway, and said they were an irreplaceable part of the environment.
Cindy Catto, 4590 Commerce, Suite 200, Wilsonville, representing the Associated General Contractors, expressed the association’s support for the parkway. She said the association believed the project was necessary. The findings prepared by staff demonstrated overwhelming evidence in support of the parkway. She noted the November 2001 vote in favor of the parkway. Ms. Kato asked that the amendments move forward as the best utilization of State funding, funding which was desired by Oregon communities elsewhere.
Rob Zako, 1280-B East 28th Avenue, Eugene, submitted information regarding the parkway project costs. He noted the voters approved a ballot measure authorizing the amendments to go forward, not the parkway itself. He opposed the amendments because related projects were delayed and needed connections would not be built. He said there was not enough money in TransPlan to build all the needed projects. He believed that Beltline/I-5 was a higher community priority.
Ron Farmer, 3330 Bardell Avenue, Eugene, supported the parkway. He said the majority of voters did not support the arguments offered by opponents to the WEP. He asked the adopting officials to approve the amendments and respect the vote. He said the hearing should be about how to carry out the voters’ intent, rather than use technical arguments to thwart the will of the people. He said that the argument the vote was close flies in the face of the principles the country was built upon. He noted the close margins for the fire and library measures and asked if the reaction would be the same. He said the voters were not informed that their vote was advisory.
Becky Steckler, 2424 High Street, Eugene, opposed the amendments because she did not think they met the goals of TransPlan in terms of an integrated land use/transportation system, quality of life and economic opportunities, safety, environmental responsibility, and sustainability. She maintained that the parkway was in violation of Oregon’s land use laws, and the project should be evaluated against existing criteria and existing plans.
Scott Olson, 411 High Street, Eugene, supported the parkway because it was needed and appropriate infrastructure. He believed the findings prepared by staff were adequate to support the amendments.
Mayor Torrey called for a ten-minute recess. Following the recess, testimony recommenced.
Jan Spencer, 212 Benjamin Street, Eugene, noted national projections of road congestion even if more capacity was built. He believed the parkway was in conflict with numerous State planning goals. He said the Oregon Highway Plan identified new road construction as a last priority. He believed insufficient alternatives that had been studied for the parkway. An analysis of alternatives should take into account changes made to land use planning in the community. The parkway did not respond to the new needs. He said people drive more at the periphery because they have farther to go to get where they need. Those people need better services where they live. He said that Eugene’s nearby communities should foster economic development so residents can work there. Mr. Spencer submitted written testimony.
Larry Reed, 722 Country Club Road, Eugene, believed the opponents were wrong in asserting the parkway was illegal. He said that federal and State regulations permit the fill of wetlands out of recognition that such an activity was sometimes necessary. He noted the requirements that existed for mitigation. He suggested human needs may take priority over saving every wetland and every plant. Mr. Reed said the WEWP remained unaffected, and the parkway would not change the community’s commitment to preserving wetlands. Both wetlands preservation and economic development could be accommodated. The SEIS found the northern route less impactful than the former route. He said the path of the parkway was not a pristine wetlands. It was along an existing railroad right-of-way separating the wetlands. Mr. Reed submitted written testimony.
Jerry Smith, 5041 Saxton Way, Eugene, opposed the parkway because it would negatively impact the WEWP area. He called on those adopting officials who would benefit from the parkway not to vote on the issue. He called for preservation of what he termed “the wetlands park.” Mr. Smith criticized the cost of the parkway and suggested it would not be used by ordinary citizens. He believed the parkway project would violate the LWCF policy related to disposal. He thought the cost too high.
Justin Wright, 722 Country Club Road, Eugene, supported the parkway. He thought it important to find a balance between natural resource protection and urban development. If the parkway was not built, the economy would suffer and even more miles would be driven. Youth of the community would move out of town for other jobs. He said that wetlands can be legally filled, and exceptions had been designed to allow for such fill.
Lauri Segal, 120 West Broadway, 1,000 Friends of Oregon, opposed the parkway because of its cost and because it was not a solution to transportation issues in west Eugene. She noted the impact on the wetlands. She said the project violated State and federal regulations. She called for a community effort to identify alternatives to the parkway. Ms. Segal submitted written testimony.
Andy Peters, 66 East 6th Avenue, said the parkway would be good for business, and would help give Eugene the infrastructure it needed to be vibrant. He noted the vote in support of the parkway and asked the adopting officials to honor his vote and the vote of the majority of residents and to move the project forward.
Mary O’Brien, 3525 Gilham Road, submitted written testimony. She showed the adopting officials a map showing the property owned by the West Eugene Wetlands Partnership. She opposed the parkway because it would continue a historic pattern of wetlands destruction.
Melinda Dille, Eugene, said that west Eugene residents need the parkway. She said that growth largely had occurred in the west part of the community. She said improved traffic flow was needed for residents and the businesses in the area. It was needed for safety reasons; she had had a traffic accident in the area. She noted the difficulty emergency vehicles had in moving through the area. She asked that the parkway be moved forward to fruition.
Mr. Simmons left the meeting.
Bob O’Brien, 3525 Gilham Road, believed the adopting officials were honoring the vote. He endorsed the recommendation of the Eugene Planning Commission. He was opposed to the parkway because it would disturb the hydrology of the wetlands and impact the ability of animals to move through the area. The parkway would dominate the wetlands. He believed the project was contrary to the goals of the WEWP. Mr. O’Brien said that the process did not conform with the adoption process outlined in that plan.
Jim Welsh, 90050 Killian Lane, Lane County Association of Realtors, said that the parkway was long- planned for in recognition of regional transportation needs and to facilitate transportation through the area. He noted that a large majority of trips moving through the corridor were through trips ending outside the urban growth boundary (UGB). He said that State land use planning required all entities to plan for the future using established guiding principles. Local planning must coincide with regional and statewide planning. He said that the Transportation Planning Rule identified as a need the movement of people and goods through and out of the state. The parkway served that larger need. He noted that the Oregon Highway Plan classified the parkway as a State highway intended to provide interregional mobility and connections to larger areas.
Emily Fox, 455 East 34th Avenue, sang a song of opposition to the parkway to the adopting officials.
Keith Nastiuk, 551 Montara Street, supported the parkway, and asked the adopting officials to maintain the trust of the voters.
Sharon Blick, 2579 Kincaid Street, Eugene, submitted written testimony in opposition to the parkway. She had supported the WEWP because mitigation was proposed to occur in a large roadless area. The route of the parkway passed through a large section of protected wetlands. Construction of the parkway would mean that mitigation was a sham. She believed supporters of the parkway were financially motivated, and opponents were motivated by the love of the wetlands.
Gary Wildish, 2424 Quince Street, Eugene, noted that his children were all professionals who did not live in Eugene. He supported the parkway as a needed element of the transportation system. He said that the parkway was long planned for and was included in numerous acknowledged plans. He pointed out that there was a railroad already in the proposed alignment of the parkway. He noted the successful parkway vote and the voters’ rejection of a ballot measure proposing alternatives. He called for approval of the amendments.
Rob Handy, 455-½ River Road, Eugene, submitted written testimony. He opposed the parkway because he believed its construction would break many laws. He averred information was not made available to the public and “closed door meetings” were occurring. He said that citizens should have more time to speak. He believed voters were mislead by proponents in terms of funding. He believed the project was not funded. Mr. Handy said he was assured by various adopting officials that the funding was in place. He maintained his neighbors wanted to know why the Beltline project was cancelled if the money was there. He asked why a new SEIS was not being done to account for new information. He asked why Mr. Papé did not recuse himself because of his ownership of a highway equipment dealership.
Kari Westlund, 115 West 8th Avenue, Lane County Convention and Visitors Association, Eugene, expressed the association’s support for the parkway. She said the association recognized the loss of wetlands but believed it was needed. Accessibility from west Eugene was difficult. People coming from the west often bypass the center because it was difficult to reach.
Shawn Boles, 105 North Adams Street, Eugene, opposed the parkway because it would cost too much and would affect the wetlands. He endorsed the recommendation of the Eugene Planning Commission, averring it was the only commission that looked at the issues in-depth. He said that things had changed since the parkway was initially contemplated. He believed there were alternatives, and suggested one was for the jurisdiction to ask the planning commissions to work together to pursue the LUTRAQ (Land Use, Transportation, Air Quality) approach used in Portland. Mr. Boles suggested that those with any kind of financial interest in the issue declare a conflict of interest.
Dave Sohm, 727 Mountain View Drive, said the Eugene Planning Commission did not represent the majority of citizens. He said the parkway was needed to overcome the anti-business perception people had of the community. The commissioners reflected attitudes in wards 1, 2, and 3, while wards 5, 6, and 7 were not represented on the commission. Councilors supporting the parkway were recently elected by wide margins. He said his daughter had been unable to find a good paying job in Eugene. He asked that the parkway be supported to facilitate economic development.
Julie Hulme, 455-½ River Road, called for a long-term approach to transportation issues in west Eugene. She asked the adopting officials to reject the parkway and protect the uniqueness of the region for future generations and all species. She noted the historic loss of wetlands in Eugene using a display aid. She believed the parkway would be expensive and would add to the congestion in the community.
Roxie Cuellar, Homebuilders Association of Lane County, said that Florence members expressed a desire to have the parkway built, and they would submit written testimony to that effect. She spoke to the Goal 3 and Goal 4 exceptions that would be needed. She said that the findings that were prepared by ODOT were well-written, and she recommended that the adopting officials read the document. She said the Eugene Planning Commission had argued that the exception would spur undesired development beyond the UGB. She said the reality was, that would be very difficult to accomplish. If development occurred in west Eugene, it would be because the adopting officials approved it.
D. Judith Henshel, 2622 Edison Street, Eugene, discussed traffic conditions on Roosevelt Boulevard in support of her remarks that the parkway was not needed. She asked that all alternatives be fully researched before a final decision was made. She advocated for creative solutions.
Kathy Madison, 1200 High Street, spoke to the Eugene Planning Commission’s opposition to the parkway on the basis of Section 3.14 of the WEWP. She said that the section merely directed local governments to take action to protect land after it was acquired, and it did not assure protection. She said that Section 3.14 was not an obstacle for designating planned transportation corridors. She believed that the section was taken out of context, and that it did not prohibit designation of the planned transportation corridor. She said the project should respect the plan when relevant, and other plans as well. She said that there were other plans that would be affected. She called for a broader look at the issue involved and urged the adopting officials to take the vote into consideration.
Robert Emmons, 40093 Little Fall Creek Road, Fall Creek, noted the growth that occurred in west Eugene since he moved to town. He believed that growth was a matter of choice. He said that the parkway would facilitate sprawl and lead to the destruction of farms and open space between Eugene and Veneta. He noted the wetlands that would be affected by the parkway. Mr. Emmons urged the adopting officials to listen to the citizens who did not vote for the parkway and reject the project.
Ward Beck, 2502 Highland Street, Eugene, urged approval of the amendments and asked his councilor, David Kelly, to follow the will of the voters. He encouraged Ms. Morrison to support the parkway as well.
Nena Lovinger, 40093 Little Fall Creek Road, Fall Creek, opposed the parkway, saying other projects were more deserving. She thought the road would promote sprawl and require the construction of other projects at taxpayer costs. She noted the maintenance funding needs that existed on Oregon roadways. She asked that the community focus on fixing what it already had. She said that the funding available was not adequate at either the State or local level, and projects that she considered nonessential, such as the parkway, should not be built.
Doug Weber, 1330 Flintridge Avenue, Eugene, supported the parkway. He said all projects have problems to overcome. He believed that the problems facing the parkway could be resolved. He suggested that the Eugene council avoid micromanaging the issue, and take a larger vision of the issues that extended into the future. He thanked past councils and commissions with the vision to build needed transportation facilities. He hoped that vision included a safe community, and a convenient transportation system for all of Lane County. He also wanted that vision to include an efficient arterial network for those who had yet to come to Eugene. Mr. Weber hoped Eugene would become known as a place where the adopting officials honored and respected the vote of the people.
Robin Irish was not present when called on to speak.
Edward Winford was not present when called on to speak.
Jan Nelson was not present when called on to speak.
Leslie Scott, 3977 Dillard Road, Eugene, asked the adopting officials to keep in mind the City of Eugene’s adopted Growth Management Study policies. She believed the parkway violated those policies. She believed the parkway would violate the UBG and promote sprawl. She said the parkway would facilitate construction like Target and Wal-Mart. The parkway violated policies related to transportation and land use, and increased use of alternative modes. The parkway would not support infill or density.
Michael Capriel was not present when called on to speak.
Erik Jensen, 2233 Marjorie Avenue, Eugene, urged the adopting officials to adopt the amendments needed to facilitate construction of the parkway. He said that those calling for further studies should be honest about their agendas and the fact they do not support the parkway. He said the parkway was approved by the voters twice. Speaking to those who argued the voters did not know what they were voting for, he pointed out the alternative measure was soundly defeated, showing the public knew what it was voting for.
David Monk, 3720 Emerald Street, Eugene, noted the divided sentiment in the community about the parkway. He did not believe that BLM would provide the needed waiver to the nondisposal policy, meaning that the money spent on the process would be wasted. He said the parkway was not a solution to transportation problems in west Eugene. He perceived no congestion problems in west Eugene. He called for “real transportation solutions in west Eugene.”
George Poling, 3177 Queens East, Eugene, City Councilor-Elect for Ward 4, said that in his campaign he had talked to many people about the parkway, and the overwhelming majority supported the construction of the parkway. He said that people were tired of a small, nonelected vocal minority telling the community what they think is best. He said Ward 4 voters favored the parkway. Mr. Poling said there were many reasons the parkway should be built; the funding was available and would be lost if the project was not built; the parkway would facilitate planned development, and provide needed connections. He said the parkway would keep heavy traffic off West 11th Avenue and West 18th Avenue. He said the adopting officials should respect the will of the voters.
Mayor Torrey called for a five-minute recess.
Mr. Kelly expressed concern that the record was not going to be left open for a sufficiently long period.
Mr. Kelly, seconded by Ms. Bettman, moved that the City of Eugene keep the public record open for two weeks.
Responding to a question from Mayor Torrey, Ms. Childs said that it would be difficult to get the testimony indexed and distributed to the council in time for its work session on June 19. Mr. Kelly indicated willingness to accept the information unindexed to facilitate the process.
The motion failed, 5:3; Mr. Kelly, Ms. Taylor, and Ms. Bettman voting yes.
Mayor Torrey called for further testimony.
Alan Stein, 1049 Almaden Street, Eugene, opposed the parkway. As a downtown business owner, he believed the parkway represented a bad business decision, and it would not lessen congestion on West 11th Avenue. He called on the Eugene council and mayor to take into consideration the greater good of the community. He believed the community had been mislead by the proponents of the parkway in terms of its benefits and the availability of funding. Construction of the parkway would postpone several important, needed projects. He feared that if the parkway went forward, only a section would be constructed. He urged the Eugene council to oppose the project.
Debra Jeffries, 3800 North Delta Highway, Eugene, urged the adopting officials to approve the plan amendments. She said the findings supported the passage of the amendments. She believed the parkway was important to the community’s economic health. She hoped that in the future, the council would not choose to confuse the issue by putting forth competing ballot measures. She said that the process was costly for both proponents and opponents and it did not result in any real guidance.
Maeve Sowles, 30495 Fox Hollow Road, Eugene, representing the Lane County Audubon Society, noted the society’s support for the WEWP. She noted the many agencies and organizations involved in the WEWP partnership and the fact it served as a national model. She noted that birdwatching was good business and a tourist draw. She opposed the parkway because of its impact on the wetlands. She thought the parkway redundant and unnecessary. She said the wetlands area served many positive functions and was a space for rare butterflies and for birds.
Eric Forrest, 2145 Elkhorn Road, Eugene, said that as a member of the Budget Citizen Subcommittee he was aware of the backlog of road maintenance needs. There was currently a lack of dollars to support such projects. He said that it was rare there was funding for a project already identified. He noted the effort and money that had gone into planning for the parkway, and that the first phase was already included in the State’s plans and the funding allocated. He said the parkway was the project ODOT wanted to fund. Funding decisions for future phases would be made as time passed. He said that the parkway would help relieve the use of arterials that were being degraded by overuse. Mr. Forrest asked the adopting officials to respect the vote of the public. He believed the findings demonstrated the parkway was viable and feasible.
Bob Cassidy, 1401 East 27th Avenue, Eugene, discounted the importance of the vote to the decision at hand. He said that the majority of votes was insignificant. He said that building a road because of a vote of the people was “crazy,” even if the majority had been larger. There were other facts to consider. He said that the jobs in Eugene were going to people living outside the community, and now it was being proposed to spend money to make that even more possible. He said that no one was talking about trains or buses to serve those communities. He said that voting for the parkway would be to promote division.
Rusty Rexius, 86301 Panorama Road, Pleasant Hill, Vice President of Rexius Forest Byproducts, said that there was a congestion problem on West 11th Avenue that needed to be fixed. He asked the adopting officials to make the right decisions, and indicated support for the findings developed by staff. He said that he was a third-generation local business owner in the community, and future business owners need the help of the adopting officials to make Eugene an economically viable community.
Mara Wile, 1347 Dalton Street, Eugene, objected to discussions of the vote because those living in the unincorporated area of River Road/Santa Clara did not get to vote. She opposed the parkway because it would affect other transportation priorities and the money was not there. She urged the adopting officials to disqualify the vote because not all those affected got to vote. She said that money should be spent to fix existing roads, such as Beltline.
Tom Slocum, 1950 Graham Drive, supported the parkway. He called on the Eugene council to respect the vote. He did not consider the vote to be advisory, as was asserted by some. He pointed out that the competing measure was soundly defeated by the voters. He acknowledged the parkway would affect wetlands but thought the impact could be mitigated. He said that the divisive issue before the community was a question of growth. Some want no growth at all, but people want to move to the community. He said that over the past two years he perceived a dismantling of the planning process. He said that without planning, growth would be chaotic.
Peter Lark was not present when called on to speak.
Sue Wolling was not present when called on to speak.
Celia Levine was not present when called on to speak.
Majesta Seese-Green, 549 Van Buren Street, noted the opposition to the parkway represented by the vote in the Whiteaker neighborhood. She opposed the parkway because of its costs and its affect on neighborhood livability. She noted her preference for the LUTRAQ approach. She said that the parkway would create traffic problems in her neighborhood because she feared 6th/7th avenues would become a freeway. Pedestrian traffic would be more difficult in the Whiteaker neighborhood. She believed the parkway would generate sprawl, affecting all residents, and would mean the “death of downtown” and the “death of Whiteaker.”
Dan Montgomery, Eugene, asked the adopting officials to listen to the voters and not second-guess their understanding of the issue. The voters understood what they were voting for. He said that the ballot measure was intended to end the controversy over the 1986 vote. Voters were not told the vote was nonbinding. Mr. Montgomery said the community should take advantage of the 20 years of planning that went into the parkway and proceed with the project. The project was identified in many planning documents, and the need for the parkway was established in several technical documents. He noted the support voiced for the parkway by the Lane County and Springfield advisory bodies, and the funding for the first phase included in the STIP. In the absence of the parkway, congestion would continue to be a problem on West 11th Avenue. He said that if the amendments were not approved the investment made to this point would be lost.
Scott Crawford was not present when called on to speak.
Lisa Kennedy was not present when called on to speak.
Misha Seymour, 1313 Lincoln Street, Apartment 306, opposed the parkway because of its impact on the wetlands. He called for spending on affordable housing and for free buses. He asked that the amendments be rejected.
Terry Connelly, 1401 Willamette Street, Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, spoke in support of the amendments and urged the adopting officials to approve them. He said the staff findings were thorough and compelling. Speaking to the TransPlan amendment, he agreed with the Eugene commissioners’ decision that the community vote represented a new or amended community policy. He said that the amendments were the logical by-product of a new community policy, which was the result of the council going to the voters. He did not think the goals and policies of TransPlan needed to be changed to accommodate the parkway. He said that TransPlan was adopted with full knowledge the entire parkway would be constructed. The project was intended to be a phased project. The amendments were consistent with the plan’s goals and policies. He noted the inclusion of the parkway in acknowledged adopted plans.
Dean Bishop, 28335 West 11th Avenue, opposed the parkway because of the direct impact it would have on his property and the impact it would have on the entire community and future generations, particularly children, through the loss of wetlands. He spoke of the benefits of open spaces to children. He said that there were also funding questions to be considered.
David Hauser, 2168 Elkhorn Drive, Eugene, representing the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, encouraged the adopting officials to approve the proposed amendments. He supported much that had been said in support of the parkway. He said the findings developed by staff supported the amendments. He noted calls for a LUTRAQ process and stated that the solutions used in Portland were not appropriate for Eugene. He pointed out that light rail was vital to that solution. He said that in terms of the close nature of the vote, the competing ballot measure asked the voters if they wanted to pursue the LUTRAQ approach, and they overwhelming rejected it. Mr. Hauser said that contrary to testimony, the projects not included in the TransPlan list were not cancelled, they were postponed. He said that all projects could be considered by the OTC when it considered the STIP again in two years. None of the projects postponed had the public input the parkway enjoyed. He suggested that the community work together to find funding for those projects.
Robin Levine, 115 Crocker Lane, said she never owned a car and was proud of that fact. She said cars were not healthy for the community. She maintained that cars contributed to cancer and asthma. She called for a new approach to community building. She said that people come to Eugene for its greenness, and to breath the fresh air. She called on older adults to take classes about the value of the environment, and what affects pollution had on all people.
Roger Bennett, 240 Highway 101, City of Florence, expressed support for the parkway. He said the parkway was not a neighborhood project but a regional project. It was in his community’s interest to see the parkway constructed. He said that Florence was interested in the project for economic, governmental, sociological, health, and convenience. Everything Florence did had a connection to the metropolitan area. He urged the adopting officials to approve the amendments.
Mayor Torrey closed the public hearing, and said the record would be open for one additional week. The Eugene council would next consider the issue on June 19 in the McNutt Room.
Commissioner Dwyer adjourned the meeting of the Lane Board of County Commissioners.
Mr. Leiken adjourned the meeting of the Springfield council and noted the council would meet to discuss the issue on Monday, June 30, 2002.
Ms. Wylie closed the public hearing for LTD and noted its next meeting on the topic was scheduled for June 17, 2002.
(Recorded by Kimberly Young)