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November 16: Measure 110

The Oregon Drug Addiction and Treatment Act was passed by a voter referendum in November 2020. The Act (Ballot Measure 110), which became effective in January 2021 reduced the penalty for possessing small amounts of illegal drugs to a citation with a fine of up to $100. It provided that the fine could be avoided by completing a health assessment and created a system for getting services and support to drug users to get them to stop using drugs. The Legislature appropriated money from marijuana taxes to fund the assessment support and treatment programs.

In the two plus years since the measure was passed it has proved controversial. While advocates say it is functioning, many others question whether the decriminalization approach is working. Various proposals have surfaced seeking either to repeal or change the provisions of the Measure 1190 program.

Two groups seeking to make changes discussed their plans with the Springfield City Club on Thursday November 16.

Chief Deputy Lane County District Attorney Chris Parisa spoke on behalf of a group of district attorneys, chiefs of police, sheriffs, and the League of Oregon Cities about an eleven-step proposal to adopt legislation which, he said, would reverse some of the excesses and mistakes made in Measure 110.

Paige Richardson, owner of Springwater Partners, a consulting firm providing public affairs and political advice spoke of behalf of the Coalition To Fix and Improve Ballot Measure 110, which is preparing one or more ballot initiatives to put before the voters in November of this year, if the Legislature does not take appropriate action.

Mr. Parosa and Ms. Richardson agreed that new ballot measures are not the preferred way to address the issues they see with the novel approach incorporated in Measure 110. But they noted that the upcoming session of the legislature is a “short” session, limited to 35 days, and they expressed concern that the legislature would succeed in efforts to adopt changes. Since ballot measures may only be adopted in even-numbered years, those they represent have concluded that the need is so urgent that they must be ready to get something on the 2024 ballot if the legislature does not act.

The goal of each effort is to “fulfill the promise of Measure 110 – deliver more treatment, more quickly, to more people.”

The 11 step proposal supported by Mr. Parosa, which Ms. Richardson says her group would support, includes the following elements:

  1. Reclassifying possession of controlled substances as a Class A misdemeanor. Formerly this was a Class C felony).
  2. A fix to a court decision which effectively gutted the statue which made delivery of a controlled substance a crime.
  3. Modify Senate Bill 48 which tried to end pretrial detention by developing a system which would allow sheriffs and the District Attorney to hold those accused of drug crimes pretrial.
  4. Provide funding to county probation services and allow probation officers to mandate those accessed of drug offenses into treatment.
  5. Create a new Class A Misdemeanor for use of a controlled substance in public. Establish a program to allow for diversion of those accused into a treatment program in lieu of prosecution.
  6. Create a new Class A Misdemeanor for use of a controlled substance in an enclosed space. (This is based on statistics which say that a large majority of transit vehicles test positive for evidence of drug use on their vehicles or in the air of the vehicles.
  7. Prioritize adequate e sustainable funding for specialty courts. (Mr. Parosa said that treatment courts had proven especially productive in dealing with specific sorts of crimes.)
  8. Allow for use of “welfare holds” up to 72 hours where a person may be placed in short term custody upon arrest if are intoxicated or demonstrate mental health problems. At the end of that time the person accused could be offered an opportunity to go into treatment or be released.
  9. Create adequate detox and stabilization capacity across the state.
  10. Support creation of an opioid overdose quick response system.
  11. Align requirements for siting of treatment facilities with the requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act.

While both speakers said they supported the intent of those who voted for Measure 1210, they argued that the measure, which they said was funded by those outside of Oregon, failed to recognize the reality that Oregon is one of the highest addicted areas in the country while being dead last in the services provided. While voluntary treatment, they said, as contemplated by Measure 100, is well intended, the people who supported it are wrong about how drug addicted persons act.

When asked about the impact that recriminalization might have on the justice system, Mr. Parosa acknowledged that it might put an additional strain on the ability to prosecute offenders but, he argued, the thrust of the proposals is not to convict people, but to find ways to effectively get them to accept treatment and, thereby, be diverted from the criminal justice system. If they are successful, he said, the prosecutors and public defenders would be able to accommodate any increased burden.

Ms. Richardson said they are not attacking either the proponents of the supporters of Measure 110. She said that the measure was brought forward by the Drug Policy Alliance, a national group seeking the legalization of all drugs. The groups behind Mr. Parosa and Ms. Richardson’s efforts believe that the pillars of an effective drug policy include prevention, enforcement treatment, and harm reduction. While Measure 110 tries to accomplish the latter two goals, they believe that there are unintended consequence of the measure and that expectations for its success were far too high, particularly given that there was only a 90-day period to prepare for implementation, a time frame simply not adequate. They do not believe that the current problems are simply an implementation ”hiccup” but rather a failure to recognize what is needed to bring the current crisis under control.

To view the entire program on You Tube click Measure 110.

City Club is working to arrange programs offering alternative perspectives from supporters of the Measure 110 effort and service providers.


November 2: Managing Waste in Lane County

Lane County is seeking project funding to construct a state-of-the-art Integrated Material and Energy Recovery Facility (IMERF) in Lane County, Oregon. The IMERF would be the most technologically advanced waste processing facility in the country and would utilize technology and equipment built in the USA. The integrated facility would process municipal solid waste, single stream recycling, and organic waste to produce marketable recycling commodities and biogas for transportation. The facility would hopefully divert over 80,000 tons of material annually from the County’s landfill for processing, generate marketable natural gas, and would serve as a regional recycling hub for southwest Oregon.

The project is a public private partnership between Lane County, which holds the highest recycling rate of any county in Oregon, and Bulk Handling Systems. Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) is headquartered and has its main manufacturing facility in Eugene, Oregon. BHS is a worldwide leader in the innovative design, engineering, manufacturing and installation of sorting systems and components for solid waste management, recycling, waste-to-energy, and construction and demolition industries.

Dan Hurley, The Lane County Public Works Director, said that the County was motivated to explore this proposal because burying waste is not the most effective way to handle trash. Landfills compress waste which eliminates oxygen from the material in the landfill. That leads to deterioration which produces methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. Maintaining a landfill is also expensive and requires a constant supply of additional land. Each 8-12 years a new “cell” must be added to the landfill at a cost of about $18 million. The current landfill at Short Mountain has a remaining useful life of about 20 years. Creating this facility would extend that life for another 20 to 30 years and avoid even more expensive solutions like those employed by Portland, which trucks its waste to eastern Oregon and Washington.

Jeff Orlandini, County Waste Management Division Manager, added that the system would increase the County’s recycling ability. White Lane County has the best recycling rate in the state now, at 52 percent., this system would get the County over the 70 percent mark, he said. This system permits also could capture about 80 percent of the methane that could be generated from organic waste, and removing organic new organic waste from the landfill would also help to extend its life. When asked about whether or not this change would interfere with the relationship with EPUD, who now uses methane from the landfill, he said that existing organics already in the landfill would generate methane to fulfill the agreement with EPUD for the full term of that agreement.

Concerns that have been raised about the project relate to the fact that the funding mechanisms would require regular increases in garbage rates over the next several years. Thes would result from increases in the “tipping fee” which Lane County imposes on haulers. That fee, which makes up about 20 percent of the average garbage bill would go up significantly to fund the costs of the $135 million project, which would be funded by $35 million from the County and $100 million from BHS. BHS will recoup some of its spending by selling the methane generated at the plant. The County expects to recover fees from plastic producers who are obliged to support recycling under legislation passed in 2019. Current estimates suggest that residential rates would rise by about 10 to 14 percent over the next six years and commercial rates would rise by 14 to 20 percent over that time.

While there are number of other waste related infrastructure projects which the County is exploring (such as potential relocation of the Glenwood transfer station or the construction of infrastructure to provide sewer service to Goshen and move the leachate from the landfill to the Wastewater Treatment Plant), staff has recommend moving this one ahead because it can take advantage of significant federal funding under the American Recovery Act which remains available only for a limited period of time.

The facility would not be a replacement for the existing EcoSort facility and the Glenwood transfer station. It would be located in Goshen, a little over a mile north of the Short Mountain landfill. Its location would offer a benefit to haulers because of the reduced distance saving haulers about three miles for each round trip.

Steve Miller of Bulk Handling Systems said that they already have local relationships between companies that will provide the construction and the steel needed for the facility, generating more local economic activity. He said that the facility would be constructed in about 24 months from the time the County approves the agreement with Bulk Handling Systems. The facility would also reduce the cost of handling recyclables because they could be processed locally rather than, as now, being transported to Portland for handling.  The gas produced by the plant would be dedicated to transportation needs (to take advantage of federal tax credits thereby reducing the net cost of the project) and would provide enough fuel to operate 115 trucks or buses for a year. He said LTD is one entity considering the possibility of using that fuel.

For a brief overview of the project and its goals, click HERE.  To view the entire presentation click PowerPoint. To view the entire program on You Tube click Managing Waste

October 19: The State of Local News

To understand the challenges the local journalism faces, one must understand the impact of major changes to the public ecosystem and general culture, according to Tim Gleason, professor emeritus at the University of Oregon and a long time print journalist. Mr. Gleason, and Noel Nash, the owner of The Chronicle, a hyperlocal newspaper covering Springfield and surrounding small communities, discussed the future of local journalism at the October 19 Springfield City Club program. “While we follow the same professional standards based on fact-based reporting, people make their own inferences about what we write based on their own perception of the world,” he said.

“We live in a world of news of assertion,” Gleason said, as opposed to fact-based news. The line between journalism and social media is constantly blurred. Too often, he added, people immediately jump to conclusions:” if it is consistent with what I believe, it must be true.”

Many of the challenges associated with local journalism can be traced to the fundamental changes in information gathering with the growth of the internet.  Since the founding of the nation, the business model for journalism has been based on a balanced of funding from advertisers and from readers who paid for subscriptions. With the expansion of internet access, businesses have discovered they no longer need to advertise in print media to reach their customers. They can do that with less cost by direct outreach. This disconnect between advertising and content has led to the demise of much of local print media, to be replaced by large national chains which commoditize news. Both presenters pointed to the substantial changes in the Eugene Register Guard as a demonstration of the effects. USA Today, they said, can produce a generic story on a topic which is uniformly distributed to all media in the huge Gannett chain. Interesting, perhaps, but with little or no connection to the community in which the reader lives.

By contrast, Mr. Nash pointed out, a local or hyperlocal news outlet would talk to individuals in the community about the impact of the subject on their lives and produce reporting which focuses attention on the local community. Mr. Gleason pointed to a recent school board election in Eugene. “If the Eugene Weekly hadn’t taken on the story,” he said,” it is possible that no one in Eugene would have even known there was an election.”

The challenge of funding local journalism is exacerbated by the reality that there is so much information or perhaps misinformation, available online. People say, “information wants to be free,” but Mr. Gleason pointed out that journalists need to pay the rent. Mr. Nash added that there is value in access to a newspaper either in print or electronically. “What you get for your subscription is curated information,” he said. “Probably everything in the paper can ultimately be found on the internet, with enough time and diligence in searching. The Chronicle organizes what is most interesting and useful to the local communities it serves.”

The other value, both presenters added, is that the information presented is fact-based journalism. The Chronicle, Mr. Nash said, works hard to remain non-partisan, to write a story that is governed by the traditional ethics of journalism and free from the biases of the reporter. Those ethics haven’t changed. “We report has we always have — two sources off the record or one source on the record.” In some ways, he added, the task might be simpler for local news. “You have to remember that the people you write about are the same ones you will see in the grocery line, or the coffee shop the next morning.”

Both presenters recognized the additional challenge of the local press that results from frequently hiring staff fresh out of school with no experience. While Mr. Nash said the Chronicle would be happy to be known as a place where journalists got their start and then moved on to larger markets, it is still important to train staff to high ethical standards and keep them focused on transparency. “Transparency is a way to deal with a lack of trust,” Mr. Nash said. “Nobody is going to trust by default, so we have to be seen as living up to the ideals we espouse.” Mr. Gleason overserved that this is an important part of getting people to care about their community and to think it is important to care about their community.

In response to a question, Mr. Nash said The Chronicle has far more print subscribers than electronic subscribers. What he has seen is that the most rapid growth in subscribers is from those who live in Eugene. “The Chronicle does not cover Eugene, but apparently many in Eugene are interested in what is happening in surrounding communities.”

Both presenters expressed concern about the future of funding for local journalism. Mr. Gleason suggested that it might be appropriate to consider additional tax subsidies for newspapers, much like the long standing reduced postal rate for the press. Mr. Nash said that The Chronicle has moved to add opportunities for philanthropic support of the paper. While large local companies serving a national market may not need to reach local residents by advertising, their interest in having a strong local community where they operate could be a motivation for them to donate to help the paper.

An audience question asked how information can be provided to a whole community divided between have and have nots, who cannot afford the price of a subscription. Mr.  Gleason said that question raised a more fundamental issue – how do we build a healthy civic culture. That is not simply a newspaper problem, he said, suggesting that it raised the important question of whether access to information required that the internet be treated like a public utility, to which all residents should be assured access.

You may listen to the complete program on You Tube by clicking this link: The State of Local News.

October 5: Better Streets for People and Businesses

Only twenty percent of the effort to solve transportation challenges lies in technical issues, according to Rob Zako, Executive Director of Better Eugene-Springfield transportation, a small local non-profit advocate for transportation improvements. Eighty percent of the challenge is getting people to overcome their fear of change and come together on what solutions might be. Mr. Zako told the City Club, on October 5, that BEST is trying to support improving transportation issues in the area by reversing the traditional approach.

In most cases, as a member of the audience said, the government proposes a solution to a problem it sees, often one that won’t occur for five or ten years. This immediately divides the public into those who support the idea and those who oppose it. BEST takes the approach, according to Mr. Zako, of starting from the other end, by reaching out to the public to see what issues they see today, not in the future, and what they see as ways to solve the issues that now exist. It works with communities to find acceptable solutions and then tries to generate support for those solutions among the public, and civic institutions before approaching government.

As an example of that approach, Mr. Zako pointed to a survey they recently released seeking input from the public on Springfield’s Main Street. They are, he said, asking the simple question: How safe, practical, and attractive is Main Street for everyone today? The public can respond to that survey by clicking on Main Street – Better Streets – BEST (

The Main Street survey is the most recent of the projects in which BEST is uivo9vkled. The organization was formed several years ago as a way to help evaluate the proposal to institute EmX service in West Eugene, a project which generated a great deal of controversy before it was actually constructed. More recently they have been involved in studies related to the Franklin boulevard corridor between Broadway and I-5, in Eugene, and the future of transportation efforts in River Road Santa Clara. In response to a question, Mr. Zako said that BEST probably would be taking a look at the current project affecting Frankling from then east side of I-5 to the Springfield bridges. “That project is already well underway, with Phase I being completed, and has already had a great deal of public involvement.”

BEST, Mr. Zako said, does not attempt to develop specific solutions. He pointed to a recent series of books by the University of Oregon Sustainable Cities Initiative which document a number of ways to address transportation issues. Those studies are available to the public at Rethinking Streets.

Rather BEST focuses on building community and consensus about transportation needs. Mr. Zako described the organization’s efforts to address the future of the segment of Franklin Boulevard between I-5 and Broadway in Eugene. He said they had hosted two walking tours of the area and conducted a survey which produced over 600 responses. They hope to produce a preliminary report next week on what people are saying about any transportation needs for that segment. He did note that as a result of the walking tours one businessman, who had focused on his opposition to roundabouts, had come to the conclusion that there were some needs to be addressed – specifically lowering the speed and providing longer times for pedestrians to cross the street. He said BEST had not fully digested the Eugene current plan but hoped to have questions and some recommendations by year end. He expects a similar process to go forward as BEST studies Main Street in Springfield.

Empowering Springfield’s Future: Insights from Connected Lane County

Ten years ago, there was a crisis in education in Oregon. The state ranked 49 out of 50 in student graduation rate with, by some measures, under 75 percent of students graduating within five years. The state, through the Department of Education, funded efforts to determine the cause and suggest a solution. Out of that effort came, among other initiatives, the formation of Connected Lane County. This year that organization will serve almost 4,000 youth in efforts to help them find success and a brighter future. Heidi Larwick, the Executive Director of Connected Lane County since 2016, updated City club on the organization’s success, particularly the opening of a new 11,000 square foot center at the Booth Kelly site in downtown Springfield.

Has the program succeeded? Because of the way that the state keeps statistics it is not easy to directly attribute improvements in the graduation rate to Connected Lane County programs, Ms. Larwick pointed to numerous successes which strongly suggest that there has been a positive impact as part of the increase of the graduation rate to 80 percent for the 2021-22 school year.

The first of the organization’s programs, the Elevate effort, seeks to help youth learn about the work environment. Many of the students, which connected Lane County identifies by reaching out to school counselors and teachers, but also to community groups and social service organizations, have no idea what it means to be in a work environment. The Elevate program places them in job shadows during the school year and a more intense program during the summer to help them understand what it is like to be in a work situation. A focus of this effort is to excite them about what they might want to do after graduation, whether it is to enter the work environment immediately or continue with further education.

That program, staff discovered, still missed a significant number of youths. As Ms. Larwick explained, if students don’t understand why they are expected to learn something in school they are more likely to check out. The organization created its Navigate program to address that issue, by identifying youth that had disengaged from the schools and help them to reengage and finish their education with a GED.

Most recently, in 2021 the organization added a third program, the Spark program, which builds upon the two earlier efforts by placing youth in work situations where they can develop some actual job experience in preparation for entering the workforce.

Each of these programs addresses not just the narrow range of skills needed to successfully be employed, but also the wrapround skills needed for broader social success, — how to get housing, how to get food, and other life skills.

Each of these programs tends to focus on the 14-18 age range. To address older youth, in the 18-24 year range, the organization has now developed its Excelerator program which combines the other efforts and focuses on that cohort. It is similar to a pre-apprenticeship program in that the first 150 hours of the 300-hour program provides the participants with skills and then they go to a work experience in a company for the balance of 150 hours.

An important feature of the programs is that participants have the opportunity to be paid. The organization spent over $800,000 last year to provide salaries, at $17 per hour (for participants involved in internships and other situations where youth would be unable to take advantage of the program in the absence of compensation. Ms. Larwick noted that about 10 percent of participants are unhoused.

IN response to a question, Ms. Larwick said that the organization is funded from a wide variety of sources. Originally, the funding came d=solely for the State and the program was housed at the Lane Education Services District. IN 2017 they separated from the ESD and opened a facility in Eugene. Now they have broad support from foundations and businesses and in some cases, contact with outside companies to provide services and products. She specifically noted how they provide laser cutting cervices to the Hult Center and \recently had an arrangement with Columbia Sportswear to repair jackets that had been returned by original purchasers because of failing zippers. At their existing facility in Eugene, they have equipment for laser engraving, desktop cutting equipment for small scale metal fabrication, vinyl cutters, tee shirt presses, sewing machines and sergers. The new Springfield facility will expand on these machines to offer more training experiences and product services and hopes to add equipment for training in welding. The Springfield facility will also have laundry and shower facilities to address the needs of housed participants.


To see the slide presentation offered at the program, click on the Connected Lane County presentation.

To watch the entire program on You Tube, Click Watch the Program.


September 21: Legislative Update

While pointing to some successes in the 2023 session of the Legislative Assembly, the three legislators who represent areas of Springfield each expressed some frustration that the legislature has become more polarized and that has led to less being accomplished. Senator Floyd Prozanski and Representatives Charlie Conrad and John Lively briefed Springfield City Club on September 21, and each pointed to areas where the political atmosphere seemed to have bogged down legislative work.

Rep. Lively noted that typically most legislative work is actually done in committees, and when bills emerge from the committees with a favorable recommendation they generally pass. That was not the case this session, he said, with more bills than usual failing on the floor. In part because of that he pointed to a number of issues which were not addressed, including attempts to address the adverse revenue impact that growth of the Oregon Lottery has had on tribal casino revenue. “It’s an issue of fairness,” he said, that will have to be dealt with in the coming short session. Similarly, he said bills to resolve several limitations on cannabis business activities failed because attention was diverted by the turmoil surrounding activities of the former Secretary of State.

Both Rep. Lively and Rep. Conrad also pointed to the need to address the state of the various county fair facilities around the state. Many are old and in need of major repair. The Legislature attempted to make an increase in the small amount of lottery funding that goes to the County fairgrounds, but so many amendments were put forward to the bill that the legislature ran out of time before it could act. As Rep. Conrad observed, many of these facilities are critical for emergency management in the event of fires, floods or other natural disasters as evacuation centers and their maintenance is critical to protect citizens.

Both Rep. Conrad and Sen. Prozanski addressed the concerns surrounding implementation of Measure 110, which decriminalized possession of certain drugs. Rep. Conrad said that it was important to create an incentive to persuade drug users to seek treatment. “It does not good to put them on a six or nine m month waiting list for treatment,” he said, and suggested that recriminalization might provide the right incentive.

Sen. Prozanski, while agreeing that there needs to be an effective vehicle to induce users to enter some form of treatment, added that his experience as a prosecutor persuaded him that mandatory treatment through the criminal justice system did not work, rather what is needed is incentive based systems. He added that although he was not supportive of Measure 110 when it was voted on, now as Chairman of the Senate Committee responsible for overseeing its implementation, he believes the conversation will be ongoing for some time and that the state might benefit from exploring approaches used in both Colorado and Arizona. He also said that the State might benefit from studying what has been done in Portugal, where drug possession was decriminalized in 2001.e also said the

All three legislators said that the influx of new members (there were 21 new legislators in the 2023 session), has had an impact on how the legislature does business. Rep. Conrad, noted that although he had spent much of his professional life in public serv ice, when he actually began to work as a legislator, he learned how much different the job was when seen from the inside.

Rep. Lively said that the legislature had been unable to successful address implementation of the Climate Friendly Equitable Communities requirements that grew out of a Governor’s Executive Order, and also had pushed off, for the sixth or seventh time, attempts to implement the Road User Fee which has been in place for several years.

Sen. Prozanski also noted issues which he said raised serious concerns putting democracy at risk. Specifically, he pointed to the walkout of Republican members of the State Senate, which prevented the Senate from doing business for 42 days, and the proliferation of use of the recall to remover l=public officials. He pointed to the pending vote on recall of one representative from Eugene, the successful recall of a Eugene City Councilor and the pending recall of three members of the Cottage Grove City Council and indicators of a growing polarization of political life by using tools that were mentioned to address criminality and malfeasance, not simply because one group or another felt they “did not get their way.”

To view the entire program on You Tube, please click here: LEGISLATIVE UPDATE PROGRAM

August 3 — Marcola Meadows Development: Successes and Lessons Learned


It’s a remarkable development story. How can a property with a history of failed developments be designed and constructed in the middle of a global pandemic and in the face of significant challenges for fires in the forests? According to Karl Ivanov, the principal developer, and Andy Limbird, the land use planner for the City of Springfield, it depends on trust and flexibility. The City Club program on August 3 was an opportunity to see how this success happened. To view the full program on You Tube, click here: Marcola Meadows

In the center of Springfield sits a 100-acre parcel that had sat unutilized for decades while the owner waited to find the right development opportunity. In 2006 it seemed that the proposal had arrived – a mixed used development anchor by a large retail store. A master plan for that development was approved in 2008, but the collapse of the housing bubble that year doomed the proposal, and the property became bank owned.

In 2012 there seemed to be renewed hope: a proposal to site a federal medical facility surfaced and was vigorously pursued by the City. That proposal did not materialize however, and the property remained dormant, until 2018 when the property was purchased by a new development group.

As anyone who develops in Oregon knows, the state and local development process is complex, and often challenging. The property remained under the original master plan approved in 2008, but the new group had a much different vision for the property – a vision that contemplated much more residential use, and public uses such as a school and a church, with relatively little commercial uses. That makes it even more intriguing that the group purchased the property “as is” with none of the entitlements that it would need to modify the master plan, the land use designations, and the zoning to accomplish their objectives. The process generally moves rather slowly; thus it is no surprise that much work needed to be done on getting the changes needed to make development possible when, in March 2020, the City in essence shut down because of the COVID pandemic. What is a surprise to many is that in the face of that, with City staff working remotely, the developer and the City process over 14 significant land use actions over the next two years.

Equally surprising is that today the group has started or completed 226 single family homes, continues to build at the rate of over six homes per month, is almost a year ahead of schedule and within its planned budget. None of this overlooks that fact that there were real challenges to getting the project underway, including wetlands issues and storm drainage challenges arising from the reality that the land in the development is very flat and does not allow significant infiltration.

That same feature complicated sanitary sewer construction, leading to situations where some wastewater pipes have minimal cover under the streets. Both Mr. Limbird and Mr. Ivanov were very clear that success depended on something that is not too common in develop0emnt – mutual trust between the developer and the governing jurisdiction. Mr. Ivanov, the president and founder of I&E construction, said that his experience in developing projects on a national scale and the staff’s willingness to work with him enabled them to make development decisions “on the fly” without long time intervals for processing. Both Chris Goodell and Monty Hurley, principals in AKS Engineering came to the same conclusion – everyone needed to be able to think outside of the box and come up with solutions which minimized the need for long drawn out reviews. He emphasized how the first phase of residential construction was built under the existing master plan while at the same time the parties were processing plan amendments to adjust for subsequent phases.

Responding to questions, Mr. Ivanov agreed that there have been some challenges dealing with parking issues in the constructed part of the development. He said that much of that can be attributed to so many tradesmen being on the site and that problems should ease once construction is completed next year.

In response to another question h=e said that all the multi-family construction (which will include 312 apartment units), will be all electric, while natural gas can be available in the single-family homes


August 17: Springfield Economic Development Update

Springfield has completed the land assembly process for new development in the riverfront area of Glenwood, according to Economic Development Manager, Allie Camp. In combination with private and public sector partners, the group now controls about 30 acres in the northeast corner of Glenwood and has begun the Master Planning process which will give increased definition to the goals set out in the Glenwood Refinement Plan, she said. That process is expected to take about 18 months. Glenwood, which is an urban renewal area, and the Downtown Urban Renewal Area, which extends to 23rd Street, are the two focus areas for near term economic development. To see the slide presentation at the August 17 City Club, click: Slides. To view the entire program on You Tube, click: August 17 presentation.

Longer term areas of interest include both the North Gateway area, and the region south of 298th Street near the Springfield Mill Race, which were recently brought within the Urban Growth Boundary. Those areas, however, require additional planning work before they can be available for future development. Those efforts are important, however, she said, since at present the City has very few large areas of commercial or industrial buildable land. Right now, she added, most commercial or industrial buildable land is concentrated in very small parcels.

One unfortunate development is the decision to revisit the proposed Blue McKenzie development, which the Springfield Economic Development Agency decided, in June, will not move forward as previously envisioned. SEDA will continue to search for suitable opportunities to bring more housing to downtown. Most of the area of the Downtown Urban Renewal Plan is zoned community commercial, is a very flexible zoning standard. Thus, she said, while other factors may exist to keep property owners from moving to develp0, the question of zoning is not one.

In Glenwood, while not within the master plan area, phase II of the Franklin Boulevard project, which proposes improvements to that street from the west of the current improvements in the direction of the City limits, has reach the 60 percent design level and now awaits efforts to secure additional funding to move it toward completion of design and construction. In response to a question, she said that the residential area of Glenwood, south of Franklin Boulevard, is not part of current development efforts. She reported that the Glenwood Transfer Station is the subject of discussion at the Lane County Board of Commissioners, and that the City is following those discussions closely to see how any action might enhance further Glenwood development.

Describing the City’s economic development program in general, Ms. Camp pointed to three areas. One important aspect of the program is the legislative effort led by Sam Kelly-Quattrocchi, the City’s Legislative and Economic Development Analyst. The aspect addresses both State and federal legislative efforts to secure additional funding for activities which support economic development.


Vahana Horn is the Economic Development Officer and the Property Manager for the City of Springfield. Her economic lens is focused on local and small business, with her concentration area being on the ever-changing landscape of Downtown Springfield. She maintains coinciding Discover Downtown Springfield websites and Facebook pages and leads quarterly business meetups.

The financial engine that drives economic development in the Glenwood and Downtown areas is the ability to use tax increment financing to support development. In both urban renewal areas the tax base was frozen at the time of creation of the urban renewal district and any additional property tax revenue generated is available to SEDA to support economic development activities. The two major uses of that funding are to support debt service which allows the agency to raise capital funds and the use of the tax increment revenue to pay for local systems development charges imposed by the City in the urban renewal areas to reduce the cost of development.


July 6: Come Explore Lane County

The travel and hospitality industry, long a major economic engine in Lane County, has made a substantial rebound as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Andy Vobora, Vice-President for Stakeholder Relations of Travel Lane County. In Fiscal 2020, which ended just as the pandemic exploded, the industry generated about $1 billion. While, he said, it took about a 60 percent hit during the pandemic, it is now emerging, in many cases more quickly than in other areas.

That does not mean the future is free from challenges, he added. Hotels suffered perhaps the most from the shutdown. As they begin to return, visitors will find rates have grown markedly. In addition. The room supply has sharply declined with the loss of the Valley River Inn due to fire, and decisions by Lane County to purchase some facilities, such as the former Red Lion hotel, to provide shelter for homeless residents.

In addition, the industry must deal with the typical winter trough when there are marked reductions in visitors, both in the sports area, as well as tourism in general. Travel Lane County has long supported developing a winter demand generator, such as an indoor facility that could host sporting events to help alleviate that trough as well as serve as a conference center. However, it had been anticipated that a significant portion of the Transient Lodging tax collected by Lane County would go to help support debt service on such a facility. Now, with the County considering whether to divert a significant portion to a new outdoor stadium, that revenue source might not be available for some time.

Travel Lane County uses a wide variety of approaches to try to support the industry. Most of this work is not visible to local residents, because it is directed at attracting visitors from other areas. This includes things like aggressively marketing Lane County and its offerings in the San Fracisco Bay area and other locations where they data they collect suggests that residents there could be interested in traveling to Oregon.

The organization does, however, work to create supportive programs in the area. One example Mr. Vobora pointed to is based on the realization that travelers with disabilities often have significant discretionary income, but need to find destinations that can accommodate them. One local example of that support is a grant program created by Travel Lane County which will support installation of hearing aid loops at the front desks of local hotels.  The agency can fund 80 percent of that cost for an effort that has major implications for travelers with hearing challenges. Travel Lane County is also active in trying to develop uniform access information on handicapped access to trails and other facilities so that visitors can make their own determinations on what they can attempt.

In a similar fashion, the organization is working with groups in the Dexter Lake area to improve infrastructure for an internationally recognized rowing venue to stimulate even further growth. Before the pandemic hit, they were working to create information to help visitors connect that multiple bikeways in the area so that it would be easier to travel on more of them. Now that the pandemic has eased, Mr. Vobora expects that effort will be reactivated.

While the University of Oregon has a substantial program in attracting and supporting athletic events, Travel Lane County is also active in helping to support other sports, like the rowing program and volleyball programs, including a national BMX tournament.

To watch the entire presentation, please click on this link: Travel Lane County Program.

June 1: Willamalane Comprehensive Plan Update

After several months of staff work and extensive public outreach, the staff of Willamalane Park and Recreation District has completed a draft update to the agency’s Comprehensive Plan.

The Plan will be released for public comment on June 19 and, following the one-month comment period, will be prepared for submission to the Willamalane Board for consideration in September. On June 1, Kristina Boe, Senior Planner for Willamalane, and Michael Wargo, the agency’s Executive Director, reviewed the preparation of the draft plan with members of

 Springfield City Club. The public may view the draft plan at The draft plan includes a list of projects that the agency would hope to accomplish in the future, along with a map identifying the project locations. There will be an opportunity to submit comments during the public review period.

The goal of the plan update is to position the agency to meet its defined goals for the next decade. 

Ms. Boe described in some detail the extensive outreach that has already occurred, including surveys, focus groups and direct outreach to many segments of the community. In that process, she said, the staff learned that people prioritize maintenance and safety in both facilities and neutral areas. She noted that among other things, the amount of natural area managed by Willamalane has grown markedly from about 100 acres at the time the plan was last updated in 2012 to over 700 acres today.

An important concern that the staff investigated was the existence of barriers to use of both facilities and trails. Their work disclosed that while about 25 percent of the district area has adequate service, 55 percent has a somewhat lower level of service and about 20 percent has little or no service. The draft maps show barriers to residents reaching service (like roadways and other barriers) so that as projects are developed and considered the agency can focus on removing or reducing those barriers. In particular, she noted the study disclosed that central Springfield has little access to trails, especially soft surface trails. 

The draft also documents a need for closing a gap in service to adults and seniors. She said the agency must adapt to the changing nature of the demographics of the community, both in terms of an aging population and those areas where language barriers to service exist.

Staff work identified that there are now some areas of the Springfield community where expansion has occurred and created places which are outside the Willamalane district boundaries. Mr. Wargo noted that expansion of the district’s boundaries to address that might occur, but doing so will only exacerbate the challenges of providing adequate staffing and other resources.

Ms. Boe said that once the Board of Directors approves the Plan, it must be submitted to both the City of Springfield and to the Lane County Board of Commissioners for approval so that it becomes an official part of the approved long term land use plans for the area.

To view the Facebook feed of the program, click on this link: Willamalane Plan Update

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