2023 State of the City - Year in Review
2022 brought connections and development to Eugene. The Farmers Market Pavilion opened in the heart of downtown, offering year-round home for the Lane County Farmers Market and a fresh event space. The Downtown Riverfront Park opened and hosted a Riverfront Festival that was free and accessible to all during the World Athletics Championships Oregon22. These big events and new facilities brought renewed energy and excitement after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Homelessness & Affordable Housing
Housing and homelessness remain top priorities for our community. The City of Eugene continues to address these challenges, with its Housing Implementation Pipeline to increase affordable and supported housing, boost the overall housing supply, and add shelter and resources for unhoused people.
With one-time federal funds, in 2022 the City opened three more Safe Sleep sites for people experiencing homelessness with partner site operators St. Vincent de Paul, Everyone Village, and Carry It Forward.
In partnership with Lane County, the City celebrated the opening of the River Avenue Navigation Center, providing shelter and stability services to 75 unhoused people.
With support from the City, community housing agency Homes For Good opened The Nel, a permanent-supportive housing complex for 45 residents who had been chronically homeless.
These City-supported projects have added nearly 300 spaces for people to receive help, recover, and plan for the future.
To further expand affordable housing, the City Council approved property tax exemptions for more than 200 low-income rental homes, and City funds helped launch construction on more than 150 affordable homes, including rentals for at-risk youth.
Safety & Parks
With funding from the Community Safety Payroll Tax, an integrated approach is addressing the city’s safety and quality of life. The plan bolsters police officer staffing while increasing alternatives to police like community safety officers to respond to non-emergency calls. Street Crimes Unit officers work closely with the community to solve emerging issues.
With Payroll Tax funds, the Municipal Court is opening an additional Court Provider Room and Community Provider Room. The City’s Recreation department continues its Youth Inclusion Services and Teen Empowerment programs, and Homeless Services has been able to continue its partnership with Lane County to offer the Dawn to Dawn shelter. And, Eugene Springfield Fire hired five positions for Alternative Response and purchased three ambulances.
In 2022, both the Community Advisory Board Annual Report and an Independent Auditor completed initial reviews of the Community Safety Payroll Tax spending and found distribution aligned with the Ordinance.
The passage of the 2018 Parks and Recreation operations and maintenance levy continues to keep our parks cleaner, greener and safer.
With the addition of two full-time Park Police Officers, two full-time Park Ambassadors, and seasonal park ambassadors, our park system has coverage 7 days a week.
The levy-funded Cleanup Response Team removed 4,700 cubic yards of waste and hazardous materials and abated more than 600 instances of graffiti.
Levy funds provided extra attention to new bond-funded parks, renovated and expanded community centers and pools, support improved trails, reopen restrooms and provided improved maintenance throughout the system – ensuring a better experience for everyone.
Voters also supported safety throughout the transportation network with passage of the 2022 street bond. The resounding yes vote infuses an additional $61 million for street repairs, safety projects and street trees.
The state’s first publicly owned Renewable Natural Gas facility opened at Eugene’s regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The project, commissioned in partnership with the cities of Eugene and Springfield, Lane County and the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission, offers a more sustainable way to utilize biogas, a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process.
Instead of flaring the excess biogas, the new facility converts it into renewable natural gas. That gas is then sold back to the local gas utility and injected back into the pipeline for re-use and highlights the region’s commitment to a greener future.
As part of Eugene’s Climate Action Plan 2.0, the City is planting new trees to help clean and cool our air. In 2022, the City Council increased tree-planting funds by $50,000 annually, supporting an additional 635 trees in Eugene's hottest and underserved neighborhoods.
A growing network of green infrastructure enhances the livability of Eugene’s urban areas and connects our green spaces. Rain gardens, medians and street tree plantings weave natural systems into the urban environment. Green infrastructure provides critical ecosystem services like stormwater treatment, flood mitigation and improved air quality.
As wildfire lingers on the minds of Oregonians, more than 240 acres of hazardous fuels were removed from Eugene’s natural areas last year, increasing public safety while enhancing habitat.
As we move into 2023, City staff and projects continue to focus on citywide livability, utilizing feedback from the community survey to guide our work. We look forward to continued engagement and working together on Eugene’s priorities, big and small.