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The Eugene Community Resource Unit
The Eugene Community Resource Unit (CRU) is formed on the north by a line just south of Marshall Island in the Willamette River extending west to Richardson Butte, on the west by Fern Ridge Reservoir, on the south by a line north of Gillespie Corner and most of Fox Hollow Creek, and on the east by Interstate 5 separating Eugene from Springfield. Figure 71 shows a map of the Eugene CRU.
Eugene F. Skinner built his cabin on the banks of the Willamette River in 1846. When Eugene was incorporated in 1862, the city was named after him. From the start, the Willamette River was important as an attraction to settlement and key feature in determining settlement patterns. Skinner's original claim was publicly owned by the 1890s and a series of riverfront parks developed over the years that have been primary attractions for residents. In the 1920s, for example, improvement bonds led to the development of a waterfront recreational area at Skinner's Butte, which was enormously successful for many years during the hot summer months. While industrial and municipal pollution suspended this activity in the 1930s, large-scale river clean up programs in the intervening years have returned the river to the showcase that it used to be ("A City Grows Up Around the River," Eugene Outdoors, City of Eugene Parks and Open Space Division, Summer-Fall, 2002).
Map of the Eugene Community Resource Unit
Map of Eugene Showing Neighborhood Resource Units
Downtown Eugene from Skinner's Butte with the
Hult Center in Foreground
Eugene had a population of 117,962 in 1990 and 137,893 in 2000, an increase of 15% (Census Data, Table Seven). Eugene contains about 40% of Lane County's population and is Oregon's second largest city next to Portland.
Eugene displays settlement patterns that in part appear to be related to economic class. Downtown consists mostly of students, professionals, and counterculture people. Working people are concentrated in west Eugene and Springfield. We were told that River Road people don't even associate with downtown.
"It used to be a blue collar town but now there's more white collar workers. Eugene still has 'that blue collar feeling.'"
"My grandparents were the first black family to arrive in Eugene - in the Bethel area. They set up services for black families and were very active in the black community."
Selected neighborhood areas of Eugene are described below. The reader is referred to Figure 72 that displays the neighborhoods of the city as described by residents.
Laurel Hill (Area 1, Figure 72) has a semi-rural feel with moderate priced homes on the east side of Hendricks Park. The neighborhood's former school is now home to the Northwest Youth Corps, an alternative high school and youth conservation corps program.
The Amazon Neighborhood (Area 3). The Amazon neighborhood is made up of teachers, lawyers, artists and self-employed people who work out of their homes. South Eugene High School and the YMCA are located in this neighborhood, the latter serving as an important communication hub for the area. In addition to its many classes, it has a strong pre-school program and an after school program for teens. The Obsidian Hiking Club has their sign up sheet here for outdoor trips. The neighborhood also contains the Amazon Community Center, a city facility, that is currently closed because of budget cuts except for some classroom activities and events. The Masonic Cemetery Association has turned a weedy pioneer cemetery into an invasive free park, and has regular work parties. Neighborhood associations are active.
The residences in Amazon center around University Street between 18th and 24th with well-maintained historic homes. The area also has many student rentals. The university owns about 100 homes east of campus, which will eventually be moved or torn down for higher density student housing and day care center. The proposal is causing some friction between the university and some of the long term residents and renters. The neighbors are demanding a say in updating the existing neighborhood plan. The neighborhood also houses several Forest Service employees who find the easy access to Interstate 5 convenient.
Gathering places: Allan Brothers Beanery - clientele is middle-aged men and students; Sundance Natural Food Store, Humble Bagel.
Southeast (Area 4). The southeast area of Eugene generally is generally characterized as more liberal and Democratic than other parts of the city, as one would expect in a University oriented area. Interestingly, one of the older areas proposed for "historic district " designation was derailed on the basis of "too much government" impinging on private property rights by some residents of the neighborhood. Gathering places: Residents socialize at Jiffy Mart, which also has a community bulletin board.
College Hill (Area 8). This neighborhood is mostly two parent or two adult households. The elderly who used to be a solid component are now gone. It is predominantly white, middle to upper-middle class, with teachers and professors from the University and School District 4J. Many professional and medical offices are located in this area. Many homes have backyard apartments/studios with student residents; Most of the homes are owner-occupied. The Jefferson Westside neighbors has been active with the city and deal with infill issues, traffic flow, and other concerns. They publish 7 newsletters per year that are hand-delivered and rely on e-mail as well for regular communication. Gathering places: Wild Oats Market South. 
The University District (Area 9) includes campus and the 13th Street retail area. This area has many gathering places for students and others, including bulletin boards announcing forest related information.
"This area used to be panhandlers and 'trannies' who sold pot and mushrooms. The police cracked down and they left. Then the corporations moved in. This street used to be family-owned businesses."
"Thirteenth has changed for the better. There used to be so many street people that no one would come here."
Gathering places: shops along 13th; student union.
Whiteaker (Area 12). The Whiteaker Neighborhood is an area known for lots of crime, drugs, prostitution, and transient-to-transient violence. As is usual with stereotypes, the reality is more complicated and interesting. The neighborhood has strong caretaking systems with both long and short-term residents operating in a highly transient area. The presence of both the railroad and the Eugene Mission has created an "incredibly transient" population. Old hippies bought homes in this area years ago. In recent years, gentrification combined with in-migration of Hispanics is fostering continued change. Many homes are for sale. An elementary school recently closed because of low enrollments. This neighborhood is a key one for absorbing Hispanics into the City, who use it as a first stop in a stepping stone pattern to other areas. The Head Start in the neighborhood is important for absorption and for its support of Hispanic children and families. A woman's club ("Walk Your Buns Club") and many Elder Hostel volunteers are in the neighborhood. Many so-called "anarchists" also live and gather in this neighborhood. Gathering places: Red Barn Market, Tiny's Tavern, Sam Bonds. The Shamrock house was a gathering place for anarchist people until it was recently purchased.
"Whiteaker is peculiar because you can have a lovely, home-owned house next to a dumpy one with an utter lack of landscaping. More people are starting to garden in their front yards and I hope more people do this."
"We are broad-based and inclusive. Everybody gets along. We keep our eye on those who don't."
"Meetings at the Whiteaker Community Center often turn into shouting matches, so many of us don't attend. We know who to talk to to get things done."
The Whiteaker neighborhood in recent years successfully lobbied to have a Public Safety Station at 520 Blair. Community policing has helped reduce the criminal element in the area, according to local residents.
"Bicycle cops have lowered the crime rate. They help keep order."
Residents in the community were also successful in lobbying the city for assistance related to impacts created by manufacturing businesses. As a result, signs were posted prohibiting outside trucks from passing through the neighborhood, a gate leading into the neighborhood was permanently closed and a "calming device", a round-about, was placed in a heavily trafficked area. This was a huge accomplishment for the community. The community also has been successful in reducing crime in Scobert Park through a number of restoration efforts.
West Eugene (Area 13). This neighborhood still has a sizeable population of elderly. A lot of baby-boomers bought there and then moved up. Many have stayed and are likely to remain. The sense of community is strong - "There's pride in this community." There are streets where owner-occupation is high, such as Washington, Lincoln, and Lawrence, while the rest have high rental rates. Even so, it is not so much a transient population as other areas of town. "People really love to live here." It was described as a "strong community," very liberal, but not really activist, and a pedestrian community. "You walk everywhere." It is culturally and ethnically diverse, with a large number of graduate students, and many self-employed professionals. Sixth and Seventh Avenue businesses have moved westward in the last 30 years. Many operate out of residential structures. Traffic has increased substantially along these arterials. Gathering places: Cornucopia Market; L&L Market is very active with coffee in the morning, mainly white, middle-class men; The Kiva.
Bethel-Danebo (Area 15) is a large neighborhood. It covers about 6 square miles. On the north it is bounded by agricultural lands, on the south by railroad tracks south of Roosevelt Boulevard, on the east by railroad tracks and the Northwest Expressway, and on the west by agricultural lands. It is predominantly residential, with retail and industrial areas limited to the Highway 99 corridor, the Barger/Beltline intersection, and the intersection of Danebo and Royal Avenues. There are numerous churches throughout the area. Many small parks and green areas dot the landscape as well.
Housing styles range from new large two-story homes to very old trailers, with occasional, remnant farmhouses. Most of the housing is modest. Caucasians and some Hispanics make up the population. Eight schools, including Willamette High School, are in this area. Few RVs and boats are seen in this area, nor people on bicycles. A new gated retired community, Summerfield Estates, sported several boats, however, and Mel's Marine Service on Barger specialized in boats. Retirement facilities, low income support organizations, a health clinic, library, and police substation are located in the neighborhood. A new shopping center at Royal and Danebo is large and upscale, located in the midst of working and middle-class older homes.
The neighborhood has a fine resource in Petersen's Barn Community Center and Park. Its brochure provides the history of its development. Harry Jensen built the barn in 1931-32 for a dairy and horse barn. Between 1934-1936, the Peter Wick family rented the barn for their dairy. They sold and delivered bottled milk to homes all over Eugene. They purchased the barn and the adjacent property in 1936, operating "Wick's Grade A Dairy" until around 1942, when an ordinance was passed prohibiting the sale of raw milk within the Eugene city limits. John Goldsworthy bought and operated the dairy briefly, selling pasteurized milk, but eventually sold the barn. John Tucker bought the barn in 1965 as a warehouse and office for his construction business.
The idea of making the area into a park was proposed by George, Paul and Richard Petersen who owned the 11 acres west of the barn. When George's teenaged son had drowned in 1963, the family decided they wanted the land to become a park in Philip Petersen's memory. In 1974, the City purchased the area and the barn as well as land east of the barn. The barn was purchased from John Tucker and the land to the east, fronting Berntzen Rd., was purchased from Holger and Anna Berntzen.
In the second half of the '70s, area residents strongly encouraged the City to convert the barn into a community center for their neighborhood. Because the old dairy barn was a sound structure, the City decided to remodel it. A class of architecture students from the University of Oregon provided some ideas to Willamette Design Center, who drew up plans for the interior. Locals donated much of the labor. Bethel Community Schools staff moved into office space in the center in 1976.
The brochure states that the facility "provides a gathering place for intergenerational activities including programs for senior citizens, youths, special events, education, arts, rentals, sports and concerts." It provides programs for seniors and children, primarily. The park is very nice, with a soccer field, baseball field, children's playground area, and benches here and there.
Gathering places: Little 'R' Café, Our Place Bar, and Pop's Diner on Highway 99.
River Road (Area 16) is a very blue collar and elderly area, Many starter home make it an area of first-time homebuyers. With several mills nearby, many mill workers live here. The neighborhood also has many men who don't work because they've sustained on-the-job injuries - "They buy their beer at the Park Avenue store." Most who live in this area have virtually nothing to do with downtown or the University. Many are multi-generational. There are still many beautiful older homes through the area. Remnants of old farms are still visible. Gathering places: Park Avenue Market.
Santa Clara (Area 17) is an unincorporated area, and proud of it. Residents don't like being forced to do anything by the City of Eugene. This long standing sentiment was reinforced recently because residents were assessed for a sewer system and had to have it installed by a certain date. Much of the area was built in the mid-1960s on land that had been orchards. The area has continued to develop steadily in the last decade with large-footprint homes. Ranging in price from $160,000 to $230,000, these homes are being purchased by highly mobile professionals who tend to own sports utility vehicles and recreational vehicles. It is an area of two parent families with several young children, or, in some cases, empty nesters who decided to move up. Gathering places: Oregon Diner.
The major publics in the Eugene community are:
See Section Two.
Eugene's economy is based on education, high technology, bio technology companies, the service industry, manufacturing, including wood products, and agriculture. Its major employers are:
University of Oregon: 3,676
PeaceHealth Oregon: 3,103
Eugene School District: 2,051
Lane Community College: 2,000
U.S. Government: 1,900
City of Eugene: 1,688
Lane County: 1,600
Springfield School District: 1,500
Pape' Group, Inc.: 1,205
McKenzie-Willamette Hospital: 1,100
The top ten Lane County Manufacturers, with number of employees, are:
Monaco Coach Corporation: 1,430
Country Coach: 800
Hynix Semiconductor America: 730
Symantec Corporation: 650
Willamette Industries (now Weyerhaeuser): 588
Weyerhaeuser Company: 580
PSC Scanning: 540
Whittier Wood Products: 428
Rosboro Lumber Company: 350
Source: Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce and Eugene/Springfield Metropolitan Partnership.
The University of Oregon is of central importance to the destiny of Eugene and has played a pivotal role in the development of the city from the beginning. The number of students drawn into the community, and the local economic benefit from the presence of students and from University spending, are enormous. A local newspaper article described the student body as fairly insular, having established routines that kept many students close to campus and its immediate environs (Eugene Register Guard, 4/1/02).
In addition, the University is one way in which students express environmental values. For example, the campus houses the Outdoor Program, established in 1964. It is located on the ground floor of the student union. The organization, through student incidental fees, operates a Wilderness Cooperative that serves as an information clearinghouse for outdoor recreation activities. The office contains a wealth of information and sign up sheets for a wide variety of outdoor trips. Over 250 trips a year are organized through the coop, ranging in activities from tree climbing (growing in popularity) to kayaking. Winter sports are becoming increasingly popular, particularly snow shoeing and snowboarding. The Outdoor Program organizes educational forums related to natural resource conflicts, such as motorboats on Waldo Lake and saving Opal Creek.
"I chose the University of Oregon because people seem to be active environmentalists, compared with OSU."
The City of Eugene has a Department of Neighborhoods, Housing and Community Development that works with neighborhoods in the City. It promotes neighborhood organizations but reports large differences in organizations between neighborhoods - some are organized and some are not.
Eugene is a cultural center for the region. The Hult Center for Performing Arts attracts national talent, but also serves school kids from around the state. Art permeates the community. There are a good many art stores, lots of murals and banners hung throughout the City, City art banners, artistic bus stop structures, and many ducks as an art form, celebrating the University of Oregon football team.
Eugene prides itself on its support of diversity. One of the City's "operating principles" is to "recognize and honor a diversity of viewpoints, cultures and life experiences." Every year the Eugene Celebration displays and encourages this diversity.
The City Club of Eugene sponsors debates on current issues affecting the area.
The Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) provides water and electricity to city residents and reports that existing and planned facilities are adequate to meet future needs. (Southern Willamette Valley, A Profile of the Southern Willamette Valley Region, Region 2050 and Lane Council of Governments, April, 2001).
See Section Three.
A diversified economy, less dependent on forest products than years ago.
A community dedicated to the arts and artistic expression.
A resilient community, with many active neighborhoods creating positive change.
High levels of working and welfare poor. Despite economic diversification and progress, some people have been left behind. A sizeable homeless population exists in Eugene.
Absorption is a continual process fraught with tensions.
"Old timers tend not to accept newcomers. They shut them out, especially in blue collar communities like Santa Clara and North Eugene."
Urban people are moving into rural areas. Creswell and Harrisburg are growing at very steady rates, 27% and 26% respectively during the last decade. Coburg is considered the "future Hillsboro of Lane County." By contrast, Eugene grew 15% and Springfield by 13%.
"Eugene has a laid back liberal feel."
"This town is incredible for all the music and theater it has."
"Eugene is a hard working community." People said that Eugenians take pride in working hard and are proud of their accomplishments.
Citizen issues related to community life were not examined in depth during the course of fieldwork, with focus placed on natural resource issues instead.
Growth and Development
"There are so many people now. West Eugene has really sprawled."
Quality of Life
"It takes me 20 minutes to drive 5 blocks in the morning because there's four signals between my home and my daughter's day care. I've only lived here for 7 years but it's already time to move out." [Bethel resident]
Eugene has a number of periodicals that offer communication and education opportunities for the Forest Service and BLM. Some of them are environmentally-oriented publications.
The Eugene Grassroots, P.O. Box 51122, Eugene, OR 97405; (541) 345-4139; Grassroots@efn.org. Progressive and "green" political agenda; social and ecological livability.
The Runoff, P.O. Box 11211, Eugene, OR 97440; Many Rivers Group, a Sierra Club chapter. Environmental monitoring, advocacy, and recreational enjoyment.
The Oregon Family Calendar, P.O. Box 21732, Eugene, OR 97401; (541) 683-7452; email@example.com. A newspaper distributed to families through the schools in the Eugene/Springfield areas.
Gathering places not listed previously in the neighborhood section include:
Friendly Street Neighborhood: Friendly Street Market
Steelhead Brew Pub, Market District, mostly downtown professionals, young people.
Recreation Equipment, Inc. (REI) for sports enthusiasts.
Crux Rock Gym, 401 W. 3rd, near REI
Market District: 5th Street Market
Willkenzie and Sheldon Neighborhoods: Wild Oats Market North
The University area and neighborhood has a vast array of gathering places. The University is its own community, with its own particular population.
Communication spots for recreation related information include:
The bulletin board at Ullr Sports.
Cascadia Live is a TV show used by residents for information on community and environmental issues.
The Wild Oats grocery store off Coburg Road has a community bulletin board used for recreation purposes.
Key mountain bikers that could be contacted are:
Don Person (541) 682-6145
Dave Hallock (541) 915-6433
Emerald Empire Chapter
Habitat restoration; Boat landings; Hatchery support.
Dan Geiger, Director
Educational forums on natural resource issues
Many Rivers Group
P.O. Box 11211
Eugene, OR 97440
Timber sale review
Lane County Audubon
President: Mave Soules, (541) 343-8664; Conservation Chair: Dave Stone
Forest management, species preservation
Exec. Dir.: Andy Peara (541) 687-9699 www.nearbynature.org
Outdoor experiences for kids and youth; restoration projects; interpretation
Obsidians Hiking Club
President: Jan Jacobson Program Chair: Gale Berge (541) 345-9984
No political involvement
The Emerald Chapter, Native Plant Society of Oregon
P.O. Box 902
Noxious weed eradication
Conservation of meadows, wetlands, oak savannah eco-zones.
North American Butterfly Association
Pacific Rivers Council
P.O. Box 10798
Aquatic habitat; science, law, and advocacy oriented.
Cascadia Forest Defenders
"The only good timber sale is a cancelled timber sale."
Northwest Old Growth Campaign
Oregon Natural Resources Council
P.O. Box 11648
454 Willamette Street,
Eugene, OR 97440
Oregon Cycling Magazine
455 W. 1st Avenue
Eugene, OR 97401
Long Tom Watershed Council
751 S. Danebo Avenue
Eugene OR 97402
Ullr Sport Shop
207 Coburg Rd.
Eugene, OR 97401
Owned by Willamette Pass Ski Corporation; active in promoting winter recreation
Paul's Bike Shop
25080B Willakenzie St.
Eugene, OR 97401
Mountain bike recreation on public lands
Oregon River Sports, Inc.
Guy Santiago 1640 W. 7th
Eugene, OR 97402
Active in river clean up, education programs, sports instruction; canoe club has 80 members; sea kayak club 140 members.
1030 Greenacres Rd.
Eugene, OR 97401
Regular classes to promote public land recreation. Educational support and better information about passes and permits desired. Customers want better information on local conditions (roads, trails, etc.).
Lane County of Governments
99 East Broadway, Suite 400
Eugene, OR 97401
Region 2050, "Sustaining Quality of Life in the Southern Willamette Valley"
Friends of Buford Park and Mt. Pisgah
P.O. Box 5266
Eugene, OR 97405
Ecosystem integrity, especially in valley lands; noxious weeds
Mt. Pisgah Aboretum
34901 Frank Parrish Rd.
Eugene, OR 97405
Ecological restoration of several indigenous bio-systems; showcase ecosystem management; fire awareness; noxious weeds.
Eugene Natural History Society
Founded in 1941. Promotes study and appreciation of natural history through education.
Eugene Stream Team
Eugene Public Works Dept.
Urban habitat restoration
Center for Watershed and Community Health
Associated with the University of Oregon
Labor Education and Research Center
University of Oregon
Tracks labor data related to restoration forestry
Eugene has a very outdoor oriented population that is active, both in the urban setting and in activities that take them to public lands. It is a population that is very committed to environmental ethics, and residents believe themselves to be well educated about environmental and public land issues. The "facts" are subject to dispute, however - they are politically charged, and everyone seems to have lots of them. In other words, there seems to be little unity or common vision about environmental understanding and future direction despite the pervasiveness of environmental values.
This section has the following segments:
Community Values for Outdoor Recreation and Environmental Stewardship
Eugene has a reputation throughout the state and the nation for being liberal and "green" in its politics. Among some circles, it is perceived as extremely radical, and this perception has fueled a sense of disdain among the rural people that use Eugene as the regional service center. However, even though many people stated that they do not agree with all the tactics used to express politically environmental views, it is very clear from this research that a strong environmental awareness and ethic permeate the community, along with a healthy appreciation for outdoor recreation.
"This is an ideal location for both surfing and skiing because we're close to both. An hour drive either way."
"Alton Baker Park has lots of history on the river terraces. Each one has its own biology. The higher terraces are almost oak savannas. They each have their story."
"Our issue is native plants. We did some restoration and as we finished a killdeer began a nest there. Nature rewarded our efforts." [Nonprofit environmental group]
The Growers Market is a non-profit cooperative focused on providing organic and natural foods. The Market is a twice-weekly event that attracts 50-100 vendors and is well supported by Eugene residents.
The River House Outdoor Program has developed and operated Eugene's community gardens for 23 years, with five locations and 250 plots.
The City of Eugene has supported a variety of outdoor education and ecologically oriented programs for many years, including:
The Stream Team is a program of the City of Eugene. Among the projects it has undertaken was the volunteer salvage of native camas bulbs from land destined to become a parking lot. It has conducted storm drain stenciling, adopt-a-stream programs, wetland tours, school education programs, and numerous other volunteer-based programs. A native plant nursery by the wastewater treatment plant collects and propagates native seeds.
The City's Urban Forester has successfully promoted tree planting in Eugene neighborhoods
The Parks and Recreation Department has operated an outdoor education program for 30 years. Its current program runs year round and includes 3 categories: 1) a ropes challenge course; 2) teaching adults and kids outdoor skills, like white water rafting, cross country skiing and survival; and, 3) summer youth camps for middle school and teenagers, featuring a variety of outdoor activities. Scholarships are offered to low income citizens. The schools and the Looking Glass therapy program utilize the program. The restoration aspects of the program stem from service days that are part of the summer camp. Most of this effort is around Eugene and includes trail maintenance, wetlands maintenance, and reducing "purple loose strife" invasive plant along river.
The Ridgeline area in the south hills of Eugene is extremely popular for hiking and biking. The City is undertaking a major acquisition program in this area.
The City has worked with BLM on the wetlands in West Eugene.
The Endangered Species Act is encouraging the City to be proactive in restoring salmon habitat. The nearby watershed councils, Long Tom, Middle Fork, and McKenzie have focused on fish access, spawning, and getting fish around the reservoirs, while cities and counties have focused on water quality. The City is just completing a riparian and aquatic assessment. To date, little integration on salmon has occurred between federal agencies and local governments but City program staff are eager to share data and explore mutual opportunities.
The City has a highly valued park and bike path system.
A couple neighborhood associations have undertaken restoration and trail development work. "Miracle on 33rd Street" is a small neighborhood group that built a trail along Amazon Creek and began two modest test plots for native species regeneration that it maintains for the city. The Southeast Neighborhood Association was very involved through Lane County Council of Governments (LCOG) in mapping micro-habitat areas of which LCOG was unaware. The association has developed a proposal to move the Ridgeline Trail from its course along Spring Boulevard to border these privately-owned habitat areas. An Umpqua National Forest person is involved with these efforts as a private citizen.
The Mt. Pisgah Arboretum, between Springfield and Goshen, has established small functioning ecosystems displaying five types of ecozones, including oak savanna, sugar pine and Pt. Orford Cedar. The site is 209 acres within the 2200 acre Buford Park and is visited by 200,000 people yearly. A non-profit group, The Friends of Buford Park, lends support to the mission. The Arboretum has a K–7 education program and has over 3000 students a year go through its programs. Their interests are ongoing funding, jeopardized by the current budget limitations, interpretation, and volunteer support. A Forest Service staff person was on the board in the past, and currently a BLM employee sits on the board.
A number of organizations are working cooperatively to expand the trail system in the Eugene metro area with public lands. The Forest Service, Recreation Equipment Inc. (REI), the Corps of Engineers, and others are building a bridge over the river to connect town trails through Elijah Bristow State Park with trails through Westfir and Oakridge, eventually tying in with the Pacific Crest Trail at the top of the Cascades.
Students are a major user of public lands. Some reported coming to the University expressly for that purpose.
"I like windsurfing up at the Cascade lakes. I enjoy going to Cougar Hot Springs."
"I like to go to Florence to hike in the dunes and sometimes I like ride my bike out to Spencer's Butte, just south of town."
The Environmental Community
Eugene has a tremendous variety of environmental organizations interested in stewardship and natural resource management. This segment describes some of the major groups and their interests.
Nearby Nature is a non-profit organization devoted to outdoor education and restoration activities for kids and youth. It does summer programs through the schools and is utilized by the City and the schools to conduct restoration and monitoring activities in City parks. Its interns participate in the Waldo Lake education program sponsored by the Forest Service.
Northwest Steelheaders, The Emerald Chapter, has worked on river access issues. Its members have recently testified to Lane County to get more boat ramps. They also lobby the state legislature for the sports fishing industry. Their strongest project is the hatchery at Letz Creek, which should start releasing fish next year. Volunteers reportedly put in between 6-10,000 volunteer hours last year and contributed between 55-65,000 miles. Budget cuts currently threaten the operation, although the primary costs are capital and not labor. Its ties to the Forest Service are not strong as in other areas of the state.
"People develop strong attachment to our projects. They come back year after year."
The Eugene Natural History Society is one of the oldest groups in town, founded in 1941. It promotes the study and appreciation of natural history through a lecture series during the school year and field trips. Forest Service scientists have given lectures to the group on a periodic basis in the past.
The Oregon Natural Resources Council (ONRC), Audubon Society and the Many Rivers Chapter of the Sierra Club, do a variety of conservation-oriented projects, political advocacy work, and outdoor enjoyment activities. They each monitor federal timber sales and advise members of the investigative and political work needed to shape or stop them. The groups also direct campaigns for policy changes.
The Northwest Old-Growth Campaign is a coalition of 13 conservation groups in the Northwest working for permanent protection of old growth on federal public lands.
The Growers Market Building, at 5th and Willamette, is a gathering place for some of the most political environmental groups. The upper floor has two large rooms filled with tables, bulletin board and open space, the site for planning activities and a hospitality center for visiting activists. On the outskirts of the two large rooms are offices of many environmental organizations, including the Oregon Natural Resource Council, Cascadia Forest Defenders, the Sustainable Forestry Project, Oregon Peaceworks, the Pacific Green Party, and many others.
Eugene is well known for having an anarchist movement that involves itself in regional issues, including natural resource management. It has given Eugene a reputation for not only being "green" but for being radically green. People espousing this philosophy are seen to be young, university-affiliated, and oriented to low-income, left wing issues.
A good number of Eugene residents talked about "anarchists" when discussing forest issues. These descriptions revealed a common perception of who anarchists are, what their mission is, and the practice residents have had in dealing with their presence. Anarchists is a broad term for a large number of people in the region who are young and have values of living life in "pure" form, organically and sustainably. They are generally anti-authority and have been active in environmental issues for several years.
Anarchists come in two varieties - violent and nonviolent. It is a mistake to confuse the two or assume they are one because "it creates a common enemy that does not exist," as one knowledgeable observer pointed out. Although they sometimes overlap socially, the two groups rarely collaborate. Violent anarchists are believed to have few scruples in ruining the reputation of others. A couple residents had stories of themselves or friends bearing the brunt of these campaigns. As a result, residents, especially in the Whiteaker neighborhood, became adept at dealing with anarchists. They developed counter-campaign measures to demonstrate community support in public ways. Residents began to exert peer pressure on them, for example, through negative reactions to them in public, and, as a result, the violent anarchists began to move out of the neighborhood. After September 11, they reportedly moved their base to the River Road area. The purchase of a hangout, the Shamrock house, by another buyer, has also helped to disperse their activities.
Residents especially do not like how the violent anarchists prey upon the vulnerable, the "naïve, lost, confused, drug-induced kids." Young kids are believed to be indoctrinated into their ideology and then induced to engage in the anti-social acts for which they are known. They also raise money and use publications in various ways that obfuscate their true purpose.
Significantly, many leaders in the major environmental organizations, when asked who else to speak with, provided names of their colleagues and then, as an afterthought, would say, "Oh, yes, and then there are the anarchists. I don't actually know anyone there but you could go down to the Growers Market building." The uniformity of these responses leads JKA to believe that anarchists represent a minority element within the environmental community and that the ties are not strong between anarchists and environmental organizations. At the same time, anarchists deliberately try to stay low key and invisible, partly because it is prudent to do so, and partly because it fits their image of "anarchy."
While the violent segment of the anarchist population appears to be the minority, it is important to note the strong support voiced for the anarchy perspective by residents in Eugene. While many decried their tactics and even said they were wrong on certain key issues, the overall pro-environmental, anti-government values expressed by anarchists are supported. Residents that had association with anarchists recommended an up-front, friendly, and informative approach on the part of natural resource agencies wishing to communicate more effectively in the urban areas.
"The only way to undermine anarchists is to develop intimate relationships with the nonviolent ones."
"The Forest Service biologists should make their work prominent. Talk about what is being studied and the results. Invite educated people from these groups to participate. The result is an enhanced profile of the Forest Service through day-to-day, face-to-face contact."
One person, who has been working in a professional capacity at the neighborhood level for two decades, had this advice:
The Economic Aspects of Natural Resource Management
This part of Oregon, like other areas of the Pacific Northwest, has been struggling for many years to create viable economic livelihood in the context of the reduced and changing forest products inventory available from public lands. The recent history will not be repeated here, but certain highlights of that history are offered.
The Jobs-in-the-Woods program, begun in Sweet Home and extended throughout the state, was not successful in every aspect, but did significantly contribute to enhanced training in restoration forestry skills. Evidence exists that this effort has contributed to the local economy and that some sustainability is possible.
The Forest Service has had a person assigned to innovative contracting processes for some years, who has recently retired and been replaced by a BLM person. The effort has been successfully directed to using existing authorities in different ways to make small diameter harvest, thinning operations, salvage forestry, and riparian restoration projects available for economic benefit.
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has offices throughout Oregon offering business support services like classes and consultation for business plan development, financing, accounting, marketing and other aspects of running a good business. The Eugene Center instructors stated that they have had only one forest products business person in the last ten years, and they could not account for why these kinds of people are not utilizing their services more. In addition, SBDC offers support services to aid the transition to other economic activities.
"Oakridge needs forest products development work. Oakridge is marketing itself as the 'Gateway to Recreation' but they need more amenities like bed and breakfasts, restaurants."
We know anecdotally that many small scale entrepreneurs are experimenting with new livelihood strategies derived from forest products. JKA could not find organizations that are tracking the extent of this activity. It appears that these enterprises come and go. They are also done in the midst of other income producing strategies - an SBDC person called this "patching." You do some farming, you collect forest products, you make kids furniture, plus whatever else.
Toward a Community-Based Approach to Restoration Forestry
Restoration forestry is commonly defined as: 1) resource management, on the ground work in the woods; and, 2) utilization of "by-products of restoration." The above discussion points to the potential of a labor base plus institutional mechanisms in place to foster continued development of this field.
The other key question to address in assessing the potential for restoration forestry is the political support needed to implement it. This research has shown that there is ample support for a community-based approach to forest health projects that could not only create economic benefits but be politically-acceptable as well.
The prescription from the environmental community on this point is clear. Although environmentalists in the Eugene area are not known for consensus vision in their approach to natural resource issues, enough overlap of interests was discovered to warrant cautious optimism. More and more people within the environmental community are realizing that thinning has to happen. A community-based approach involves:
The notion would be to build a track record of success and trust, beginning with pilots and expanding to larger projects.
"So much depends on the ranger, some want to work with you and others don't seem to care. That guy Wayne… [Kleckner] at Cottage Grove. Now he was good. He came out to talk with us. He wanted to know what we wanted." [Protester]
"I used to be extremist. Now, I'd like to know what other people think."
Environmentalists pointed out the timeliness of this approach - the review of the Forestry Practices Act, the recent Bush Administration initiative on "Healthy Forests", and the renewed focus on the Northwest Forest Plan.
The counter-culture community is healthy and viable, with its own economy and local stores such as cuisine in local eateries, arts and crafts outlets, clothing stores, and so on. The values and lifestyles represented by this public permeate the larger culture. What this means is that, while particular political actions of environmentalists may not be fully supported, there are broad-based "green" values for preservation and protection of natural resources, restoration forestry and anti clearcutting. Hence, it is JKA's belief that environmental values will continue to dominate discussions of natural resource management and the increased scrutiny of decisions in the future will be the norm.
Hispanics have been settling in Eugene at a steady rate. Their settlement is concentrated in the River Road and Whiteaker neighborhoods. Many Hispanics are mushroom pickers. Mushroom buyers have said that Hispanics make up the bulk of pickers today and that they prefer picking to working on Christmas tree farms because of the money.
1. Diversity of environmental values.
"I don't know that there is an environmental community here. We're all environmental."
"Environmental groups here are so fragmented. It would be impossible to craft a coherent direction or vision."
2. Diversity of attitudes about federal land management agencies.
"The courts seem to be the only voices that are effective with the Forest Service."
"With all the past history, it's hard to trust the Forest Service."
"They do these things without any consultation."
"They need to get out of that federal building and participate in their own community." [Neighborhood leader, not particularly connected to public land issues]
"When you walk into the McKenzie station, you feel like they want to help you, like they are there to serve the public. There's a big room where a map of trails is posted with the maintenance schedule and conditions. It's very easy and simple to find out information. But in Oakridge, you feel like it's a federal building, that no one really cares. A much different feeling."
3. "We [Eugeneans] pride ourselves on education." Residents from old to young expressed attitudes of seeking information and new ideas when they are presented in a professional, rational way. Eugene citizens don't respond to fist wavers, screamers, and those that rant and rave. They appreciate face-to-face contact, and a friendly, helpful approach.
Citizen Issues Related to Natural Resource Management
Recreation Users and Their Interests and Issues
Many residents stated that access to four-season recreation was one of the primary attractions to the community. This section will outline the major recreational uses of public lands, and the interests and issues associated with the uses, focusing on mountain biking
Mountain Biking Interests and Issues
Mountain biking is extremely popular in Eugene. One bike store manager felt that the mountain bike community in Eugene is the most active in the valley.
Enthusiasts prefer established trails on city and federal lands. Trails close to Eugene are valued for convenience and farther trails for challenge and variety. Mountain bikers are very active in trail development and maintenance. They have helped with the Ridgeline Trail in the south part of Eugene. Most of the trails in the Oakridge area were built by bikers from the Willamette Valley, according to a number of bikers. Sometimes trail development is not authorized. Some bikers apparently make changes to the trail, such as creating obstacles or drops. The new bikes are capable of safely dropping down seven feet. Bikers reported that there is very little coordination with the Forest Service around trail development, and that the agency removes obstacles and jumps.
Two organizations received special mention as "doing it right" for mountain bikers - the McKenzie Ranger Station of the Willamette National Forest, and COTA (Columbia Observed Trials Association, www.observedtrials.com), a long-standing regional group in the Northwest focused on motorized trial events).
Mountain bike trails were described as "pretty stinking good." The favorite areas are near Oakridge: Hardesty, Goodman Creek, Hewlett Ridge, and Eagle's Rest. The Ridgeline Trail is not as popular as years ago because of the greater number of people using it. It is becoming an area for walkers. The McKenzie River Trail is a highly valued resource for mountain bikers.
An informal network of mountain bikers, called the Disciples of Dirt, has been active in trail development and maintenance for many years. It organizes the Cream Puff Race each year, which provides an economic benefit in the area.
"We fill Oakridge." [Mountain biker, referring to the race]
Fallen trees impeding trails are the most common issues for mountain bikers. Other issues reported to JKA include:
"Trails get closed without anyone knowing. Can't we get like a snow phone, some easy way to find out about changing conditions?"
"Goodman Creek Trail is overused."
"The trails are pretty clean this year because of work the Forest Service did."
"Is a special area possible for mountain bike obstacles trails? As it is now, we create special areas with obstacles or drop offs and the Forest Service comes along and ruins them. They're not safe for everyone, but a designated area could work. In Glenwood, the BLM just puts up signs and tells us to go for it."
"There needs to be better coordination between the Forest Service, BLM and mountain bikers. In San Diego, bike shops sponsor food and tools and do trail building a couple times a year. We should coordinate these efforts."
"Sometimes when the group goes on a ride and sees fallen trees, they will stop and work for hours to clear the trail. We call it 'impromptu work'. Why should we have to pay to use the trails that we work so hard to maintain?"
"The Forest Service is not adopting a service model. Rather than work against each other, we should be working together." [Mountain biker]
"The Forest Service in Oakridge does not recognize all the volunteer work we do. They cut holes in trails to add water logs and call them 'speedbumps.' Someone is going to get hurt on these. Some have been filled in, like the Waldo Lake trail, but others like Maiden Peak trail are still dangerous."
"I used to go in the Goudyville area all the time between Cottage Grove and Lorane. I went out there the other day and found gates." [Apparently, this is Weyerhaeuser land.]
"You get to the trailhead and find you need a pass. It takes you two hours to get to another; Where do you get passes? We used to get them at Hoodoo, now I think GI Joes in Eugene has them."
"It costs $25 a year. That prices people out of the woods. "I'm not doing Fall Creek anymore because of permits."
"We often make the trails, then the Forest Service hears about them and suddenly puts up a sign requiring a pass. That really makes us angry."
"User fees are double taxes."
Fishing Interests and Issues
Fishing stores make a point of advising their customers about fishing conditions. "It's our job" to tell them where to go, one clerk stated. Bass fishers are angry and believe that agencies discriminate against them and favor trout.
"They want money for everything. To park your rig at boat ramps costs money. The Willamette Pass costs $30 and they are doing it without congressional approval."
"Trout fishers don't need a permit, but bass fishers often do in large groups so permits required. But we turn the bass lose while the trout are killed."
"ODFW doesn't like bass fishers either. We limited tournaments voluntarily to lessen impacts but then we got regulated anyway. It's unreasonable."
"The recreation fees price people out. Low income people just don't go. Money doesn't go back to the land. They just pocket the money. Go see [Congressman] deFazio. He hates those fees."
Hunting Interests and Issues
Hunters and archers generally have interest in promoting deer and elk habitat. Clearcut logging in the past created that habitat because of the brush that would come in after timber harvest. They believe that deer and elk herds will decline with the loss of clearcuts as a timber management method. Fires also create proper habitat but thinning operations do not.
"I'll bet the Siuslaw herds are down because they haven't cut in there for years now."
Winter Sports Interests and Issues
Skiing and Snowshoeing are popular activities on the Willamette National Forest. Telemark skiing has gained in popularity in recent years. Ski shops reported generally good management relative to their interests, except for communication helpful with changing conditions. The cameras displaying live-time road conditions on some of the mountain passes are very much appreciated but the feeling was that the coverage ought to be wider than it is. As with other recreation users, winter sports enthusiasts wanted easy to obtain and timely information about trail conditions, road conditions, and changing regulations.
River Sports Interests and Issues
River sports are part of everyday social life in Eugene. The Upper McKenzie River, from Paradise to Blue River, is used frequently, as are the Deschutes and John Day Rivers, which are managed by BLM. The lower McKenzie sees a lot of activities but that is not a permitted area. The staff of river programs reported excellent relationships with the Forest Service. They especially appreciated the efforts of the Willamette staff to handle all the paperwork, channeling it to the appropriate offices, so that the service appears seamless from the standpoint of the City program. "Sort of like one stop shopping," is how one person described it.
"Tax supported programs, like City Park and Recreation programs, are hurting our business. Their costs are subsidized by the state and mine are not. We offer a higher quality experience, with better equipment and training, and so on, but people are attracted to the lower costs. More training and expertise should be required."
Rock Climbing Interests and Issues
Rock climbers do not use Forest Service lands extensively. The favorite areas for local climbers are Smith Rock State Park near Bend, Lake Billy Chinook, also a state park, and the Forest Service site of the Flagstone area near Finn Rock up the McKenzie River. Climbers also like "the Callahans" near Roseburg, a site owned by Weyerhaeuser. Although the company was going to close the area off, informal agreements by climbers to keep numbers low and to observe no smoking has allowed the area to remain open.
"The road to get to Flagstone is terribly gutted. It damages vehicles just getting to the site."
"We want to maintain access, maybe get other areas opened."
"In the past climbers had a bad reputation but they try to do cleanup all the time. We didn't do the litter at Smith Rock but got the rap. We helped clean up the trash."
"Once I was asked to leave an unposted area. Did these [Forest Service] guys have the authority? I should be able to find out ahead of time. Post it, post it, post it!!"
Recreational Vehicles Interests and Issues
Recreational Vehicles (RVs) users and dealers reported a variety of people that take up the activity. The typical user is a retired couple over 55 years old, traveling around the country to favored spots and to visit their children. These folks are unlikely to use public lands on a regular basis. The new generation of larger RVs have up to three "sliders", for the kitchen, the bedroom and living room. The parking spots in public campgrounds are not large enough to accommodate these sliders. Nor are campgrounds suitable for the sometimes large groups that these folks organize. Favorite areas include Highway Heaven in Sutherlin, Twin Rivers in Roseburg, Diamond Lake Campground, and Detroit Lake:
"We go to Detroit Lake. That's very well run and set up. There are a variety of sites."
The second type of user is the young family that purchases a "starter unit" in order to go camping. These people do make use of public lands, utilizing the campgrounds, rivers, lakes and trails. Often dealers or manufacturers sponsor RV clubs. They organize events and send sales people to them, along with technicians for participants. Several events a year are organized. "It's all about service," one dealer said.
"The parking spots are not adequate for the larger RV units."
"Black Canyon is run by the Forest Service and we can't get our rigs in it. My friend tried and they had antennas broken off, the tree branches hang so low."
Other Interests and Issues Related to Natural Resource Management
"The Forest Service is too removed from the community. They never talk to the common person. We need to be educated and informed. It seems like they are keeping things from us."
"If the Forest Service wants our support, then educate us!"
"Why would you go to the federal courthouse unless you were in trouble?"
"The Forest Service needs to tell citizens what benefits they provide the community. I watched the hillsides in Bethel cleared for houses, which has caused massive erosion, increased and damaging waterflow, more dust and septic tank problems. They can help us create stewardship approaches to human habitats."
"An educated public is a better audience. Trust increases when you make an effort for face-to-face contact."
"The anarchists may not always be effective but Eugene people listen to their messages. Like learning about that bank person who was using bank finances for personal investments in timber. The demonstrations in front of those banks really made us aware."
"The Forest Service should not allow dune buggies on the Oregon coast. It ruins the outdoor experience for me and my friends."
"I used to see only a few people out in the forest, but now you see lots more. It's almost getting overcrowded."
Permits and Northwest Forest Pass
"Some sites have additional permits, like Green Lakes and Cougar. Information ahead of time about these permits is hard to get."
"The Fee Demos are very confusing, especially for students who are in and out. They get up to the site, they can't purchase a permit there, and are faced with the choice of driving back or getting a ticket."
"People don't understand the permits. If we had more information, it would be helpful. It would be great if we could issue the forest permit, since we're already doing snow park permits." [Sporting goods store clerk]
"The Northwest Forest Pass, I learned, is voluntary. You can't even really get a fine, just a reminder to mail your $5, but if you don't, nothing happens. So all the sudden, I feel really exploited because I go ahead and pay it."
"Our hope is one gold card. Just buy it once and it's good for all. As it is now the forest pass is a major frustration."
"Updates on trail information are difficult to obtain. During a fire, or after a storm, it's hard to find the right person to get the information. A web page that is centrally managed is a good idea. River runners are great about this - you can find out current water levels anytime."
"There is a shortage of maps. Information about trail conditions is hard to find. Many employees don't know the area as well as others, so customers are not always well informed." [Sporting goods store manager]
"The Oakridge station is open during the week for commercial interests, but closed on weekends for the recreation interests. Let's staff it with volunteers if we have to." [REI store representative]
"A lot of students come from urban areas. They need more education about the forest, about proper conduct."
"Three fly fishing groups have contacted me and want to help clean up rivers, but I have no way to make use of their interest." [REI store representative]
"No clearcuts." [Very common]
"The only good timber sale is a cancelled timber sale."
"Every single timber sale planned around here has big trees in it - Blodgett, Flatco, Straw Devil, Pryor, Clark, Northnoon, Sten, and Turnridge. That's not thinning and it's not forest health."
"Keep logging off the streams. There's still some siltation in the streams."
A great number of scientists and citizens are concerned about the near extinction of certain biological regimes in the Willamette Valley, particularly wetlands, prairie lands, and oak savanna woodlands.
"The invasion of the exotics in the Willamette Valley is a huge and underrated problem. False brome, giant knotweed, and others. City budget for this problem has been shrinking."
The neighbors in southeast Eugene (Area 4, Figure 72) have been concerned about fire risk for many years. Residents work on education with the local fire department and are concerned about long-term fire risks. The BLM and the Forest Service could use Fire Plan resources to coordinate with residents and fire districts.
"Waldo Lake is sort of positive. At least we thought it was. It was a reasonable agreement for the phase out of motorboats. Then we got a letter from the Forest Service last week that was full of vague words but didn't really say anything. Finally at the end, it mentioned a lawsuit and 'we'll get back to you.' It was strange."
Opportunities should be utilized to engage with recreational publics in the Eugene area in a nonpolitical setting. By building trusting relationships, the stage is set for education about Forest Service/BLM initiatives in a non-threatening atmosphere.
Natural resource agencies could develop a news alert system, or newsletter, so that stores and other outlets could communicate better with the public. Information about trail conditions, road closures, gate closures, maintenance schedules could be posted in more accessible ways and could also be updated more regularly.
The Oakridge Ranger District could engage in more direct communication with Eugene mountain bikers. There are a number of missed opportunities to coordinate on trails and to communicate on methods of trail development and maintenance. As it is now, many bikers feel that their knowledge of trails, water erosion patterns, and use preferences are ignored, which contributes to the "outlaw" dynamic that fosters individuals just doing what they want. Some people expressed confusion about whether a long standing network of mountain bike enthusiasts, Disciples of Dirt, is still organized. The JKA team discovered that the group is indeed present, although it is even less formal now than in years past. There are roughly 30 people that participate in this network and many more for special events. These people would be excellent communicators with other mountain bikers in the valley as well as potential partners in monitoring and maintenance activities. They host the Cascade Cream Puff, a race of 100 maximum riders on the Alpine Trail, held the 3rd weekend of July. DOD has a website bulletin board on which information about rides, trail conditions, and so on is posted on a regular basis.
Neighborhood leaders meet once a month (4th Tuesday) in the Sloat Room of the Atrium Building, at 10th and Olive. This meeting would be an efficient way for the Forest Service and BLM to communicate with a wider public. The City neighborhood liaison sends packets of material to neighborhoods once a week, to which federal agencies are welcome to add. The city Neighborhood Services office sponsors many public events. In addition, many neighborhoods have their own newsletters sent out on a periodic basis.
Explore the prospects for the development of community-based restoration forestry as outlined above.
There are ample opportunities to create relationship with moderate environmental voices in non-political settings. For example, the fact that two neighborhood associations have involved themselves in restoration work is a tremendous opportunity to link neighborhoods and ecology in very new ways. These connections will build a base of understanding and support for agency initiatives.
The Forest Service could explore grant opportunities through the U.S. Department of Agriculture for purposes of interpretation, outdoor education, and restoration work. For example, groups like the Mt. Pisgah Arboretum and Nearby Nature are presently not connected with federal funding sources.
The final chapter of this report outlines in greater detail opportunities for responding to citizen interests identified in this chapter.
 Beltram, James, R. Evans, M. Hibbard, J. Luzzi, "The Scope and Future Prospects - Oregon's Ecosystem Management Industry, EWP Working Paper Number 1, Fall 2001, Ecosystem Workforce Program, Institute for a Sustainable Environment, University of Oregon.
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