Eugene City Council to consider new rules for building along the Willamette River
Eugene’s city council will meet Wednesday to discuss new building codes for properties along the Willamette River.
The council has been working on a set of building guidelines for land in the Willamette River Greenway since February of last year. The city wants to balance its plans to develop the waterfront with statewide goals that protect riparian zones.
The proposed standards are more strict than in the rest of the city. They include requiring native plant landscaping, limiting the length of buildings near the river, and limits on location and materials for fences.
Buildings would not be allowed within 100 feet of the high water mark. The new rules would not change the boundaries of the Greenway or change existing zoning.
If adopted, prospective riverfront developers can choose between creating plans that adhere to these relatively stricter standards or using the city’s existing discretionary approval criteria.
The council meeting is on Wednesday at noon.
The Greenway was originally envisioned by Bob Straub, who faced off against Tom McCall for Oregon governor in 1966. Straub proposed setting up a protected corridor along the Willamette River from south of Eugene all the way to Portland. McCall was so taken by the idea that he adopted it into his own policy goals. When McCall won the office, he began to enact the Greenway plan, despite opposition from landowners.
Straub succeeded McCall in 1975, and established the Willamette Greenway Program as a program of State Land Use Planning Goal 15 (the “Willamette Greenway Goal”).
Today, the Greenway—as Straub envisioned—has yet to come to fruition. However, significant portions have been developed into parks like Champoeg State Heritage Area, Willamette Mission, and Riverfront Park in Eugene.