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Blue River residents' feedback sought for rebuilding project

Ruins of small town.
Brian Bull
Ruins and remnants of Blue River, as seen on Aug. 31, 2021.

Several draft concepts for rebuilding the fire-ravaged community of Blue River will be presented by Lane County officials this month. Local input is encouraged.

The 2020 Holiday Farm Fire burned over 173,000 acres, including much of Blue River. As rebuilding continues, officials say feedback on making the town accessible and thriving is essential.

Lindsey Eichner is Lane County’s Assistant Planning Director. She told KLCC that they will present three alternative plan options for Blue River residents.

Charred car and ruins.
Brian Bull
Blue River as seen on Oct. 28, 2020, just under a couple months after the Holiday Farm Fire hit it.

“What we’re looking at is, revising zoning codes and also implementing plans to increase walkability, and alternative modes of transportation,” explained Eicher. “So that people can have a livable place where they can walk, bike, take transit or drive where they want to go within their community.”

The county’s presentation is Wednesday Nov. 8 from 6:00pm-8:00pm at the McKenzie High School New Gym in Vida. A virtual workshop goes online from November 7-20 for those unable to attend in person.

The project is funded by the Oregon Dept. of Transportation and the state Dept. of Land Conservation and Development.

“The Complete Community Planfor Blue River is intended to promote mixed-use, compact, small-town development patterns so people can easily walk to meet their daily needs, such as school, work, shops, and recreation,” a Lane County press release states.

More information about the project and the virtual workshop can be found at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/BlueRiverCommunityPlan.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.