Despite Impasse, Eugene Mayor Says Negotiations With NW Natural Continue

Feb 28, 2021

Last week (Feb. 19, 2021), the city of Eugene allowed a deadline to renew a franchise agreement with NW Natural gas to lapse. City leaders want to leverage the agreement toward their carbon reduction goals.

A view of Eugene from Skinner Butte. The city says it and NW Natural are negotiating with mutual goal to decrease carbon emmisions associated with natural gas.
Credit Rachael McDonald / KLCC

  

The city seeks a commitment from NW Natural to live up to its own stated goals of de-carbonization, said Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis.

 “We’re just wanting that commitment to be part of our franchise agreement with them,” Vinis said. “It’s their stated goal as well and we just are wanting to hold them to that because it aligns with our climate recovery goals.”

Vinis says the current franchise agreement—which allows the utility to access city property-- will expire in May, but residents’ gas service won’t be affected. Vinis said negotiations aren’t over but the city is holding the line.

“Because this is an existential challenge that we’re facing,” said Vinis.  “Not just as a community but as a world. And this is a moment for us to do our part.”

Conservation groups, including Eugene-based Cascadia Wildlands, have called the city’s actions a victory for the push to reduce fossil fuel dependence. 

Copyright 2021 KLCC.