What's Next for South Willamette

On Monday night, City Council voted to withdraw the South Willamette Special Area Zone package, an attempt to reset a process that has produced much controversy and enhanced divisions within the City. The question now is—how do we move forward?
The process used to determine how to move forward in South Willamette will not just impact those who live or work in the immediate corridor—it affects all of Eugene. The South Willamette area is a regional hub and the long term vision for the neighborhood will affect many Eugene citizens. The question of how we ensure that we have enough housing to meet our future needs in a way that ensures all Eugene residents have an affordable place to live still needs to be resolved. It needs to be resolved in a way that balances the needs of current residents and future residents, those who live in the neighborhood and those for whom it is their place of business or primary commercial district, and the needs of the South Willamette area with other neighborhoods throughout the city. The South Willamette process is, and remains, a pilot for how we plan for the future, and what we as a community decide to do next will serve as a model for other neighborhoods and corridors throughout the City.
Mayor Kitty Piercy is proposing a forum, using a neutral facilitator, tentatively scheduled for June 20th. This would be followed by a Council work session, tentatively scheduled for June 27th, to discuss options for a community-driven process.
To create a truly community supported plan for the future, our next process needs to not only include those members of our community who have been vocally opposed to the previous South Willamette Special Area Zone plan, but those whose voices have not been clearly heard and who are not well represented by the neighborhood associations—renters, business owners, those who work or shop in the area, property owners and developers who will be tasked with creating whatever new development is going to occur, residents of other neighborhoods who will be affected by the outcome of the process, and those who are going to be the future home owners and neighbors of the South Willamette area.
If you support a process that listens to all neighbors, not just a few, and truly fulfills the goal of widespread citizen involvement in planning, let Council know that you want to be represented in the future of our city. Attend the forum if you can—WE CAN will send out more details as soon as they become available. Make your voice heard.