Enhance Glenwood Sustainability

Don’t erase Glenwood’s character — enhance it

By Shannon Wilson  and Kris Maenz

Published: February 21, 2013 12:00AM, Today

Glenwood businesses and residents are being told that we must accept that the city of Springfield intends to buy out all properties along Franklin Boulevard and the Willamette River. The city would do this to accommodate hospitality industries — multistory hotels, condominiums, student housing and low-end restaurants.

In its defense, the city of Springfield will say it has the Glenwood Refinement Plan, which incorporates the opinions of citizens of Glenwood and Springfield. However, this plan has no legally binding language that requires Springfield or prospective developers to follow citizen wishes.

Glenwood is an unincorporated area between Eugene and Springfield. At least 1,200 low-income people call it home. Glenwood offers a plethora of services to its residents that may be unmatched by any neighborhood in Eugene or Springfield.

Within eight blocks of any house in Glenwood proper one can find building supplies, auto maintenance supplies, tools, do-it-yourself recycling and garbage services, appliance repair, a locksmith, garden and landscaping supplies, brick and mortar supplies, professional dog sitting, equipment rental, recreational supplies, tires, auto repair, shipping services, family health services, miniature golf and pizza on the river.

Just outside Glenwood, large grocery stores are within one mile in each direction. Three public libraries are within one, two and four miles. Lane Community College and University of Oregon are within three miles. Island Park, Dorris Ranch, Hendricks Park and Amazon Park are all within a mile or two.

Where else in Eugene or Springfield could one live in close proximity to such a complete array of goods, services and recreation, as well as institutions of higher learning and culture — all accessible by bus, bicycle or foot? Many Glenwood residents are in economic transition: They’re college students, or citizens avoiding becoming homeless by renting in one of the five mobile home and trailer parks. Others who plan to stay in Glenwood long-term because it is affordable and offers a real community.

If Springfield and developers have their way, most of those 1,200 people may become “Glenwood refugees.” Once most Glenwood residents are shoved out, they will find their quality of life greatly diminished. Necessities will be more difficult to acquire. Some will become homeless.

Our vision accepts the fact that new and improved housing should be the primary goal for Glenwood. However, we contend that it should not destroy current businesses and services, create “Glenwood refugees” or diminish the beauty of the Willamette River.

We do not believe that Glenwood should be turned into a hospitality hub for University of Oregon sports fans or well-off university students. We believe that all future buildings in Glenwood should be built for lower- to middle-income Lane County residents.

The first priority would be not only to keep the same level of real services for Glenwood’s current and future residents, but to add services. Springfield should accommodate new, locally owned services and goods suppliers that meet the needs of a larger Glenwood population, as well as to create a more economically resilient and prosperous community.

The second major priority would be to create access to Lane Community College, Buford park, Mount Pisgah and the UO that is segregated from automobiles and connected to the EmX bus service. That infrastructure would benefit not only Glenwood residents but all Eugene and Springfield residents who had the ability to reach a Glenwood alternative transportation hub.

The land is open to such transportation infrastructure now. In contrast, the Glenwood Refinement Plan states that this type of non-automobile infrastructure is a “long-term vision.”

This vision, if enacted, could create a truly sustainable and economically resilient community for current and future residents who would not be dependent on either the boom-and-bust hospitality industry or on automobiles. It could become a world-class showcase of how to design and renew an urban area sustainably and with respect — an example for other communities to follow.

Springfield’s city manager tried to placate our apprehensions regarding Glenwood residents and services being shoved out by this development. He told us that Springfield would try to help citizens who might be displaced by the development get back on their feet.

Why would the city of Springfield want to diminish the quality of life in Glenwood, as well as knock the feet out from under struggling Glenwood businesses and residents, just to enhance the wealth of the wealthiest?

Glenwood residents Shannon Wilson and Kris Maenz have been involved in alternative transportation and land use issues relating to Glenwood and neighboring communities for several years.


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