Campus planning wins award for euphemism of the month

2/14/2018: Over 2015-2016 UO hired outside consultants to run what was billed as an inclusive visioning process to work out how UO might grow to accommodate 34K students. Their report is here. The appendix, which includes minutes from many CPC etc. meetings is here.

The gist: UO went through a fairly extensive consulting and public outreach effort, which involved the Senate CPC and many other stakeholders, and which produced an elaborate  “Framework Vision” which concluded UO should not build anything substantial between the tracks and the Willamette, and which includes no mention of floodlights or astroturf (that I can find).

Now, less than two years later, after minimal additional public input, UO is going to the city to get a Conditional Use permit that will allow buildings on 18% of the land between the tracks and the river, astroturf over a large part of the rest, and floodlights.

And they are using the public process from the “Framework Vision”, which opposed building between the tracks and the Willamette, to try and convince the city to give them this permit.

Some excerpts from the Vision:


The 14-month planning process included four work sessions with the Campus Planning Committee and the Advisory Group that the university created for the UOCPFV. The four work sessions addressed

• Scope, Schedule, Products, Principles, Values and Themes, and Ecological and Sustainable Planning

• Analysis, Planning Considerations, Framework

• Refined alternatives

• Final Recommendations The university conducted an on-line survey and held open houses for the campus community and neighbors as well as five public outreach sessions with interested on-campus groups and campus neighbors.

Capacity Findings

• Infill opportunities exist in the established areas of the campus, achievable without compromising the campus’s beauty and function.

• Land north of the railroad tracks is only needed for playing fields. (emphasis added)

• While the university needs some of the area in North Design Area between the railroad tracks and Franklin Boulevard, a large portion of the land is not needed to meet the 34,000 student enrollment. This may offer a significant opportunity to the university for partnerships or as a land bank for unforeseen future program needs.

• Only a minor portion of the Walnut Station area (Romania etc.) is needed; it too offers a significant opportunity.

• Building north of Franklin Boulevard will initially challenge the culture within and among departments; this will be remedied over time as the area develops.

and also

Working with the City of Eugene it may be possible to create a city park at the river’s edge in exchange for city-owned land useful to the university.

And while the maps produced by the consultants are not always internally consistent, most show no buildings between the track and the Willamette:

They do show two large “outdoor classrooms”. Apparently that’s the latest euphemism for “astro-turfed flood-lit athletic field.


2/10/2018: UO wants permission from city for buildings, astro-turf and floodlights between railroad tracks and the Willamette River

That’s a lot of astro-turf. The Eugene Weekly’s Kelly Kenoyer had the story last month here:

The permit plan is a bit vague to allow for future changes to the development, but includes a few buildings near the 6th Avenue bike path and near the Frohnmayer Footbridge, numerous buildings between Franklin Boulevard and the train tracks, and synthetic turf fields lit by floodlights near the footbridge.

I wonder if the proposal is motivated by the 2021 IAAF extravaganza planning. The UO Senate voted against development between the tracks and the river back in 2010 or so, and will host a discussion between the administration’s Mike Harwood and opponents, this Wednesday sometime between 4 and 5PM, in the EMU Crater Lake rooms. Schedule here.