City Club of Eugene: Glenwood Refinement Plan

Recorded on: Sept. 9, 2016
Air date: Sept. 12, 2016
Coordinator: Randy Prince

A Refinement Plan is a legally-binding set of guidelines for a specific geographical area, subject to the more general rules in the Metro Plan and city code.  After three decades of land use planning, some changes are coming for Glenwood, a low-income neighborhood just east of Eugene. The City of Springfield administers the Glenwood Refinement Plan and an Urban Renewal District for funding improvements.

Planning for Glenwood began in 1985, three years after Eugene, Springfield, and Lane County adopted the Metro Plan.  Under the leadership of the City of Eugene, then responsible for the unincorporated area, citizens met to detail what to keep and what to add or change to improve the neighborhood.   Two parts of the neighborhood were marked out and taken on in sequence as Phase I and Phase II.  Eugene’s effort in Glenwood was one of several Refinement Plans written that decade, with additional areas covered in the following decade. Neighborhood-level planning in Eugene has since shifted to other templates, with differences in legal standing, method of citizen involvement, and strategies for funding the desired improvements.
The Glenwood Refinement Plan was developed by citizen planning teams, with representatives from business and other property owners as well as those who live there.  Glenwood is diverse in land use, more so than many of the areas in Eugene where Refinement Plans have been established.  There are industrial, commercial, and residential uses.  Small homes are occupied by a mix of owners and renters. Most of the mobile home parks predate the era of “manufactured homes,” with many smaller or older single-wide trailers.

Glenwood residents submitted a petition in 1994 to assign jurisdiction to the City of Springfield.  In 1998 the request was accepted, and the Refinement Plan was part of the transfer.  In 1999 another citizen team met for several months to modify the plan.  Under Springfield’s leadership, a focus emerged around the riverfront area north of Franklin Boulevard (Phase I area).  An Urban Renewal District was established in 2005 to provide funding for improvements.  Planning work continues; most recently there is an effort to establish a convention center, hotel, and public parking in the Phase I area. Construction of three roundabouts on Franklin Boulevard is expected to begin shortly.

In 2015, the Phase I plan received the American Planning Association’s National Planning Excellence Award for Economic Planning and Development.
Planning work remains for the Phase II area, south of Franklin.  This is where the majority of the Glenwood’s population resides, most of them in older mobile home parks.  Many residents are anxious about increasing property values and possible loss of their low cost housing.  Housing security for mobile home tenants has sometimes been difficult; state law gives limited protection in the event of closure—365-days notice and a cash payment up to $9000.

Speakers:

  • Steve Moe grew up in Glenwood and operates an electronic equipment business there.  He was part of the process establishing the Metro Plan, the Glenwood Refinement Plan, and both of Springfield’s Urban Renewal Districts.  He serves on the Springfield Planning Commission.
  • Courtney Griesel is the Community Development Manager for the City of Springfield.  She is a graduate of the UO’s School of Planning, Public Policy, and Management and has a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University.
  • Barry Sommer is a seven-year resident of the Riverbank RV park.  Originally from California, he worked 10 years as an on-air personality on commercial radio in Eugene-Springfield and is a recent liberal arts graduate of Northwest Christian College.

Copyright, KLCC 2016