West Eugene Parklands Tour
The "No on 20-54 Committee," a coalition
of environmental and civic groups, is sponsoring a tour of the West Eugene Parklands,
public lands that would be paved by the proposed West Eugene Parkway. This is a good
way to see what the original Willamette Valley ecosystem looked like before Columbus,
since more than 99 percent of the original habitat is gone.
- Tour will start at 11 am at First and Bertelsen Streets on
Saturday, October 27.
In November, Eugene citizens will vote on Measure 20-54, which would authorize the
City to lobby state and federal agencies to build the West Eugene Parkway, a bypass
of the West 11th Street business district. An alternative, Measure 20-53, would implement
cheaper, diverse solutions focusing on land use changes and existing roads instead
of the WEP. The WEP would subsidize sprawl (such as the new Wal-Mart and Target superstores
at 11th & Beltline) and puncture the Urban Growth Boundary - not solve traffic
The WEP would slice through the heart of the West Eugene Parklands, a hidden treasure
that contains some of the last remaining native habitat in the southern Willamette
Valley. It threatens endangered species including Western Pond Turtles and rare plants,
and would fill in 50 acres of wetlands.
In recent years, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has spent over ten million dollars
to protect native wet prairie in West Eugene, and the Army Corps of Engineers has
spent millions more to restore lower Amazon Creek. These efforts can only succeed
if the so-called Parkway is permanently canceled by the voters on November 6.
In 1995, the WEP was projected to cost $88 million, which does not include inflation,
rising energy prices, cost overruns or widening nearby roads to handle the WEP's
traffic. Only $17 million is available (federal highway money), so the WEP's approval
would require new tax money or cancellation of other road construction and maintenance
The tour is free, and will be held rain or shine. Drinking water, a camera, lunch
and good shoes are recommended. For more information, call 349-9860 or 686-6761.