Get our free book (in Spanish or English) on rainwater now - To Catch the Rain.
Eugene is a city of the Pacific Northwest located in the U.S. state of Oregon. It is located at the southern end of the Willamette Valley, near the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers, about 50 miles (80 km) east of the Oregon Coast. The city's population for 2014 was estimated to be 160,561 by the US Census. It is the second most populous city in the state (after Portland) and the county seat of Lane County. Eugene is home to the University of Oregon and Lane Community College. The city is also noted for its natural environment, recreational opportunities (especially bicycling, running/jogging, rafting, and kayaking), and focus on the arts. Eugene's official slogan is "A Great City for the Arts and Outdoors". W
Initiatives by topic
Cascade Mycological Society - Lane County Audubon - McKenzie River Trust - McKenzie Watershed Council - Mount Pisgah Arboretum - Native Plant Society of Oregon, Emerald Chapter - Native Forest Council - Walama Restoration Project
Eugene is noted for its "community inventiveness." Many U.S. trends in community development originated in Eugene. The University of Oregon's participatory planning process, known as The Oregon Experiment, was the result of student protests in the early 1970s.
In the 1970s, Eugene was packed with cooperative and community projects. It still has small natural food stores in many neighborhoods, some of the oldest student cooperatives in the country, and alternative schools have been part of the school district since 1971. The old Grower's Market, downtown near the Amtrak depot, is the only food cooperative in the U.S. with no employees. It is possible to see Eugene's trend-setting non-profit tendencies in much newer projects, such as the Tango Center and the Center for Appropriate Transport. In 2006, an initiative began to create a tenant-run development process for downtown Eugene.
In the fall of 2003, neighbors noticed that "an unassuming two-acre remnant orchard tucked into the Friendly Area Neighborhood" had been put up for sale by its owner, a resident of New York City. Learning that a prospective buyer had plans to build several houses on the property, they formed a nonprofit organization called Madison Meadow in June 2004 in order to buy the property and "preserve it as undeveloped space in perpetuity." In 2007 their effort was named Third Best Community Effort by the Eugene Weekly, and by the end of 2008 they had raised enough money to purchase the property.
The City of Eugene has an active Neighborhood Program. Several neighborhoods are known for their green activism. Friendly Neighborhood has a highly popular neighborhood garden established on the right of way of a street never built. There are a number of community gardens on public property. Amazon Neighborhood has a former church turned into a community center. Whiteaker hosts a housing co-op that dates from the early 1970s that has re-purposed both their parking lots into food production and play space. An unusual eco-village with natural building techniques and large shared garden can be found in Jefferson Westside neighborhood. A several block area in the River Road Neighborhood is known as a permaculture hotspot with an increasing number of suburban homes trading grass for garden, installing rain water catchment systems, food producing landscapes and solar retrofits. Several sites have planted gardens by removing driveways. A 65-tree filbert grove on public property is being restored by citizen volunteers in cooperation with the city of Eugene. There are deepening social and economic networks in the neighborhood. W
Cycling is popular in Eugene and many people commute via bicycle. Summertime events and festivals frequently have bike parking "corrals" that many times are filled to capacity by three hundred or more bikes. Many people commute to work by bicycle every month of the year. Numerous bike shops provide the finest rain gear products, running lights and everything a biker needs to ride and stay comfortable in the damp, misty climate. Bike trails take commuting and recreational bikers along the Willamette River past a scenic rose garden, along Amazon Creek, through the downtown, and through the University of Oregon campus.
In 2009, the League of American Bicyclists cited Eugene as 1 of 10 "Gold-level" cities in the U.S. because of its "remarkable commitments to bicycling." In 2010, Bicycling magazine named Eugene the 5th most bike-friendly city in America. The U.S. Census Bureau's annual American Community Survey reported that Eugene had a bicycle commuting mode share of 7.3% in 2011, the fifth highest percentage nationwide among U.S. cities with 65,000 people or more, and 13 times higher than the national average of 0.56%. W
Organically Grown Company, the largest distributor of organic fruits and vegetables in the northwest, started in Eugene in 1978 as a non-profit co-op for organic farmers. Notable local food processors, many of whom manufacture certified organic products, include Golden Temple (Yogi Tea), Merry Hempsters and Springfield Creamery (Nancy's Yogurt & owned by the Kesey Family), and Mountain Rose Herbs. W
Spencer Butte Park at the southern edge of town provides access to Spencer Butte, a dominant feature of Eugene's skyline. Hendricks Park, situated on a knoll to the east of downtown, is known for its rhododendron garden and nearby memorial to Steve Prefontaine, known as Pre's Rock, where the legendary University of Oregon runner was killed in an auto accident. Alton Baker Park, next to the Willamette River, contains Pre's Trail. Also located next to the Willamette are Skinner Butte Park and the Owen Memorial Rose Garden, which is home to more than 4,500 roses of over 400 varieties, as well as the 150-year-old Black Tartarian Cherry tree, an Oregon Heritage Tree.
The city of Eugene maintains an urban forest. The University of Oregon campus is an arboretum, with over 500 species of trees. The city operates and maintains scenic hiking trails that pass through and across the ridges of a cluster of hills in the southern portion of the city, on the fringe of residential neighborhoods. Some trails allow biking, and others are for hikers and runners only. W
Reduce, reuse, repair and recycle
NextStep ReUse (also known as NextStep Recycling) is a non-profit organization based in Eugene, Oregon. Hundreds of volunteers have provided over 136,000 hours of service refurbishing and recycling electronics. To date, 20,000 computers have been refurbished and more than 6.2-million pounds of electronic waste have been recycled. W
Sustainable transport activism
Towards sustainable economies
Eugene's Saturday Market, open every Saturday from April through November, was founded in 1970 as the first "Saturday Market" in the United States. It is adjacent to the Lane County Farmer's Market in downtown Eugene. All vendors must create or grow all their own products. The market reappears as the "Holiday Market" between Thanksgiving and New Year's in the Lane County Events Center at the fairgrounds. W
Trees, woodland and forest
The KLCC Microbrew Festival is held in February at the Lane County Fairgrounds. It provides participants with an introduction to a large range of microbrewery and craft beers, which play an important role in Pacific Northwest culture and the economy. W
Wikipedia: Eugene, Oregon