Beating around the Budget

On Oct. 19 the Eugene City Council held public hearings concerning a city code amendment to support local businesses and confirm the budget of the downtown urban renewal project. The city planning commission met back in September to discuss the impacts of a city code that limits the time allowed for land use approvals, and decided to draft an amendment with hopes it would ease the stress off local land use projects. 

The time extension ordinance would make it easier for local businesses to undergo land use projects by allowing them more time for completion. City staff estimate this would positively affect approximately 50 current land use approvals. There was no community discussion on this city ordinance, and it is set to go into effect Oct. 21.

Following this, the City Council sat as the Eugene Urban Renewal Agency and held a public hearing for the adoption of a special supplemental budget to the 2016 Downtown Urban Renewal Plan (DURP) that would provide funds for the projects identified in the plan, including the Lane County Farmers Market. The agency passed the budget proposal, including an allotted $3.1 million towards the market, and a second $1.8 million towards designing and construction of some pieces of the Park Blocks, including a public restroom and improvement on 8th Avenue, Park Street and Oak Street. 

During the public forum, one city resident advocated for an increase in the annual Urban Renewal agency budget while a second city resident, Ethan Klein, noted the original city plan included three public restrooms. 

Klein said that during a global pandemic many unhoused individuals need clean and safe restrooms, and that this could be an example of the city’s progressive values. 

“Other cities from nearby Portland, to Victoria, B.C., to as far away as Grand Rapids and Cambridge have been providing safe and reliable 24-hour restrooms for the past several years […] can’t our city of Eugene be more among these progressive cities, and the services they provide their public?” he said.

After the public hearing, the council unanimously passed the resolution to adopt the proposed budget, including the one public restroom and downtown improvements. 

To watch this week’s Eugene City Council meeting or to join the Zoom call for future meetings, visit