Jobs

In our modern economy, jobs are vital to community economic prosperity and individual prosperity. Beyond our immediate community, Eugene serves as a job center for Lane County and beyond. From a prosperity standpoint, not all jobs are created equal. Lane County has experienced high unemployment and relatively low average wages for several years.

Envision Eugene lays out a vision for the future in which all community members have ample economic opportunity. This means being proactive about fostering the kinds of employment that can thrive locally, provide family wage jobs, and align with other community values. While jobs are often created through private enterprises, the City can support those jobs through appropriate policies and land supply. Employers (particularly service providers such as groceries and banks) are a key part of 20-minute neighborhoods. Employees can also benefit from working near such services, which can simplify meeting daily needs.

Because Oregon as a state has placed great value on using our land and resources efficiently and thoughtfully, we have established procedures for determining how we devote land to employment as a use. These procedures inform how Envision Eugene has evaluated where and how much land we need for jobs to meet the goals laid out in the Envision Eugene pillars.

Overview

The topic of jobs is frequently brought up in conversations about Envision Eugene. Are we expanding for jobs? Why and where? This page covers some of the big picture questions about how jobs are being addressed through Envision Eugene. For more details, see the More on Jobs sidebar.

How do we plan for jobs?

Having enough land, land with the right characteristics, and supportive policies can be the deciding factor of whether an employer stays, locates or expands in a city. If a company can’t find a space that works (in terms of zoning, size, location, and access to services or transportation) in the time frame they need, they are likely to find a space in another community, taking jobs with them. Because businesses tend to operate on faster timescales than government, we plan ahead for twenty years of employment land need so the space is available when businesses need it.

That means that we have to plan for the number of jobs and types of employers that we think we will have in twenty years, including commercial and industrial employers. This planning is based on population growth and Eugene’s role as an employment hub for the region and policy decisions and analysis regarding the types of employment that will best achieve the goals of the community.

As noted in more detail on the urban growth boundary page, the three basic (but overlapping) steps for planning for jobs are to determine: 
A) How much land we need for 20 years of growth in terms of jobs (this includes decisions about the types of employers that we expect)
B) How much of that land we already have inside the UGB, and
C) How we are going to make up any difference

Identifying how to meet this land need has been a major effort of Envision Eugene. Beyond Envision Eugene, many efforts are made to increase resources for employers in Eugene.

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What is the latest on jobs?

Based on a forecast from the Oregon Employment Department, Eugene is expected to see an average job growth rate of 1.43% over the next twenty years, which equates to about 36,688 new jobs. This breaks down to about:
  • 11,423 industrial jobs 
  • 3,239 government jobs 
  • 18,444 commercial office jobs 
  • 3,582 commercial retail jobs 
Much of our employment land need can be met on existing lands within the UGB. Beyond the room for new jobs on vacant and partially vacant land, Envision Eugene also includes strategies to accommodate additional jobs within the current UGB through increased flexibility in certain industrial areas, assembly of parcels into large sites, brownfield redevelopment, and support existing businesses to help them thrive.

We've also found that we do not have enough large sites (greater than 10 acres) within Eugene to meet the needs of our target industries - such as those with higher wages and are likely to locate here. For the remaining need of job sites that we cannot meet inside the current UGB, Envision Eugene’s current recommendation is to expand the urban growth boundary (UGB) for 11 large industrial lots in the Clear Lake area. These sites address the needs of targeted industries, growing local businesses and new businesses, that need relatively flat, large parcels that are located near key transportation infrastructure but not too near existing residential areas.

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How do jobs relate to adopting our UGB?

The Urban Growth Boundary Adoption Package is the collection of legally required documents to formally set (adopt) the UGB. Jobs are addressed in multiple sections of the UGB Adoption Package.

Policies – The UGB Adoption Package will include both new land use policies related to jobs, and the removal of old employment policies.

Code – New land use code language is necessary to address employment land through zoning or other adjustments. See the proposed Clear Lake overlay zone (October 2015 Draft), intended to address preservation of large lots for development and environmental justice concerns. (Some zoning and code amendments have already been adopted to accommodate more jobs inside the current UGB. See Employment and Industrial Zones Code Amendments.)

Supporting Documents – Documents presenting the fact base and analysis for decisions related to jobs include the Economic Opportunities Analysis (under development), Buildable Lands Inventory, and Employment Land Supply Maps (see Land Supply and Capacity).

Urban Growth Boundary – The formally adopted UGB will reflect the determination to expand for industrial land in the Clear Lake area.

Because these documents are focused on showing the state that we are meeting our responsibilities in accordance with state law, most of the language in these documents is both legal and extremely detailed.

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How do jobs relate to Envision Eugene: Vision to Action?

Envision Eugene: Vision to Action is the set of four documents that present the outcome of the Envision Eugene process and complementary ways to make the community vision a reality.

Employment is one of our essential responsibilities to provide land for, and is associated with several of the pillars, including economic opportunity, neighborhood livability, compact development and climate and energy resilience.

The Community Vision explores the history, the values, and the goals that inform how Eugene should grow. Jobs are addressed as both a responsibility and topic around which the community has core values.

The Comprehensive Plan is the state-mandated land use policy plan for the City of Eugene. Land for jobs is addressed in its own chapter, while other issues related to economic opportunity are addressed in additional chapters. The UGB with the expansion for jobs is also included here.

The Urban Form Plan presents both local context and best practices to guide and inform the built environment in Eugene. These guidelines address the more specific design aspects of a variety of employment buildings and areas.

The Action Plan lays out specific steps to achieve the goals of Envision Eugene. Several of these actions relate to jobs through land supply and monitoring, land use code, and the financial context of economic development.

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What else might I want to know about jobs?

What are the targeted industries?
Based on research and analysis completed by the Lane Workforce Partnership, the Regional Prosperity Plan identifies several key industries that have higher than average wages and a higher likelihood of locating in our community, including:
  • Clean Technology/Renewable Energy – solar, wind, biomass 
  • Environmental Services – consulting, environmental clean-up 
  • Waste Remediation – materials recovery, remediation services 
  • Health and Wellness – care and treatment facilities 
  • Specialized Manufacturing – electronics, transportation, wood products 
  • Software/Information Technology Services – publishing, program development, data centers 
  • Biosciences – research, laboratories, device design, manufacturing 
  • Food Processing and Manufacturing – includes storage and distribution 
The community’s goal is not just to increase jobs but also increase jobs with higher wages and better benefits.

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