2024 State of the City - Year in Review

The City of Eugene is proud of all it accomplished in 2023. In April, the City finalized the purchase of the former EWEB Headquarters at the Downtown Riverfront to become Eugene’s City Hall. Opening this year, the new City Hall will establish a place for civic and community engagement, enliven public space on the river and increase access to City services. In July, the City Council adopted a new strategic plan, creating a framework to guide the City in coming years. 

2023 also ushered in a new biennial budget, enhancing strategic investments for community priorities while preparing for future needs. 

The Community Safety Payroll Tax continues to support safety in Eugene. The tax provided critical funding across the City, including to maintain a fire engine company, allow Municipal Court to open a new Community Court and Service Provider Room, and support five Rest Stops that provide shelter to more than 100 people, preparing them for a safe, stable future.

Stabilizing the cost of housing is an urgent community need. The Housing Implementation Pipeline leverages finite City resources and builds alliances with government and non-profits to access state and federal funds to support creating all types of shelter and housing.

Reinforcing the response to the homelessness crisis, the City teamed with Lane County and non-profits to improve most of its 653 shelter spaces, and extend operations through the budget biennium, using state emergency funds.

The City celebrated opening 70 affordable housing units at Peace Village Co-Op by Square One Villages and 12 units at Polk 2.0 by DevNW. The City awarded more than $4.6 million to begin developing 174 units of affordable housing at Ollie Court, Bridges on Broadway, and the Coleman by Homes for Good.

Cultural Services continued to create welcoming spaces with free programming in the downtown core. Fiesta Cultural and Downtown Halloween brought music and costumes, and Visual Arts Week celebrated the beginning of fall, including the quirky and spectacular BEAM Bright Parade, led by local arts organization ArtCity. 

In June, City Council amended the Downtown Urban Renewal Plan to allow for more investments in high priority downtown projects focused on housing and addressing physical safety and comfort.

Also creating a positive presence downtown is the Eugene Police Downtown Support Team, connecting with and supporting businesses, community members, and visitors.

Eugene Police improved crime reporting with My PD Connect, an online tool that adds user photos and videos to reports, and can arrange chats with Community Service Officers, specialists funded by the Community Safety Payroll Tax.  

EPD also partnered with PeaceHealth to equip 48 patrol SUVs with automated external defibrillators, saving an average of three lives every month.

Eugene Springfield Fire began using grant-funded cardiac assist devices, saving more than 40 lives by delivering continuous CPR without interruption. 

And, a new Life Safety Inspector at Eugene Springfield Fire increased inspections by more than 60%.

A wildfire at Moon Mountain Park reinforced the importance of emergency preparedness. Reducing fuels in City natural areas cuts the threat of wildfire while improving animal habitat and creating safer access. 

Eugene continues to make progress toward the goals of the Climate Action Plan 2.0. The City’s vehicle fleet is rapidly going electric, and low-carbon concrete is a growing option for roadwork. Several projects prioritized walking, biking and safety, as the City strives to reduce fossil fuel use by 50% by 2030.

This year, a record 1,266 new street trees were planted, mostly grown at the City’s own mini-nursery or local Willamette Valley nurseries.

Cultural Services partnered with Parks and Open Space on a new Art in the Park grant program, funding local organizations hosting activities in parks. 

The Urban Canvas program helped five artists put up murals in 2023, including at the Bethel Branch Library, and the new Fresh Paint Initiative elevated emerging muralists by giving them their own wall to use for 24 months.  

Expanding the library's longtime partnership with Eugene School District 4J, each of its nearly 15,000 students will receive their own library card, free and ready to use.

Eugene Recreation’s Youth Empowerment program worked with community partners to provide recreation and enrichment activities for youth during out-of-school hours.  

Through a weekly online Spanish-language video, the City continues to expand communication and outreach to increase communitywide understanding, engagement, and belonging.

City Council and Eugene voters made a historic investment in Active Transportation by including $15 million in the Street Repair Bond for walking, biking, safety, and street tree plans – with projects spread across Eugene. 

The pedestrian experience on 8th Avenue drastically improved with re-construction into a 2-way street with protected bike lanes, widened sidewalks, and reduced driving speeds.

Years in the making, the first residential building in the Downtown Riverfront neighborhood will complete this spring, bringing residents into 95 new homes.

2024 promises new opportunities for connection and creative solutions, and we look forward to working together for all of Eugene.