The riverfront in River Road and Santa Clara is an important community asset. It is part of the larger Willamette River Greenway that runs from Eugene to Portland, which was established by Oregon Statewide Planning Goal 15 to protect, conserve, enhance, and maintain the natural, scenic, historical, agricultural, economic, and recreational qualities of lands along the Willamette River, while still allowing for development. The Willamette River Greenway is a corridor of water and land in which development is planned and built with recognition of the unique qualities of the Willamette River. To implement Goal 15, cities and counties were required to adopt a Greenway section in their comprehensive plan, create a Greenway Boundary, and establish standards for new development, new uses, and intensification of uses within the boundary area. The standards were intended to maintain physical and visual access to the river, preserve habitat and vegetation near the river, and to direct development away from the river.
Directing development away from the river does not mean development is prohibited. It means that the site design needs to provide open space and access as appropriate in a case by case analysis. The River Road portion of the Willamette River Greenway is within Eugene’s UGB and subject to the Eugene Code while the Santa Clara portion is outside the UGB and subject to the Lane Code.
In addition, the City of Eugene and Lane County have both adopted a Water Resources Conservation Overlay Zone which implements waterway setback regulations associated with Oregon Statewide Planning Goal 5 to protect significant natural resources. These regulations apply to the Willamette River, as well as other waterways in the River Road-Santa Clara neighborhoods. The City of Eugene has also implemented the Water Quality Overlay Zone which applies waterway setback regulations associated with Statewide Planning Goal 6 to protect water quality. These regulations apply to certain waterways with significant natural resource or water quality functions and values. To view how both of these overlay zones apply to River Road-Santa Clara, view Eugene’s Zoning Map.
For more information about waterways and natural resources in River Road-Santa Clara, check out the Parks and Natural Resources Map and Stormwater handout.