July 22, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

City plans for re-wilding of Amazon Creek near South Eugene High School

3 min read

During the April 27 work session, City Councilors wanted to hear more about the re-wilding of Amazon Creek. From the City of Eugene, Craig Carnegie.

[00:00:09] Craig Carnegie: My name is Craig Carnegie. I’m the Parks and Open Spaces Manager. I’m here with Carolyn Burke, our Parks and Natural Resources Planning Manager, and we’re here to update you about the work that’s been accomplished over the last year using funds from both the 2018 bond and levy.

[00:00:23] John Q: The packet includes a 40-page report.

[00:00:27] Craig Carnegie: We hope to be back in front of council soon to discuss how best to continue funding this work, including a possible ongoing park fee to replace the levy or a levy renewal going before the voters in May of 2023. And with that update, I will hand it over to Carolyn to talk more about the bond.

[00:00:43] Carolyn Burke: I’ll start just by saying, by the end of this year, 13 out of 38 bond projects will be complete. That’s about one-third of the total projects, four years into the bond, so we’re making good progress. In general, we are on track for completion of the bond in the timeframe that we thought, which would be around 2028.

[00:01:04] So currently we have 28 of 38 bond projects either complete or underway.

[00:01:11] We’re really looking forward to this year. We have…the Amazon Creek rewilding project, which is between 19th and 24th and involves removing the concrete channel that that creek currently sits in.

[00:01:28] Councilor Alan Zelenka: I had a question about the Amazon Creek habitat restoration. That’s an almost a $3 million project. That’s going to take out the concrete and anybody explain that a little bit more.

[00:01:37] Carolyn Burke: I can a little bit. That is, a large project that is funded through a variety of sources. So it’s, that’s not all bond funding, there’s also stormwater in there. But basically currently between (East) 19th (Avenue) and (East) 24th (Avenue) there, the Amazon flows through a concrete box channel. And that’s the way we did things back in probably the (19)60s when we were just trying to get water out of town and now we know better.

[00:02:05] And we know that actually having it linger and maybe percolate into the soil and filter through vegetation is much better for well water, quality and flood control. And so the project will remove the concrete box that it currently resides in, and it will just add a little bit of meandering to it.

[00:02:26] We have a fair amount of right of way actually along Amazon Parkway there. So it can do some nice meandering, add a lot of vegetation. And that’s about it.

[00:02:39] Councilor Alan Zelenka: Yeah, that would be cool. It’d be between 24th but between Amazon Parkway and next to South Eugene High School, I think there’s going to be a great project. We won’t see as many grocery carts thrown into the channel that are hard to get to.

[00:02:53] Councilor Claire Syrett: I’m really excited about the Amazon Creek restoration project. I used to work in an office right next to that section. And so bringing it back to a more natural state will not only improve the water quality, but it’ll also just be much nicer for folks who live and work and walk and bike past that.

[00:03:11] That’s I think that’s going to be a really great enhancement. And then since Carolyn mentioned the Eugene Parks Foundation, I’ll just share that I’m a volunteer member of the board of Eugene Parks Foundation. And our mission is to raise funds to add amenities to our parks and recreation offerings that wouldn’t otherwise be possible, just simply relying on city funding.

[00:03:32] And we also help facilitate the purchase of additional parkland and donate that to the city. And in fact, we just did that for some land next to the Wild Iris Trail that the city’s planning to use to make access safer for folks who use that. And if you want to learn more about it, just look up Eugene Parks Foundation.org.

[00:03:52] John Q: For more on the parks update, see the Eugene City Council website.  

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