April 22, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Latest parks report: Continued safety concerns over camping

2 min read
Survey results show that while 75% of respondents feel "very" or "moderately" safe, illegal camping continues to be a primary contributor to people's sense of safety.

from Community Engagement Manager Kelly Shadwick

The City of Eugene Parks and Open Space and Recreation divisions have published the Fiscal Year 2022 Parks and Recreation Bond and Levy Annual Report.

Four years into bond measure implementation, 80% of projects are underway or completed. Approximately 67% of bond funds have been spent, which is on track and expected given many larger cost projects were front-loaded at the beginning of bond implementation.

Implementation of the operating levy to support park safety and maintenance activities has also kept pace and adapted to ever-changing conditions.

Operations Levy Implementation

Levy-funded operations continue to keep parks safer, cleaner, and greener through ongoing efforts of the park safety team, developed park maintenance, and trails and natural areas maintenance. More frequent servicing of parks, enhanced trail and natural area maintenance, and an increased security presence in parks are the hallmarks of this operating levy.

The third annual survey was conducted in the summer of 2022 to understand residents’ experiences in parks and measure their satisfaction with enhanced levy services. Several key takeaways include:

  • Eugene parks are important to the quality of life of survey respondents with 89% of respondents indicating parks are “extremely” or “very important” to their quality of life.
  • Most respondents feel “very” (33%) or “moderately” safe (42%).
  • People’s sense of safety for more than half of respondents (58%) has not changed in the past year.
  • Those who feel less safe indicated people camping is the primary contributor to why they feel less safe, along with behavior of people at the parks and evidence of drug use. For those who feel safer, they cited seeing fewer people camping as their primary reason.
  • For most (70%), the changes made possible by 2018 levy funds are completely or mostly worth the additional expense.

Bond Measure Implementation

Work to implement the Parks and Recreation bond measure has continued in FY22 with the completion of the following projects:

  • Downtown Riverfront Park
  • Sheldon Pool & Fitness Center
  • Berkeley Park
  • Monroe Park Lighting
  • Trailhead Restroom Enclosures

The following projects are currently in the planning stages:

  • Amazon Creek Habitat Restoration
  • Golden Gardens Park and Sports Complex
  • Mattie Reynolds Park
  • MLK Jr. Park Renovation
  • Suzanne Arlie Ridgeline Trail and Access

Habitat restoration is ongoing along the Ridgeline and Skinner Butte. By coming back to a site over two to three consecutive years, invasive species are more effectively managed.

More information is available at eugparksandrec.org and https://www.eugene-or.gov/4165/2018-Bond-and-Levy.

In May 2018, voters overwhelmingly supported a $3.15 million annual operating levy for five years and a $39.35 million capital bond.

The operating levy provides maintenance funding to care for existing and future planned parks, operations funding for renovated and expanded recreation facilities and funding to help address safety concerns in parks due to illicit activity and vandalism. The current levy will expire in June 2023.

The capital bond funding goes toward renovating parks and recreation facilities as well as building trails and new parks in underserved areas.

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