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Please join us for a discussion on Livability in the JWN @ our March 10 General Meeting at the UMC on Olive near 13th.

Below are some resources and some excerpted information and graphics on aspects of livability.

JWN Resources


From Livability Indicators CH2M-Hill

Envision Eugene “Neighborhood Livability” theme: Protecting, repairing and enhancing neighborhood livability is a central pillar of the community’s vision for Eugene.

How are “Livability” and “Quality of Life” defined?

“Livability” and “quality of life” are terms which, though in widespread use, do not have single agreed upon definitions. The following section briefly describes the common usage of each term and finishes with a proposed working definition for the Oregon Least Cost Planning tool.

Livability: Derived from the word “livable,” “livability” is defined broadly as “suitability for human living.” …factors such as political stability, safety, healthcare, education, public services, transportation, recreation, housing, and environmental quality.

Additionally, recent research conducted on five mature metropolitan livability programs3 throughout the United States resulted in a diverse array of livability objectives (Fabish & Haas, 2010). The types of livability objectives included in these programs include:

  • environmental goals (such as air quality, open space, and greenhouse gas emissions);
  • economic goals (such as economic revitalization and development);
  • land use goals (such as compact, mixed use development);
  • transportation goals (such as walkability, accessibility, and transportation choices);
  • equity goals (such as affordable housing and mixed-income communities); and
  • community development goals (such as sense of place, safety, and public health).

Broadly, quality of life refers to the general well-being of individuals and societies.

[…]When urban planners talk about enhancing quality of life, they are generally talking about the external conditions that contribute to quality of life (such as level of income or access to services and resources); rather than the internal experience of quality of life that is based more on subjective judgment and life satisfaction as a whole (Pichardo-Muñiz, 2010).

[…]For example community quality of life indicators refer to the benefits derived from increased physical activity; breathing clean air; having access to transportation choices, jobs, housing, education, open space, and healthy food; having adequate opportunities for recreation and leisure time; living in a pleasant, safe, and cohesive community; and having a sense of social belonging, among others (Forkenbrock & Weisbrod, 2001).

[…]While these are all very similar to the aspects of livability described above, (and indeed the two terms are often used interchangably in the urban planning field), the distinction lies in the difference between the presence and quality of the amenities of the built and natural environments (livability) and the user experience of those amenities and any associated health benefits (quality of life).

 

Perceptions_of_Livability_in_Oregon-Parker_and_Lewis-DRAFT_10_09_17_

From this process, several thematic categories emerged including (1) housing, (2) community features or attributes, (3) infrastructure, (4) natural environment, and (5) transportation.

[…]Community features such as lighted bike paths along a river, a covered bus stop shelter along a street, or drinking fountains in a downtown neighborhood are becoming the norm for livable places. In fact, livable places are often judged by the amount and diversity of community features (amenities) they have (Balas, 2004).

[…] Accordingly, communities need to consider the features they employ: “adopt a narrative that resonates by leveraging historic, cultural or other unique attributes of your community that tend to unite people” (Guzman and Douglas, 2015).

[…] Transportation is frequently associated with livability; either through mention of traffic congestion, safer streets, transportation alternatives and modal choices, or even the impact new technology could have on transportation systems into the future.

Eugene Neighborhood Livability Working Group Report September 2011

*Mostly focused on students housing impacts

We take as fundamental rights already protected by law, that all residents of the city and the city’s neighborhoods shall be entitled to the safe and peaceful enjoyment of their residences and that their property shall be respected; that public behavior shall be consistent with these rights.

Behaviors with negative impacts addressed in this paper:

Property, Personal & Behavior Crimes & Issues

  1. Noise-related
  2. Related to Personal Safety (violent crimes, fighting, intimidation, sexual assault, robbery)
  3. Related to Property (theft, vandalism, trespass, graffiti, removal of public signs)
  4. Traffic (illegal parking, DUII, speeding)

Zoning/Land Use Issues

  1. Property Upkeep (incl. not limited to: garbage removal, lawn care, home maintenance, litter)
  2. Parking
  3. Zoning Violations
  4. Exodus of Long-Term Neighbors

JWN Report on Negative Infill Impacts

Reduced privacy impacts

  • Views into adjacent dwelling
  • Views into adjacent backyard

Crowding and reduced view impacts

  • Excessive wall adjacent to existing dwelling
  • Excessive wall adjacent to existing backyard
  • Insufficient setback between structures.

Obstruction of sunlight or air circulation impacts

  • Sunlight obstruction
  • Air circulation obstruction

Excessive light and noise intrusions

  • Excessive exterior area lighting.
  • Excessive noise from building-related equipment.
  • Excessive noise, exhaust smell, or unhealthy fumes from parking and/or driveway traffic adjacent to existing dwelling or backyard.
  • Excessive noise, dust, exhaust smell, or unhealthy fumes from alley traffic adjacent to existing dwelling or backyard.

Other

  • Excessive, poorly located, and/or poorly screened on-site parking

Traffic, parking, and pedestrian safety impacts

  • Parking or excessive driveway surface in front of structure (i.e., between structure and street), or excessive curb cut.
  • Diminished pedestrian and bicyclist safety; reduced appeal of walking and bicycle riding.

Neighborhood impacts

  1. Loss of permeable surfaces.
  2. Loss of arable surfaces, large- and small-scale vegetation, habitat, and wildlife.
  3. Increased load on infrastructure, including streets, alleys, sidewalks, water system, sanitary sewer, storm sewers.

Livability is a factor in Land Use Law: Case from the Land Use Board of Appeals

LUBA Benjamin v Ashland min impact on livability

LUBA Eckis v Linn County — Livability and Traffic

Updated February 16, 2020

The area around the EWEB Substation, behind the Lane Events Center, at W. 15th Ave by the Fern Ridge Trail and the Jefferson Park Dog Off-Leash Area has been experiencing a steady increase in illegal and dangerous activity. The JWN, EPD, EWEB, the City of Eugene, and LEC has been working with neighbors to try to get meaningful mitigation in place, but the confluence of jurisdictions and rules around Amazon Creek have made it a challenge. The threat here is not just to adjacent neighbors. This is an area that sees significant public use as the confluence of bike and pedestrian paths, O’Hara Catholic School, the heavily used Jefferson Park DOLA, and event vendors and visitors to LEC. If you have experienced illegal activity or have been threatened or felt threatened in this area, please contact us: jwneugene@gmail.com.

Thanks to the exemplary efforts of EPD Crime Prevention Specialist Janina Rager and EWEB’s Gina Hobie, there will be lighting installed (see photo on right) soon. However, there are problems even in daylight, such as the recent incident of a pistol being fired in the ally adjacent to the substation. The alley is the main source of the problems.
The JWN Executive Board Chair has send the following message to city and county representatives and staff:
As you might aware, the problems around the EWEB substation near 15th and Jefferson greatly escalated with a firearm being discharged in the adjacent alley in broad daylight. On top of previously documented and ongoing issues with trespassing, burglary, aggressive and anti-social behavior, illegal camping, public defecation, and drug use the current environment poses a serious public safety issue that demands immediate intervention. 
The physical characteristics of the area have created an attractive nuisance that demands mitigation by the city, county, EWEB, and the Lane Events Center. In our estimation, the fact that there are has not yet been serious physical violence or injury (or worse) is a matter of pure luck. It is foolhardy to continue to roll the dice here.
While the JWN wants to commend the extraordinary efforts by Officer Janina Rager and EWEB’s Gina Hobie in working on the issue and the promise of security lighting in the vicinity, this most recent incident indicates that more significant action is needed.   
The threat here is not just to adjacent neighbors. This is an area that sees significant public use as the confluence of bike and pedestrian paths, O’Hara Catholic School, the heavily used Jefferson Park DOLA, and event vendors and visitors to LEC. 
A serious incident, particularly one involving a LEC vendor or guest could have, in addition to the person trauma, serious financial and reputational damage to the LEC. 
The city has spent considerable resources to encourage use of this transportation corridor and the perception this crossroads is not safe will undermine that investment. 
The JWN has spent considerable time and resources to rehabilitate the park and create the Jefferson Park DOLA. This was largely done to reclaim this area for public use. 
The overall potential for public safety and liability is too extreme to ignore. Moreover, there is risk of a destabilizing spiral where people will start avoiding the area thus ceding the space to even more undesirable activities and users. 
While the JWN understands the complexity of the interaction of so many public agencies and jurisdictions, an extraordinary threat demands extraordinary cooperation and action. 
First, public access to the alley adjacent to the EWEB substation needs to be restricted immediately. A temporary barrier can buy us some time as a more permanent solution is negotiated. To be blunt, if you all do not restrict access it is highly likely that neighbors will take it upon themselves to do so. That is the level of fear and desperation people are experiencing.
Second, we need enhanced regular day and night patrols in the area. Private security should be used if EPD and LEC resources are inadequate.    
The JWN Board requests a meaningful and  timely response and a plan and timeline for implementation.
Here is neighbors account of the problems (edited for length, privacy, and from first to third person perspective:
Neighbors observe individuals entering the alley with what appear to be stolen bikes and emerging in apparent states of psychosis. A neighbor was once very nearly assaulted as he was attempting to recover a PeaceHealth Ride bike from near Amazon Creek. More recently, a neighbor witnessed an individual attempting to break into a another neighbor’s garage who then fled down the alley after the neighbor began watching him and taking video with his phone. That neighbor also discovered that someone (likely the same burglar) had entered the property from the alley by breaking through a gate and then damaged a boarded-off window in another attempt to break in. 
Neighbors regularly find piles of garbage, human waste, hypodermic needles and other discarded drug paraphernalia (a likely reason for the previously mentioned psychosis). It is not a place they often go due to the risk of encountering dangerous individuals and bio-hazardous waste. 
While the situation in the alley has been both upsetting and dangerous for the past three years and two recent incidents involving firearms have motivated neighbors to organize for the purpose of getting some kind of gate or barrier installed over both ends of this alley. The first incident took place this fall, in which an individual affiliated with a group of un-housed campers near the south end of the alley was witnessed threatening another individual in the nearby Jefferson dog park with a gun. The second incident occurred this past Sunday and was recorded by a neighbor’s security camera, in which an individual is seen walking down the alley, casually raises a pistol and then fires it down the alley to the north. Both incidents have been reported to EPD.
We have already witnessed the alley being used as a base and redoubt for criminal activity in the area and have no reason to believe that such activity will not continue or worsen without significant intervention. 
The best intervention that I can imagine is to have both ends of the alley closed off with tall gates that would extend from the northeast and southeast corners of the wall surrounding the EWEB substation to the fences surrounding adjacent properties.