The Osprey Group
others. One individual said, "There will be noise, light and traffic and this will
detract from the wetlands. It is not a pure wilderness. The wetlands are still within
the urban growth boundary. But, it will continue to be a major community amenity,
much like Central Park in New York."
Endangered Species There are growing concerns about several threatened or
endangered species. These include the Fender's Blue Butterfly, Kincaid's Lupine,
and Willamette Daisy. If a species is listed or critical habitat designated by the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, the Endangered Species Act requires Federal agencies to
ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the
continued existence of such a species or to destroy or adversely modify its critical
habitat. The USFWS is currently in the process of receiving comments about its
proposed designation of critical habitat for these species.
Transportation Demand While virtually everyone agrees that significant growth has
and is occurring in Eugene and surrounding communities, there is not parallel
agreement about the magnitude of the resulting demand for transportation or how this
demand should be met. Some say the proposed WEP is an expensive option,
financially and in terms of community and environmental impacts, to address a
relatively modest transportation problem. One person simply asked: "Do the traffic
projections warrant a project of this magnitude?" Those in this camp look to other
system improvements that might reduce the need for a concrete-intensive solution.
Some even believe the whole nature of transportation demand will dramatically
change over time as the price of fuel rises and driving individual automobiles
becomes more expensive. Others indicate it is time to make a difficult choice
because transportation demand is rising, in Eugene and between I-5 and the coast.
They particularly cite the growing truck traffic and congestion on West 11
and believe that considerable new highway capacity is necessary, not just
improvements to the existing network.
Many also think of the traffic demand in two parts. We heard from several who
discussed urban needs as distinct from the regional or connectivity needs, with the
former generally being east of Beltline and the latter being west of Beltline.
Are there Other Issues that Complicate the Decision-Making?
Trust The level of trust among key stakeholders is low. Almost every one of the
key stakeholders is seen as partisan. It might be expected that there would be limited
trust between environmental and development interests. And, indeed that exists. One
individual said simply, "The development community doesn't want the environmental
community to get away with anything." Sentiments are similar on the other side. It
should be said, of course, that neither the business community nor the environmental
While these are the "major substantive issues" voiced most frequently and explained most deeply by the
people we interviewed, clearly many others exist. They range from the details that are involved in the
permitting requirements of various agencies to suggestions of expanded rail service to the coast. Moreover,
there is often a vague line between substantive and procedural issues.