EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Some West Eugene residents are working on a local solution of their own to beautify their neighborhood in a step that's changing the direction of a city project originally aimed at masking a blighter corner.
The work is happening in Eugene's Trainsong neighborhood. It started a couple weeks ago when an old corner store was demolished and one resident made a Facebook post about the future of the property to Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy.
The old store was next to Eugene's Public Works yard on Roosevelt Boulevard and North Garfield Street. The City of Eugene now owns the property.
Originally, after demolishing the building, the City planned to merely extend a chain link fence with tan privacy slats around the corner space.
However, one resident asked Mayor Piercy about beautifying the area with the neighborhood volunteer help. Mayor Piercy responded, linking the resident with Eugene Public Works. They met on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, and came to an agreement.
The plan now is to collaborate on landscaping the corner, likely with shurbs and other low lying plants, in an effort to beautify the area.
The City says it wouldn't have tackled this project as quickly without neighborhood interest and involvement. "The neighborhood coming forward and saying, 'this is important to us'; then that expresses (a) neighborhood wish for the priorities to raise and that gives us the justification for changing some of those priorities and becoming more proactive on doing that work,” says Johnny Medlin, Project Manager for the City of Eugene Parks & Open Space Division.
Medlin said the City has always had plans to beautify the Public Works yard, but hasn't ever come up with a timeline. Much of the money it would normally have been spent beautifying the area has gone into land acquisition around the Public Works yard, to expanding fleets and other needs.
The City has made initial steps to beautify some areas near the yard, replacing part of the chain link fence with wrought-iron fencing, along with trees and shrub along Roosevelt closest to the Eugene Parks office space.
Medlin says another possibility for help is if the neighborhood goes after City matching grant funding.
Medlin says the challenge to residents now is to think bigger. While neighbors were originally focused on the corner store property, Medlin was the city would love to see sidewalks down all of Garfield Street and a new sidewalk planter with trees and shrubs. Medlin says neighbors have even discussed the idea of a welcome sign which could go in an area that would be visible to drivers coming off Chambers Street.
The plan now is for neighbors to meet with city staff in another month, so they can share ideas about how to move forward.