Amazon Corner Traffic Impact Analysis Appeal Denied

On April 4, the City of Eugene’s hearing officer gave his decision about the appeal of the City’s approval of the traffic impact analysis for the proposed Amazon Corner development in South Eugene. The hearing officer denied the appeal, which had been lodged by Friends of Amazon Creek and the Southeast Neighborhood Association. Friends of Amazon Creek had our land use attorney, Sean Malone, review the hearing officer’s decision for possible  appeal to LUBA. While several legal issues were identified that could potentially support an appeal to LUBA, his advice was that even if we prevailed, the likelihood of meaningful relief from the project’s impact on the neighborhood would be minimal. Thus, we have decided not to proceed.

We thank the SEN Board for their support of the appeal process so that affected neighbors could be heard and their concerns addressed. We also thank the many donors who generously funded the appeal.

At this point the development will proceed with construction of 117 residences above retail space in a 5-story, 62-feet tall structure at 32nd and Hilyard. This will exceed the total number of residences lining the entire Amazon Corridor on East Amazon and West Amazon, from their beginnings at 33rd Avenue to the end at Martin Street. The case serves to highlight many issues concerning the future of development in Eugene, and especially the relationship between the City Planning and Developer Department and neighborhood residents. Protecting the character and livability of our neighborhoods will likely be a topic of increasing attention in the coming years, and we strongly encourage Eugene residents to participate in this conversation.



Below is archival information about the successful 2015 campaign opposing the Crossfire Tower in South Eugene

UPDATE July 27, 2015: EWEB has circulated a memorandum to update staff on policy for placement of telecom facilities on utility poles and street lights. To read the memo click here. It remains to be seen how EWEB will engage local residents and respond to their input about future proposed sitings.

This is in response to news about AT&T’s withdrawal of its application for the Crossfire tower. AT&T announced that instead they will focus their efforts on putting microwave transmitters on utility poles in the neighborhood. See the Register Guard article here.  See AT&T’s letter of withdrawal here.

The new strategy is known as a Distributed Antenna System or DAS. We are awaiting details on the dose levels of microwave radiation emissions they will be proposing for nearby homes. The Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB), the customer-owned, not-for-profit water and electric utility serving Eugene, will be responsible for deciding whether and where such equipment would be allowed. EWEB’s mission statement includes: “Caring about our community and the environment: We recognize our responsibility to be active participants in our community. We respect the environment and strive to minimize our footprint on the natural world.” If you wish to provide input into how EWEB’s commissioners apply these values the next meeting is August 4 at 5:30 pm.

Help Preserve the Amazon Creek Corridor!

The Amazon Creek corridor is a unique environmentally sensitive, natural feature of South Eugene. For years it has been a favorite destination for nature lovers as well as joggers and walkers enjoying the smooth bark paths of the Adidas/Rexius Trail System that run along both sides of the creek. It is also a valued resource for nature education initiatives such as Edison Elementary School’s River Spies! program and a recent neighborhood community forum on “Amazon Creek: History, Biology and Management.

The Amazon Creek Headwaters give life to this scenic natural area as the creek flows from the Ridgeline Trailhead past Kincaid Park, through Amazon Park and onward toward the Long Tom River. Also known as the Amazon Greenway, this prized area in South Eugene is part of the Eugene Parks System, and is recognized in the Metro Plan as a habitat corridor to be preserved. Nearly $3 million of city, federal, and private funds have been committed to preserving the unique character and resources of this local area landmark and public recreational space, for the specific purpose of environmental appreciation.

RexiusHikers

Recently the State approved funding for Eugene’s Amazon Active Corridor project, whose purpose includes that it “promotes environmental stewardship” and “improves livability” of the area. The project provides for reconstruction of the Adidas/Rexius Trail and other measures to “promote solutions that fit the community and physical setting, enable healthy communities and serve and respond to the scenic, aesthetic, historic, cultural and environmental resources” (quoting the application).

The natural beauty of Amazon Creek corridor gives a unique identity to the surrounding residential neighborhoods in this part of Eugene. The presence of federal endangered species (e.g., Bradshaw’s lomatium) and protected and sensitive species (e.g., pileated woodpecker, and a variety of butterflies) that make their homes here adds further to the special aesthetic values and enjoyment of the area.

The Threat

AT&T has applied to the City of Eugene to erect a cell tower in the heart of the Amazon Creek corridor at 4060 W Amazon Drive. This is a residential zoned property owned by a church known as Crossfire Ministries. They want to build a 75 foot high cellular transmission tower with a fake tree appearance and an array of six microwave antennas, with space for even more, looming over the family homes next door, the apartment complexes nearby, and about 100’ above the surface of the creek itself (see Images). There would be no screening from view from the Amazon Creek corridor, the Adidas/Rexius Trails along the creek, Kincaid Park, or Parker Elementary School. The tower would be a visual blight and assault on the aesthetic values of the area and surrounding residential neighborhood. It would also introduce continuous emission of microwave radiation that threatens the health of families and wildlife in and around the area (see The Science). Lane County requires a 1,200′ setback for such towers, but this does not apply in the city.

There are valid legal grounds for denial of the AT&T/Crossfire cell tower application. We must make our voices heard! Please explore the information on this site. Join with us and Take Action to protect the Amazon Creek corridor from this unnecessary degradation.


Resources for immediate release:

View the AT&T/Crossfire Tower application