UGB stands for Urban Growth Boundary. In 2017 Eugene expanded the UGB for employment, parks, and a future school in Bethel. We didn’t expand the Urban Growth Boundary for residential use because we believed we have enough buildable inventory for 20 years – until 2032.
The UGB will need to be expanded at some point. I will follow the evidence and not treat a line that was drawn 50 years ago as a barrier to providing affordable housing, if more land is necessary to meet the housing needs of our least well-off households. I will insist that any additional land brought into the UGB be developed with housing that is affordable, compact and served by efficient public transit.
The city’s planning department is creating a monitoring program to track density, building, population, trends, including climate migrants. The first report is due in a year. This monitoring program is a great example of the city committing to ACCOUNTABILITY. It’s important we use accurate, local, real time data when making policy.
According to the Eugene’s CAP 2.0 (Climate Action Plan), we could have a population of 275,000 by 2065. I believe we’ll hit that number long before that. Climate change is happening much faster than scientists previously thought. Our civilization is at a precipitous time. Local governments will be called on to house and provide jobs for more people. We need to be prepared.
The Willamette Valley is blessed with superior soils and productive farmland. Those farmlands under production inside and outside the UGB need to stay in production (or come into production as soon as possible). The ability to source food locally will be an asset and one of the many saving graces of our region, as rising temperatures and unpredictable, harsh weather events take their toll in areas less climate resilient than ours. Our region will be host to many more climate and economic migrants than we’re already experiencing. We will need the ability to feed people which in large measure will mean sourcing food locally. Protecting our farmlands is critical. Any decisions about the UGB will of necessity involve balancing the need for housing with the need for agricultural production.