EUG Planning Newsletter
A Year in Review with EUG Planning
January 3, 2021
This month's EUG Planning Newsletter is a look back at 2020 and features the voices of the Planning Team. It's a little different, and we will return to our regular EUG Planning project updates in the new year. We wish you and your families good health, happy holidays, and hope to see you, soon.
A Note From The Planning Director
As 2020, and my first year as Eugene’s Planning Director, comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on what a wild year it’s been. When I started in this role in January, I knew that it would be both rewarding and challenging, and I was hopeful it would be more of the former than the later. Having been a part of Eugene’s Planning Division for nearly 20 years, I also thought I had a good idea of what the challenges would be. Obviously, that all went out the window once the pandemic hit. One thing I have noticed this year, is that during challenging times, my habit is to double-down on being grateful. To that end, I’d like to share what I’ve found rewarding this year.

  • Thanks to you, readers – our community members – for continuing to follow and engage in the work that we do to implement the community’s vision. Without your involvement and love of Eugene, we couldn’t do this work. 

  • Proud is the word that describes how I feel about the Planning staff team for being able to pivot from working together at the office to working from home and adapting to public health regulations, all while maintaining high quality service to the public. Even in a remote environment, we are able to review land use applications, hold project consultations, present at City Council and Planning Commission, and conduct public outreach on long-range projects. I admire staff’s resiliency, compassion, intelligence, creativity, and motivation to keep projects moving while being sensitive to the effects of the pandemic on our community members. 

  • I’m grateful for the Planning Commission, the Envision Eugene Technical Advisory Committee, the Historic Review Board, and other volunteer community groups such as the River Road/Santa Clara Community Advisory Committee, who have continued to serve the community. Their dedication, thoughtfulness, and commitment to the community is admirable and makes our work even better. 

  • Thanks to our collaborative partners at the state and local level, including community advocates, who inspire us and encourage us to look at problems and solutions differently, and to emphasize equity and inclusion in our public engagement. 

  • Finally, on a daily basis, I am appreciative of the foresight of past planners and visionaries, who ensured that future generations would have access to the natural and physical beauty of the Willamette River and the Ridgeline. These are a few of the many reasons I am happy to call Eugene home.   

I’m excited to continue to serve as Eugene’s Planning Director and support the work of the Planning team. I look forward to seeing what 2021 has in store.

Thank you,

Alissa Hansen, Planning Director
A Look Back at 2020: Gratitude From Staff
For this newsletter, we asked the Planning Team to share what they were proud of in 2020. We hope you enjoy it!

Althea, Assistant Planner
"I am proud to have found ways to continue to serve our community during a pandemic through the use of technology. I also look forward to seeing what opportunities this use of technology provides for us to increase equity and accessibility for the public."

Amy, Land Use Planning Specialist
"I’m super proud of my bonus kiddo for becoming a United States Marine."

Chad, Urban Designer
"I am proud to be able to apply my skills in a way that directly and immediately helps business owners. I often joke about heading to Claim (52), but the reality is each one of these interventions helps keep a business open, numerous people employed, and another option for all of us to enjoy."

Chelsea, Senior Planner
"I’m proud of the resiliency, dedication, and compassion of the River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan Community Advisory Committee and for welcoming Elena and Zoli to the Planning team. The people I get to work with have been bright spots for me as a first-time supervisor in my Senior Planner AIC position and as a new project manager to the in-progress neighborhood planning process."
Elena, Assistant Planner
"I am proud that I have navigated many new experiences this year! I started a new job on a new team, helped with the transition of moving public meetings online, finished work on establishing a new fully accessible website to host the City’s municipal codes, hired and supervised a virtual intern, and worked as a public information officer for the Emergency Operations Center. These experiences have prepared me for whatever 2021 might bring our way!"

Gabe, Principal Planner
"I’d have to say that I’m most proud of the way that our Planning team has supported each other and risen to the challenges of 2020 no matter what, at every turn. I see such professionalism, genuine care and unwavering optimism in the face of adversity that it warms my heart and makes me proud to be a part of it. We do great work on behalf of our beloved Eugene community!"

Heather, Senior Planner
"I am proud of the dedication and balancing act I’ve seen this year given everything else going on; how our cross-division growth monitoring team has continued to collaborate and conduct repeated testing and tweaking of new systems and still maintain humor while moving to 100% virtual; how our community volunteers and staff of the Envision Eugene Technical Advisory Committee successfully moved to virtual meetings, continuing to provide meaningful input; and how new monitoring team members Elena and Zoli dove right into complex data review!"

Jeff, Senior Planner
"I am proud of our current planning team for continuing to provide outstanding service to our community and staying positive in the face of challenging times. I am proud of our team members who are required to spend time in the office, remaining vigilant with masks and distancing, and, most importantly, having good humor through it all. I am proud of all our pets, who now have to deal with us all day long."
Jen, Urban Designer
"I am most proud of working on the cultural narrative project with the Felt Hat design group. The artistic concepts and urban interventions give voice to often unheard and under-represented stories from the community. It has also been an opportunity to work with multiple divisions with a lot of fun and creative colleagues."

Nick, Associate Planner
"Two things: One, my cat, Buddy, is happy bringing joy to others and loves to appear during Microsoft Team and Zoom meetings. The other is my work-from-home setup; how cool is it to work from your own music room and how creative is it to use a keyboard as a stand for your computer keyboard?"

Rebecca, Senior Planner
"I am really proud of the thirteen dedicated volunteers of the Envision Eugene Technical Advisory Committee. They stayed committed through a pandemic, even after the free dinner and camaraderie were taken out of the equation. Together they grappled with the nuances of a highly technical project like Urban Reserves--sometimes disagreeing, but always listening, kind and respectful. They were a pleasure to work with!"

Rodney, Associate Planner
"I am proud of the work our department accomplished while lending many of our staff to the Emergency Operations Center. Despite the big gaps created in their absence, we managed to continue providing a service to the community while also meeting land use application and project timelines."
Sophie, Assistant Planner
"I am proud to work on a team that has a commitment to equity to redress past harms. The Planning team is funny, supportive, and hard-working, and I'm grateful to be a part of it. I am also proud of our creative expanded outreach, including our Instagram, Healthy Democracy panel, and partnership with University of Oregon students."

Terri, Principal Planner
" I am most proud of my team working to center our public outreach on equity and inclusion. It’s been a difficult year to feel connected, but we are exceeding my expectations for bringing new voices to the planning process, and it brings me a lot of joy!"

Thea, GIS Analyst
"I’m most proud of how we adapted as a team and worked hard no matter what 2020 threw at us. Thankfully, there were plenty of amazing animal zoom bombs to help us out along the way."

Zoli, Planning Analyst
"This past fall, I joined the exceptional team that is Community Planning and Design. I am proud to be a part of an organization that is making steps towards creating a more inclusive city. Working remotely has opened my eyes to the possibilities and pitfalls that I, and many of us, experience during these times."
Project Updates Coming Soon
In the next edition of the EUG Planning Newsletter, we will be back to providing project updates. Stay tuned to hear about Urban Reserves, Growth Monitoring, Middle Housing Code Amendments, the River Road Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan, and more.
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