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We send out an email newsletter with news about current issues, and neighborhood and some city events. You can sign up for that newsletter here:
You can unsubscribe at any time using the link at the end of every message.
Crest Drive Citizen’s Association General Meeting February 22, 2012; 07:00 pm – 8:20 pm
9 neighbors attended; David Kolb, chairperson, and Karen Austin, secretary also present.
Two topics tonight: Crime Prevention, Urban Growth Boundary Possible Expansion: important dates.
Most of the neighbors attending are from the Crest Drive area and Blanton/Crest/Lorane in or near the proposed area for inclusion in the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).
Officer Tod Schneider, Crime Prevention specialist, spoke to our group.
His jurisdiction is this south part of Eugene. He focuses on crime prevention and comes to people’s homes to talk to homeowners about making their homes more secure. He also helps people that have been vandalized. The crime rate in Crest Drive neighborhood is low compared to central Eugene, but many houses in this neighborhood are secluded and vulnerable.
Thieves typically cruise an area, sometimes driving walking or biking, and if they happen to be in the area as you leave, they know you will be gone for at least 10 minutes and might take advantage of an opportunity. Thieves tend to look for a house where no one has been home for a while. Signs they look for include grass not mowed, porch lights on all day, newspapers or fliers piled on porch. Also looking for houses that are for sale and not occupied; they will take refrigerators and dishwashers from unoccupied homes.
First line of defense is to make it look like someone is home. Lights, TV on, radios going, lights on timers to go on and off at appropriate times. One solution when you are away from home is to use a house sitter, or have a neighbor look after your home.
Criminals often ring the front door and if no one answers will go around into the backyard and break in. If someone comes to your door and you feel something isn’t right, call your neighbors immediately (Neighborhood Watch phone tree) to help you keep an eye on this person. Call police with details about the person, even if police don’t always act on your call. In specific instances an officer might come and question someone in your neighborhood, because this person could be a suspect in another crime. It is important to take down specific information if you see someone in your area that is suspicious, such as car license plate numbers.
Thieves may not want to work as hard as it may take to get into your house. Make sure you have good locks on windows and doors and keep them locked when not home. Thieves can use your garage door opener in a car parked in driveway to get into your garage. Older windows and sliding doors may be loose in the tracks and can be lifted out. Deadbolt locks on all exterior doors will help. A deadbolt lock that has needs a key on both interior/exterior is not to code, but it is harder to break into. One way to prevent window entry is to use security film plastic on the inside of windows around doors, which prevents the glass from coming apart and falling out when the glass breaks. The security film is tough and very difficult to cut through. One can use this film to reinforce glass near door latches. This material is about $10 per square foot. Another option is wrought iron bars over windows, but these are not commonly used in Eugene. Another choice is the use of alarm systems.
Alarm systems should be professionally installed. Officer Schneider recommends getting bids from several alarm installation companies. There are two kinds of systems. Internal systems make noise at the home and can also record information. External systems make noise locally and send a signal to an external location.
A local alarm system should have an alarm that is really loud inside and outside, to scare the intruder and alert your neighbors. These involve a one-time cost. One can pay a monthly maintenance fee but it is a relatively small amount. Internal systems can trigger an alarm in the home and send a message to cell phone or email to let you know that your home alarm was triggered. These systems can also take camera footage from the interior or exterior of your home and send it to a remote web site, which the homeowner can then view remotely. If you can see evidence of a home break-in on camera it is considered a verified break-in by the police department. Eugene has a verified response alarm policy which means they won’t come to your home unless someone can confirms that they have seen evidence of someone breaking into the home. If a neighbor sees a broken window or sees someone entering the house it is a verified break-in. It is important to have someone, a neighbor or friend, to come to your house and turn off the alarm.
External systems are monitored by personnel of an alarm company, and charge a monthly fee. They can also use cameras inside or outside to visually inspect your home. If your alarm is triggered, alarm company staff will first call your phone number, and if they don’t get a response, or if the person at the residence cannot give them the password, they will send out a security guard to your home to investigate. If they find evidence of a break-in they will call police.
Another preventative measure is to mark your property with your name, ad to write down serial numbers of electronics, and take photos of everything. Then if you have a break-in and things are stolen, police can put descriptions of your stolen items in a national database, and they are more likely to be returned to you if found.
You can call Officer Schneider at the Eugene Police Department with questions or request that he come evaluate your home for prevention steps you can take to have a more secure home.
Possible Expansion of Urban Growth Boundary (UGB)
The group discussed the area adjacent to our neighborhood which has been identified as possibly included in the UGB expansion proposal (along Crest and Lorane near the Crest & Chambers intersection, just outside the current UGB). There are 3 large parcels in this area, the largest of which is 132 acres (south of the intersection of Crest & Chambers) and two smaller parcels to the north and west. The landowner is proposing that these lands are marginal (legal definition) and should not be considered agricultural-forest land (current designation). Marginal lands can have a higher density of housing allowed under state law than agricultural-forest lands. Right now these areas are zoned for 40 acre lots and the landowner would like to develop at a higher density.
There will be a hearing at 7 pm on March 6th at Harris Hall, County Bldg. (8th & Oak) to consider this land zoning proposal. The Planning Commission will make a recommendation on whether these 3 land parcels in the Crest/Chambers area should be considered marginal land rather than agriculture-forest land.
Important dates and meetings regarding the possible UGB expansion:
• The County Planning Commission will make a recommendation on whether the 3 land parcels near the Crest/Chambers area should be considered marginal land. If you’d like to learn more or if you’d like be counted as someone who considers the zoning in this area important, please join other Crest and Blanton neighbors at 7 pm on March 6 at Harris Hall, County Building at 8th & Oak.
• On March 14 the Eugene City Manager will make a draft recommendation about any expansions of the UGB.
• The City of Eugene will hold community forums to present the draft recommendation and gather comments; the forums in our part of town will be on April 3rd @ Churchill HS, and April 12th @ South Eugene HS.
Karen Austin, secretary.
Crest Drive Citizen’s Association General Meeting
Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 7 pm – 8:45 pm at Morse Family Farm, Crest Drive.
Board members in attendance: David Kolb, Karen Austin, Eunice Kjaer, Francina Verrijt
Guest Speakers: Alissa Hansen and Terri Harding, City of Eugene Planning Dept.; Shawn and Jeremy, City of Eugene Police Department.
Number of neighbors present: 23
Meeting Agenda: Board reports; Guest speakers on 1) proposed Urban Growth Boundary expansion, and 2) neighborhood home break-ins.
Treasurer’s Report by David Kolb; current balance is $499.76. Crest Drive Citizen’s Association (CDCA) neighborhood history books available for $10 to augment budget. David asked if anyone wanted to purchase snacks or beverages for general meetings and the only response was “no”.
Proposed Urban Growth Boundary expansion
Terri Harding is a senior planner with the City of Eugene. She manages the public involvement of the urban growth boundary (UGB) extension project. Alissa Hansen, is a planner with City, and will talk about the analysis of the data regarding urban growth boundary extension. They gave a slide show.
Envision Eugene is a study to determine needs to accommodate anticipated growth in next 20 years. UGB has to be sized to match anticipated growth and job projections by law. The population numbers come from Portland State and were adopted by Eugene City Council. The projection is for another 30 thousand residents in the next 20 years. This process is about deciding whether the current UGB should be expanded.
Eugene Comprehensive Lands Assessment (ECLA) focused on lands existing in UGB. In this report it was determined that if we continue to grow as we have in the past we need more space. For the UGB process they used a variety of numbers to construct several models for Eugene growth. Planners worked w/community resource groups, neighbors, and others to find out what they should strive for, and what should be included. See the 7 Pillars document (draft proposal) on web site for more information. They are now at end of the strategy refinement phase of this process. Next step is Implementation.
7 Pillars document included information from seven general categories: Economic opportunities, Affordable housing, Climate and energy, Compact development and transportation, Neighborhood livability (trees, fresh air; different for different neighborhoods, use existing feel of development), Natural Resources (prioritize preservation of farm and forest land – state law), Flexible implementation (future is a guess, plan should be flexible and adapt over time; work with LCD to build into plan to make it more adaptable). Outcomes from the Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP) were considered in this planning effort. For instance, the 20 minute neighborhood idea from CEAP was considered. This encourages the growth of services in areas that are underserved, and encourages infill of housing in areas that have adequate services, with the objective of encouraging walking /biking/busing to schools or shopping and reducing the need for driving.
Single family housing (SFH) has the biggest demand in Eugene(as opposed to Multi-family housing (MFH). The presenters talked about the values for this type of housing only, but gave various ratios of SFH to MFH used to model land acreages. The question asked here is how many new SF houses (housing units) are needed in Eugene in the next 20 years? Need is based on one population projection – up to 34,000 more people by 2031. The mix of SFH to MFH to use in modeling can be changed and will create a big difference in the amount of acreage needed for growth in the future. The ratio used historically in planning for SF/MF housing is 60/40. Current trend is to shift to smaller houses and smaller lots and a SF/MFH mix of 55/45. Using the more equal ratio, a total of 8,200 additional SF housing units are projected to be needed in Eugene in the next 20 years.
City planners also looked at how much development could occur within the current UGB, on currently undeveloped and underdeveloped lands, including vacant lands, large lots with houses that could be split and developed, and properties that could be redeveloped. There is a possibility of changing zoning rules to include a greater density of homes, but Eugene already has zoning that includes houses in small lots. Using the SFH/MFH ratio of 55/45 the total number of possible housing units that can be added to un/underdeveloped lands now within the existing UGB is about 7,500 – 8,500 units.
The different between the number of needed units minus the number that could be met in existing UGB is the unmet need of between 0 – 690 units.
The estimated total number of acres needed for unmet future SF housing need of 0 to 690 units (assuming a 55/45 SF/MF ratio, and a density of 4.2 units/acre), including commercial, park and services, is 134 – 360 acres.
The projected SF unit needs and acreage numbers are sensitive to SFH/MFH ratio. If the modeling were done using a 40/60 ratio there would be no further need for units and acreage.
Alissa: Info on analysis for SFH lands only.
The current City of Eugene UGB has been the same since 1982. This process of changing an UGB is very tightly controlled by state law.
First step is to identify the highest priority lands for inclusion into the UGB. Law says the process has to consider lands other than Farm/Forest first. Alissa showed a map which has areas with current residential use, or planned for residential use in Lane County close to the city’s current UGB.
In first priority lands have to look at many things regarding suitability: natural hazards, wetlands, waterways, steep slopes, floodplains or other significant natural features. An important consideration is whether utilities and services (water, storm water, sewer, streets and public transportation) can be reasonably built in the area considered. If there is not enough first priority land the city can consider the next priority of land, which is land with marginal farm or forest value. There are numerous areas being considered for inclusion into the UGB around the Eugene area. Alissa talked about each of these areas.
[For purposes of the CDCA general meeting notes I only included the one area being considered that directly effects our neighborhood. K.A.]
The area off of Crest Drive and Chambers Road (to the south of this intersection), in the Crest Drive Neighborhood, is one of the largest areas being considered for UGB expansion, an area of about 485 acres. Some of this area has slopes over 25%, and there are some concerns about the shape of the area for consideration of utilities and services. Things that this area has going for it in terms of inclusion: immediately adjacent to current boundary, is near MFH areas, and does not have as much sloped lands as some other areas under consideration. There is a big piece of land zoned agricultural right in the middle, but there is a possibility of being able to consider Forest/Farm lands in the process, especially lower priority lands with marginal soils. The boundary shape of the parcels in this area are very irregular and not connected which makes planning difficult, because services require connection and complete loops. Planners have flexibility to straighten out lot lines. There are some questions about transportation into this area. Alissa cannot answer these questions at this time. Chambers seems to be the highest capacity street in this area so it’s likely most traffic would move this direction.
Next steps: More detailed analysis on serving these areas will occur, including the expected cost for sewer/water/electric, areas adjacent to each of the highest priority lands (farm, natural areas, industrial) and public input from neighbors. If not enough of current areas being studied make it into a final process, planners can go back and reconsider some marginal Farm/Forest lands.
Meeting schedule for this process is on the web site calendar. In March there will be a presentation of full recommendation to the City Council. Then there will be community forums, public hearings and council discussions. There is e-newsletter – can contact Terri to get on this list: email@example.com .
See the Envision Eugene web site for more information: http://www.eugene-or.gov/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=815&PageID=0&cached=true&mode=2&userID=2.
Shawn and Jeremy, police officers from the City of Eugene Police Department, took time out of their busy schedules to talk with us about home break-ins, prevention, and how you can help EPD to collect evidence to convict thieves.
This discussion is in response to residents’ increasing concern over a series of break-ins on Blanton Rd., Storey Blvd., and adjacent streets, mostly in the afternoons, beginning in March 2011. Eugene is in the 80% percentile for property crime in nation, so the Eugene Police Department (EPD) is “running to catch up”. Crest Drive neighborhood has always been a relatively low crime area in Eugene and still is. Most theft crime in our city is related to low income drug users looking for easy cash, and is exacerbated by the limited City of Eugene jail space, which puts non-violent crime suspects back out on the streets quickly.
The trend in home break-ins is day time burglaries. The assumption that thieves make is that everyone is at work and school. A common scenario is that a stranger knocks on the front door, has a false story if someone answers, but if no one answers the door the criminal walks around the back, and breaks in through a window. They can take their time and look for specific things. Preferred items to steal are electronics, jewelry, guns, and cash. Cars sitting in driveway are also stolen. Thieves look for car keys in drawers.
What can you do to lower the chance of a home break-in? Join or start a Neighborhood Watch program for your street. Make a phone tree between neighbors, where all your neighbors are invested in protecting each other’s homes. The pressure not to be a nosy neighbor can allow crime to happen right next door. Know your neighbor’s phone numbers, their schedules (work, vacation).
Make your home and car look less easy to break into or steal than others. The use of a car steering wheel lock (the club) is a good deterrent and can be purchased from EPD at cost. Using outside, motion activated lights, fortifying structures, having secured outbuildings, using electronic security with outside alarms (even if not monitored) are all good ways to discourage break-ins. There are home security systems that are relatively affordable and that will set off outdoor alarms (scare off thieves, alert neighbors) and send messages to cell phones. Do some shopping online for different systems. Home security services which will come to your home in the event of an alarm are available although somewhat costly.
The officers emphasized that police will not come to an unverified alarm, so someone has to be on site to verify that a crime occurred. Most docile family dogs are not a theft deterrent.
There are things you can do to prevent losses if your house is burglarized. Call police as soon as you find a break-in, but understand that it might take time for police to get there. Don’t clean up before police get there because this can destroy evidence.
Locked file cabinets can help deter thieves from taking personal information, which can result in identify theft. Write down serial numbers of items likely to be stolen. Some electronic devices have built-in GPS units to track. Take pictures of jewelry and valuables: it will help police get these back to you.
The EPD can help you prevent home break-ins. EPD can send out an officer to walk through your house, and give ideas to fortify your home and help deter crime. A volunteer from EPD will come and video tape personal items in home and give you a copy. Home vacation checks can be requested. A volunteer with EPD will come by your house and check the exterior.
Data-led patrols are an important part of reducing crime. If homeowners report all burglaries and car crimes, even small thefts, EPD can track property crime and link crimes to known offenders. This can help to build effective cases which put repeat offenders in prison.
Karen Austin, CDCA Board Secretary
The board meeting we heard a presentation by Jason from the city planning department, about the Envision Eugene project and in particular the survey being done about land which might be available for housing in our neighborhood. The number of additional housing units that they have to plan for is set by county and state, and while the number is unlikely to be accurate, it’s what they have to work with. The crucial variable is the ratio of single-family to multifamily housing. In the last 10 years 60% of the new housing built here has been single-family homes. At that ratio Eugene would need 9000 new single-family homes over the next 20 years. If the ratio drops to 40% single-family homes, the number needed drops to 6000. Vacant land inside the urban growth boundary could supply about 4300 homes, and land that already has one house but could be further subdivided could supply from 2400 to 3100 homes. Several other strategies make up the difference with smaller numbers. Whether or not the urban growth boundary needs to be expanded for homes depends on the decisions made about these ratios. Our neighborhood has two areas which would be candidates for expansion of the boundary: on the south side of Crest Drive and along Lorane Highway.
Jason gave the Association a map showing vacant and partially vacant lots in our neighborhood. The Crest neighborhood has about 75 pieces of land that could be developed further. If you would like to examine this map, it will be at the September meeting, which will be held at Morse Farm on Tuesday, September 20. We also have several copies of the handout from the meeting, and a version can be found on the web at XX.
Tansy ragwort is a very noxious weed that is toxic to cattle, deer, pigs, horses, goats and sheep. It can be lethal to cattle if they get enough of it. It is blooming now with heads of small bright yellow daisy flowers on tall stalks. The leaves are curly looking. It blooms on the second and subsequent years growth. There is a huge patch of it on the east side of Storey, just south of Lorane. All those seeds can spread to make more plants. Each person keeping their property tansy free would be a great help and maybe we could get a work party for the vacant properties.
More on tansy, with pictures so you can identify the plant: http://tinyurl.com/lokcz6
Crest Drive neighborhood will host the Green Neighbor (Not Just) Bike Tour on July 31st between 10 a.m. and about 4 p.m. This is the third year that Eugene neighborhood groups have hosted bike tours of sustainable living or “green homes”. Everyone is invited to join us, and we encourage using alternative forms of transportation on the tour, such as walking, bicycling, wheelchairs, or strollers. Bring lunch, snacks, and water. No dogs, please. We’ll meet at 10 a.m.
10 a.m. First Stop: Ridgeline Montessori School Garden, Opportunity Center, 3411 Willamette St., Just south of the U.S. Post Office. — The Ridgeline Montessori School garden is 50 x 60 foot fenced area behind the school, not visible from Willamette or 35th Ave. The garden resides on a former baseball field, which made for a rocky start, since a six-inch thick layer of gravel underlies the garden. The Opportunity Center deserves the credit for garden’s beginnings: obtaining a grant, permission from the school district to use the site, and receiving donated materials, and nursery plants from businesses in the area. But the Opportunity Center recently learned that it is moving to a new location. So in April of 2011 neighborhood volunteers and teachers partnered with middle school students at Ridgeline Montessori to do the hard work of getting the neglected space ready to plant. The garden is now off to a good start in its first few months of life.
10:45 a.m. Second Stop: Garden of JD & Kelley Howell. — JD’s and Kelley’s dedication to green living is easy to see in their impressive home & garden improvements, and they continue to move in a low-impact living direction. Their partially shady yard provides many gardening spaces including a roof-top container garden, and numerous raised beds, all watered with low-flow irrigation. The summer bounty of their garden includes greens, herbs, raspberries, strawberries, apples, pears, nectarines, apricots and blueberries. A compost tumbler and worm bins recycle garden debris, kitchen waste, and chicken manure. These systems provide essential soil amendments which nourish their garden. Chickens provide eggs to the homeowners and one dog, and in turn recycle weeds and kitchen scraps. Features of home energy conservation include a new 50-year PVC roof , Energy Star appliances as well as localized space heating systems and an efficient wood stove. Water use conservation fixtures include low-flow showers and low-gpf toilets.. A vintage Karman Ghia awaits her electric conversion and to begin a new, emission-free life.
11:45 a.m. Third Stop: Garden of Tom Bettman — Tom lives in a small vintage green home (literally as well as conceptually) on a quiet street shaded by towering trees, but he capitalizes on the patches of sunlight afforded his yard. His front yard is bordered by a large hedge of native shrubs woven together over ten years. An abundance of carefully pruned fruit trees make up a large portion of his front and back yards, under which Tom grows carefully tended annual crops. Ample areas produce bountiful strawberries and raspberries. A plot along his drive shared with the neighbor braves deer predation to produce potatoes and alliums. A small greenhouse cares for annual vegetable starts, a lemon, an avocado, and a lime. A simple compost bin on the side and brush pile in the back corner helps him close the nutrient cycle. Tom’s yard is a lesson in careful & skilled planning and tending.
Lunch Break, 12:30 pm
1:00 p.m. Fourth Stop: The garden of Mary Nuer — The forest garden of Mary Nuwer is an abundance of colors, and patterns, light and shade. Annual and perennial understory plants grow below an overstory of trees and shrubs. Both native and non-native species are found intermixed. Once a trash heap in the woods, Mary and her husband James Coons restored this forest and gave it a new purpose: growing food and inspiring the soul. Paths wind through the garden between trees and shrubs, and shade-tolerant food plants and fruit producing perennials are tucked into every open space. Mary has about 350 different plants that grow in her forest garden, which she says are “edible, good for wildlife, good for insects, medicinal, soil builders and then some that just satisfy my yearning for pretty plants”. This forest was part of Mary’s desire to “heal this little piece of land and grow some a small amount of food.”
1:45 p.m. Fifth Stop: Home and Garden of Barb Shaw — When first entering Barb Shaw’s yard it is clear it is the work of artists. Barb and her husband, Joe Henderson, have created a green masterpiece with their home and yard. The large east garden area frames organic vegetable beds within a matrix of flowers, fruit trees and berries. The weathered grey wall of the carport provides a backdrop for brightly colored found-art pieces, and above that a living roof grows sedums and happy weeds. In the garden adjacent to the front door a tall deer-barrier fence uses locally harvested bamboo. Their warm home, built by UO architecture students in 1980, is a passive solar design with south-facing windows, and thermal
mass in concrete floors and hearth. On the southwest corner of the house they adopted Bring Recycling treasures to build a sun room, a bright, warm place to relax that also grows plant starts in spring. This home and garden is a feast for the eyes as well as for the environmental consciousness.
2:45 p.m. Sixth Stop: The Garden of Sarah Grimm and Brian Fuller — Near the Wayne Morse Family Farm, this yard has sun and shade. Sarah has made the most of reusable materials to line paths meandering among her drought-tolerant, flowering plants, and she’s created an eye-pleasing, “survival of the fittest” front yard garden with her affection for self sowing “plants that recycle themselves freely”. The shady back yard is framed with stately oaks. In this picturesque and relaxing space, Sarah & Brian have taken advantage of sunny spaces with flowers and vegetables, and have accented with garden art, found objects and recycled materials. The artful use of reusable materials is evidence of both gardeners’ dedication to the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra.
3:25 p.m. The Crest Drive remodel with bioswales — Crest Drive has a new design, with traffic calming and, between the sidewalk and the road, a bioswale, planted with native plants. These roadside drainage structures are designed to filter rainwater run off from roads and remove pollutants and to reduce peak water run off into storm sewers.
You are cordially invited to our annual Crest Garden Party, held this year at the lovely home of Eunice Kjaer, 814 Lorane Highway, at the corner of Lorane and Storey.
We will be honoring Eunice and her many years of generous service and spirit in our neighborhood.
The party will include food and wine, musicians from the Eugene Symphony, a tribute to Eunice Kjaer, an auction of glass art works, and the latest Crest Oral History interview.
Parking is available off the south continuation of Friendly Street.
The house will be open for touring, and, in case of rain the party will move indoors.
Co-chairs: Kathy Saranpa and Cathryn Treadway
Secretary: Kathleen Bosteder
Treasurer: David Kolb (who will also handle email and newsletters)
The Crest Oral History Project has been completed. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the publication, contact David Kolb (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our hope is to put further interviews on the web. We have one new interview transcribed; it will be available at the May 17 garden party.