On Wednesday, September 26th LiveMove held their first social of the year at Falling Sky- University of Oregon (UO) Campus to listen to university planners, Emily Eng and Aaron Olsen present information about the North Campus Conditional Use Permit (CUP) proposal and its implication for future development here at UO.
The North Campus CUP includes land north of the railroad tracks between Hilyard Street and Moss Street, as well as the land between Franklin Boulevard and the railroad tracks between Alder Moss Streets. It does not directly impact the existing University of Oregon Urban Farm.
This is not the first CUP for the north campus region. The first version existed from 1988 to 2012. The original plan received backlash from the community, students, and faculty. Original concerns included environmental issues and vehicular through-way access through the property.
The University has recently undertaken development of new student housing at Franklin Blvd near Alder St and has begun construction of the new Knight Campus along the north side of Franklin Blvd between Onyx St and Agate St. The CUP acts separately from both of these projects. While this CUP proposal takes into consideration of the rapid growth happening at the university, it aims to create an area that serves the needs of both a growing student body and the community. It seeks to do this by focusing most potential building development south of the tracks, thus preserving the land north of the tracks for ecological services and community recreational needs. Vehicle access will be limited and other transportation options will be made easily accessible for access to north campus.
Another major current concern has focused on the recreational fields that exist within the plan. The concern is that locating fields, which usually use artificial turf, so close to the river, may result in the leaching of chemicals into the water. Both Eng and Olsen asserted though that alternative materials are being considered and that the fields might be able to serve as a stormwater treatment resource through the use of vegetation.
One other major concern raised regarded the Ruth Bascom Riverfront Bike Path. In addition to the development of North Campus, the bike path may be realigned to meander closer to the river, and upgrade amenities for safer access to the path, such as lighting. There also is consideration to improve river access for the students and the community. Environmental impacts are being considered before any ground-breaking activities though.
For more information, a fact sheet of information pertaining to the plan can be found at https://cpfm.uoregon.edu/north-campus-conditional-use-permit-cup.