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-   -   what's the riding/living scene like in eugene? (https://www.bikeforums.net/pacific-northwest/1179011-whats-riding-living-scene-like-eugene.html)

spectastic 07-21-19 11:52 PM

what's the riding/living scene like in eugene?
 
I'm potentially moving there. based on my research so far, eugene quality of life is so so, and weather is pretty rainy. curious to get take from others.

Seattle Forrest 07-22-19 11:48 PM

Do you like marijuana? That will answer the quality of life question. I'm kidding. Mostly.

I don't know where you're considering moving from. The PNW is rainy, in fact other places rain more but it's overcast and threatening to rain 360 days a year. But you can often escape the gloom by traveling east of the Cascade crest, which isn't terribly far.

B. Carfree 08-02-19 10:16 PM

I don't know where you're coming from so I don't know what is normal for you. Here's a partial list:
1. We have a noticeable homeless issue, but it's confined to the Whiteaker (roughly 20-30% of the neighborhood consists of homeless people), the bike paths (sometimes unusable, but not like they had in SoCal or along the Sacramento River) and some downtown street people.
2. Eugene is basically a small suburban-style city that is slightly over half renters. Incomes are low, but rent is high, partly because a small number of families and corporations have a bit of a cartel on the rental market. Unlike CA, which is seller beware (good protections for home buyers), Oregon is buyer beware. Watch for covered-over mold problems and hidden structural issues if you buy.
3. The road culture is awful. Our cops refuse to enforce traffic laws and everyone knows it, so 50 mph in a 30 mph zone is pretty normal. Motorists don't even tap their brakes on their way through stop signs. Beware of where sidepaths cross driveways and intersections.
4. Perhaps because of the above-mentioned stuff, Eugene is seeing cycling absolutely collapse. Our modal share is making a near-perfect line to 0% in 2023. It's sad to see roads that used to sport people on bikes be nothing but cars.
5. The city, county, state, and transit district are looking to spend nearly a billion dollars adding more freeway lanes, interchanges and such to spur more driving.
6. In town, you're going to be faced with choosing the multi-lane arterial with no bike amenities, the street with poorly-designed bike amenities that create more hazards than they avoid and force frequent long waits, or the side streets with very long waits at every other block. Our city traffic engineer and transportation planners are truly awful.
7. Okay, some good news: what roads are left for cycling are kind of nice when you hit them at the right time of day. If you are willing to bear with a bit of awfulness, there's some of the best cycling in the nation just 25 miles out (or even less). All day adventures can be super if you enjoy hills, especially if you are willing to add some gated gravel logging roads to your ride (not absolutely necessary, but they do add options).

https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...37cf8c00a8.jpg

spectastic 08-06-19 06:55 PM


Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest (Post 21040389)
Do you like marijuana? That will answer the quality of life question. I'm kidding. Mostly.

I don't know where you're considering moving from. The PNW is rainy, in fact other places rain more but it's overcast and threatening to rain 360 days a year. But you can often escape the gloom by traveling east of the Cascade crest, which isn't terribly far.

I'm in Austin right now. It's pretty f*ing hot. But I love the people here. I'm not crazy about the clouds, but it's not going to kill me.


Originally Posted by B. Carfree (Post 21057617)
I don't know where you're coming from so I don't know what is normal for you. Here's a partial list:
1. We have a noticeable homeless issue, but it's confined to the Whiteaker (roughly 20-30% of the neighborhood consists of homeless people), the bike paths (sometimes unusable, but not like they had in SoCal or along the Sacramento River) and some downtown street people.
2. Eugene is basically a small suburban-style city that is slightly over half renters. Incomes are low, but rent is high, partly because a small number of families and corporations have a bit of a cartel on the rental market. Unlike CA, which is seller beware (good protections for home buyers), Oregon is buyer beware. Watch for covered-over mold problems and hidden structural issues if you buy.
3. The road culture is awful. Our cops refuse to enforce traffic laws and everyone knows it, so 50 mph in a 30 mph zone is pretty normal. Motorists don't even tap their brakes on their way through stop signs. Beware of where sidepaths cross driveways and intersections.
4. Perhaps because of the above-mentioned stuff, Eugene is seeing cycling absolutely collapse. Our modal share is making a near-perfect line to 0% in 2023. It's sad to see roads that used to sport people on bikes be nothing but cars.
5. The city, county, state, and transit district are looking to spend nearly a billion dollars adding more freeway lanes, interchanges and such to spur more driving.
6. In town, you're going to be faced with choosing the multi-lane arterial with no bike amenities, the street with poorly-designed bike amenities that create more hazards than they avoid and force frequent long waits, or the side streets with very long waits at every other block. Our city traffic engineer and transportation planners are truly awful.
7. Okay, some good news: what roads are left for cycling are kind of nice when you hit them at the right time of day. If you are willing to bear with a bit of awfulness, there's some of the best cycling in the nation just 25 miles out (or even less). All day adventures can be super if you enjoy hills, especially if you are willing to add some gated gravel logging roads to your ride (not absolutely necessary, but they do add options).

https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...37cf8c00a8.jpg

That sucks to see. Are the streets outside the town dangerous to ride on? Are there fast group rides around? how big are the groups?

B. Carfree 08-10-19 08:33 PM


Originally Posted by spectastic (Post 21063494)
That sucks to see. Are the streets outside the town dangerous to ride on? Are there fast group rides around? how big are the groups?

I haven't seen any fast group rides, which doesn't surprise me because our cycling culture, such as it is, eschews people riding for speed. (Weird, huh?) Typical group rides are single-digit numbers of riders and none of them ride very fast compared to what you're probably used to. The local bike club is an elderly group that is dying on the vine, largely because of their "one right way to ride" approach to cycling and there's really no one mentoring new riders.

Ah, the roads. Here's my take: We have a doughnut problem. The hole of the doughnut, inside Eugene, isn't bad for transportational cycling (usual caveats about door-zone bike lanes and such). Outside the doughnut is glorious (once you get 15-20 miles out). However, that dough part, from just inside the city limits out 10-20 miles, has issues. It's not the worst riding you'll see, it's just that our suburban motorists are lousy, entitled drivers for the most part. This problem has been compounded by the county putting rumble strips down the center of every road they touch, which makes motorists much less inclined to give reasonable passing spaces. (Oregon has the best safe passing law in the nation; too bad it's not enforced.) Don't tempt anyone to pass closely by hugging the edge unless you are comfortable with being passed with an inch to spare. As lame as our motorists are, they're not homicidal, so if you take the lane they might honk and yell, but they don't just run people over.

My quirky adaptation has been to move most of my joy-rides to the pre-dawn hours. I'll happily head out between 3:00 AM and 4:30 AM (after the drunks have landed but before the commuters are doing their thing) and have a great ride among the deer and foxes (if a short ride) and the elk, mountain lions and bear (if further afield). I try to avoid going uphill on a road that has active log trucks, but they are easy to hear and are reasonable folks for the most part.

The local mountain bike club calls itself the disciples of dirt. I'm seeing a few more cyclists out in the pre-dawn hours, so maybe we're the disciples of darkness.

If you enjoy a bit of gravel, we have loads of logging roads (most of them picking up just outside the doughnut). You can ride all day and then some. They are seriously awesome, the best riding I've ever had. The gravel roads in the coast range even have nice paved connections that only serve log trucks (not many) and hunters (super courteous drivers for the most part). Those roads were all paved with federal dollars a long time ago and they keep them paved because of the power of the timber barons.

Oregon has a law that protects property owners from any legal action if someone uses their property for recreation and gets hurt. Weirdly, the timber companies have mostly closed their roads near Portland, but they leave ours available, albeit with gates to keep the motor vehicles out (they open them during hunting season). If we have a hot summer, they will sometimes close the roads to cyclists, but even when that has happened I've never been hassled for using them (only "caught" on the tandem with my wife, so that might have influenced the benign reactions).

One thing we really have going for us is the fact that there are no other urban centers anywhere near us. All of the other cities in the adjacent counties are even smaller than Eugene and aren't really growing. That leaves a large buffer of low-traffic roads that aren't going to get much worse over the next two decades, by which time I certainly hope we have ended the car experiment because if we haven't we have bigger problems than my joy rides.

The downside to all that tree farm land around us is the risk of losing an entire summer to smoke from massive fires. Right now we have a huge amount of standing dead timber, the result of our changed climate as well as the fact that sudden oak death is a fungus that can and does kill fir trees. When fire strikes, our state's approach is to protect structures, contain the fire and let it burn until the rains stop it, which means unbreathable air. We've been lucky this year, but there are no guarantees.

There's my warts and all report. Eugene really needs more people who cycle, so I hope I didn't drive you away. It's a nice small city, just big enough to have most of what you want but small enough to feel like you know nearly everyone. (This year, I've had beer with our police chief, coffee with two city councilors and my state senator, rode with my Congressman's office chief, lunch with the head of transportation planning and also the head of engineering/traffic engineer. And I'm just a neighborhood association board member, aka nobody.) If you are inclined to get active organizing more cycling you would be a super welcome addition. If your advocacy is to just turn the cranks, then you're one more rider adding to the mix and that's a very good thing.

bark_eater 08-28-19 06:07 AM

I havent been in Eugene since the mid 90's. I'm sure its different now. The adage of the time was that the "Indian" name for Eugene meant "The Valley of Sickness" There was a band around called " Hackalugie" and a condition called "The Crud" was common. I lived a bit south of the Oregon border and at times in the winter we wouldnt see the sun for two weeks at a time. Some people are not going to make it in the North West. I often wish I never left.

Cat Daddy 09-08-19 11:20 PM


Originally Posted by B. Carfree (Post 21069775)
The local bike club is an elderly group that is dying on the vine, largely because of their "one right way to ride" approach to cycling and there's really no one mentoring new riders.

The only cycling club I know of in Eugene is GEARs. Is that the one you're referring to? For those who don't know, GEARs sponsors an annual ride, called the Blackberry bRamble. Supposedly the profits from this ride go towards bicycle advocacy and helping maintain multi-use bike paths in the Eugene area. I've done two Blackberry bRamble rides so far. Last year, their 20th annual ride, was pretty cool and had lots of support. My buddy and I did the ride again this year and it seemed that support on the bike routes was not nearly as good as last year. Anyone more familiar with the internal workings of GEARs, please feel free to chime in here.

B. Carfree 09-10-19 09:51 PM


Originally Posted by Cat Daddy (Post 21113993)
The only cycling club I know of in Eugene is GEARs. Is that the one you're referring to? For those who don't know, GEARs sponsors an annual ride, called the Blackberry bRamble. Supposedly the profits from this ride go towards bicycle advocacy and helping maintain multi-use bike paths in the Eugene area. I've done two Blackberry bRamble rides so far. Last year, their 20th annual ride, was pretty cool and had lots of support. My buddy and I did the ride again this year and it seemed that support on the bike routes was not nearly as good as last year. Anyone more familiar with the internal workings of GEARs, please feel free to chime in here.

No, the funds raised by the bRamble don't go to any infrastructure, it all goes for GEARs activities. I'm the guy who marks most of the century route. (I couldn't stand the fact that they do it by car, so I volunteered.)

Bike path maintenance is kind of non-existent in Eugene. Most of the South Bank Path is closed for the next two years. The North Bank Path is kind of a bad joke (called the **** path by many people). The West Bank path is so bad that it is slated for rebuilding, but will be rebuilt lower than flood level so we're looking at winter closures on a regular basis. What do I say about the East Bank path? My son, Godzilla, had knives pulled on him last week for having the nerve to walk on it after dark. (Some homeless people had privatized it and objected to him using it as though it was public.) The other path, the Fern Ridge, has similar issues.

The real shame here is that these paths should be jewels. The setting is extraordinary. My granddaughters and I saw five blue herons (their favorite birds) and a green heron on the way to school this week, as well as a beaver and lots of other interesting animals. Eugene has better potential than any city I know of. Maybe with the impending departure of its horrible city manager, Jon Ruiz, it will move forward and start achieving some of that potential.

Cat Daddy 09-12-19 06:15 AM


Originally Posted by B. Carfree (Post 21117349)
No, the funds raised by the bRamble don't go to any infrastructure, it all goes for GEARs activities. I'm the guy who marks most of the century route. (I couldn't stand the fact that they do it by car, so I volunteered.)

So here is something I copied from the GEARs website on their Advocacy page.

"GEARs promotes and encourages bicycle riding for transportation and recreation. The Advocacy Committee works to create a physical and cultural environment in the Eugene-Springfield area in which riding a bicycle is safe and enjoyable.

GEARs Advocacy (and its predecessor, the Eugene Bicycle Coalition) has played a key role in implementing many improvements for bicycling, including:

  • Better bike access on the Ferry Street Bridge, and the construction of the DeFazio Bike Bridge
  • Construction of the East Bank section of the Riverfront Path, from Valley River Center to Delta Highway
  • Bike Improvements on 24th Avenue, west of Friendly
  • Installation of bicycle parking at Woodfield Station (29th & Willamette), the Fairgrounds, LCC’s Downtown campus, and other sites
  • Construction of Eugene’s first “cycle track”, on Alder Street
  • Creation of a system to help keep major bikeways free of leaves in the fall
GEARs Advocacy is planning to highlight top infrastructure hazards to cyclists in the Eugene-Springfield area. The goal is to help focus government entities on infrastructure improvements that improve safety of bicycling within the cities and also on roads connecting to surrounding communities."


I'm not from Eugene, so I can't verify the accuracy of the claims they make on their Advocacy page. But it does seem that the club does care about the cycling culture in the area.

I'm sorry your son had knives pulled on him. Eugene does seem to have a lot of homeless people. I wonder if it's ever been suggested to the city's "powers that be" to perhaps have a couple of bicycle cops patrolling the multi-use paths in town? I remember thinking last year when riding the bRamble that those bike paths would be kinda scary at certain times of the day.

tim24k 09-13-19 03:11 AM


Originally Posted by Cat Daddy (Post 21119121)
I'm sorry your son had knives pulled on him. Eugene does seem to have a lot of homeless people. I wonder if it's ever been suggested to the city's "powers that be" to perhaps have a couple of bicycle cops patrolling the multi-use paths in town? I remember thinking last year when riding the bRamble that those bike paths would be kinda scary at certain times of the day.

My wife and I go down to ride the bike trails in Eugene at least two times a year and feel total safe. But then we never ride them at night. Sadly I don’t think that’s a good idea in any US city today. Even more sad is there are bike trails in Portland, OR that I wouldn’t ride during the day. As you probably seen on the news, Portland has a big problem with homeless. Not only are there homeless camps everywhere you look but they camp right on the bike trail as well, I’ve seen it total blocked at times.
https://katu.com/news/local/homeless...-205-bike-path

https://pamplinmedia.com/pt/9-news/4...it_nosession=1

My wife and I used to ride Portland’s bike trails but stopped about five years do to us feeling unsafe and by the many news articles we are not along.

B. Carfree 09-14-19 10:28 PM


Originally Posted by Cat Daddy (Post 21119121)
So here is something I copied from the GEARs website on their Advocacy page.

"GEARs promotes and encourages bicycle riding for transportation and recreation. The Advocacy Committee works to create a physical and cultural environment in the Eugene-Springfield area in which riding a bicycle is safe and enjoyable.

GEARs Advocacy (and its predecessor, the Eugene Bicycle Coalition) has played a key role in implementing many improvements for bicycling, including:

  • Better bike access on the Ferry Street Bridge, and the construction of the DeFazio Bike Bridge
  • Construction of the East Bank section of the Riverfront Path, from Valley River Center to Delta Highway
  • Bike Improvements on 24th Avenue, west of Friendly
  • Installation of bicycle parking at Woodfield Station (29th & Willamette), the Fairgrounds, LCC’s Downtown campus, and other sites
  • Construction of Eugene’s first “cycle track”, on Alder Street
  • Creation of a system to help keep major bikeways free of leaves in the fall
GEARs Advocacy is planning to highlight top infrastructure hazards to cyclists in the Eugene-Springfield area. The goal is to help focus government entities on infrastructure improvements that improve safety of bicycling within the cities and also on roads connecting to surrounding communities."


I'm not from Eugene, so I can't verify the accuracy of the claims they make on their Advocacy page. But it does seem that the club does care about the cycling culture in the area.

I'm sorry your son had knives pulled on him. Eugene does seem to have a lot of homeless people. I wonder if it's ever been suggested to the city's "powers that be" to perhaps have a couple of bicycle cops patrolling the multi-use paths in town? I remember thinking last year when riding the bRamble that those bike paths would be kinda scary at certain times of the day.

The GEARs advocacy page is mostly BS. Yes, the transportation planners do tell them what they have planned, but no project has ever been initiated, funded or actually built because of GEARs. (At one point the transportation planner mostly responsible for Eugene's decline in cycling, Reed Dunbar, was the president of GEARs.) Sadly, much of what they tout have been problematic infra builds. 24th is a door-zone bike lane and Alder has simply failed because of the driveway issue.

There are a number of us pushing for bike cops and we meet regularly with EPD command staff, including the chief. We got a new police chief 15 months ago and he has been handed an extra $30 million (that's a lot for a city this size) to bring his force numbers up. It takes 18 months to get a new hire on the street, so they're still undermanned. Unfortunately, this chief is more into catching basement-dwelling losers than he is with bike path or road safety. We're working on him and may eventually get some cops on bikes at night (daytime isn't needed), but it's going to be at least another year or two.

Parks and Open Space has funded some "park ambassadors" who roam the bike paths, but lack police powers, and only one of them actually does anything. Joey from Brooklyn is his name, and he's incredible. People set up a camp on the Owosso bike bridge and he gave them an hour to move it. They delayed, so he hauled their stuff, by hand, right out from under them.

Sadly, on many levels beyond cycling, Eugene could easily provide shelter for its homeless population but chooses not to. It's not like they're going away (we have entities that provide abundant free hot food, free tarps, free sleeping bags, free clothes, etc, so once one is down and out here it's hard to move away). We have some younger people running for our city council this next year, so maybe they can turn the tide and prioritize this.

Maslin 09-22-19 09:28 AM

We ride the Fern Ridge Trail from N Terry to 15th and Jefferson, through downtown to my wife’s work. Then I continue on up by Autzen Stadium.

It’s hit or miss, must be the quality of meth out that night. Some mornings there’s nothing, maybe a few people passed out in the grass. Some mornings it’s like the walking dead, Thursday was one of those days. Those days are uncomfortable. I’ve seen the park ambassadors out once, middle of the wetlands at 6:30am. Not a soul in sight except for my wife and I.

Riding home has always been fine, but we’ve never been out past 7 or so. From what I’ve heard, her (rare) solo rides range from dirty comments to actually scary.

We wouldn't be here here if it wasn’t for work, there are small groups of genuinely cool people, but so so much wrong. A not big enough city either past it’s prime, or no where near it’s potential

spectastic 09-23-19 03:46 PM

i've been here for maybe a month. don't really go to the bike paths really, aside from running along the river every once in a while. having to worry about irrational actions from homeless people is a bother, but I don't let it affect me that much. So far, I've been pretty impressed with the roads they have out here. Hardly any cars from what I'm used to. It's been mostly solo rides, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of cyclists. Yea Eugene does seem to be kind of a lonely place.

MarinFan63 06-14-20 10:46 PM

if not paranoid you'll get ur bike stole

fietsbob 07-10-20 03:49 PM

I moved away in 1997 to the coast,,


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