Civic Park blocks parking access, upsetting residents in Eugene

KEZI 9 News spoke with residents and the Eugene Civic Alliance about the situation, and has reached out to the landlords of properties affected by the change.

Posted: Jun 20, 2019 4:19 PM
Updated: Jun 20, 2019 6:48 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Construction of the new Civic Park is restricting parking access for a number of nearby residents, and an attorney for the Eugene Civic Alliance says the change is permanent.

People who live on Willamette Street said they used to use an access road at the intersection of Oak Street and 20th Avenue to get to a parking lot behind their homes. Now, a fence put up by construction crews on Wednesday has cut off access to the parking lot, and there's no way out.

"I feel like the way this has happened, we're like a bunch of caged animals," said Rom Bichel, who lost access to the parking lot he shares with other residents. 

At an apartment complex next door, residents said they would use the same road to leave their parking lot, but it's also been blocked off. However, they can still get into the lot on Willamette Street.

Some residents are worried about how crews with Royal Refuse will be able to pick up trash from a dumpster that's in the parking lot with the now-limited access. Officials with the company said they're not sure how the limited access will impact them, and they'll know more once they try to get the trash Friday afternoon.

Bill Kabeiseman, an attorney for the Eugene Civic Alliance, said that the road residents were using was never public property and is now owned by the Eugene Civic Alliance.

"The property owners would have to use their own frontages to get in and out of the property," Kabeiseman said. "Each of them do have frontage on public streets and have the right to access those streets in those ways."

While landlords are appealing the loss of access through the Land Use Board of Appeals, Kabeiseman said they still have the right to build in the meantime.

They said they have been in communication with the landlords to let them know about the loss of access and gave them plenty of notice.

KEZI has reached out to the landlords for comment and has not heard back.

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