Eugene bond measure on ballot for streets

Eugene bond measure on ballot for streets

EUGENE, Ore. - Tthe City of Eugene is looking for money so your drive will be a smoother ride, but it could be an expensive fix.

Voters are being asked to approve a $36 million measure, that would be paid with your property taxes.

 

Streets are always a big Eugene controversy--most recently a vote over the local gas tax.

This summer, officials decided a bond measure is the route they want to take.

It's late in the season, but city work crews are busy laying down new pavement on this section of Roosevelt Boulevard.

"We spend about $10 million a year on doing streets, but we need about $18 million," says City Councilor and bond supporter, Alan Zelenka.

That's why Eugene measure 20-145 is on the ballot. Officials say it would be an important down payment to make a dent in the back log of street repairs.  That back log has hit $173 million.

Zelenka explains, "It's for $36-million which would get us about $6.5-million dollars a year, and it has a fixed set of projects."

Places like the deep ruts on west 18Th would be targeted. The project list also includes Bailey Hill Road, sections of River Road, Willamette Street and points in between.

"The list of projects was put together so that no matter where you are in Eugene, you will see streets that you use, repaired," explains Eric Jones, spokesman for the Public Works Department.

Money from the bond would be used to pay for 32 street repair jobs in Eugene, projects similar to this one on Roosevelt Boulevard. but here's the question...will the current economic jitters, trump the bad streets?

Reporter Tom Adams asked the councilor, "Do you really think it has a realistic chance?"  Zelenka replies, "Yeah--I think it will pass, based on the fact that people think the roads are a problem and they need to be repaired."

Again, the bonds would be paid back through local property taxes.

The city says the cost to the average Eugene homeowner would be $102 per year, or 61 cents per thousand valuation.   Officials say an outside auditor would review the City's use of bond proceeds and determine whether the cash was used as required by the measure.