North Campus Conditional Use Permit

North Campus Conditional Use Permit Map
Around the O Article, January 9, 2018
Project Update Email,  December 21, 2017
Around the O Article, October 31, 2017
Around the O Article, August 1, 2017
Initial Submittal to the City

The North Campus Conditional Use Permit application was submitted to the City on February 26, 2018.  Following is a 30-day completeness review by the City.  A public hearing is anticipated in August 2018.

The key component of this Conditional Use Permit request, as required by the City of Eugene Riverfront Park Special Area Zone (S-RP), is a Master Site Plan.  The purpose of the proposed Master Site Plan is to protect the Willamette River and accommodate essential future development, allowing the University of Oregon to meet its mission of teaching, discovery, and service.  Being able to provide the necessary facilities and environments for current needs, growth and unforeseen change is critical to the success of students, faculty, and the operations of the university.

The Master Site Plan commits the area between the railroad tracks and Willamette River primarily to riparian restoration and open space opportunities and concentrates most of the potential building development south of the railroad tracks.  It strictly limits potential development north of the railroad tracks by imposing a 200-foot riparian enhancement setback and restrictions on building coverage, building heights, field coverage, and vehicular access and parking well beyond the code allowances.  The Master Site Plan results in 31 acres of 77 acres being dedicated to riparian restoration in addition to other open space that would be provided within development sites (north of the tracks, this amounts to 25 of 42 acres being dedicated to riparian restoration).  It carefully balances the long-term needs of the university and desires of the community as a whole, addressing key interests in connectivity, river access, riparian restoration, safety, and active uses. 

The Master Site Plan establishes a regulatory framework and depicts a scenario of potential development over the course of decades.  It is based on the Framework Vision Project (an 18-month-long planning study that was landscape-focused and explored how the university could accommodate growth on campus), a Conceptual Study of the university’s land between the railroad tracks and the Willamette River, and the land use code requirements for the Conditional Use Permit.   It has been informed by feedback from university and community stakeholders gathered through public outreach.

Below is a link to the most recent Master Site Plan documents:

Materials for the University of Oregon Senate Meeting on February 14th
Materials for the Community Open House on January 11th
Materials for the Campus Planning Committee on November 28th
Materials from Open House on November 8th
The area of campus within the Riverfront Park Special Area Zone (called North Campus for the purposes of this project) requires a new Master Site Plan as part of a land use application process with the City of Eugene.  The area, approximately 77 acres north of Franklin Boulevard, does not have a current Conditional Use Permit.  The previous Conditional Use Permit was in place from 1988 to 2012.  It is expired; therefore, a new permit is needed. This project, resulting from city code requirements, is necessary to allow the university to address future land use needs and opportunities.  
Project Status, Purpose, and Scope
The University of Oregon began the North Campus Conditional Use Permit Project late June 2017 with the assistance of landscape architecture and planning firm Cameron McCarthy.  The purpose of the project is to complete a land use application package for City approval, so that the university may improve and develop its land for its needs as opportunities arise.  The Master Site Plan, the key component of the land use application, uses the concepts of the Framework Vision Project as a basis while meeting the requirements of the city land use code.

The North Campus Conditional Use Permit Project has consisted of the following parts:

  • A  Conceptual Study of the university’s land between the railroad tracks and the Willamette River (to inform the master site plan), using the Framework Vision Project as a basis;
  • A Master Site Plan for North Campus (delineated by the S-RP zone boundary), meeting the requirements of the City of Eugene land use code and using the Framework Vision Project  as a basis; and
  • A land use application package for City of Eugene approval through the Conditional Use Permit process and concurrent applications.
Project Timeline
Below is a basic project timeline:
  • July through October 2017

    • Conceptual Study Work
    • Master Site Plan Development
    • Stakeholder Input
  • November 2017

    • Conceptual Study and Draft Master Site Plan Complete
    • Community Feedback
    • Campus Planning Committee Review
  • December 2017

    • Revise Master Site Plan

  • January 2018

    • Community Feedback

  • February 2018

    • Finalize Master Site Plan
    • Submit Land Use Application
  • Summer 2018

    • Public Comment Period
    • Public Hearing (anticipated August)
Who is Managing the Project?
The consultant, Cameron McCarthy, is managing the project and completing the work required for the land use application.  Campus Planning is managing the university’s process and is the university’s main point of contact.  The consultant worked with Campus Planning and key stakeholders to develop the Master Site Plan.  Cogito Partners is on the consultant’s team and is managing the community outreach outside the university.
Who Has Been Involved in the Project?
The project gathered feedback and input from stakeholders, interested parties, and the community throughout the duration of the project to inform the Conceptual Study and development of the Master Site Plan.  The project engaged both internal and external groups, with internal efforts focused on the university community (faculty, staff, students, and administrators) and external efforts focused on community leaders, business leaders, city and agency representatives, neighboring property owners, river and ecology advocates, neighborhood associations, and other interested parties.

The public process started in July 2017.  Below is an overview of the outreach to-date (not an exhaustive list):

  • Eight focus group meetings (five internal, two external, and one combined internal/external);
  • Two public open houses;
  • Two neighborhood meetings;
  • Information-sharing meetings with internal and external stakeholders and interested parties;
  • Individual interviews with community members representing key interests;
  • Three Campus Planning Committee meetings;
  • Five e-updates to an e-mail list of interested parties;
  • Five e-updates to the community stakeholder focus group;
  • Three updates in Around-the-O; and
  • Sharing information on the project web page, including open house materials and providing a function for public comment during the open houses.
Below is a link to a diagram summarizing key stakeholder priorities (not an exhaustive list):
What we Heard Diagram
How Can I Be Involved?

Feedback from the wider community was primarily gathered during November and January, during which the university held public open houses and neighborhood meetings.

If you would like more information or have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact Campus Planning directly (Emily Eng,, (541) 346-5606).

Project updates will be primarily shared through Around the O.  You may also request to be on an e-mail distribution list to receive updates.

Why the University Needs a New Conditional Use Permit for North Campus

Unlike the majority of campus, which is in the Public Land Zone, the entire North Campus (delineated by the S-RP zone) needs a Conditional Use Permit in order for any development to occur.  As mentioned, the previous Conditional Use Permit is expired; therefore, a new permit is needed.  However, this is not a typical Conditional Use Permit application.  It is not for a site-specific known development; rather, it is for a vast area of land for most of which the university has no definitive plans and/or funding to improve yet.  The timeframe for this Conditional Use Permit will be at least twenty years.  A Conditional Use Permit is required for this area because of its unique and special location along the Willamette River.

The university knows that it needs some of the land in North Campus for future buildings and year-round recreation fields, as found in the Framework Vision Project.  It has limited land holdings and limited development opportunities and, as the university grows, it wants to do it in a way that preserves and improves upon the quality of campus that people enjoy today, with its beautiful interconnected open spaces, thoughtfully-designed buildings, and high-quality pedestrian environment. The university would be able to achieve this if it can accommodate growth and change in this part of campus.  This Conditional Use Permit would be a first step in allowing the University of Oregon to plan for the future and improve the area.  If the university does not receive a new Conditional Use Permit for North Campus, its ability to accommodate growth and change will be extremely limited, forcing the university to be unable to respond effectively to needs and opportunities.  Consequences include but are not limited to:

  • Locating new buildings in places that are inappropriate for those building types (such as an administrative building in areas of campus that are reserved for classrooms or student services);
  • Building in designated open spaces;
  • Having to purchase adjacent land and build in neighboring areas with potential negative impacts to neighbors;
  • Further spreading university uses off-campus;
  • Having limited or no options for surge or replacement space, which will become all the more necessary as the university builds and improves research facilities and offices for current and new tenure-track faculty;
  • Not being able to attract new faculty and students due to the inability to provide essential facilities;
  • Keeping North Campus in a situation where areas continue to be unsafe and an eyesore; and
  • Remaining isolated from the Willamette River, UO’s most underappreciated natural asset. Connecting to the river will open opportunities for research, teaching outdoors, recreation, improving the ecology of the river’s edge, and improving pedestrian and bicycle connectivity.


Questions and Answers

Community Stakeholder Questions and Answers (updated 11/21/2017)

Does the university intend to build along the river?
It is not known whether the university will need to develop in the area north of the tracks, but City approval of the Conditional Use Permit will allow the university to address needs as they arise in a way that preserves the highest value ecological areas.  The proposed Master Site Plan concentrates most of the potential future building development south of the railroad tracks.  The area north of the tracks, along the river, is envisioned to be used primarily for riparian restoration, outdoor active recreation (recreation fields), passive recreation, and other university uses that are compatible with the riverfront.  A limited number of potential buildings is proposed north of the tracks in the areas closest to existing infrastructure (at the western and eastern ends).  Through site analysis and assessment of potential university needs during the Conceptual Study, these areas were determined to be good opportunities for building sites if needs arise.  Examples of potential building types include a facility for the Outdoor Program, research greenhouses, a small field house to support recreation fields, and an academic and research building focused on ecology.  Building heights would range from 15 feet (one story) to 45 feet tall (3 stories).  In addition, the university has proposed a 200-foot setback for buildings along most of the riverfront and for any recreation fields. 

How is the Conditional Use Permit Project different from the Campus Plan Amendment process?
The purpose of the Conditional Use Permit Project is to complete a land use application that meets the requirements of the code.  The Master Site Plan for the land use application will provide less detail than in the Campus Plan Amendment. The Campus Plan Amendment is the university’s process that will establish principles and guidelines in the Campus Plan for North Campus that provide the same level of detail as those for the rest of campus.  For example, the amendment will establish an open space framework, major pathways, and density guidelines, and identify development opportunities and constraints.

Is the Knight Campus building site within the S-RP zone? Will this project impact the Knight Campus Project's timeline?
No.  The building site for the Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, located on Franklin Boulevard between Onyx Street and Riverfront Parkway, is not within the S-RP zone.  This project will also not have any impact on the timeline of the Knight Campus Project.  However, the new Conditional Use Permit will allow for a parking structure to serve the Knight Campus in a location consistent with the Framework Vision Project

For more information, please contact:
Emily Eng
Senior Planner / Project Manager
Phone: 541-346-5606

Page updated February 28, 2018