By Elon Glucklich
A Vancouver, Wash., developer wants to build 72 single-family houses, townhouses and condominiums on the north side of Eugene’s Laurel Hill Valley, possibly sparking the first major building project in the wooded area east of Hendricks Park since before the Great Recession. It’s a spark some neighborhood residents would rather see extinguished.
Over the last decade, Laurel Hill homeowners have seen three separate developers pitch plans for large subdivisions, hoping to build hundreds of houses, apartments and condos on more than 200 across the valley. Almost none of those homes have been built. Umpqua Bank repossessed two subdivisions — East Ridge Village and Stonecrest — in the depths of the recession, with just seven completed houses and a sprawling network of water and sewer hookups across 100 acres. The largest plan — a 600-plus unit development called Laurel Ridge, on 121 acres near the East Ridge and Stonecrest sites — faced fierce protests from neighbors before the city rejected it in 2013.
But while Laurel Ridge and Stonecrest plans gather cobwebs, a Vancouver group that bought the 60-acre East Ridge property from Umpqua Bank is looking to build. The Holt Group filed documents with Eugene’s Planning and Development Department earlier this month, outlining a plan for 52 single-family houses, six townhouses and 14 condominiums on the property.
Laurel Hill Valley Citizens
The Laurel Hill Valley is located east of Hendricks Park. It is a neighborhood with a unique character and a diverse population. Laurel Hill Valley Citizens is Eugene’s oldest neighborhood organization, and was chartered by the City Council in 1974. They meet quarterly to discuss ways to enhance the quality of life in our valley.