Living in Lane County

As with any city, there are several local disputes occurring in Eugene that you might not have heard about. Though they both remind me of some of the benefits of living here.

The first dispute concerns EWEB supplying water to Veneta, a bedroom community of Eugene. Essentially some Veneta residents don’t want EWEB to begin supplying water, as it will encourage sprawling growth. I thought this dispute brought up one of the great aspects about living in Lane County. You can choose whether you want to live in an urban or country environment, without living hours from the nearest town. Eugene and Springfield both have various bedroom communities that exist just outside the city. No long drive into town, and no traffic or neighbors as well.

The second issue concerns the expansion of west 11th, a major road through Eugene. There is a question whether west 11th should be made more friendly to foot traffic, or whether a proposed bus line should be included in a redone west 11th. This too, demonstrates another benefit of living in Eugene, its infrastructure is rapidly developing as the city does in order to meet its needs. No matter what you’re looking for, Lane County probably has it.

The city of Eugene is seeking to restructure West 11th

Smart Meters

If you haven’t heard about “smart” electric meters, you might want to familiarize yourself now, as they could be appearing in your home soon. Smart meters allow utility companies to watch in real time how much electricity you use and when.

Smart meters will allow power companies to charge more for electricity at peak hours, influencing your use patterns. By spreading out power consumption throughout the day, power production is more efficient, and can lead to decreased costs.

Neither the Springfield Utility Board nor EWEB use smart meters yet, but they are on their way. While less then 10% of homes in the U.S. currently have smart meters, that number is projected to increase to one third in the next 5 years. Proponents of smart meters point out the following benefits: reduction in the cost of power during non peak times, reduced greenhouse-gas emissions, no more meter readers, and more accurate meter readings.

Your old meter could be on its way out.

Oregon: Green Power Leader

Oregon is set to become a leader in renewable wind energy. The Shepard’s Flat wind turbine farm has been approved, and Caithness Energy is planning on spending 2 billion dollars for the project in Northeastern Oregon. The closest town is Arlington, along the Columbia River, which I had to look up. The power will be fed into the BPA grid, and exported to our neighbors to the south, in California. Eugene’s local utility, EWEB, has its own renewable energy program, called Greenpower, which receives power from wind turbine farms, among other sources.