McKenzie View Drive Real Estate

Photo of McKenzie View Drive

McKenzie View Drive: January 2013

McKenzie View Drive is a desirable location, but with only 50 or so houses, there usually isn’t much real estate activity.  Lately, that’s changed and we have had quite a bit of activity on McKenzie View.  McKenzie View is an interesting street, running between Eugene and Springfield, Oregon.  At only 6 miles long, it hugs the base of the Coburg Hills in between the Mohawk and McKenzie Rivers, and is very picturesque.  McKenzie View starts just north of Armitage Park and the historic Coburg Railroad Bridge, constructed in 1887, and moved it its current location in 1907.

Just before McKenzie View dives under I-5, is the Armitage Park Boat Ramp, providing access to the McKenzie River, renowned for its beauty and fishing.  Armitage park provides year round camping and also has the distinction of being one of the area’s few off-leash dog parks.  Almost every time I go by it there are dogs and their owners out having fun.

Growing up in Eugene, as kids we’d talk about Mt. Baldy for some odd reason.  It’s a weird bare patch in the Coburg Hills, visible to most of Eugene and Springfield, looking north..  It’s to the southeast of the KEZI towers.  Mt. Baldy was originally called Richy’s Butte, apparently named after a mentally challenged person, who lived in a shack and rolled rocks down the hill.  The area by Mt. Baldy was first homesteaded around 1850 by John Cogswell, who built one of Lane County’s first frame houses; log cabins were the norm back then. While Mt. Baldy in the Coburg Hills is a large example of a bare spot in the landscape, several other prominent bald spots also occur and are visible from McKenzie View; soils are thin in these areas and they only support lichens, moss, grass and maybe a little brush, but no real trees, hence they appear bald from a distance.  Mt. Baldy is accessible from McKenzie View, but only through private property.  The Coburg Caves, a popular climbing spot, are nearby Mt. Baldy.

1853 survey showing Mt. Balday and Cogswell homestead.

1853 survey showing Mt. Baldy and Cogswell homestead.

Wildlife is common in the Coburgs and along McKenzie View.  It’s not difficult to see turkeys, deer, and the occasional bobcat.  Rare, but present, are bear, coyotes, foxes, porcupines and cougar.  There are nesting pairs of Eagles which are seen a few times a year and commonly seen are osprey.  One osprey lives on a telephone pole to the west of Hill Road.

Turkey Pic

Tom turkey in the Coburg Hills

Wild life of a different sort may also be found along McKenzie View Drive.  About a mile in from the Coburg side is Nudie Rock, which is a nude bathing beach.  When the weather is warm, it’s easy to find its location–just look for the flock of cars parked by the north side of the road.

Perhaps there’s something inspiring about the McKenzie River.  The initial meeting to form Nike happened in the late John Jaqua’s house on McKenzie view.  At one point, McKenzie View Drive housed another Nike heavyweight and one of Eugene’s most famous citizens:  Bill Bowerman.  Mr. Bowerman has passed on, so I can no longer ask, but I think it was at his house on McKenzie View that Mr. Bowerman used his wife’s waffle iron to create the waffle running shoe, which put Nike on the map.

Houses with valley views and river views are common, and they often fetch high prices.  Part of McKenzie View has a Eugene mailing address and is in the Eugene School System, and part is in Springfield.  McKenzie View is makes for a nice drive, if you want to get out of the city, and if you have questions on real estate, please contact me.

Purchasing or selling country property in Lane County is far more complex than for urban properties.  A good realtor familiar with rural property around Eugene Springfield can be an invaluable resource for you.  If you have questions about real estate, please contact me.  You can search listings here.

Columnar basalt above I-5 near McKenzie View Drive, Eugene, Oregon

Columnar basalt above I-5 near McKenzie View Drive, Eugene, Oregon

KEZI Towers (left) and Mt. Baldy, Coburg Hills, Eugene Oregon (right)

KEZI Towers (left) and Mt. Baldy, Coburg Hills, Eugene Oregon (right)

Historic railroad bridge on Coburg Rd., Eugene OR,

Historic railroad bridge on Coburg Rd., Eugene OR,

Historic railroad bridge at intersection of Coburg Road and McKenzie View Drive, Eugene Oregon

Historic railroad bridge at intersection of Coburg Rd. and McKenzie View Dr., Eugene Oregon

Sunset over McKenzie View Drive, February 2013

Sunset over McKenzie View Drive, February 2013

MeKenzie River from McKenzie View Drive.

McKenzie River from McKenzie View Drive.

Eagles live in the Coburg Hills.  (c) Robyn Hine.  Used with permission.

Eagles live in the Coburg Hills. (c) Robyn Hine. Used with permission.

Bell Real Estate

Buying and selling real estate in Eugene Springfield is never easy.  Houses are big ticket items and getting it right is important.  How do you get it right?  I think the best way is to find a good Realtor who’s honest and understands the market.  Bell Real Estate is 100% local and has been serving clients in Lane County for over 45 years.  How do you stay in business that long?  We think by doing it right.

Bell is a full service firm, probably best known for its property management, in which we’re a market leader.  We also have Realtors, of whom I’m one, doing a brisk business buying and selling property for clients.  If you have questions about buying or selling real estate in Lane County, I’d be glad to help.


Bell Real Estate’s Main Office at 630 River Road


2013 Eugene Springfield Real Estate Prices: Up

The new year makes a convenient time to look back and also pull out our crystal ball.  2012 may have marked the bottom of our real estate market in Eugene & Springfield.  Prices have trended up in the last few months.  Mostly, this is brought about by lack of supply, that is too few houses actively for sale.

In real estate’s boom years, before 2008, supplies of houses for sale dipped below two months, which was a strong seller’s market.  At the depths of the Great Recession, supplies greater than a year were seen around Eugene Springfield, indicating a strong buyer’s market.  Lately, we’ve been at 6 months or less, which is a mild sellers market.


Eugene Springfield January 2013

Why the lack of supply of houses for sale?  One reason is Senate Bill 1552.  This good intentioned Bill had the effect of decreasing the rate of completed foreclosures, so fewer of them are on the market and more are still in the process of foreclosure.  The Oregon Supreme Court is scheduled to take a look at this in January 2013.  My guess is that they or the Legislature will change something.

Fundamentally, the prices of real estate are affected by things like inward migration and unemployment rate.  We’ve had fewer immigrants to Oregon in the last few years, and unemployment rates are stubbornly high, although decreasing.

My prediction for house prices in 2013 for Eugene Springfield is flat to mildly increasing.  I’ve been wrong before, though, and we’ll have to wait and see.

Eugene: A Pipeline Runs Through It

Many Eugene residents don’t realize it, but we have our own 8” petroleum pipeline extending from Portland to Eugene at the tank-farm off Prairie Road.  The pipeline brings in 1.8 million gallons per day to Eugene, and was completed in 1962 at a cost of $7 million.

The tank farm has a capacity of 700K barrels, or nearly 30 million gallons.  Oregon neither refines nor produces liquid hydrocarbons so all that gasoline and diesel has to come from somewhere—and a lot of it comes from Portland to the Eugene terminal. Portland is fed by marine deliveries and two pipelines from refineries in Northwestern Washington.

In fact, 90% of the petroleum used in Oregon comes from just four refineries in Washington State, which get 80% of their crude oil from the Northshore of Alaska.

If your property has the pipeline running through it, your title policy should show an easement from about 50 years ago.  However, if your property merely has the pipeline near it, local knowledge is about the only way to know it—that and pipeline warning signs.

Carrying petroleum to a town near you.

Eugene’s Cash Real Estate Sales

According to CNN, more homes are being purchased with cash these days.  Obviously, if you’re purchasing a house with cash, you’re either well-off or, at the very least, not feeling the crunch of the Great Recession. 

I took a look at the recent sales in the Eugene Springfield area as reported by RMLS to see if the trend held true to us.  In the preceding month’s time period, about 20% were, indeed, cash sales. 

That’s pretty high.

The homes did tend to be lower priced though.  The most expensive listing sold during that month was my own listing—weighing in at nearly ¾ million dollars.  It was not sold for cash, though; but rather a conventional loan was used.

High-end homes are still selling in Eugene.

Green Buildings Are Worth More

Cap rates for LEED certified commercial buildings are ½ percentage point better than for standard, non-green buildings.  Green building is a nice concept, but the marketplace’s acceptance will really help it take hold.

In Eugene and Springfield, there are very few LEED certified buildings so it’s hard to know how they’ll fare in the marketplace.  One problem with both commercial and residential green buildings is that appraisers don’t yet value them appropriately.  Of course, that will change—but for now it can cause problems if lenders are involved.

More buildings are going green these days.

Trees and Development in Eugene

Trees are very cool, and Oregon probably has more trees than any other state—except perhaps Alaska.  In fact, residents here are probably outnumbered by trees some 30:1*.  Even though numerous, the cutting of even a dangerous, diseased tree still makes headline news in Eugene.

Many don’t realize that Eugene has several pages of regulations about the cutting of trees.  And while they’re a good idea in principle, compliance does increase development costs, which in turn runs up prices and rent.

*Assume 1 tree per 10’x10’ grid, resulting in about 4K trees per acre.  ½ of Oregon’s ~62K acres are forested, resulting in perhaps 125 million trees.  The population of Oregon is a little under 4 million people.


Eugene cares about its trees.


Housing Prices Close To Bottom

Experts are saying the prices for houses are close to the bottom—meaning price increases are just around the corner.  And, houses are becoming increasingly affordable.  Nationally, house prices are less than two-years’ salary.  In Lane County, though they’re still higher than that.

However home ownership is part of the American Dream and the net worth of home owners is some 40-times greater than renters.

Is home ownership in your dreams?

Remodeling and Home Improvement

Remodeling and renovating is another area of the market in Eugene and Springfield that fell on hard times during the Great Recession.  We have bottomed-out though—and business is improving.

While home improvements don’t return dollar for dollar on resale, they still make sense if you plan to stay in the house for a period of time.

Rebuilding the housing market brick by brick.

New Home Building Slows

New home construction fell to an all time low in February 2011, with an annualized national number of building permits at 517K.  In Eugene Springfield new residential building is very slow right now.  New building permits issued in January were reported to be 27, down 13% from January 2010.  466 building permits were issued in Eugene Springfield for all of last year.

Distressed properties are often cheaper than replacement cost, and there’s a lot of inventory of all types of houses to be sold; until both of those change, I don’t expect new house building to pick up much.

It’s still a great time to buy, though.  Prices are down in Eugene Springfield and there are some great values.

There are fewer homes being built in Eugene Springfield in 2011