Mud City Press

THE LANE COUNTY COMMONS

Community Events and Agricultural Resource Center

A Proposal by the Lane County Fairgrounds Repair Project

Lane County Commons
Lane County Commons Schematic Design

Executive Summary

The purpose of this proposal is to give Lane County and the City of Eugene a way to save the Lane County Fairgrounds. The proposal describes a plan to transform the fairgrounds into a state-of-the-art, zero waste and zero net energy community and agricultural resource center–a plan that will make the fairgrounds profitable, sustainable, and attractive. Should this vision be realized the Lane County Fairgrounds would become a one of a kind community asset, a gem in the crown of Oregon's greenest city, a destination for visitors from all over the United States, and a prototype for other urban fairground sites.

Overview: The world currently faces unprecedented challenges due to long-term resource mismanagement and environmental degradation. Our unrestrained use of fossil fuels, our methods of building, our methods of agriculture, our mismanagement of waste streams, and our way of life are simply not sustainable. Without wholesale revision of our culture and our relationship with the community of all living things, we jeopardize the health of the planet and the future of humankind.

Individual solutions to all the problems that we confront are available. Alternative techniques for the creation of energy, sustainable methods of cultivation, more efficient utilization of waste, green methods of construction, and new visions for the design of our socio-economic living space are being advanced and increasingly practiced every day. While these practices are yet the exception to the prevailing culture, they are our future. Individually these alternative practices are important, but combined in a holistic way they are powerful and fully sustainable. The Lane County Fairgrounds Repair Project endeavors to create a working demonstration of such a whole system design through the integration of cutting-edge green techniques and practices on the fairgrounds site in the center of Eugene, Oregon.

Mission Statement: The repaired fairgrounds site, renamed the Lane County Commons, will be a community resource and agricultural center designed to optimize the full potential of the site. The fifty-five acre campus will be networked into the city in such a way that it acts both as a transit node for the Lane Transit District (LTD) and a distribution hub for food grown in Lane County. The central economic premise of the site will be fostering local enterprise, incubating green jobs, and promoting Lane County agriculture, specifically food production. The overall operational goal for the site will be to achieve zero waste, zero net carbon, and zero net energy, and in this way be a working demonstration and educational model for the culture of the future.

Design Objectives

Utilize Relocalized Community Economics
The Fairgrounds Repair Project's economic strategy will be based on a relocalized business model, emphasizing local enterprise, the creation of green jobs, and the promotion and support of increased food production in Lane County. Funding for the rebuilding and restoration of the grounds will be sourced from private donations, state and federal green job and technology grants, county and/or city bond initiatives, and community partnerships. Operation of the site will be supported by building rentals, business leases, farmers' market revenues, workshop and class fees, waste stream income, and lodging fees.
Achieve Zero Waste
A unified waste and recycling system will be incorporated into all activities at the Lane County Commons. Everything that enters the campus will either be recycled, composted into nutrient rich soil amendments, used as a source of energy production, or leave the site exactly as it entered.
Achieve Zero Net Carbon, Zero Net Energy
Every action will be taken to increase the efficiency of all existing buildings and energy systems at the site. Photovoltaic panels, solar water heating, wind power, and other renewable or high efficiency energy technologies will be added to each structure as applicable
Utilize Ecological Landscaping and Permaculture Design
The entire campus will be landscaped in a manner that demonstrates the principles of ecology and permaculture design. The grounds will be transformed into a neighborhood park, a living native plant library, and an educational arboretum.
Act as an Agricultural Center and Food Hub
As part of the relocalized economic plan, the repaired fairgrounds will be a critical first step in the rebuilding of our local food system, something that can both stimulate the economy and increase regional food security. The existing OSU Extension Service office building will be replaced by a Regional Agricultural Center with offices for the USDA, the OSU Extension Service, the Department of Forestry, the Lane County Farmers Market, and other related government or non-profit organizations. An indoor year-round farmers' market, a produce aggregation and minimum processing depot, a food storage and distribution warehouse, and two grain silos will also be added to the site to create a full-purpose food hub and emergency food reserve in the center of Eugene.
Act as a Transit Node
Jefferson Street provides direct truck and automobile access from Highway 105 to the fairgrounds. A major LTD bus line stops at the main entrance on Thirteenth Street, and a key bike path passes along the site's southern boundary. By adding an EMX route to Thirteenth Street, the fairgrounds could be easily accessed without an automobile from both ends of the metro area.
Act as a Community Resource Center
The entire campus will be designed to maximize city-wide community involvement, neighborhood resource access, and educational opportunities. Energy applications, waste strategies, agricultural practices, environmental landscaping, and sustainable living will be presented as working demonstrations and workshops. Classes taught in conjunction with the OSU Extension Service will include master gardening, composting, permaculture design, food preparation and preservation, nutrition, farmer mentoring, livestock management, and climate masters programs.
Become a National Destination Site
The Lane County Commons will be a one-of-a-kind, cutting edge, zero waste, zero net carbon, zero net energy prototype for sustainable applications and living. At this time, there is nothing in the world to compare to what it can be. It will attract regional and national attention for its applications, educational opportunities, and relocalized community economics. Along with the site's focus on economic stimulus for local enterprise and regional agriculture, the Lane County Commons will become a destination for visitors and a popular site for conventions, adding significantly to Eugene's green reputation and its tourism economy.