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Planners to grapple with projected growth.

Byline: CITY BEAT/SPRINGFIELD By Matt Cooper The Register-Guard

Pretend Springfield's urban growth boundary is a pair of pants. In another 47 years, we'll be bursting at the seams.

The city's 54,000 in population could reach 105,000 by 2050, a hallmark year for planners trying to accommodate growth.

Things are the same all over. Eugene could hit 272,000 by 2050 (up from 160,000 in 2000), while Junction City could double (to 12,000).

Springfield city planners will buttonhole City Council members Tuesday on the population and employment needs of this region through 2050.

The problem: Springfield's urban growth boundary doesn't include enough land to accommodate its projected growth in population and employment. None of the strategies to control growth will prevent the need to expand the boundary, planners say.

Instead, they'll ask the City Council to consider where the urban growth boundary should be expanded. In other words, start thinking about a bigger pair of pants.

In the fast lane

Dirt could start flying this summer on construction of a high-speed bus route downtown.

The Lane Transit District is looking for city approval this summer of the route from Springfield to Eugene's downtown, said Mark Pangborn, LTD assistant general manager.

After the City Council signs off, property owners will be notified about how much land the project will need in the public right-of-way and how much they'll get in compensation, Pangborn said.

The new buses could start running in late 2004 or early 2005. They'll run along Franklin Boulevard, using South A Street coming into Springfield and returning to Eugene by Main Street, Pangborn said.

Springfield's new bus station should also be up and running by then. Despite some earlier obstacles, the transit district has secured the money to build a station at Pioneer Parkway East and South A Street by late summer 2004, Pangborn said.

Bridge work

A few dates to keep in mind for you bridge watchdogs: June 2, 3 and 18.

The state Department of Transportation wants to build temporary freeway bridges across the McKenzie and Willamette rivers while repairing the current structures.

They'll be at City Hall at 7 p.m. June 2 for a public hearing, then back the following day for a joint meeting of local planning commissions. Then it's a June 18 meeting with elected officials of the three groups, for final approval (time and location yet to be determined).

The deadline is July 4 to get final approval from the local governments, as well as federal and state agencies, an ODOT spokesman said.

That would free up ODOT to begin construction in September on bridge projects to be completed in 12 to 18 months.

The temporary bridges would remain in use until permanent structures can be built, which will take several more years and could cost as much as $100 million.

Matt Cooper can be reached at 338-2317 or mcooper@guardnet.com.
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Title Annotation:General News
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 24, 2003
Words:484
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