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Chambers Reconsidered A Citizens’ Guide to Potential Design Guidelines for a Mature Neighborhood Eugene, Oregon

June 2005

CHAMBERS RECONSIDERED Allen Lowe, Project Manager City of Eugene | Oregon Department of Transportation TGM Agreement No. 21854 TGM File Code 2K-03 Greg Brokaw, AIA John Rowell, AIA Howard Davis Chad Kirkpatrick Martha Bohm Rowell Brokaw Architects, PC One East Broadway, Suite 300 Eugene, OR 97401 Ronald Kellett, Consultant Centre for Landscape Research, 2357 Main Mall, University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

This Citizens’ Guide describes the character and patterns of development found in the East Traditional Neighborhood and proposes guidelines for the maintenance of its character. This guide has been produced to help citizens, neighbors, and city officials better understand the ETN and the particular characteristics that make it appealing to residents today. It attempts to articulate how those qualities can be preserved as the neighborhood continues to grow through infill and redevelopment. The material for this guide has been collected during public meetings, focus groups, from materials produced by neighbors, and materials produced by the Chambers Reconsidered TGM City of Eugene staff and project consultants.

Version dated: June 30, 2005 This project is funded by a grant from the Transportation and Growth Management (TGM) Program, a joint program of the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. The TGM program relies on funding from the federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act and the Oregon Lottery. This report does not necessarily reflect the views of policies of the State of Oregon.

CONTENTS 1. Introduction to Design Guidelines The case for the older traditional neighborhoods in Eugene What makes a traditional neighborhood work? No house is an island Good neighbors cooperate What are design guidelines? Document organization

1 2 4 6 7 9

2. Neighborhood Character and Guidelines Neighborhood context Street and alley organization and character Block size and character Alley Character Lot size and shapes Streetscape Alleyscape Density

11 13 14 15 16 18 20 22

3. Dwelling Form Guidelines Houses with character Relationship of house to lot, street, and yard Mass and scale Privacy Parking and garages Multiple detached units

24 26 28 30 32 34

4. Dwelling Character Guidelines Architectural character Windows Exterior materials Entry and porches Fencing Roof character Landscaping

35 36 37 38 39 40 41

Appendix Resources and additional information


Section 1

Introduction to Design Guidelines THE CASE FOR OLDER TRADITIONAL NEIGHBORHOODS IN EUGENE Like most cities its age and size, Eugene has substantial remnants of older residential neighborhoods that have architectural character and patterns of development unique to pre-World War II housing development. The East Traditional Neighborhood (ETN) in the Chambers area is an example of one such neighborhood that emerged and matured before cul-de sacs, driveways, garages, and car-dominated suburbs became the norm. Most of the houses were built within recognizable stylistic traditions, from a limited set of period pattern books, and by builders who had a good grasp of proportion and detail. In some of these neighborhoods the homes are large and stately; while in the ETN they are modest and even cottage-like. There is consistency, but also subtle variety that is often lacking in newer housing developments. What is most distinctive about the ETN and other older neighborhoods is not the historic character of any particular house, but the overall pattern of streets and alleys, the architectural coherence of housing stock, and the way that houses and streets work together to create a unique sense of community.

Typical street scene in the East Traditional Neighborhood (ETN) with a full canopy of mature trees.

House in the University area, a well recognized older traditional neighborhood that has also struggled with changes.

Having emerged early in the city’s formation, the ETN and other older neighborhoods tend to be close to the downtown core. Some are zoned for higher densities and are targets for redevelopment or infill development that could introduce new development patterns, non-residential uses, and lower quality rental housing. Today’s “building culture”–the conventional building practices, codes, materials, and desired forms of housing–has changed dramatically since the time when these neighborhoods were built. The perceived need



for wide driveways, large garages in front, as well as the desire for much larger living space inside, are examples of new market forces that are not easily satisfied. What is conventionally built now does not typically fit with the traditional neighborhood. Unaddressed, these forces will substantially alter the ETN and other older traditional neighborhoods to their detriment. Anyone looking at housing in Eugene recognizes the value of these older neighborhoods. Although not everyone’s ideal, they offer a desirable housing option for many people, and for some they represent the most livable neighborhoods in the city. These neighborhoods are not necessarily historic, but they are part of our city’s history, and are important to its identity. All neighborhoods change over time. Older houses will be updated and new ones constructed. The new is never exactly the same as the old; nevertheless, the patterns that make these older neighborhoods unique can be sustained. As a matter of civic responsibility, the city and its citizens should recognize the most coherent of these neighborhoods as cultural and physical artifacts, and promote the understanding and preservation of them. This Citizens’ Guide to the East Traditional Neighborhood is intended to give citizens and officials the tools to understand what makes one of these neighborhoods unique and to identify specific ways that future development in this neighborhood can fit in and contribute to a strong tradition. WHAT MAKES A TRADITIONAL NEIGHBORHOOD WORK?

Both the physical structure, and the relationships and understandings among neighbors are key to the



health of traditional neighborhood. Typically, older neighborhoods have consistent physical characteristics, summarized as follows: •

Gridded streets

De-emphasized parking

Houses oriented to the street

Front yards as important semi-public space

Alleys for services, storage, limited housing, and pedestrian traffic

Significant street trees and mature urban landscape

Walkable distances to downtown, commercial areas, and open spaces

Traditional neighborhoods also rely on respectful decision-making among residents, and a willingness to let the neighborhood evolve over time. Many of the wonderful qualities of older, living neighborhoods is that nothing repeats exactly, yet there is overall continuity. General patterns and trends grow and evolve over time, and it is the enduring patterns, not so much the individual structures, that give the neighborhood its traditional character. This is less true in suburban neighborhoods developed by a single developer, employing strict CC&Rs that promote uniformity and discourage change over time. The design guidelines in this Citizens’ Guide are intended to articulate and encourage the preservation of important patterns in the East Traditional Neighborhood, while allowing individual control and discretion that preserves vitality. To achieve this balance, citizens must recognize the sphere of influence of their own house, and be willing to work with their neighbors over time.



NO HOUSE IS AN ISLAND A house is surrounded by several other houses, a street and possibly an alley, and the house influences those other houses and public spaces. There is of course a legal boundary around the house, but the influence of the house, and the yard and garden, extends beyond that boundary. When making changes, it is important to consider this influence. Diagram illustrates the idea of “sphere of influence.” Every new dwelling, alteration, addition, or even minor change, has an effect on the neighboring houses and on the neighborhood as a whole. These changes can either contribute to the neighborhood or detract from it. Guidelines to encourage neighborhood enhancement are the subject of this guide.

For example, think about what happens at the edge of the lot. Most people would agree that a solid concreteblock wall at the edge is unpleasant—even though the owner of the lot may have the legal right to put it there. A hedge, or the archetypal white picket fence is more agreeable to most people. True, “good fences make good neighbors”—but what makes for a good fence? That fence, depending on the neighbors, may be one that is low, that provides for privacy near important windows, but is somewhat permeable in places. Low places allow for a neighborly chat or for sunlight to reach the plants on the other side of the fence. A high fence may be necessary to protect privacy on a busy street or to contain pets. A fence, at the intersection of two people’s spheres of influence, is an example of how the actions of one property owner may augment and improve an adjacent property—and thereby help the overall feeling of neighborliness in the neighborhood.

These two buildings are on Garfield just outside of the ETN. It is a good illustration of the principle that “no house is an island.” Six triplexes were built in an area of smaller single-family homes. This image shows the relationship between two buildings when consideration for the effect on neighboring buildings is not a priority.


Another example of influence is the size and shape of the house, relative to other houses on the street and to the street itself. When houses are compatible with each other, there is a sense that they are together contributing to the character of the street and of a whole neighborhood. A row of houses with a similar setback


from the street will feel like it is “one thing” — unified, like the walls that enclose a well-proportioned room. Since houses have an influence beyond their own lots, part of their responsibility is to help shape the street to be something the neighborhood as a whole can be proud of. The streetscape does not stop at the property line of the houses, but includes the yard, porch, and the house itself as part of its experience. The guidelines in this “Citizens’ Guide” have all been developed with this principle in mind: Houses affect properties and public spaces beyond their own legal boundaries. The quality and character of a traditional neighborhood depends on people’s understanding the effect that changes to their own property have on spaces beyond their own, and making sure that changes will enrich their own neighborhood.

Steve’s House


Franks’s House

New Garden


GOOD NEIGHBORS COOPERATE When people look beyond their property boundaries and interact constructively with their neighbors, it is possible to make changes that benefit everyone. Two anecdotes from neighborhoods in Eugene illustrate it best: For many years, Steve lived in a house adjacent to a vacant lot with pear and apple trees. The lot’s owner was a friend, and Steve had permission to use it for his own garden. But when Frank, the lot’s new owner, bought the vacant lot and built a house there, Steve was deprived of his garden. Over the ensuing years, Steve gradually re-configured his own lot, creating a new garden out of his side yard, and moving his driveway adjacent to Frank’s lot and house. For privacy, Steve also

New driveway and landscape buffering

Diagram shows the relationship between the two properties of Steve and Frank and how the changes they made altered and improved each of their properties and the neighborhood as a whole.



wanted to build a solid fence on that boundary right in front of one of Frank’s view windows. This could have been a problem for Frank, but the two discussed the issue, and agreed on a compromise to a solid tall fence. Frank agreed to landscape his yard in way that softened the boundary and also provided the privacy Steve wanted. Now, several years later, the plants have grown, Steve has his privacy and Frank is very happy with the dappled light and views of greenery through his window. What could have been a loss for both owners was turned into a benefit through discussion, compromise, and a shared desired to make improvements to the larger space around both homes. A second illustration of neighbors working out changes for the better is that of Elizabeth, Julie, and Roger, all owners of houses along a somewhat busy street. Elizabeth’s house was designed to be very close to the street, and when it was built it stood out relative to the adjacent houses (including Julie’s house). But over the years, Julie built a tall fence on her property line, and Roger, on the other side of Elizabeth, planted a tall hedge along the sidewalk. So now, Elizabeth’s house seems quite comfortable in its place, set back a bit from Julie’s fence and Roger’s hedge. The effective “building line” has moved forward toward the street, giving that block a very pleasant street edge, although somewhat different then the same street edge of the past. Again, the influence of one house on another contributed toward the gradual evolution and improvement of the neighborhood over time, because all three owners were interested in changing their homes in ways that complemented each other, and contributed to a more successful whole.



WHAT ARE DESIGN GUIDELINES? Design guidelines, with an associated design review process, are a common form of regulation in communities in Oregon and other states. Design guidelines are often employed to guide changes brought about by infill development, redevelopment, and renovations within older, traditional neighborhoods. The more distinctive and definable the character of a place, the easier it is to create and implement design guidelines, since the buildings and landscape that create the dominant character and vocabulary are obvious and their characteristics merely need to be described and applied within a regulatory structure. Good examples are places such as Santa Fe, New Mexico; and locally, the commercial area of Sisters, Oregon. Older neighborhoods that have more subtle character require more work to define their salient features. This guide attempts to define these characteristics for one older neighborhood in Eugene, and articulate them as a means to preserve the neighborhood’s character. Some of the patterns and guidelines are specific to the ETN, but most are applicable to a number of close to downtown older neighborhoods in Eugene. This Citizens’ Guide is a working document. It is issued in the spirit of participation in a conversation that needs to occur at the community level and at the policy level in Eugene. Citizens and policy makers should be working toward a comprehensive solution to satisfying larger policy goals, while still retaining for all of Eugene the increasing rare and valued cultural asset: our collection of older traditional neighborhoods.



This document proposes for the first time in Eugene, a set of guidelines for an older traditional neighborhood, the ETN, that encourage the preservation of characteristic patterns of the neighborhood. These guidelines, in tandem with a possible future design review process, could become part of a planning process in certain special contexts in Eugene. This possibility has been discussed in terms of an “alternative path” by some policy makers. The guidelines, as they are presented here, are not being proposed for adoption. They are presented in the spirit of education, further conversation, and no doubt debate, about Eugene’s older neighborhoods and also to advance the discussion about the process of planning regulation through design review. Alongside the design guidelines are brief descriptions of the clear and objective standards that are currently being proposed by the City of Eugene. These proposed standards, specifically created for the ETN, are dispersed throughout the document in the sidebars near the guidelines that address the same or similar issue. This document strives to answer some of the questions that have arisen in the recent past by planning commissioners, city counselors and the public regarding the creation of a design review process in Eugene. This document sheds light on these questions, through the example of this set of guidelines: •

What exactly is meant by design review?

What criteria does a design review process use to make judgements about development?

If the answer to the above question is “some kind of design guidelines,” what might an example of design guidelines look like for an older traditional neighborhood in Eugene?

Design guideline-based regulation, at its heart, subscribes to the view that one of the wonderful



qualities of older, living neighborhoods is that nothing repeats exactly, and there are no absolute answers and rules. Instead there are general patterns and trends that develop over time as neighborhoods grow and evolve. It is the enduring pattern, not the individual structures, that truly give the neighborhood its historic and traditional character. Design guidelines attempt to preserve the existing patterns, but remain flexible as well, to account for changing attitudes and evolving perceptions about development in a particular neighborhood.

DOCUMENT ORGANIZATION The document is organized in a loose hierarchical fashion beginning with large neighborhood-scale issues, and ending with small building detail issues. Many of the individual guidelines discussed here are inseparable from other guidelines, but in order to discuss them and propose specific guidelines they are broken down into discrete sections. SECTION 4: DWELLING CHARACTER GUIDELINES

Diagrams or photos, as necessary


Description of the pattern drawn from observations of the ETN

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A classic small ETN bungalow representative of the clear visible entry with a large covered porch and a formal walkway to the sidewalk.

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Clear and objective standard proposed by the City of Eugene for the ETN Special Area Zone

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§ STREET FRONT FACADE AND ENTRY: No standards for non-multifamily housing. Proposed standards: The main facade of the major dwelling shall face the street. On corner lots with multiple units, each unit shall face a street. The entry door of the major unit shall face the street, or open onto a street-facing porch. Door shall be visible from the street.

Discussion of issues affecting the pattern

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Fwy 105


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Whiteaker Neighborhood

Park and River


Blair Street Commercial Area

6th and 7th Commercial Strip 6th Ave 7th Ave

Industrial Area Chambers Reconsidered Study Area




Frontier Market

Traditional Neighborhood similar to ETN

Downtown Core

11th Ave 11th Avenue Commercial

I mile 13th Ave

Open Space (School and Park)

The diagram above is a “cognitive map” of the ETN and its surroundings, showing the locations of important nearby features. The map highlights the elements of residents’ mental pictures of the area based on discussions and feedback gathered during the Cambers Reconsidered public process.



Open Space 18th Ave




Low Density Residential

Traditional neighborhoods, as distinguished from more recently developed neighborhoods, are partially defined by their close proximity to a downtown area as well as local neighborhood commercial areas, parks, and open space. There are no parks within the ETN boundaries, but a range of open space options are nearby in several locations.

Section 2

Neighborhood Character & Guidelines NEIGHBORHOOD CONTEXT Traditional neighborhoods are usually found no more than a mile or two from the centers of older downtowns. Some of the neighborhoods that we now consider “closein” were originally considered to be in outlying areas. An example in Eugene is the area just east of the University of Oregon. This was considered far enough from downtown in the early 1900’s that some well-off families had a “summer” house near the University so they could be free from the bustle, dirt, and smells of early 20thcentury downtown Eugene. Most neighborhoods that we now consider traditional are located within easy walking distance of downtown. The ETN is about a 20-minute walk from Chambers Street, located at the western edge of the ETN to Willamette Street.

Blair Street cuts through the Whiteaker Neighborhood and part of the Jefferson Westside Neighborhood at an angle creating unique block shapes. It is one of the most vibrant and eclectic neighborhood commercial areas in Eugene; many people in the ETN think of this as their neighborhood commercial area.

Walkable commercial areas are another key feature of traditional neighborhoods. Blair Street is a vital commercial place for many ETN residents. It is a close by place with true neighborhood commercial character, including restaurants, shops, and services. Blair Street has a funkiness and diversity that give it a clear identity, and make it a place that draws people. The commercial areas within the Chambers Study Area do not exhibit this same quality, but could in the future with carefully considered development. Parks and open space are limited in the immediate vicinity of the ETN. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park is a small park west of Chambers, and Monroe Park is a larger neighborhood park to the east. For larger expanses of greenspace, ETN residents need to go south to the school grounds and park areas from 13th to 18th Avenues east of Chambers, or to the parks along the Willamette River in the Whiteaker Neighborhood.

Monroe Park is east of the ETN but it serves as a strong landmark and important open space to residents further to the west in the ETN. The park has had a difficult history, but in recent years the neighborhood and the City of Eugene have worked hard to make this a model neighborhood park enjoyed by everyone.



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This map shows the area known as the East Traditional Neighborhood (ETN)

��� ����� ���� ������� ������ 11th is a high volume street but has the same basic development pattern as the “interior” streets nearby.


Typical “interior” street in the ETN with wide landscaped area between curb and sidewalk.

Image of an alley in the ETN. Alleys have a wide range of qualities in the neighborhood.


STREET ORGANIZATION AND CHARACTER The ETN streets are organized in a grid. Traffic is distributed through the neighborhood more evenly than in a typical suburban development. Though traffic is more dispersed, there is still a variety of street types and traffic levels in the neighborhood. This is partly due to local discontinuities such as T-intersections, and to variations in street widths, parking arrangements, and destinations. Street closures and traffic calming measures can alter the traffic flow in a neighborhood, decreasing it in one area, but possibly increasing it in another. There are always neighborhood issues about preserving the pattern of connected streets versus protecting certain streets from traffic. One consequence of the existing street organization, common to older neighborhoods, is seen in the development history of 11th east of Chambers. 11th has evolved over time to become a fast moving, high volume avenue, but the pattern of development retains characteristics of the quieter “interior” streets found between 7th and 11th. Houses are similar in size and type (though on average slightly larger), they front the street in similar ways, and the public realm of sidewalk, plantings, and front yard is organized in the same way as low volume streets.

A primary characteristic of the grid street system is the number of travel options through the neighborhood. This is a basic distinction between traditional neighborhoods and “cul-de-sac” suburban development.

This aerial photo fragment from the ETN illustrates the overall “grain” of the neighborhood. This “grain” is a combined function of block size, lot size, street layout, and building size and placement.

Filmore Street is a unique street type in the City of Eugene; its character is somewhere between a small street and a wide alley.





Blocks range in size from approximately 2 1/2 to 3 acres with an average of 15-20 lots. These block sizes are small for older traditional neighborhoods, but give the ETN and other Eugene neighborhoods an important part of their character. The pattern of block size and gridded streets is a scale-defining element of the neighborhood, and is also a fixed element unlikely to change or evolve like other characteristics in these guidelines.

Typical block without alley, Roughly half the blocks in the ETN do not have alleys. This example is square, some blocks are slightly rectangular. Eugene does not have many of the long skinny blocks found in some other cities.



Typical block with an alley. There are a number of variations to these two basic patterns within the ETN. Two ETN blocks have a “T” alley intersection. Filmore street is an unusually small street that functions like a highly developed alley.



Blocks with alleys have a stronger “block-unit” identity; neighbors tend to know each other because they share an alley. In blocks without alleys, it is the street that typically forms the coherent “unit.” These distinctions can be subtle but are important to how the neighborhood is perceived by those who live in it. The social function of the alleys is an important consideration in the development of new infill projects. Another characteristic of blocks in the ETN is the relative flatness of the terrain. Blocks in other neighborhoods in which the grid and the uniform block size and shape continue up and over sloped contours have another set of more complex issues when it comes to the guidelines that follow. In some hilly terrain, the grid system is abandoned for a system that responds to the slopes, usually main streets run parallel to the slopes and smaller streets wind their way upward. Many of the characteristics that are outlined in these guidelines are lost in these areas. The main reason is the lack of “web” continuity between streets.


ALLEY CHARACTER Alleys in the ETN accommodate residential service functions as well as providing housing options and pedestrian access. Alleys in the ETN are typically (but not always) unpaved. The alleys in this neighborhood support a mix of residential uses that include back yards, small dwellings, parking, garages, trash collection, utility connections and in some cases, shared open space. Alleys are eclectic in their uses and their visual character—their development being driven by a wide range of individual choices about how the alley can serve each owner’s needs. In general, buildings built on alleys are smaller than houses that front the streets. The best of these help to create a “cottage-like” environment. Many alleys have lots with yards that provide private open space to the residents. The collective impact of the private open space is an important part of the overall “green” character appreciated by residents in the neighborhood. Some alleys are more developed and serve as small lanes for houses, garages, and accessory buildings. Many of these more developed alleys, especially the ones with dwellings which respect the small-scale context, are seen as positive contributions to the ETN character, enriching the neighborhood while providing a wider range of housing options. Roughly half the residential blocks in the Study Area have alleys. Alleys vary in width from 12-16 feet; 14 feet is typical. Houses on alley blocks are often developed with garages on the alleys. Many houses on blocks with or without alleys have their garages to the side and behind the street facade of the dwelling unit. Alleys can provide an opportunity to add needed housing through modest scaled development while maintaining neighborhood character.

A range of alleys and alley character.

A fine examples of a “cottagelike” alley house in the ETN. This house has all of the basic patterns found on streets in the area, but in reduced scale.



LOT SIZE AND SHAPE Lot size and shape is a primary characteristic of the neighborhood scale. For instance, lot width is a key attribute because it creates the general rhythm along the street and perceived scale of the neighborhood. Lot width also indirectly controls dwelling size, shape, and character as houses are designed for the relatively narrow lots, and often with a driveway along one property line. Above is a block found in the ETN. This particular block has more variety in lot size, shape, and configuration than most others in the neighborhood The basic proportions (squares on up to 3:1 rectangles) are as important to ETN character as absolute lot size.



The lot sizes are generally found in the size ranges and proportions shown above, falling into these two “shape-types,” square and rectangular.


Lots are of one of two typical sizes: “Small Square Lots” 50-60’ x 50-60’ “Long Lots” 50-65’ x 120-160’ Lot widths vary in a narrow range within the ETN. Combined with other traditions such as parking to the side and prominent entries, lot width is an important generator of the ETN character.

Lot divisions are orthogonal (at right angles to each other.)

Lots facing east-west running streets are more regular than the lots along north-south running streets. These are the “corner lots” and have been divided in any number of different ways within the neighborhood.

The smallest lots typically face the north-south streets.



Characteristics of ETN Lots:

The dimensional range of lots is one of the defining characteristics of a neighborhood. Even within the detached housing model, some neighborhoods will have much larger, deeper or wider lots. The size and


consistency of block dimensions in the ETN give the neighborhood its distinctive lot dimensions. Blocks without alleys will naturally have deep lots and fewer opportunities for the variety of backyard uses that alleys have. Blocks with alleys have a range of options. For instance a long lot may be partitioned to create a “street lot” and “alley-only access lot” if land use regulations permit it. Whole blocks generally do not change in size, but lot sizes and shapes do change through partitioning or aggregation. Some neighborhoods redevelop by changing the lot size in order to accommodate different kinds of building or dwelling types. Lot lines have been “in motion” in the ETN since the neighborhood was platted. There are many examples of lot lines that have been moved or traded, neighbor to neighbor, to meet mutually beneficial circumstances. The flexibility to make these small changes gives this older neighborhood a large part of its desirable character and texture, through occasional irregularity and unique circumstances. This can be a delightful quality, as long as the underlying order and patterns are adhered to under most circumstances.







This size and shape has an important causal design relationship to the overall width and scale of the buildings on them. The illustration shows a simplified version of two general approaches to siting a house. When a drive is placed to one side, as in these diagrams, it further limits building scale options.


Maintain lot characteristics. As

lots change over time, the following characteristics of ETN lots should be respected: 1. Orthogonality 2. Regular shape 3. Width between 45’ and 65’ 4. Depth to width proportion of 1:1 to 3:1 5. Size between 4,500-9,000 square foot range. Lots outside this range require more careful design and planning to ensure compatibility.


LOT STANDARDS: Lots as narrow as 25’ and an unlimited size are allowed in R-2. Proposed standards: Min. frontage width: 45’; Min. interior lot dimension: 45’; Max. lot size: 13,500 sf; Prohibit Flag Lots.





Diagram Illustrating the semi-public and public realm. Notice that the porch is a part of this semi-public realm and is an important part of the layering toward more private spaces.

This photo shows the consistency of setback and lot width found in parts of the ETN.


The streetscape is made up of all the elements from the street itself to the facades and front doors of the individual houses. These elements make up a gradient of spaces that transition from the public street to the private house. Front yards are a key element of this transition. Some front yards are functional for the homeowner, in that they have productive gardens or usable outdoor spaces, but these characteristics are auxiliary to the basic roles of providing a semi-public realm for arrival and departure and a buer from the public sidewalk and street. The shared space of the streetscape is what gives the ETN much of its character and makes older traditional neighborhoods such a pleasure for the pedestrian. The typical layering of spaces includes a street edge that encourages neighborhood parallel parking, a wide planting strip with street trees (generally wider than those of most new developments), a sidewalk, and a planted front yard. Last, forming the backdrop for the activities of the public room of the street, are the front porch and house facade, often with windows and a door for occupants to connect to the street from within the private realm. These layers promote neighborliness and a more cohesive neighborhood by creating a street as a well deďŹ ned shared outdoor room.



Street edge and parking. Residents

of the ETN generally park either on the street in parallel spaces, or in private driveways. Retain on-street parking to help buffer the pedestrian zone of the sidewalk from the automobile zone of the street.

Street trees.

Street and front yard trees provide the broadest brush stroke to the landscape quality and “green” character of this neighborhood. Street trees contribute to the characteristic rhythm along the streets in the ETN, and create outdoor spaces scaled to the pedestrian. Maintain existing street trees, and plant new trees in a compatible way where appropriate.

Sidewalks and parking strip. Sidewalks

Front yard. Landscape

Transparent fences.

Clear front path. The

A good example of how cars play an important role in the layering and buffering between the street, sidewalk, and front yard.

and parking strip landscaping are part of the system of layering from the street edge to the front door of houses, and they provide pedestrian circulation through the ETN. Where missing, replace. the front yard to help reinforce the public and semi-public character of the traditional front yards in the neighborhood. Avoid impervious surfaces whenever possible. Use low, small scale fences that serve as a semi-transparent layering in front yards if a more distinct buffer between public and private space is desired. entry walk or path should lead directly from the public sidewalk to the porch or front door.

A good example of the elements of the street front facade: an ample porch, door facing the street or opening onto a front porch, formal walkway to the sidewalk, main living space with windows toward the street.





ALLEY GARAGE AND DRIVEWAY: No current standard. Proposed standards: Max. garage door width within 30’ setback: 18’, or (2) at 9’ each. Max. driveway width within 30’ setback: 20’.


ALLEY OPEN SPACE: SP No current standards for non-multifamily housing. Proposed standards: Alley Open Space shall abut alley on at least 25% of lot width at the alley property line and be a minimum of 400 sf. Area in setbacks may be included.


ALLEY-ONLY ACCESS: Alley-only access lots are not expressly allowed. Proposed standard: Allow alley-only access lots.


In contrast to streetscapes, “alleyscapes” are highly informal. Though there is housing along alleys, it is small in scale, informal in layout, and the relationship to the alley and to the main house on the street is varied and informal. Alley houses tend to be small and cottage-like, often occurring in lieu of a garage. In many cases alley houses are converted garages or have been built above garages. The varied texture of small buildings found along the alleys of the ETN is a pattern throughout Eugene’s older neighborhoods. Since alley house development has not been well supported in Eugene, there are many that are not legal conversions, further hindering growth of an important housing type in close-in neighborhoods. Alleys considered by residents to be positive places do have some discernible characteristics. Garages and Driveways

One purpose of alleys is to provide a place for the storage of automobiles and for services such as trash collection, power lines and power drops to houses. New developments should balance the need to accommodate these functions. When the utility and storage functions become the dominant characteristic, the alley loses its mixed-residential character that residents enjoy. Balancing residential uses is key to successful alleys. Alley Open Space

As the amount of housing along alleys has increased over the years, the character of some alleys has changed from primarily back yards with the occasional garage or garden shed to small scale residential lanes. Central to this balanced vision for alleys is the need for open space.



Cottage-like houses. Alley

houses and secondary units should be visually subordinate to the main house and should have a cottage-like character that supports the informal nature of ETN alleys.

Mix of housing types. To

maintain the eclectic character of alleys, a mix of residential uses is encouraged. For example: a small dwelling above a shared garage, a shared yard and accessory garden building for two dwelling units, small cottage house with small driveway and garage. Respect privacy. Windows

and doors on alley housing should be placed to support neighbors’ privacy.

Eyes on the alley. Develop

Small garages.

Create open space.

Open Space

Open Space

alley housing to promote “passive observation” of the alley. Garages and driveways should strive to be of limited scale and presence. Garages may serve a front or an alley house. The total width of a garage should only be a minor portion of the lot width along the alley. The remaining space may be a small dwelling unit or open space. As alley development takes place it is important to create open space that not only serves the alley house, but also the alley, just as the front yard of the main house serves the street.

Open Space

The diagrams above show a number of ways that open space can be provided near an alley cottage.




This house was expanded into a triplex. It illustrates many of the issues with maintaining the character of a traditional neighborhood and also allowing infill. Opinions vary, but generally this feels too dense to most ETN residents, even though it attempts to mitigate some potentially negative qualities.

The term density, used by planners, is usually used as an abstract measure of dwelling units per net acre. But here we are talking about how density interacts with housing types and neighborhood character. As density levels rise, housing types change in order to fit more units on a given piece of land. In the ETN the dominant housing type is the detached dwelling. The is an essential characteristic of the neighborhood. If density levels are to rise in the ETN because of metro land use policies, they should rise only so far as to retain the prevailing housing type and character of the neighborhood. This limit for neighborhood density could be termed “carrying capacity,” the maximum density that the neighborhood can absorb without losing the single-family detached housing character. The ETN was zoned for duplexes in the 30’s and has since had many modifications to the zoning regulations, all of which permitted higher densities than one house per lot. The actual built character, however has always been one “main” house per lot. Successful duplex developments in the area are modest in size and do not emphasize the “dual” aspect. Later duplexes broke with the tradition of single unit appearance, and stand out in the neighborhood as less compatible.

This development of six tri-plexes at the edge of the ETN has shifted the character of the area. The development is entirely devoted to serving the automobile


Generally there is one primary dwelling on each lot, and in some cases there are small houses, cottages, or “granny” flats in the rear yard, especially on lots with alleys.



One main dwelling. When

adding density to the neighborhood, maintain the pattern of one main dwelling per lot through the use of alley cottages, granny flats, garage conversions, and so on, serving as additional units.

Other units. Second

and third units should be smaller and secondary to the main front unit facing the street.


DENSITY STANDARDS: A min. of 10 units/net acre and a max. of 28 unit/net acre required. Lots under 13,500 sf do have a minimum density requirement. Proposed modifications: Allowable units per lot: 1 unit per lot ≤ 4,500 sf; 2 units per lot > 4,500 and ≤ 9,200 sf; 3 units per lot > 9,200 sf.

This duplex is about the same size and scale of many of the single family houses near it. The “paired halves” style that characterize later duplexes is down played in this house, even though there are clearly two side-by-side front doors. The modest scale helps this duplex fit in this predominately single-family neighborhood.


Section 3

Dwelling Form Guidelines HOUSES WITH CHARACTER

The Chambers historic house.

The variety of house styles in the ETN– Craftsman, Cape Cod, Queen Anne–are essential to the feel of the neighborhood. The Craftsman bungalows, built in the early 1900’s, tend to be the highest quality houses, while the Cape Cod-influenced homes built during the post-ware era tend be of lower quality construction. Most houses built more recently have weak stylistic associations and have little distinctive character. What is most important is that new houses have character–they should in fact be charming–in their overall form and in their details. The surest way to achieve this is to work within recognizable styles that are found in the ETN neighborhood. The neighborhood has gone through several shifts in the type, size, and quality of development. The historic Chambers House is a large “extended family” size Queen Anne style house. Its lot, a square roughly 100’ on each side, is atypical for the neighborhood. The Craftsman bungalows are among the finest older houses in the neighborhood. Despite the building’s fairly large footprint the perceived size of the large two-story structure is smaller because the second floor is usually partially or wholly within the roof volume.

A higher quality older house in the ETN illustrating the positive qualities of using the roof volume for the second floor and breaking down the mass of the building using dormers and other roof elements. The pitch of this roof exceeds 12:12.


A large number of very small Cape Cod houses were built during the post-war building booms. These house do not have the higher quality detailing and were typically smaller than some of the older homes. In the 70’s and 80’s a number of dwellings considered “out of character” with the neighborhood were


constructed in the ETN. The builders tended to ignore historic patterns, and instead attempted to create inexpensive housing that would yield a return on investment. Since the 90’s the neighborhood has been witnessing incremental infill development that is slowly changing the traditional housing patterns. GUIDELINES •

Reinforce the positive. Contribute

to the traditional neighborhood patterns by choosing dwelling types and styles that reinforce the positive qualities identified in this guide. Craftsman bungalows, cottages, and Arts and Crafts influenced designs are a good fit for preservation of traditional character.

Good design and good craftsmanship. Employ

architectural detail and craft that support the neighborhood character. Consider using Architects or designers who do this kind of residental work.

The images below give indication of the range of house types, styles, and qualities found in the ETN. Though there isn’t one clear style that dominates the neighborhood, the best of the houses exhibit a modest crafted style found in bungalows and arts and crafts influenced designs.




Characteristic of the ETN.


Among the most important characteristics of a house are its position on the property, and the way it interacts with the street, the side yard, and the back yard. Houses in the ETN contribute to the character of the streets by being located toward the front of the lot and by having entrances and well-proportioned view windows facing the street. There is a consistent front-to-back orientation in the neighborhood. Side yards are for access and light, not for views. Front-facing windows allow residents to keep “eyes on the street.” Residents can observe the goings on in the neighborhood, and help preserve neighborhood security. A house’s facade is the face that the house presents to the neighborhood, and its “expression” determines the mood it creates in its environs. A facade with windows and a clear entrance engages or welcomes passers by. An austere facade, a hidden entrance, or a blank street wall turns a cold shoulder to the pedestrian, and stands out from the traditional buildings in the neighborhood. Front Building Setback

Characteristic of the ETN. This pattern also allows for the backyard to be used as private open space or for a small cottage dwelling.


Not characteristic of the ETN. Discouraged.

The location of the main dwelling relative to the street side property line is a defining characteristic of traditional neighborhoods. Generally larger streets and larger and more expensive neighborhoods will have deeper setbacks. In the ETN the houses are generally set back between 10’ and 25’, with most around 20’. When building or altering a dwelling in the ETN it is important to look at the nearby context and determine


how a new or modified building should relate to its neighbors and to the street. On 11th, for example, a 10’ setback may be too close to the street, and along Filmore a 25’ setback may seem too far back on the property. Front to back configuration

The ETN, like many older traditional neighborhoods, has a strong front and back pattern, with limited focus on the sides of the dwellings. The front is usually dominated by an entry, and often a large covered porch. The entry and the porch typically face the street directly. Front parking is usually a narrow drive tight to a side yard property line. The garage typically has one door and is set back from the facade of the house. Large windows face the front and back yards. The larger rooms of the dwelling unit also orient themselves to the front or back yard. The side walls of houses have windows, but they tend to be small, allowing some daylight, but limiting views to neighbors. The composition of facades is also much more formal on the front, and to some extent the rear, while the sidewalls are usually the result of window placement favoring function over design composition. GUIDELINES •

Locate appropriate setback.

Face the street.

House that is set back much further than the typical pattern found in the ETN

The image shows the positive effect of a consistent setback of house to sidewalk. The front yards and facades of these house are a key contributor to the public room of the street.

Respect dominant setback of immediate context. Main unit should face the street. If the lot will have multi-family housing, the larger, “main” unit should face the street.

Main house forward. Locate

the main dwelling unit toward the front of the lot.

Modest development in backyard. The

rear lot should have less intense building development or simply gardens and open space.


FRONT YARD SETBACK: 10’ setback in R-2. Proposed modifications: Maintain the 10’ minimum setback, add a max. setback of 25’



MASS AND SCALE Houses in the ETN come in many shapes and sizes, but all of them appear modest from the street. The most common examples are small one or one-and-a-half story houses. Even the largest ETN houses disguise their size by having second floors within the roof volume and by using dormers for windows and to extend the usable area of the second floor. Most of the larger houses in the ETN are designed with their large second floors within the roof volume.


BUILDING HEIGHT: The current standard limits max. building height to 35’ and the max. accessory building height to 25’.

Some of these houses will remain for many years to come, but others will be upgraded in size through additions or even rebuilding on the lot. The challenge is to allow flexibility for a future generation of housing alterations and house types, while encouraging the positive qualities of the best older housing stock in the ETN. The width of buildings in the ETN falls into a narrow and consistent range. The width is a function of lot size and shape and sometimes a one-car-width driveway to one side. On a 55’ wide lot with a driveway, a 5’ setback on one side and a 20’ setback on the other, this would allow a 30’ house.

Proposed modifications: Max. height limit: 30’ Max. street facing dwelling height: 30’ Max. other detached dwelling height: 20’


Break down building mass. Break

Step down. Minimize

Max. accessory building height: 20’ Alley-only access lot building height: 20’


down and vary the mass of buildings using smaller elements, including dormers, bay projections, and upper floors that are smaller in square feet than ground floors. perceived scale of infill buildings by stepping down toward interior yards and the street.


Occupy the roof volume. Whenever

Height at the center. Place

possible, place upper floors within the volume of the main roof to give the appearance of small dwellings. the tallest portion of the building to the center of lot so that at the lot lines the building mass has the character of a one or one-and-a-half story house. Main house on the street. The

dwelling unit closest to the street should be the largest and tallest dwelling. The height of other units or accessory units should be smaller--”cottage-like” if detached.

Occupy the roof volume.

Preferred and Typical


Less Preferred


INTERIOR YARD SLOPED SETBACK: 5’ setback on interior lot lines.

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Proposed modifications: 5’ interior yard setback. From a point 12’ vertical, 45 degree sloped setback. Exceptions: Dormers and gable end walls within certain parameters.

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The house on the right and the house on the left have managed to situate their small side windows in such a way that privacy has not been an issue. This diagram shows how an addition to the left could orient it’s windows to the backyard to avoid conflicting with the already existing neighbor’s privacy.

Maintaining appropriate privacy for spaces within the neighborhood is essential to domestic life. If areas which one expects to be private are too exposed, they cease to be comfortable and usable to their owners. The interior of a house is the most private area on a property, and its privacy can be retained by locating view windows away from those of neighboring houses. The backyard is a semiprivate area that also must be moderately protected from unwanted visual access. Privacy between two houses

Locating the main house toward the front of a lot may result in houses directly next to each other. When houses on adjacent lots are located near each other, care should be given to place windows out of the direct line of vision of the neighboring house’s windows. This applies to both the main houses at the front of the yard and accessory units located in the backyard. New infill housing should defer to the window placements of pre-existing neighboring homes. Privacy between houses and adjacent backyards

One of the characteristics most enjoyed by the current residents of the ETN is the relatively undeveloped nature of backyards. When development to the rear of lots does occur, successful examples maintain the privacy between units by considering the placement of both the building and its windows. It’s important to consider the semi-private nature of backyards. A house which is adjacent to a yard, instead of another house, may feel imposing to the neighboring yard. Houses which loom over and look down into a neighboring back yard should be avoided.




Maintain privacy of the yard. New

construction should strive to maintain privacy of neighbors’ backyards through the placement of building volumes to the front of the lot for the main house, and to the rear of the lot for secondary dwellings. Windows, setbacks, screening, and second-story setbacks can help maintain privacy if new houses must be located next to existing backyards.

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New infill duplex in the ETN that “looms” over the backyard of a small post-war house.

windows required for each new dwelling do not occur directly across from windows in an existing house. Dwelling units can respect the privacy of neighbors’ houses through orientation and size of windows, screening, and������� landscaping. Accessory �� �������� ������� �� ����� ����� ������� dwellings can be placed and oriented to help maintain privacy between units. ������


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PARKING AND GARAGES The traditional pattern in the neighborhood is to minimize automobile-related structures such as garages and driveways in favor of landscaped areas or pedestrian circulation routes. Garages take a secondary role in the massing of the primary residences.

One of the typical conditions found in ETN, a narrow drive to the side of the house with or without a small garage behind the main facade of the house.

The quality of ETN streets, landscaping, and houses give the neighborhood a texture that is scaled more to pedestrians than automobiles. This character can be maintained by de-emphasizing parking areas and garages, so that the pedestrian features of sidewalks, porches, and yards retain prominence. As discussed in “Streetscapes” above, on street parking contributes to the pedestrian character of the ETN by buffering pedestrians from the street and slowing down traffic through the neighborhood. Garages can have a strong influence on the character of a neighborhood. Garages located at the front of the lot present large blank walls to the sidewalk, may make the house entrance seem less visible and welcoming, and can obscure views from the house to the street. Driveways

The locations of the garages shown here are typical in the neighborhood. These and similar locations are encouraged in order to de-emphasize the automobile at the front of the house.


Driveways in the ETN are diminutive in character. They are typically small, usually one-car width, and placed to the side of lots.



Garage is secondary. Design

and locate garage so it is a secondary feature of a dwelling unit. Garage sizes should be modest; single garage doors are preferred over double wide garage doors. Place garage on alley if possible, or to the side of house, behind facade of the house, along side yard property line.

• Minimal paving. Paving should be minimized to meet only the needs of vehicle access and parking. New curb cuts and driveways should be kept to a minimum.

Recent infill development in the ETN showing the incompatible garage location and driveway width.

• Permeable paving. Parking surfaces should allow permeability when possible. This can be achieved by using:

1. “Grasscrete” 2. Tire strips with grass between. 3. Pavers that allow some drainage between the bricks, and also can serve as social spaces Don’t build over parking. Parking that is covered partially or in whole by a second floor is discouraged. PROPOSED CLEAR & OBJECTIVE STANDARDS

GARAGE DOOR SIZE AND DRIVEWAY: Garage setback: 18’, Max. curb cut: 27’. Proposed modification: Retain garage setback of 18’, add 6’ setback behind main house facade. Proposed standards: Garages within a 30’ setback from the street shall be limited to a maximum garage door width of 9’ and a maximum garage door height of 8’. Max. driveway width: 13’ within 30’ setback.



MULTIPLE DETACHED UNITS The infill of multiple buildings on sites in the ETN means the addition of multiple entrances and potentially significant parking areas. Development of multiple buildings on a lot must still respect the character of the ETN through deference to the main house, clear entrances, discreet parking, and differentiated building massing. This modest small dwelling is near the ETN. It is an example of small cottage infill providing a wider range of housing types, while at the same time contributing to the scale of the existing neighborhood.

Because the predominant development of the ETN is single-family homes, effort should be made to develop multiple buildings on a site within the character of the neighborhood. Even if several new dwellings are to be added to one site, one dwelling should remain the most significant house on the lot, located nearest the street. GUIDELINES

This triplex was added to the back of lot in the ETN creating a total of four units. This building is only several feet from a pre-war bungalow’s back porch. The triplex dominates the building mass on the lot as well as the backyards of adjacent houses.


Prominent main house. If

there is more than one unit on a lot, the main house (the house closest to the street) should be the larger dwelling.

Compressed layering.

Minimal paving. Provide

Provide a layering of spaces from public spaces to the private entries of each building. shared driveways and parking to reduce the paved area on the lot.

Section 4

Dwelling Character Guidelines ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER When new construction occurs, each project must do its part to contribute to the ETN. Whether the project is a remodel, an addition, or a new home, it should be designed thoughtfully, with good proportions, balanced composition, and developed details. In many cases seeking professional design services rather than do-it-yourself will make a big difference in the outcome, but the first step is for everyone to understand what makes an authentic traditional house in this neighborhood. In traditional housing the roof is the dominant definer of character. The pitch of the roof and the relationship between the main roof and secondary roof elements do more than anything else to define the home and give it appropriate scale. Architectural elements such as windows, doors, bays, and porches are the features that give the home its identity and need to be placed and proportioned to contribute to the overall composition. Siding, trim, and color provide visual interest, texture, and fine-grained character. Authentic traditional homes have depth that comes from materials and details that have thickness. In contrast to the flatness found in newer “traditional” homes, older homes have subtle relief and shadow in their details.

The guidelines in this section attempt to characterize these detail elements that make up the ETN in order to encourage compatible and harmonious renovations, additions, and development in the future. The compatibility of a new development can be achieved by choosing elements similar to (not necessarily identical to) elements found in the existing neighborhood. Good quality design is of equal importance to compatibility with the dominant neighborhood character. Good craftsmanship, intelligent site planning, and design respectful of neighbors and the shared “room” of street and front yards have a tremendous impact on the quality of the neighborhood.



WINDOWS Window size and placement has been discussed above in “Front-to-Back,” but window quality, proportion and detail are important aspects of ETN character. Older style wood windows have depth and detail. Houses today are often built using inexpensive vinyl windows, typically with false divided lites of plastic snap-in grids. These windows appear flat. Higher quality windows distinguish traditional housing from newer “mass” housing. Divided lites create a layering effect in dense urban neighborhoods. The divisions in the window create solid surface areas on the window and draw the eye to the window itself as a screen-like architectural element. Windows with true divided panes of glass (actual divisions of glass rather than plastic or wood inserts) are key to the look and feel of the older crafted houses. Windows also help reinforce a coherent style of a house as can be seen in these two images.

Modern windows often have slender frames, allowing little visual transition between window and wall. Trimming windows on new construction can add visual interest to the building as well as making it more compatible with others in the neighborhood. GUIDELINES

Windows in traditional pre-war housing tend to have vertical oriented windows. Even when larger windows are used, they are typically made up of two or three “vertical” windows joined together.


Wood-framed, small-paned windows. Use

wood or wood clad traditional divided-lite windows if possible.

Vertical orientation. Windows

Trim windows.

should emphasize orientation and compositional groupings typically found in housing in older traditional neighborhoods. In older windows, proportions emphasize the vertical. Use wood trim, especially on aluminum or vinyl windows, particularly when windows are set into siding.


EXTERIOR MATERIALS The general character of the exterior of ETN dwellings is wood siding of a variety of types, but mostly horizontal clapboard lap siding. The use of a similar material in a variety of housing types and styles provides both unity and diversity, the variations on a theme that give the ETN its personality. The ubiquitous horizontal siding is sometimes used in conjunction with other building materials, including wood shakes and shingles, vertical siding, and the occasional brick chimney. Homes of newer construction often use vinyl siding, which is usually applied in a horizontal orientation. Vinyl and aluminum siding lacks some of the warmth and character of wood, particularly after several years of age. Wood “wears well” and over time gains the rustic character found in older traditional neighborhoods.

This detail image shows the kind of modest craft that is common to the best houses in the ETN. The horizontal wood siding along with window trim and key special details for the porch and entry make this a model of good practices for building in the ETN.


Compatible horizontal siding. Select

siding materials in keeping with the character of the ETN, including: 1. Painted small exposure lap siding 2. Cedar shingle siding (painted or unpainted) 3. Board and batten, or batten over sheet material. Detailing on exposed facades. Window, door, and corner trim detailing is encouraged, especially the street-facing facades of the house.

This detail image is of a house outside the ETN but it is a good example of the crafted details found in the better quality houses of traditional neighborhoods. The style happens to be craftsman bungalow, but the material palette of horizontal and shingle siding, window and other architectural trim, as well as the quality wood framed windows themselves, can be a part of many good houses in other styles.



ENTRANCES AND PORCHES Key features of traditional houses in the ETN are their strong, often centrally placed porches and clearly visible entries. This characteristic is an important part of the front-to-back pattern discussed previously.

A classic small ETN bungalow represents a clear visible entry with a large covered porch and a formal walkway to the sidewalk.

The various types of houses built in the ETN treat porches very differently. The craftsman bungalow’s layered and gracious entries serve as a model to emulate in forming the sequence of spaces leading into a home. A porch functions as an the extended threshold for comings and goings, and socializing. GUIDELINES •

Clear entry.

Doors with windows. Front

Usable porches.

Street-facing shared entries.


STREET FRONT FACADE AND ENTRY: No standards for non-multi-family housing. Proposed standards: The main facade of the major dwelling shall face the street. On corner lots with multiple units, each unit shall face a street. The entry door of the major unit shall face the street, or open onto a street-facing porch. Door shall be visible from the street.


Dwellings should have entries that are visible from the street. In general, front doors should be in the wall plane closest to the street, or open directly onto a street-facing front porch. doors should have windows associated with them, either in the door and/or next to the door. A covered front porch should be oriented to the street and should be visible from the public right-of-way. The porch should have a size and depth that encourages sitting and greeting. A 6’ minimum depth characterizes positive useful porches that can work as social spaces. A multi-unit building with a shared entry court or courtyard should have an entry that faces the street. Individual units in a multi-unit building shall have front doors and exterior entry areas, either porches or entry “zones,” that distinguish them from other units on the lot.


FENCING Fences are sometimes necessary and desirable, but they should be done carefully at the boundary of the property–especially when they are constructed in the front yard. Traditional neighborhoods often have well-defined private outdoor spaces, but properties also tend to gracefully blend together as part of a whole, particularly along the street. In general, fences that strike this balance define the boundary without being harsh or too abrupt. Plantings along fences help soften their appearance as well. Front yard fences should be considered most carefully, since they have the biggest impact on the public realm and the character of the street.

This house is near the ETN but not within it. The image is good example of a fence that has been carefully designed to be semitransparent and a good contributor to the layering between the public sidewalk and the semi-public front yard.

Fencing in the front yard of traditional neighborhoods serves a role in the layer of spaces that lead from the public realm to the private realm. Front yard fences are usually low and transparent. The classic picket fence is the archetypal and symbolic feature of traditional neighborhoods and is an appropriate feature in the ETN. Fencing a back or side yard can be desirable for privacy. The building code limits fencing to a reasonable height, and fences taller than this can seem imposing. It is especially desirable to make the upper portion of the fence more open even if the lower part is solid. Spaced-board fences offer a good balance of privacy and connection.

This house uses a low chain link fence which is a much less friendly fencing type for the pedestrian edge of the property.


Transparent wood fences. Fences

should be wood and allow visibility and semi-transparency.

Vegetative fencing. Low

hedges can also help differentiate front yard space while maintaining visibility.



ROOF CHARACTER Roofs in the ETN are generally gabled, with dormers providing windows to second floors. Larger homes use a “cascade” of roofs to break down the perceived mass of the dwelling. The positive mass and scale found in the neighborhood is in part due to the simple main roof forms and the prevalence of dormers and bay windows. Roof forms play a significant role in the perception of a house from the street. The occupiable volume of the roof is made more functional by adding dormers to increase usable space and to bring in light to upstairs rooms. Top: One of the exemplary houses in the ETN. The roof slope is about 10:12 with almost the entire 2nd floor contained within the roof volume. Bottom: The shallow slope roof is one element that detracts from the traditional character of the neighborhood.


ROOF FORM: No current standards. Proposed standards: Primary building roofs shall have a min. slope of 6:12.




To the street, dormers add variety and texture to the roofline of the neighborhood, while making larger homes seem smaller and more human scaled. GUIDELINES •

Single main roof.

ETN houses generally have a clearly dominant “main” roof with some secondary dormers or interesting gables.

Balanced roof. Gable


roofs which are generally equal on both sides and form a balanced facade composition are encouraged. Provide dormers and bay windows to break up the mass of larger homes and make them more compatible with smaller neighboring buildings.


Diagram illustrates various roof pitches as a visual reference






LANDSCAPING Lush green vegetation is a distinguishing characteristic of the ETN, and a wide variety of plants and trees are found throughout the neighborhood. Changes to the neighborhood should be seen as opportunities to enhance this “green” character. The landscaping of a house can help reinforce the relationship the house has with its neighbors and the larger street room. The shared space of the front yard can be enhanced with green plants and a variety of plants, shrubs and trees can be used to provide interest to a house front.

Notice the trees in the front yards as well as the street landscape strip. This is a pattern found throughout the ETN and ensures a strong tree canopy. Those areas without this concentration of trees feel out of place within this neighborhood landscape.


Frame the entry.

Plant at the foundation. Plant

Plant large canopy trees. The

Use landscaping to frame the entry to a house in order to make it more visible to the street, and to enhance the other guidelines, especially porch entry and front yards. at the base of the house in order to soften the transition between house and ground, and to hide a concrete foundation. tree canopy in the neighborhood is partially provided by street trees but also by major trees on lots. The tree canopy character of the streets also extends to back yards. Backyards in the ETN are highly valued by the residents as open space and a place for gardens. Extra sensitivity to neighboring yards when contemplating any kind of built structure in the backyard is critical. Backyards as Gardens.

This photo was provided by a resident of the ETN to show a typical backyard. This backyard has a modest sized building sharing and helping to form the open space in the backyard.



Additional Information & Resources

RESOURCES Books and published materials

Planning in the U.S.A, by J. Barry Cullingworth. This is a good general introduction to planning processes and issues. There is a short section on design review. Planning the new suburbia: flexibility by design, by Avi Friedman. The Infill and Redevelopment Code Handbook. Produced by the Transportation Growth Management Program of Oregon. This is an overview of regulatory issues relevant to infill development. A Field Guide to American Houses, by Virginia and Lee McAlester. The following are examples of design guidelines used in other communities with similar issues to the ETN and Eugene’s other older neighborhoods.

Portland, Oregon: The 10 Essentials for North/Northeast Portland Housing: Guidelines for Renovations and New Construction, January 1991. This is one of the first documents in Oregon that began the move toward creating a design review process in Portland. Portland, Oregon: Building Blocks for Outer Southeast Neighborhoods: Neighborhood Design Guidelines for Residents and Developers, March 1996. Davis, California: The Traditional Davis Downtown and Residential Design Guideline. An excellent set of guidelines for a neighborhood experiencing similar issues as the ETN. Napa, California: Residential Design Guidelines, November 2004. Another set of guidelines focused on larger infill projects within a small town context.

For more information, contact: Allen Lowe, Senior Planner City of Eugene Planning and Development Department Planning Division 541/682-5377 Greg Brokaw, AIA Rowell Brokaw Architects, PC One East Broadway, Suite 300 Eugene, OR 97401 541/485-1003


Profile for Rowell Brokaw

Chambers Reconsidered: A Citizen's Guide  

Chambers Reconsidered: A Citizen's Guide