About Eugene Parks Foundation

Our Mission

The Eugene Parks Foundation is committed to creating exceptional parks, open spaces, and trails for the Eugene community and visitors.

Our Vision

Eugene’s Parks play a crucial role in community’s economic and social well-being, going beyond being mere green spaces. They are dynamic places that build and grow thriving communities that co-exist, protect, and preserve nature and wildlife habitats.

Eugene’s Parks provide livability, connection, and equity, making them the most democratic institutions that unify people from diverse backgrounds, bridging social divides through shared experiences.

Further than leisure, Eugene’s parks also contribute to physical and mental healing, offering a much-needed respite from the fast-paced modern life. The sense of safety in our parks makes them sanctuaries for relaxation and social interaction and an invaluable asset to any community’s well-rounded development.

Rationale and Strategy 

Why Exceptional Parks? Exceptional parks foster vibrant communities, nurture social interaction, cultural exchange, and economic growth, and act as a magnet and catalyst for thriving socio-economic ecosystems.

What makes an Exceptional Park?  An exceptional park integrates sustainable, accessible, eco-friendly, high-quality infrastructure, a thematic or narrative approach that intertwines with the physical experience and offers a rich aesthetic experience. An exceptional park experience can ignite and nurture passion, curiosity, creativity, imagination, and resiliency.

What are the benefits of Exceptional Parks?

Economic growth – Exceptional parks drive economic growth within the community. These parks act as magnets, attract visitors from outside the neighborhood and stimulate local businesses. The increased foot traffic creates opportunities for entrepreneurs to establish nearby shops, cafes, and restaurants, creating a bustling local economy.

Community development – Exceptional parks can contribute to long-term economic development. Their presence increases property values, attracting new residents and investors. Developers recognize the value of living near these green spaces and are more likely to invest in housing and commercial projects nearby. This leads to community revitalization, workforce development, and improved social – economic status and an enhanced overall quality of life.

Organic Diversity and Inclusion – By attracting residents from different backgrounds, exceptional neighborhood parks create opportunities for social interaction and community building. These interactions break down social barriers and foster a sense of belonging, leading to stronger social bonds and cohesive communities. Residents develop a collective identity tied to their neighborhood park, instilling a sense of pride and ownership.

Socio-economic Equity – An Exceptional Parks system serves as a valuable municipal resource for addressing socio-economic equity. When the city focuses on providing exceptional outdoor opportunities in underserved neighborhoods and communities, it can help bridge the gaps and remove barriers, whether they’re social or economic in nature.

Community Resiliency – For a community to thrive, prioritizing its members’ physical and mental well-being is essential. Exceptional outdoor experiences serve as centers for extended positive interaction and engagement, fostering health and strengthening resilience.

Quality of Life – Exceptional Parks offer residents a higher standard of living. Well-maintained parks and amenities demonstrate a commitment to creating a healthy and enjoyable environment. Individuals, particularly those seeking a work-life balance and a connection with nature, are drawn to communities prioritizing these aspects.

How do we fund an Exceptional Park?

Relying solely on public funding often falls short of meeting the high standards necessary for exceptional parks that stimulate growth and transformation. By adopting a visionary approach and forging strategic partnerships between the public and private sectors, our communities can position themselves for remarkable socio-economic growth.

Eugene’s History of Giving to Parks

Support Eugene Parks Foundation

More than 100 years ago, the Hendricks family donated land that would become Eugene’s first public park. As parks and recreation have become an essential part of how we define our community, we have continued to build on our legacy of public support and partnership to get here.

Eugene now has 130 public parks, 50 miles of trails, over 4,000 acres of natural areas, and more than 6,000 recreation programs for all ages and abilities. While the City of Eugene excels at serving the public with its available resources, the needs of the community have outpaced its funding.

Established in 2004, the Eugene Parks Foundation has operated in a public-private partnership with Eugene Parks and Recreation. As an independent 501(c)(3) organization, the Foundation works to provide resources for special projects the City cannot fund, helping to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability or background, is able to enjoy Eugene’s parks and recreation services.