Many Eugene residents rejoice in ride-share ruling, but few still oppose the change

Uber drivers struggle to find business in Big Country

EUGENE, Ore. -- After years of back and forth, it could now just be a matter of weeks until Uber and Lyft make their way to Eugene.

City Councilors passed an ordinance Monday night effective immediately to make way for ride-sharing services.

Companies could potentially apply for licenses in early summer.

Owner and manager of Timbers Inn, Joseph Bailey, says he hopes the new service will bring a new perception.

"There's been bad word of mouth that because of lack of Uber, Eugene is not a very convenient or friendly place to visit," he said.

He said they get bad reviews, complaints and disappointment on a weekly basis from guests who've grown to expect something he simply can't provide.

"Having Uber or not having Uber is not my decision. But it kind of taints their perception of our motel and taints their perception of the area," Bailey said.

That's also been a concern of the Eugene Chamber of Commerce, one of the city's biggest proponents of ride sharing services.

"We were hearing loud and clear from the tourism industry that this was something that our community needs," President and CEO Brittany Quick-Warner said.

She said it's not just hotels who will benefit, but also other businesses, and students, who make up a big part of our community.

"That would actually make my life a lot more convenient," UO student Oliver Hansell said.

"It's another opportunity for people to earn an income," UO student Nicholas Hadley said.

The main opponent of allowing rideshare companies are taxi companies, but Quick-Warner says that's just how business works and there will always be competition.

She says the city's new rules even the playing field by holding ride-sharing services to background checks by EPD, insurance requirements and vehicle safety checks.

"That is a great feeling that we can get what we want and we can make sure that we don't compromise the safety of our citizens," Quick-Warner said.

And Bailey hopes to catch a break from his guests: "It will take time to improve our image again in being a tourist friendly town but I think it will definitely happen."

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