The idea for the organization of Lane Council of Governments was born out of a major fire in Glenwood in 1941. As an unincorporated "suburb", Glenwood wasn't served by the Springfield or Eugene fire departments and the Junction city fire trucks were the first to arrive on the scene, followed later by Springfield fire fighters.
After the catastrophic fire destroyed most structures in Glenwood, area residents began discussions about how best to provide vital services such as fire protection to nearby residents outside of existing districts.
One of the people who stepped up to the challenge was Herman Kehrli, Director of the League of Oregon Cities, who stated, "Invention of an entirely new governmental agency will probably be necessary before the suburban areas can be provided with services in a systematic and economical way." Civic leaders defined the need for a new intergovernmental structure to:
Provide and maintain infrastructure to the urban fringe
Establish guidelines for school location with population growth
Conduct planning surveys with local organizations (in this region within a 6-mile radius of Eugene City Hall)
Developing the New Council
By 1944, the new planning council was already planning the development of a post-war job program, working towards adoption of a capital improvement program for construction of sewage treatment facilities, and initiating a comprehensive planning program. A March 3, 1944 article in Yank magazine reported that, "Without letting up on the war effort, the planning council is working out a strategy for winning the peace," and, "The council is doing its share in the building of a new and better America."
Lane Council of Governments was defining the course of its development over the next 60 years and beyond.