Certain things about Eugene and the southern Willamette Valley can only be understood if you look below the surface. Literally. What would you see? Water. New England has retained its quaint villages because most of those five states are sitting on slate, making sewers prohibitively expensive. Wells and septic tanks require land and offer self-sufficiency. The Pacific Northwest has the opposite situation. Because water flows so easily beneath our ground, we have to work harder to filter the water before it gets to rivers or the ocean. That’s why (if you ever wondered) we still use street cleaners. Scrubbing the street is cheaper than cleaning the water that drains quickly from the streets into the river. We love our rivers, but we’re often too close for the rivers’ comfort and health. Something to consider.