Eugene’s Downtown Riverfront could undergo a major transformation, fulfilling the community’s long-held goal of turning a vacant, inaccessible and empty riverfront lot into a vibrant, active, and accessible riverfront neighborhood and community destination. The redevelopment of the Downtown Riverfront has been a part of the community’s vision for decades, reinforced through numerous public engagement opportunities over several years. The City's Urban Renewal Agency now owns 16 acres of riverfront property that can become Eugene’s riverfront neighborhood – directly connecting our downtown and campus areas to the river and creating more access points for the community to enjoy. We have an opportunity to fulfill our community’s vision.
The City is moving ahead with a number of initiatives to begin the transformation of the Downtown Riverfront property. Explore below to find out the latest about the proposed Williams/Dame & Associates (WDA) redevelopment, Steam Plant re-use, the Riverfront Park, and how you can get involved.
The City has been in negotiations with Williams/Dame & Associates (WDA), who have a tremendous amount of downtown and riverfront redevelopment experience. WDA a commitment to, and track record of, developing high quality projects that create a unique sense of place and neighborhood. Learn more about Williams/Dame & Associates and their past projects. Opens a New Window.
On January 31, 2018, WDA presented their vision and initial concepts for the Downtown Riverfront site to City Council. Watch a video of the presentation Opens a New Window. or view the presentation slides Opens a New Window. .
On May 29, 2018, the Urban Renewal Agency Board reviewed proposed terms of an agreement with WDA that would set the stage for the future redevelopment of the site. Watch a video of the work session Opens a New Window. or view the presentation slides Opens a New Window.
At the July 9, 2018 City Council work session, the Urban Renewal Agency Board approved the proposed terms with WDA. A webcast of the work session is available online here. Opens a New Window. And, the agenda item summary is available here. Opens a New Window.
Steam Plant Redevelopment Opportunity Opens a New Window.
The Urban Renewal Agency is seeking the right team of visionaries and community-minded people who have the capacity to bring the Steam Plant into the next phase of its life. In May 2018, the Agency released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) which closed June 11. Download the Steam Plant RFQ Opens a New Window. .
The Agency received four submissions to the RFQ. See up-to-date information on the Steam Plant including the RFQ responses and next steps.
As part of the Master Plan for the Downtown Riverfront, a new 3-acre park will be created along the river. The City’s Parks and Open Space Division has already begun the process for the design and construction. The conceptual design phase is expected to be completed in fall 2018. Project permitting and construction documentation will follow, with park construction expected to begin in 2020. The goal is to have the riverfront park completed in time for the 2021 World Track and Field Championships.
Over the next few months, the City of Eugene Parks and Open Space Division and the design consultant team led by Walker Macy are seeking community input at a series of public meetings. For more information on the public input opportunities, please visit the Riverfront Park website. Opens a New Window.
Redevelopment of the site has been a part of the community's vision for decades, reinforced through numerous public engagement opportunities over several years. We know how important this site is to the community and we want the community to not only understand what is being proposed, but to also have an opportunity to weigh in. The following are upcoming opportunities for community members to learn more about the Downtown Riverfront efforts and get involved:
Williams/Dame & Associates (WDA) Development
- Throughout June and July: Ongoing Display (Atrium, 99 W. 10th Ave. and Downtown Library, 100 W. 10th Ave.)
An informational display will be available for community members to view at any time to learn more about the proposal.
- July 19: Public Meeting: Design Concepts - EWEB North Headquarters Community Room
The design team will present three concepts that incorporate the values and goals from the May meeting. The attendees will be asked to give feedback on the concepts. Following the discussion, site tours will be available for those interested. All ages are welcome, including kids. Light refreshments will be provided.
- September 27: Public Meeting: Celebration - EWEB North Headquarters Community Room
In September, we will celebrate the final concept design and take additional comments. Site tours will be available for those interested. All ages are welcome, including kids. Light refreshments will be provided.
We are committed to realizing the vision presented in the Riverfront Master Plan that was developed by EWEB and the community with robust public input. If the City, the developer, or any other stakeholders propose any changes or deviations from the Master Plan, there will be a public process that allows the community's voice to be heard.
Since Eugene was founded in 1865, the Willamette River has been an essential piece of our community’s identity. It is where Eugene Skinner created the first plat for the city, and for decades the river has provided industry and recreation opportunities for our community. As one of our proudest assets, our community has a long held vision and desire to create more access and connections to the river – places where people can hang out, meet friends, and bring their family to enjoy the riverfront.
For years, Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) housed their operations on an approximately 16-acre property along the riverfront. Understanding the potential of this site, in 2007 EWEB and the City of Eugene began the process of transforming this property to connect Eugene’s downtown to the Willamette River and create an active place for the entire community.
The Riverfront Master Plan Opens a New Window. was approved by the EWEB board in 2010 based on input from more than a thousand community members. The plan outlines the creation of a world-class public park along the waterfront and a high-quality multi-use riverfront development that will reflect the community’s vision, providing economic and housing opportunities, promoting compact urban development, and enhancing natural resources. In 2013, the City Council adopted the Master Plan along with land use policies to support its implementation.
EWEB decided to sell the property to the City in 2013 after refocusing on their core mission of providing utility services to the community. The City’s Urban Renewal Agency finalized the property purchase from EWEB for $5.75 million in April 2018. Funds for the purchase came from the Riverfront Urban Renewal District. This was a key milestone in the efforts to redevelop the site.
In June 2017 the Urban Renewal Agency signed an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with Williams/Dame & Associates for the riverfront redevelopment property. The ENA formally expresses Williams & Dame's interest in owning and redeveloping the property consistent with the Riverfront Master Plan. The six month agreement provides Williams & Dame time to complete due diligence activities while working with the Urban Renewal Agency toward an agreement on the redevelopment of the property. During that time, the Agency has committed to negotiate exclusively with Williams & Dame.
The EWEB Riverfront Master Plan begins the process of reconnecting the city and the river. This shared vision for the property’s reuse builds upon years of aspirations to renew our city center, to model a sustainable future, and to, once again, unite our city with the river.
The Riverfront property is part of the Riverfront Urban Renewal District which makes it eligible for urban renewal funds. The Riverfront Urban Renewal Plan, outlines the goals and objectives for the site's revitalization.
The Riverfront Renewal Loan Program (River Loans) is a flexible financing program designed to encourage investments within the Riverfront Urban Renewal District that contribute to the economic vibrancy and density goals for the Riverfront area. River Loans are also designed to be responsive to unique redevelopment opportunities, specific redevelopment challenges, and individual project financing needs.
The Willamette to Willamette project aims to make tangible the connection between a city on the edge of a great river, and a river on the edge of a great city. The Willamette to Willamette plan will link the heart of our evolving city to the river that has shaped our identity, providing a critical connection between the natural and the urban, the two complementary components of our Eugene identity.
The Eugene riverfront plays a key role in the Lane Livability Consortium’s River District concept – a regional collaboration between the City of Eugene, the City of Springfield, Lane County, the University of Oregon, and the Lane Transit District. “The River Districts,” envisions a set of vibrant and connected urban neighborhoods planned, designed and built to celebrate and share the beauty of the Willamette River Greenway while sustainably capturing and driving regional economic growth.
Eugene recently launched its bikeshare system, Peacehealth Rides. Riverfront Urban Renewal funds were used to fund three bikeshare stations within the District. The bikes accomplish many of the goals and objectives for the site's revitalization. For more information on the bikeshare system, visit the Peacehealth Rides website.