Downtown Riverfront Park
After decades of visioning, the City of Eugene has fulfilled a long-held goal of turning the former EWEB utility operations yard into a vibrant, active, and accessible riverfront park that reconnects Downtown to the Willamette River and serves as a regional destination.
The three-acre Downtown Riverfront Park is urban in character balanced by riverbank and habitat enhancements. The park design, which included input from thousands of community members, features broad river views, new bicycle and pedestrian paths, covered seating and overlooks.
Funding for the Downtown Riverfront Park development comes from the 2018 Parks and Recreation Bond, Urban Renewal Agency funds and Public Works capital funds. Ongoing maintenance of the park is being funded by the 2018 Parks and Recreation Levy.
For more information on the rest of the Downtown Riverfront projects, including the neighborhood and Steam Plant redevelopment, visit eugene-or.gov/Riverfront.
With the recent opening of the Downtown Riverfront Park (yay!), we are turning our attention to the adjacent future plaza space.
Plaza design will be completed in 2023, with one year of construction anticipated to begin in Spring of 2024. When the riverfront property is fully developed, the one-acre park plaza will be nestled between multi-family housing buildings and a restaurant.
The City retained Walker Macy as the design consultant. Walker Macy has been providing landscape architecture, urban design, and planning services since 1976. They specialize in providing creative solutions that transform public and private spaces into successful urban plazas, parks, and waterfront revitalization projects. They have received 31 awards from the Oregon chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and 2 National ASLA Merit Awards. Notable projects include the Ankeny Plaza, Pioneer Courthouse Square, and the South Waterfront Park in Portland.
The team assembled included a range of technical and design sub-consultants who specialize in: public outreach, public art, environmental toxicology, river’s edge permitting, geotechnical, architecture, site and cultural history, and more.
Focus groups, open houses, surveys, and online outreach helped shape our comprehensive, three-month public involvement process. During the course of this process, we received more than 3,500 responses from the community about how they envision the Downtown Riverfront Park. Read the full Public Involvement Summary here.
Integrated art pieces tell the stories of the ecology, industry and community, creating a park experience that’s truly all about Eugene.
With the direct input from Eugene’s Black community, this site will be the future home of a sculptural bronze water fountain framing views across the river to Alton Baker Park. The interpretive piece will share the story of Eugene’s first Black neighborhood that was razed with very little notice in 1949 to make way for construction of today’s Ferry Street Bridge.
Sculpted as a continuous bronze surface that bends and folds to accommodate adults, children and people who are mobility challenged, the work is an inclusive invitation for all to come to the river’s edge to share a drink of fresh water together. This piece is expected to be installed late 2022.
The adjacent one-acre park plaza, to the west of the Downtown Riverfront Park, is scheduled for additional design work and construction to be completed in 2025. A series of public open houses will begin in late June this year and run through the summer. Project design will be completed in 2023, with one year of construction anticipated to begin in Spring of 2024.
While Hayward Field will host the World Athletics Championships, the Downtown Riverfront Park will host a free fan festival for visitors and local community members. The festival will be an opportunity to showcase our state, local businesses, and our diverse and talented local arts communities to the world. With the thousands of visitors to Eugene, the Downtown Riverfront Park is sure to be a centerpiece of the festival and a community legacy beyond 2022.
Learn more about the Eugene Riverfront Festival