February 2019 Newsletter

February 2019 Beyond the Finish Line

Steam Plant Developments

The oldest standing structure on the Downtown Riverfront property, the Steam Plant, has the potential to connect Eugene’s future to its past. Its unique position as an icon of Eugene’s industrial past, and location within 50 feet of the top of the riverbank, calls for the plant to be preserved and repurposed as an important historical landmark at the east end of the Downtown Riverfront property.  

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Steam Plant Team 

Last year, Eugene City Council launched a process to bring the Steam Plant into its next life. After a competitive Request for Qualifications, in August, the City invited a local team led by Mark Miksis (of deChase Miksis Development) and Mark Frohnmayer (of Arcimoto) to prepare a full proposal for the redevelopment of the Steam Plant. Project Manager Amanda D’Souza explains, “To realize the community’s vision for the riverfront and maximize the building’s potential, we wanted to come up with a process that brought forward collaborative and creative ideas. Much like the Steam Plant’s origins, the team’s vision for the building capitalizes on innovation. The process for selecting the team was an out-of-the-box strategy that aligns with how the City is approaching preparations for 2021.”

The team unveiled their initial concepts last month. Draft renderings show cultural space featuring historic boiler #1 and the eye-catching red turbine generators. The building would maintain its existing footprint, add cross-laminated timber internally, and rise vertically to five stories to maximize views of the river. An outdoor overlook could connect the building to the future adjacent Riverfront Park and the river without impeding the bike path. 

Public Input

In partnership with the City, the team recently completed a community outreach campaign to solicit feedback on the proposed concepts to ensure that it reflects the community’s vision for the building and serves as a special place the community is proud of. Results from the community outreach will be available later this spring.

Its Role in 2021

Given its iconic location along the Riverfront, an emerging question is what role the Steam Plant will play in the City’s efforts to prepare for 2021. As the prominent landmark situated at the southern end of the future the Riverfront Park, which is expected to be completed in 2021, the Steam Plant has the potential to be a beacon of activity and attraction for both the community and visitors to our region. Both the team and the City are in the midst of exploring whether the Steam Plant could potentially play a significant role in the 2021 efforts. While full redevelopment of the building may not be feasible by 2021, there is energy behind phasing the construction so that the Steam Plant can serve as a community gathering space during 2021 activities. 

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