On Wednesday, December 14, the Eugene City Council affirmed their commitment to downtown by directing the City Manager to begin negotiations with Lane County for the purchase of a portion of the ButterflyLot for City Hall and offer to sell the City Hall site to the County for a future County Courthouse development.
Over the last four months, the City Council has worked in collaboration with LaneCounty to ensure the selection of a site for City Hall that maximizes community benefit and makes efficient and responsible use of public resources. TheCouncil has been considering and discussing four scenarios for the location ofCity Hall. At their Wednesday, noon work session the Council voted 5-3 to move forward with “Scenario C” which includes Phase 1 of City Hall and the Farmers’Market on the County-owned Butterfly Lot located on Oak between 7thand 8th. This scenario makes the former City Hall full block site(located on Pearl between 7th and 8th) available for a future County Courthouse. The direction was contingent on legal verification that the City would be able to construct City Hall on the Butterfly Lot site.
The direction to keep City Hall in the heart of Eugene reinforces the City’s investment in the area and the historic role of the Park Blocks as a civic center. It aligns with long-held goals to increase downtown vitality while keeping and bringing more jobs downtown. The location of an improved Farmers’Market next to City Hall is an exciting opportunity to build on the shared identity of Eugene’s local food industry. The site also supports Eugene’sDowntown Plan, which calls for 8th Avenue to be a great civic street of connected services and open spaces and recognizes downtown Eugene as the focus for creating a strong regional center for business, government, and culture.
In addition to supporting downtown’s revitalization, the decision to create a truly energy efficient building in Eugene’s city center reinforces Eugene’s role as a leader in civic sustainability, supporting compact urban development and walkability as well as major transit investments like EmX. Providing services within easy walking distance of the downtown transit station and any parking garage allows for ease of access and reduces automobile use and lost time in transit; important aspects to achieving the community’s climate recovery goals. As the City works to consolidate for efficiency, staying in close proximity to downtown City offices and other government services saves time and money for community members and city government.
The next step in the City Hall process will include City and County negotiations. Any potential purchase or sale agreement will return to the City Council for a vote later next year.Staff will continue to assess possible City Hall design options for the new site that ensure a welcoming, accessible, and energy efficient building that is fiscally responsible and within the budget.