Downtown Riverfront

Aerial drone photo of the riverfront site, looking south east from the general area of 4th and Mill

Major transformation of Eugene’s Downtown Riverfront is underway, fulfilling the community’s long-held goal of turning a vacant, inaccessible riverfront lot into a vibrant, active, and accessible riverfront district 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 Willamette 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.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Downtown Riverfront 

  1. Latest News
  2. Williams & Dame
  3. Steam Plant
  4. Riverfront Park
  5. Get Involved

Upcoming Events

There are no work sessions or meetings scheduled at this time. 

2019 Site Work

  • Demolition – Several structures (the Equipment Repair, Tire Shop, Midgley, and Warehouse Operations buildings) were demolished to make way for the development of the new park and infrastructure. Prior to their demolition, non-profit BRING Recycling salvaged as much as possible from the buildings for reuse and recycling including shelves, doors, lockers, plumbing fixtures, and more. Staton Construction, the demolition contractor, separated, recycled, reused or salvaged at least 50% of the non-hazardous materials and demolition debris.
  • Grading and Riverbank Riparian Enhancements - Throughout the summer contractors removed the old asphalt and concrete, graded and prepared the site for streets and sidewalks, and removed invasive specifies and laid back the riverbank in preparation for the park.

2020 Site Work

  • Infrastructure - Construction of phase 1 streets and utilities started in June 2020. This includes the streets and utilities serving the Riverfront Park. 
  • Riverfront Park - Construction of the park started in May 2020. The majority of the park will be built throughout 2020 with the intention to have a grand opening event in the spring of 2021.

Name Our Streets!

In 2019, the City asked the community to help us name the three new streets on the Downtown Riverfront site. After an engaging process that generated more than 1,100 ideas from community members, Mayor Vinis revealed the final street names: Annie Mims Lane, Nak-nak Avenue, and Wiley Griffon Way. Visit the Engage Eugene website to learn more about the selection process and the history behind the chosen names.

South Bank Path Closure Map of South Bank Bike Path closure between the Hilyard Street connection and the Frohnmayer Bridge. Opens in new window

Due to construction on the Downtown Riverfront, the portion of the South Bank Path between the EWEB headquarters and the Steam Plant will be closed until spring 2021. Crews removed the existing path in 2019 and will be constructing an improved bike path as part of the new Riverfront Park. Closing the path will give crews space to safely work, as large construction equipment will be moving through the area. People are encouraged to use the DeFazio and Frohnmayer bridges to detour north through Alton Baker Park.

  1. Background
  2. Related Plans and Policies

Since Eugene was founded in 1865, the Willamette River has been Photo by Steve Smith - Aerialimage of EWEB and Willamette Riveran 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 was approved by the EWEB board in 2010 based EWEB Riverfront Master Planon 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 Agency currently has a Disposition and Development Agreement with Williams & Dame for the redevelopment of the site. See Williams & Dame section above for more information.  

On July 22, 2019 the City Council voted (7-0) to adopt the package of land use applications necessary to implement the concept plan for the Downtown Riverfront redevelopment. The package includes code amendments (CA 19-1), refinement plan amendments (RA 19-1), zone changes (Z 19-5), a Willamette River Greenway permit (WG 19-3), a tentative subdivision (ST 19-3), and a standards review (SDR 19-2). The entire land use package can be viewed and tracked using the planning land use application search page.

Contact Us

  1. Amanda D'Souza

    Business Development Analyst
    99 W 10th Ave
    Eugene, OR 97401
    Ph: 541-682-5540
    Fx: 541-682-5572