Downtown Riverfront

Eugene traces its origins to the Willamette River. It is where Eugene Skinner created the first plat for the city. Since that time the river has played an important role in the community, and the redevelopment and revitalization of the riverfront property has been a long-standing community vision.

In April 2017, The City of Eugene and the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) reached an agreement for the sale of the utility’s riverfront property marking a key milestone in the efforts to redevelop the site.

Photo by Steve Smith - Aerialimage of EWEB and Willamette RiverThe transformation of the approximately 16-acre property is a critical piece in connecting Eugene’s downtown to the Willamette River and creating an active place for the entire community. The Riverfront Master Plan was approved by the EWEB board in 2010 based on input from more than one 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.

The City’s Urban Renewal Agency will purchase the property from EWEB for $5.75 million. Funds for the purchase will come from the Riverfront Urban Renewal District. The City Council, acting as the Urban Renewal Agency, approved the terms and conditions in 2016. At its meeting April 4, the EWEB Board approved the general terms and authorized General Manager Frank Lawson to finalize details of the agreement.

EWEB decided to sell the property in 2013 after refocusing on their core mission of providing utility services to the community. Now that the agreement is in place for purchasing the property, the City will seek a third party developer to begin the redevelopment of the site in line with the Riverfront Master Plan.

The City is committed to delivering a high-quality legacy project that connects downtown to the river, catalyzes economic growth, and reflects the community’s vision. The riverfront redevelopment will be a key destination as Eugene takes its place on the international stage as host of the 2021 IAAF World Track and Field Championships. With a new park, an improved riverfront path, and an inviting link to downtown, the site will draw people from near and far to the center of our city, and will provide a lasting legacy for the community.

Williams/Dame & Associates

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.

Riverfront Plaza and Park
Williams & Dame bring a tremendous amount of downtown redevelopment and riverfront redevelopment experience to the project. They have a commitment to and track record of developing high-quality projects that create a unique sense of place and neighborhood. Click here to learn more about Williams\Dame & Associates and their past projects.

On January 31, 2018, Williams & Dame presented their vision and initial concepts for the Downtown Riverfront site to City Council. Watch a video of the presentation or click here to view the presentation slides.

Riverfront Park

As part of the Master Plan for the Downtown Riverfront, a new 3 acre park will be created along the river. The City of Eugene Parks and Open Space team recently issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for design consultants in order to identify the top five groups to continue working through an additional Request for Proposals (RFP) process. It is anticipated that park design work will begin in the next few months and continue throughout most of 2018, including gathering community input.

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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.

Proposed Eugene Riverfront Drawing 3The 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.

Proposed Eugene Riverfront Drawing 2The 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.