Downtown Riverfront Park
Where the Willamette Meets the City
As a community, we trace our origins to the river. Eugene Skinner created his first plat for this city located along the Willamette River’s southern bank, but severe floods forced him to higher ground. He drew a second map of Eugene with the Downtown Park Blocks as its centerpiece and the city took its first step away from the water’s edge, leaving Eugene’s riverfront to be primarily populated by industry for the next 150 years.
One of the priorities the City heard most clearly in talking to the community about the future of parks and recreation in Eugene, is providing access to the river – for everything from recreation to simply enjoying the views. The three-acre Downtown Riverfront Park, with adjacent one-acre public plaza, will be the heart of the greater riverfront development that reimagines a new, vibrant future and will, once again, unite our city with the river.
Information about the 16-acre Downtown Riverfront Development can be found at eugene-or.gov/riverfront.
The Design Team
The City has 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 includes 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.
Updated designs have refined some of the earlier concepts and reflect the needs and wants of our community. The high level concept is a layered landscape - one that moves from more urban on the redevelopment site down toward natural and soft areas with pedestrian paths woven through the riverbank.
The public engagement highlighted a desire for an urban riverfront park where people can can come and see the river within a context of learning about our community and environmental history. This will be reflected in the interpretive art elements.
Click through the images below to see the updated park design, multi-modal paths and interpretive art concepts. A larger image can be viewed by clicking on the individual image in the slideshow.
Construction of the three-acre park will happen in two phases. This spring/summer we will be doing utility relocation and riparian enhancement. This vital work includes: removal of invasive species, laying back of slopes, and replanting the area with a higher diversity of native plants.
The second phase will take place in summer 2020 when we will be constructing all of the park features – the overlooks, paths, landscapes, furniture, etc. – with the goal of completing the park by Spring 2021.
The one-acre plaza will follow, as the surrounding Downtown Riverfront Development is constructed.