In February of 2015, the Eugene City Council, acting as the Urban Renewal Agency, agreed to sell the building at 942 Olive to the University of Oregon (UO) for one dollar. In turn, the University agreed to renovate and convert the underutilized structure into a space that would support RAIN, the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, and bring the UO’s Tyler Innovation Greenhouse and Product Design Launch Lab downtown. Together, that partnership has created a dynamic entrepreneurial hub that opens today, building on the on-going revitalization of the city’s center and bolstering the growing downtown tech industry.
“Companies that get their start here will become the next generation of innovators and manufacturers - ultimately creating the businesses and jobs of our community’s future,” said Mayor Piercy. “The City of Eugene is deeply committed to continuing to develop a thriving tech sector and innovation district downtown. This building will play a key role in that future, bringing together creators, designers, students, faculty, mentors, and local businesses.”
As part of the downtown tech cluster, 942 Olive will help drive economic development. The building will provide space for meetings, co-working areas, and classrooms, along with the addition of synergistic programs from the University.
The location helps connect RAIN start-ups with LCC’s Small Business Development Center and other technology initiatives within the downtown core.
The RAIN program is a consortium of government, higher education, and the business community. Mayor Kitty Piercy is a co-convener of RAIN and serves on the board of directors along with the Mayor of Corvallis, and representatives from the UO, Oregon State University, Business Oregon, and the private sector.
With support from state and local partners, RAIN advances the formation of high-growth innovative startup companies throughout the South Willamette Valley and Mid-Coast region. It provides networking support, capital formation assistance, and advisory services like mentors and training or physical assets such as incubator space and wet labs to entrepreneurs and start-ups.
RAIN accelerators work directly with entrepreneurs to launch local companies. The Innovation Network, works with the communities to help coordinate the community resources that are necessary for companies to grow and thrive in the region. To date, 62 companies have graduated from the RAIN accelerators in Eugene and Corvallis, creating over 100 new jobs, and generating almost $2 million in revenues.
Bringing RAIN Eugene Accelerator to 942 Olive directly supports the Eugene Downtown Plan by contributing to an active, economically vibrant downtown, enhancing the development of local businesses and strengthening the cluster of creative industries in the community and throughout the region.