The City of Eugene and the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) have reached an agreement for the sale of the utility’s riverfront property, marking a key milestone in the efforts to redevelop the property.
The redevelopment of this central site on the Willamette River has been a part of the community’s vision for decades, reinforced through numerous public engagement opportunities and City Council actions over several years.
“This project is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will redefine our downtown riverfront and will serve as a new signature element of our community’s identity for the next century,” says City Manager Jon Ruiz. “City of Eugene staff have the expertise and the experience to successfully realize this long-held vision and we appreciate the partnership with Eugene Water and Electric Board in reaching this agreement.”
A webpage is now available on the City website - www.eugene-or.gov/riverfront - with information regarding the redevelopment including a new video highlighting the project.
The 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.