On Monday, June 12, City Council approved an ordinance amending the Downtown Urban Renewal Plan, making $50 million dollars available for investment in housing, right-of-way improvements, and emerging projects in Downtown Eugene.
Specifically, the amendment makes the three project areas eligible for urban renewal funds and increases the spending limit (the amount that can be spent on the projects) by $50 million. Council underscored that most of the funding should support the creation of new housing downtown, giving staff direction to return in the fall with incentive program proposals.
The three project areas address priorities identified by the community during the City’s public engagement regarding downtown in the fall of 2022. As part of the amendment process, Council held a public hearing on the ordinance on May 25, and the amendment was shared with the overlapping taxing districts for feedback.
Urban renewal, or tax increment financing, is a tool used by cities to finance improvements and redevelopment in specific areas of a city by reinvesting the increase in the area's property taxes back into the district. The program is aimed at helping communities improve specific areas that are in need of investment because they feel unsafe are run-down or are not meeting their potential. Urban renewal provides a source of funding without imposing a new tax.
Eugene has used Downtown Urban Renewal to support a number of significant downtown landmarks, primarily public facilities, including the Farmers Market Pavilion, Hult Center, Eugene Public Library, Lane Community College Downtown Campus, and the LTD downtown station. This amendment to the Downtown Urban Renewal Plan specifically relies on public-private partnerships to increase housing and commercial activity, while leaving room for the Urban Renewal Agency to pursue improvements to downtown public spaces.
For more information on the specific projects and urban renewal in Eugene visit the City’s website at www.eugene-or.gov/UR