Eugene has two urban renewal districts: the Downtown Urban Renewal District and the Riverfront Urban Renewal District, shown below. Click the map to see a larger version.
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When the district is created, the assessed value of property within the district is set (or “frozen”) and those taxes continue to go to the government (city, county, and school districts through the State). Any property value increase above that frozen amount is called the “increment.” The amount of taxes on the increased value (or “increment”) is what is collected across the city for the urban renewal district to use for redevelopment projects.
The State of Oregon created the legislation that allows for urban renewal; districts are created by local municipalities. In Eugene, the City Council decides what areas should be included in urban renewal districts. The council also creates a plan for improving the area.Following public notice and hearing, and after considering public testimony and planning commission recommendations, the city council may approve the urban renewal plan or amendments to the plan by ordinance.The Downtown Urban Renewal District Plan includes a list of specific projects that were approved by the City Council in 2010. In addition, the Agency Board (City Council) must approve any project, other than loans, from Riverfront District funds over $250,000.The City of Eugene’s Budget Committee reviews the Urban Renewal Agency’s proposed budget and provides recommendations to the City Council. The City Council adopts the Urban Renewal Agency budget and reviews and approves any supplemental budgets during the year.
Council has used Downtown Urban Renewal to support significant downtown improvements, primarily public projects including the Hult Center, Eugene Public Library, Lane Community College Downtown Campus, and the LTD downtown station. Since 1998, City Council has focused the use of the Downtown Urban Renewal District almost exclusively on public improvements in downtown – helping fulfill the public’s vision for downtown.The Downtown Revitalization Loan Program has provided almost $6 million in loans to support downtown redevelopment and leveraged over $26 million in private funds. The revolving loan program provides gap funds that are repaid and then loaned to other projects. The loan program has supported and enhanced our local businesses including places like the McDonald Theatre, the Jazz Station, Oregon Contemporary Theater, Davis Restaurant, Shoe-A-Holic, Harlequin Beads, the Barn Light, Sizzle Pie, First National Tap House, First on Broadway (apartments), Red Wagon Creamery, Party Downtown, Broadway Commerce Center (office building), Off the Waffle, Woolworth Building, Cowfish, and Brenner’s Furniture.You can view an interactive map of downtown redevelopment projects here. City Council has used urban renewal on a number of these projects.
Since the Downtown Urban Renewal District was created, the value of the area has had an average annual increase of 5% - from $45.8M to $499.2M; and total increase of $453.4M.