Illustration of redeveloped riverfront with bicycle-pedestrian path and new buildings
EWEB, City Complete Riverfront Property Sale 04/17/2018

Redevelopment efforts for Eugene's downtown riverfront jumped forward on April 17 when the City completed the purchase of 16 acres of property formerly used as EWEB's operations yard.

The largely vacant riverfront property, immediately south of our Headquarters Building at 500 E. Fourth Ave., holds enormous redevelopment potential. The sale to the City enables acres of underutilized land along the river to begin the transition from a decades-long industrial hub to a vibrant, multi-use neighborhood, riverfront park and community gathering place.  

Reconnecting downtown to the riverfront is a vision the community, EWEB and the City have been working toward for more than a decade  

"Getting to this point with the property sale is a proud day for EWEB, the City and our mutual customers -- and shows that a cooperative approach between agencies can yield beneficial results," said Frank Lawson, EWEB's general manager. "Our early investment in a community-master plan and the collaborative work with the city over these past years makes us excited about the future of downtown Eugene."  

EWEB completed the foundational work necessary to prepare the property for a different future, including adopting a site master plan with broad community support, collaborating with the City on rezoning to allow for mixed-use development and a public park along the river's edge, conducting environmental remediation work, and undertaking other pre-development activities.    

"The sale of the property to the City represents the last major milestone for EWEB," Lawson said. "This is good for our customers because we can get out of the real estate business and focus on the core services of delivering pure water and reliable electricity," he said.  

The City is well-positioned and committed to the next phase of redevelopment, and will continue to advance the community's interest in a high-quality, publicly accessible development along the river that is done in an environmentally responsible way.   

"Reconnecting downtown to the river has been a long-held goal, and redevelopment of the site is key to creating a vibrant people-place along the river," said Denny Braud, Executive Director of the City's Planning and Development Department. The city is working with Portland-based developer Williams & Dame to redevelop the property consistent with the 2010 EWEB Riverfront Master Plan and the concept plan presented to City Council in January.

The City's Parks and Open Space Division has already started the process for the design and construction of the future 3-acre riverfront park identified in the  Master Plan, and have selected a design consultant team led by Walker Macy. The conceptual design phase is expected to be completed in fall 2018, including public input over the next several months. Project permitting and construction documentation will follow, with park construction expected to begin in 2020. The goal is to have the riverfront park completed in time for the 2021 World Track and Field Championships. 

The City is also planning to solicit proposals to redevelop the Steam Plant building located on the property. The redevelopment of the Steam Plant is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to honor the historic significance of the downtown riverfront site while embracing its potential as a place of community pride and gathering. For more information on the Downtown Riverfront visit the City's website at https://www.eugene-or.gov/riverfront