EUGENE, Ore. — Downtown Eugene was now ranked among the best downtowns in the country.
Livability.com ranked downtown Eugene as number nine on its list of Top 10 Downtowns in the country. Eugene made its way onto the list with its population and income growth, affordable housing, and retail and office vacancy rates.
It’s no secret downtown Eugene is different than it was a few years ago –
“It used to just be dead on Broadway. There was just nothing going on and like they’re starting to put lots of restaurants and bars,” said resident Alex Holland.
“Over the last couple years when the pits were filled, the LCC’s downtown campus came in and that was one of the projects that stirred a lot of development,” said resident Carrie Russo.
During the last two years, developers invested $200 million into downtown.
“We’ve made a lot of progress and it’s exciting to see that downtown is becoming a great place for people to live, work and play,” said Denny Braud, City of Eugene Community Development Manager.
That revitalization includes new restaurants, bars and even start-up technology businesses.
“It’s really bringing a lot of people downtown that are living downtown. They come downtown to be entertained, for education, for all different kinds of purpose, so really downtowns just become alive,” Denny said.
Some local residents say they don’t see Eugene as having one of the best downtowns in the country.
“I’m surprised, I wouldn’t think this small of a town, but we do have a lot of kind of hippy people that are like really cool,” said one resident.
Regardless of the skepticism, others say they’re enjoying the new and improved downtown Eugene.
“Eugene definitely has a great downtown, there’s all sorts of things to do. Just, I mean compared to any other city that I’ve ever been in, anything like this with Kesey Square and everything,” said resident Jordan Corzette.
The chamber of commerce says consumer demand for downtown destinations is still rising. So now is a better time than ever to open up shop in downtown Eugene.