EUGENE, Ore. – In a vote on Wednesday, the Eugene City Council decided to move forward with plans to turn an old Lane Community College site into mixed-income housing.
The vote, which was 6-1, gives the 1059 Willamette Street redevelopment project the green light. Last year, the city purchased the site with federal funds requiring that the development that replaces it be mixed-income, a first-of-its-kind model for our area.
Currently, the plans are to create an apartment building called the Montgomery. The site is right across from a bus station, which would grant easy access to transportation.
Earlier in the process, developers said it would include incubator retail spaces on the ground floor, a public gallery in the lobby and would fit the character of the neighborhood.
With a total of 129 units, 66 of them will be rented by households with incomes below 80% of the average median income, or AMI. The other 63 units will be rented at market rate.
Ten units were initially also said to be set aside for victims of domestic violence in partnership with the nonprofit Womenspace.
Despite the vote, one city councilor is not happy. Councilor Emily Semple says she wants to wait on approving the project.
"I think we're fooling ourselves if we think this is for low-income people. It's for middle income people and for people who can pay market rate," said Semple.
However, others think this plan is good for the downtown area. Councilor Alan Zelenka, for one, is thrilled about the project.
"I think it's fantastic that 51 percent of the units will be at 80 percent AMI, 66 units downtown, and 63 will be at market rate," said Zelenka.
In a survey given out by developers, one community member said they would like to see more affordable housing, period. But others are excited about the project.
The development is set to be ready by 2024, versus the required completion date of 2025.