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Judge gives go-ahead on land swap, but deal not official yet

If the deal is approved, it could lead to a new city hall and county courthouse.

Posted: Oct. 10, 2018 7:12 PM
Updated: Oct. 10, 2018 10:14 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The city of Eugene and Lane County appear to be one step closer to a major land swap in downtown Eugene.

If it's approved, it could lead to a new city hall and county courthouse.

On Tuesday, a judge told Lane County officials he will allow the county to sell the parking lot known as the butterfly lot property located off 7th Avenue and Oak Street and purchase the land where the old city hall was. That's just a block away off of 8th Avenue and Oak Street.

The deal was on hold because the land in question was given to the county by Eugene Skinner, the city founder who died in 1864. When Skinner gave the land, he said it had to stay in county hands.

Ken Darling, a descendant of Skinner's objected to the deal on several technical grounds. But the judge sided with the county and said the proposed swap is legal.

Lane County Commissioner Jay Bozievich is thrilled progress on the swap is moving forward.

"Really pleased with the judge’s decision, really looking forward to moving ahead with providing a facility that will provide the future needs of Lane County for justice, that is friendly, and provides equal access,” Bozievich said.

The deal has not been finalized, but the county and the city hope to start construction on the projects in 2020.

Before then, Darling has seven business days to object. If he doesn't, the judge can sign the order which will be followed by a 30-day appeal period.

Chris Hansen, who lives in Eugene and works at the courthouse, said this swap has been a long time coming.

"I hope I'm alive when they actually build this stuff,” Hansen said. “It seems everything takes ten years longer than the estimate. But I'm hopeful."

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