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Eugene and Lane County get approval from judge for land swap

A visiting judge recently informed Lane County officials that he will be ruling in their favor in regards to a long-standing legal battle between the county and descendants of Eugene Skinner.

Posted: Oct. 9, 2018 7:34 PM
Updated: Oct. 9, 2018 11:30 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The City of Eugene and Lane County are one step closer to a major land swap in Downtown Eugene, which could lead to a new city hall.

A judge has approved the proposed land swap between the city and county after a legal battle.

In August, KEZI 9 News reported on the plans the city has to create a town square and build a new city hall where the butterfly lot is and make improvements to the downtown Park Blocks.

RELATED: City of Eugene considering town square proposal

The county currently owns the butterfly lot, but wants to swap it with the land at 8th Avenue and Oak Street that the city owns, where city hall once stood, to build a courthouse.

Until this recent initial decision, the deal was on hold because of legal issues that go back more than 100 years.

That's because the land in question was given to the county by Eugene Skinner himself, who said it had to stay in county hands.

Ken Darling, a descendant of Skinner's, objected to the deal on several technical grounds.

Visiting Judge Richard Barron has now sided with the county, saying the proposed swap is legal.

Now, Darling will have seven business days to object.

If he doesn't, Barron could then sign that order which will be followed by a 30-day appeal period.

One other complication is the Butterfly lot and the location of the old Eugene City Hall have to be re-appraised before the two parties come to any formal decision.

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