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Mayor, legislators tour Downtown Riverfront Park site

After years of planning and construction, Eugene’s newest park is set to open to the public in mid-August.

Posted: Jul 1, 2021 11:54 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- After years of planning and construction, Eugene’s newest park is set to open to the public in mid-August.

Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis joined members of the state legislature in touring the Downtown Riverfront Park Thursday as crews continue construction. The city said the main goal of the park is to connect downtown Eugene with the Willamette River utilizing what was once an industrial area of the city.

Emily Proudfoot, lead architect, said the pandemic posed a challenge, but staff persevered to get it done.

“This project kept hope and excitement alive through some of our most difficult days here in Eugene,” Proudfoot said. “So many people throughout the city have told me it's been something they've been looking forward to and been waiting to see for years.”

Proudfoot said phase one of the project, which concludes in August, will include a simple lawn, open paths, lighting and a few benches.

Another phase of the project is coming in 2023 and will include a one-acre riverfront plaza that will be a space for markets, performances, and events.

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“We need to design our waterfront such that when you are at the river's edge, you know you are in a great city. And when you are downtown, you know you are near a great river. That's what this place has created,’ said Democratic Rep. Nancy Nathanson of Eugene.

So far, the project has cost around $18 million. The total cost is expected to come in at around $23 million. The city said it recently received $5 million from the state to help cover the costs.

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