EUGENE, Ore. -- Signs of life in a once-empty lot in Eugene could signal the beginning of a long-planned hotel. Construction vehicles could be seen at the lot and a road has been made connecting both ends of the lot down to the bike path along the Willamette River.
Earlier this year, The City of Eugene gave the go-ahead on plans for the TownePlace Suites, a brand operated by Marriott. But some are wondering why another hotel is necessary.
"There's one hotel here and I think there's another one close by,” Liliana Arce, a Eugene resident, said. "I get why they want to put it here. It's a beautiful spot but we have to keep it beautiful.”
The TownePlace Suites property is right next door to the Valley River Inn, whose previous management fought to prevent the new hotel from moving in. The manager at Valley River Inn told KEZI he has had no contact with the new hotel's owners.
Arce also raised concerns over the environment and what construction could do to the area. The lot sits right up against the Willamette River.
“I worry about the ecosystem. I feel like we've disturbed it a lot already and we're trying to recover it with Delta Ponds and stuff so we should think about that more,” Arce said.
Others said the hotel may be a good solution to bring tourists to Eugene and use a space that would be undesirable for much else.
"It's right next to a freeway. It's a pretty small footprint it looks like. I'm not sure what else would go in here but it doesn't look like it's going to interfere with the waterfront,” Tom Schramm, a Eugene resident, said.
KEZI 9 News reached out to Deacon Construction in Portland to confirm that construction on the hotel has begun, but did not hear back by news time.