EWEB wants City of Eugene to take lead on waterfront redevelopment

EUGENE, Ore. - The Eugene Water and Electric Board commissioners want out of the real estate business.

EWEB's leadership wants the City of Eugene to step in and manage the sale and redevelopment of the utility's former operations center along the Willamette River.

The long-running vision: to transform several acres of waterfront asphalt and old buildings into a lively urban neighborhood with shops and apartments.

EWEB conducted a competitive process to select a lead developer in 2014.

But the winner of that process - the University of Oregon Foundation - abruptly pulled out last month.

EWEB officials belive turning the project over to the City will speed up the timeline for redevelopment.

"The fact that the City needs to take a lead role in this simply because of all the infrastructure that's needed," said Joe Harwood with EWEB.

The City's staff is open to the idea.

"Although this is a little hiccup, I don't think this is a big major stumbling block for us," said Denny Braud, the City's Community Development Manager.

A property appraisal pegs the value of the 22-acre waterfront site as between $7 million and $9.1 million.

The portland firm of Williams/Dame & Associates has said it's still interested in buying the property. The firm was the EWEB board's second choice to redevelop the property.

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