VIDEO: Creating a New Riverfront Neighborhood in Eugene

by | December 13, 2019 0 Ideas, Urban Design + Planning

My own involvement in Eugene’s waterfront redevelopment began down in the weeds over the summer in 2018. I first viewed the roughly dozen-acre plot that summer while biking around the city. When I stumbled upon the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) site by happenstance, I found just that – a rumple of cracked asphalt adorned only by ribbons of weeds growing in neglected cracks. Soon I would find myself more figuratively ‘down in the weeds’ – this time drafting design and development standards updates for the project. 

Leading guests on a tour of the EWEB site at October’s OAPA Conference

For the last two years, SERA’s been revising and modernizing the EWEB Property Master Plan. Only as I was recruited to emcee an event for this year’s American Planning Association – Oregon Chapter (OAPA) conference in Eugene did I emerge from the weeds to appreciate the breadth of our work, and the subtlety of our design. 

When long-time client Williams & Dame Development enlisted SERA for this work, we knew it was with the goal of jumpstarting a development process that had stymied previous attempts. We had new market conditions to respond to, a reconsidered understanding of the site’s storied history, and the surroundings of growing neighborhoods on nearly all sides.

An early conceptual sketch that represents a rethinking of the site

As part of our OAPA event in October, we developed a video that briefly illustrated the story of the site’s past and proposed future. At the time of the workshop, the site was scraped, buildings removed, and only the faintest hints of a street network were traced in the dirt. For attendees of the event, the video needed to bridge the gap from present to future, which we accomplished through our many of visualization efforts to date – from sketches and renderings to drone footage, virtual reality, and phone-based augmented reality capture. We’ve since refined the video, which you’ll find below.

There’s a lot in store for Eugene’s Downtown Riverfront Neighborhood. We can’t wait to share stories from the ground (and sky) as we help transform the site and reconnect the city of Eugene to its river.

In the meantime, enjoy the video!

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