Informing the City County Conversations

Downtown Scenarios 0-5 for Public Consideration: the pro and cons

Foxes and Hedgehogs

Foxes, they say, know many things, while hedgehogs only know one thing. And the one thing they know is that you can never do just one thing. So it has gone with the City Hall project.

First it was just about whether City Hall project was the right size, in the right place, to be built incrementally, un-bonded, the old building removed and the remaining site filled in and turned into a parking lot, waiting for future development. Then the city proposed a city-county land trade that would remove the “Butterfly” parking lot and clear the way for a Farmer’s Market building on the reclaimed Park Block. But that requires a decision about the future of the Lane County Courthouse, where to put it, whether to rebuild it, replace it or expand it, and what to do about its replacement parking.  These decisions in turn affect the development of 8th Avenue, the future of our pioneer courthouse square, and other moves that collectively add up to the future of our downtown center.

And then along came architects Otto Poticha, Eric Hall and Bill Seider with a what if. What if it made more sense to not tear down the existing building, throwing away good value and potential, and instead repurposed it? Might a new City Hall be better located across 8th Avenue or on the reclaimed North Park Block?

The plot thickened, as they say, and the problem of whether to have three or four lanes on South Willamette St., while certainly not unimportant, has paled in comparison.

And so, as a public service, the three who’ve drawn our attention to these interconnected issues have produced six scenarios, 0-5, for public consideration and discussion. Scenario 0 is the present City Hall proposal and land trade. Scenarios 1-5 explore the pros and cons of other City Hall, County Courthouse and Farmers Market possibilities and sequencing.

They can be found on my website at:

The purpose is to inform, expand and deepen the city-county conversation as we prepare to make some far-reaching decisions about our park blocks and Eugene’s governmental center. Why? Because design matters.

See my preferred alternative at