© 2023 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Oregon's Willamette Valley seen from Eugene
NPR for Oregonians
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Eugene City Council agrees to sell steam plant for a dollar

Amy Brenneman

The Eugene City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to sell a historic industrial building to local developers for one dollar.

Built in 1931, the steam plant once supplied power for local buildings. It was shut down in 2012 and has sat along the Willamette River near downtown. Developers Mark Miksis and Mark Frohnmayer have proposed turning it into a public gathering place with a boutique hotel, offices and cafes. At a work session Wednesday, City Community Development co-director, Will Dowdy called the distinctive building an industrial cathedral.

Mayor Lucy Vinis agreed.

“You know, we have private developers, local, local, private developers who care about this community, putting over $49 million into this and working to fill the gap,” Vinis said. “That’s extraordinary.”

City Councilor Jennifer Yeh pointed out that the city has used urban renewal funds in the past to tear down historic buildings and then regretted it.

Inside the former Eugene steam plant.
Rachael McDonald
Inside the former Eugene steam plant.

“This is an opportunity to correct what we’ve done in the past,” she said.

$1.5 million of the city’s Urban Renewal Funds are earmarked for the $56 million project. There’s still a $5 million spending gap but the city plans to ask the state legislature for help.

The low sale price of a dollar is due to the extensive work needed to make it safe for human habitation.

Construction on the steam plant could begin by September 2023.

Copyright 2022 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.