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New Eugene riverfront park opens Friday with big plans

Rachael McDonald
The Subsupra Art Pavilion is a centerpiece of the new Downtown Riverfront Park in Eugene.

The first piece of Eugene’s Downtown Riverfront Development project will open to the public Friday (6/10).

“Welcome to the downtown riverfront park,” Emily Proudfoot said, taking KLCC on a tour of the new park. She’s the City of Eugene’s Principal Landscape Architect.

Emily-on bench.jpg
Rachael McDonald
Emily Proudfoot is the City of Eugene's principal landscape architect. She's been working on the Downtown Riverfront park project since 2017.

The new park encompasses three acres along the river and on the former EWEB utility operations yard. It includes public art, native plants, and decks to view the river. Proudfoot said it feels very civic.

“People told us they wanted an urban riverfront park,” she said. “But, I think, this is very Eugene, developed in balance with conservation and habitat enhancements at the river. And, I think we’ve done that really well.”

This park will host a free fan festival during the World Track & Field Championships next month.

“There will be a big watch screen for folks,” Proudfoot said. “And then, they’ll be lots of booths and foods and sponsorships and entertainment. Main stage will actually be under this art pavilion here. And, yeah, look for a couple of weeks of free activities for your whole family and visitors. It should be pretty exciting.”

The community is invited to the grand opening of the Downtown Riverfront park on Friday with celebrations all weekend.

The weekend celebration will begin at 10 a.m Friday, with speeches by Mayor Lucy Vinis and City Manager Sarah Medary as well as a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Harmonic Laboratory and City of Eugene will be presenting special Artistic Encounters programming throughout the weekend. All performances are free to the public and will run from 12 – 1 p.m. on Friday, 12 – 2 p.m. on Saturday and 12 – 1 p.m. on Sunday under the new art pavilion, SubSupra.

Food will be available for purchase from local favorites including: Most Wanted Espresso, O’my Mini Donuts, Sweetbay Shave Ice and Sling-in Weiner.

Funding for the Downtown Riverfront Park development comes from the 2018 Parks and Recreation Bond, Urban Renewal Agency funds and Public Works capital funds. Ongoing maintenance of the park is being funded by the 2018 Parks and Recreation Levy.

Copyright 2022 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. 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. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.