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Eugene-Springfield Goes For Innovation Designation

Karen Richards

It turns out, the Eugene-Springfield area has a lot in common with Pittsburgh, San Diego, and even Barcelona. Those cities have sustainable, innovation-centered economies, and Eugene hopes to join them.

A few years ago, the Brookings Institution wrote a list of criteria cities need in order to become thriving 'innovation districts'—places that foster knowledge-based jobs. Brittany Quick-Warner is President of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce. She says a University of Oregon graduate program found Eugene already has many of the components, including a new science research center.


Quick-Warner: “The Knight campus coming online in the next several years. We have a massive opportunity to make sure our community is ready to catch the companies that will eventually be spinning out.” 


She says what the area is missing includes off-campus laboratories for bio-science work as well as vibrant public spaces, to encourage after-hours collaboration. Quick-Warner thinks the EWEB Riverfront development could have a positive impact. She says meetings are ongoing to work on the Brookings criteria. Public conversations will happen once they've established a plan.  

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.
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