Lane Events Center Multi-Use Facility Information

The Lane Events Center is in the process of creating a master plan for the property’s future. During that process the Eugene Emeralds approached Lane County to discuss the possibility of creating a new facility to host the team. (New national standards and more scheduled games mean the Ems will no longer be able to share PK Park with the Ducks.)

 

The Board of County Commissioners has directed County staff to research the possibility of a new multi-use facility that could serve as a gathering place for the community and enhance our region’s access to quality events, including sports, concerts, fundraisers and more.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Basics

Why is Lane County considering this proposal?

Helping to create a vibrant community is a priority of Lane County Government. A truly multi-use facility could – if done right – become the center of community life in Lane County. Yes, it could help ensure the Ems remain a local team. It could also be a venue that attracts concerts, other sporting events and shows. It could be a place for youth sports, schools and local tournaments. It could expand the number and type of events that the Lane Events Center is able to welcome. It could also serve as a place for community members to gather during an emergency. With so much possible benefit, it makes sense to carefully vet the idea and gather more information about what it could be, how it could be done and what it would cost.

Why is this a priority when homelessness is such a critical issue right now?

Addressing homelessness is and will remain one of the top priorities for Lane County Government and its community partners. At the same time, we must continue finding ways to make progress on other initiatives that have community benefit. Each year, Lane County dedicates millions of dollars to addressing homelessness and funding services to support the unhoused. We also continue to partner with Homes for Good to support the construction of permanent supportive housing – more than 100 units have been created in the last two years and more are on the way. Finally, many of Lane County’s funds are restricted to particular uses and cannot be re-directed toward other efforts, regardless of how important those efforts may be.

Financials

How much would a multi-use facility cost?

We are currently gathering information for a detailed cost estimate. The cost estimate will help us understand whether a multi-use facility is possible and, if so, what it can include. We expect to bring an update regarding cost back to the Board of County Commissioners this spring.

Would the County need to reduce other services to pay for this?

No. Lane County provides a wide array of services and, often, those come from funding sources that are restricted to those services. There has been no discussion of reducing or eliminating current services to help pay for this project.

Who is going to pay for it? Will it increase our property taxes?


Part of the fact-finding happening now is consideration of possible funding sources, including grants, financing and legislative requests.

Lane County is currently asking the Oregon Legislature to provide $15 million in funding during the 2022 short session.

There has been no discussion of using a funding source that would increase property taxes in Lane County. A lot more research is needed as we continue to evaluate whether a multi-use facility is possible.

How are the Fairgrounds funded?

The Lane Events Center, or Fairgrounds, is an “Enterprise Fund” which means that it must bring in enough funding to sustain itself. It does not receive property tax funding. The majority of the Lane Events Center funding comes from the rental fees that organizations pay to hold events on the property. The Lane County Fair also provides some revenue – although much of that goes back into the Fair itself. The Lane Events Center also receives Transient Room Tax (TRT) funding; TRT funds are the taxes that people pay when they rent hotel rooms in Lane County. 

Other Lane Events Center Buildings & Events

How does this relate to the Lane Events Center Master Plan?

The Lane Events Center is currently creating a master plan to help decide where and how to invest in the future of the property. The master plan process began before discussion of a multi-use facility and will include a much broader plan for the entire property. Many of the buildings are in need of maintenance and as the type of events held at Lane Events Center evolve the property must be ready to evolve with them.

Where would a new building be constructed on the property?

Early concept drawings created by the Ems show that it would be possible to place a multi-use facility north of the livestock arena; however, more planning needs to be done before a preferred spot could be chosen.

Would it affect other buildings or events at Lane Events Center?

Planning is in the very early stages. If commissioners decide to construct a multi-use facility at the Lane Events Center it would need to be placed in a way that enhances the overall property. We are very aware of how important many of these facilities are to the community (expo halls, arena, ice rink, etc.) and those needs will be taken into consideration.

Next Steps

Who ultimately decides whether this will happen?

The Board of County Commissioners will make the decision about whether to build a multi-purpose facility. Right now, commissioners have only asked that staff gather information and learn more about what a new facility could include and gather cost estimates for consideration.

If it moves forward, who would own it?

If commissioners decide to construct a new multi-use facility at the Fairgrounds, the building would be owned by Lane County Government and be considered a publicly owned facility.

Will increased traffic be an issue for neighbors?

A project of this size would require a traffic study as part of the permitting process. If commissioners decide to build a multi-use facility, Lane County would work with the City of Eugene to complete a traffic study and any required mitigation that comes out of that permit process.

If it moves forward, when would construction happen?

We are still very much in the fact-finding phase. At the earliest, construction could begin in 2023.

How can I get involved?

The Lane Events Center is planning to host opportunities for neighbors and community members to provide feedback; please see the next section for those dates. You are also encouraged to provide feedback to commissioners in the form of public comment. There is an open public comment section at the beginning of each Board of County Commissioners meeting. Information about signing up to comment can be found at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/BCC. You can also sign up to receive advance copies of Board of County Commissioners meeting agendas via email so you can see if commissioners are scheduled to discuss the project further; please see the “Sign Up For Notifications” tab at the bottom of each webpage at www.LaneCountyOR.gov.

Board of Commissioners Discussions:

December 14, 2021