Lane Events Center Update

Your Lane Events Center is changing.

Under consideration by the Lane County Board of Commissioners is the development of a publicly-owned multi-use facility at Lane Events Center. With the Eugene Emeralds as an anchor tenant, a new facility would be available to host other sports competitions and events and serve as a place that supports emergency response and recovery for our community. Since December 2021, Lane County staff has research underway including potential facility size, cost, financing options, operating models, and analysis of traffic, lighting, sound impacts, etc. The Board of Commissioners is expected to make a decision about whether to build a multi-use facility this winter.

The Board of County Commissioners voted on September 27 to increase the amount of tourism-related taxes (called Transient Lodging Tax and Car Rental Tax) by 2 percent. The increased funding can be used to help fund tourism-related facilities, including a possible multi-use facility. Although the Board approved this increase, it does not mean the multi-use facility has been approved; that decision has yet to be made.

Upcoming Board of County Commissioners discussion


Tuesday, November 8

Commissioners have an opportunity to consider awarding contracts for design, land use planning and other consultant services. This does not mean the Board has voted to build a multi-use facility. In order to understand the true cost and design needs, Lane County must begin the preliminary design phase. Work will not proceed past the preliminary point unless the Board of County Commissioners votes in public to green-light the project. You can read the board packet online. 

The Board of County Commissioners meeting can be watched live online at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/webcasts. It is also broadcast on Comcast Channel 21 in the Eugene-Springfield area. People can attend in-person at Harris Hall (125 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene). 

Opportunity for public comment is provided at the start of each weekly Board of County Commissioners meeting. For instructions regarding participating (virtually or in-person) visit this webpage. 

 

Bookmark this webpage for updates on the decision-making process, background material, new information as we learn, and opportunities for your input.

 

To contact project staff, please email [email protected] or call 541-682-1220.

 

timeline

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 received $7.5 million from Oregon Legislature 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

Where would a new building be constructed on the property?

Concept drawings created by the Ems show that it is possible to place a multi-use facility north of the livestock arena.

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

Unlikely. 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.