Lane Events Center Update

Major League Baseball (MLB) is requiring minor league teams to begin operating from facilities that meet a new, higher level of standards. Due to the MLB requirements, the Eugene Emeralds (Ems) are in need of a new home. 

Lane County was approached by the Ems nearly two years ago as a possible partner in creating a new home for the team. We have been working with the Ems and other community partners to evaluate whether building a multi-use stadium at the Lane Events Center is feasible. 

Lane County recognizes how important the Ems are to our community. As a partner in this effort, Lane County must balance the value of the Ems and their contributions to the community with our commitment to being good stewards of the resources provided to us by taxpayers. Any solution must bring together adequate partnership from public and private sources to fund a new multi-use facility. 


Current status.

The project is on hold pending additional funding from private or public partners. The total estimated cost is $100,469,000 and the funding secured so far totals $57,461,000, not including the estimated $9,500,000 in land value Lane County is prepared to provide. The current unfunded cost is $43,008,000. 

chart of the estimated project costs and funding in the narrative above

 

Upcoming Board of County Commissioners discussion.


None currently scheduled.

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.

 

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?

The total estimated cost is $100,469,000 and the funding secured so far totals $57,461,000, not including the estimated $9,500,000 in land value Lane County is prepared to provide. The current unfunded cost is $43,008,000. 

chart of the estimated project costs and funding in the narrative above

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.

Will it increase our property taxes?

There has been no discussion of using a funding source that would increase property taxes in Lane County.

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 in the northwest portion of the property.

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

It would likely affect the current livestock arena. 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 2025.