Research Park Challenged

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), November 11, 2010 | Go to article overview

Research Park Challenged


Byline: Greg Bolt The Register-Guard

A group trying to slow plans for a new building along the Willamette riverfront says its construction would violate a 25-year-old agreement between the city and the University of Oregon, and are calling on UO President Richard Lariviere to put the brakes on the project.

That effort took a step forward Wednesday when the UO Senate unanimously approved a resolution calling on Lariviere to abide by the terms of the intergovernmental agreement, which was uncovered by a group of students and others fighting the project. The vote was at least the fourth time the Senate has voiced opposition to new development in the Riverfront Research Park.

The intergovernmental agreement, among other things, requires the city and university to form a joint commission to make recommendations about development in the research park. The group is supposed to gather information, hold hearings and take public comment before development happens.

Other parts of the agreement require the city and university to agree jointly on the companies chosen to undertake development. It also states that development should not move to new areas of the park until existing development areas are built out.

The UO has been moving ahead with plans to allow a Portland developer, Trammell Crow, to break ground on a new building that will house the Oregon Research Institute and the Educational Policy Improvement Center. A building permit for the project, to be built just east of the former Eugene Water & Electric Board maintenance yard, has been issued.

But the UO chose the developer without consulting the city, and moved ahead with development without involving the now-defunct research park commission. It also chose a site that is at the opposite end of the research park from existing buildings, before the area in between was developed. All those steps appear to violate the intergovernmental agreement.

But it's unclear whether the old agreement remains in effect. A spokeswoman for City Manager Jon Ruiz said records indicate that the Riverfront Research Park Commission may have voted itself out of existence in the late 1990s.

Jan Bohman, the city's community relations manager, said it appears that the commission recommended that it be disbanded in 1999. …

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