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Eugene proposes expanding Farmer’s Market in exchange for downtown parking lot

Eugene Farmer's Market expansion will cost much needed downtown parking.
Eugene Farmer's Market expansion will cost much needed downtown parking.
Photo by Scott Olson

As the City of Eugene and Lane County discuss a possible “land swap” downtown that would benefit local Organic Farmers, those in the know ponder the loss of a downtown parking lot.

On Monday’s city council docket will be a proposal to swap 50% of the old city hall building site for the “Butterfly” parking lot in close proximity to downtown Eugene’s popular Thursday and Saturday Farmers Market.

On the block since 1915, and across the street from the longest running Saturday market in the United States, local Organic produce and meat merchants claim that more space is needed to accommodate the growth of the venue; Could be.

Long time Eugene resident and local organic food fan Jeffrey Jones tells us, “I've attended many Saturday morning downtown Lane County Farmer's Market events and find the present site and merchant density to be very service friendly and varietal rich.” He likes the Thursday and Saturday market the size that it is today.” Take it to the County Fair Grounds if you want to expand the venue,” says Jeff, I agree.

As reported Friday,Assistant City Manager Sarah Medary shared the developing time –line of negotiations between city and county officials with “The Register Guard.” According to Sarah “The present planning for a new city hall prompted county and city officials to begin collaborating and led to the land exchange proposal.”

Could be! However, eliminating or reducing downtown parking capacity to the benefit of the few is counter to the general well-being of the public. Try parking downtown during a major event or a Saturday Market.

City Manager John Ruiz for reasons known only to him has gone to bat for expansion of the Farmer’s market. It’s time for downtown business and residents effected by a measurable lack of downtown parking to speak up.

For those citizens wishing to support or protest the latest downtown special interest proposal, you can follow the council’s agenda schedule here. On Monday the City Council will vote on moving the initiative forward. Examiner will report on this event as it unfolds.

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