Riverfront Park Plaza

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With the recent opening of the Downtown Riverfront Park, we are turning our attention to the adjacent future plaza space.

Plaza design will be completed in 2023, with one year of construction anticipated to begin in Spring of 2024. When the riverfront property is fully developed, the one-acre park plaza will be nestled between multi-family housing buildings and a restaurant.

With the recent opening of the Downtown Riverfront Park, we are turning our attention to the adjacent future plaza space.

Plaza design will be completed in 2023, with one year of construction anticipated to begin in Spring of 2024. When the riverfront property is fully developed, the one-acre park plaza will be nestled between multi-family housing buildings and a restaurant.

Tell Your Millrace Story!

An interpretive art piece based on Millrace history is being created for the future Downtown Riverfront Plaza. It will tell stories about time spent in, on, or along the Millrace and other waterways in Eugene.

The Millrace was a stream originally dug as a water engine to power early industry such as saw and flour mills. It later became a popular recreation spot for canoeing and ice skating. The Millrace currently outfalls back into the Willamette River through large pipes running beneath the new Riverfront Park.

The interpretive art piece will feature embedded and engraved or bronze text. Reflecting a variety of different voices and languages, the words will be typeset expressively into patterns or ripples in or around the plaza water feature. This text will weave together quotations from newspaper clippings, songs, poetry and, ideally, your words too.

Do you have memories or experiences from the Millrace or other waterways in Eugene that you’d like to share? Your words will be a valuable addition to our collective histories within the new piece!

Thank you for sharing your story with us.

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    Wildlife in the Millrace

    2 months ago

    Bringing my natural and cultural history of Oregon class to the millrace and seeing a pair of Peregrine falcons near where it goes.

    Watching a racoon on the millrace and nearly being late to a women's basketball game.

    I used the millrace for most classes I taught. One year in field biology we found sculpins and stickleback fish in it.

    - Bitty Roy, submitted by postcard

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    Highlight indigenous stories

    2 months ago

    Please do all you can to include Indigenous stories of the area. Work to bring Talking Stones to this park if the Kalapuya approve. In addition to benches, have tables and chairs so you can sit across from someone not just next to them. Should be moveable.

    - Submitted by postcard

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    Highlight Wildlife

    2 months ago

    I'd like to see artwork depicting the native salmon and eels worked into the water feature. Could also add something to acknowledge the native birds.

    - Submitted by postcard

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    Interaction with the water feature

    2 months ago

    I like the idea of multiple places to interact with the water feature. Just as the character of a river changes as it flows from the mountains, I'd like to see the character of the feature change from shallow pools you can walk through to a deeper feature with stones to sit on and finally the splash feature near the play area.

    -Submitted by postcard

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    Have other curious kids scared their parents when they discovered the Millrace?

    by Suzanne, 3 months ago

    I gave my mother a scare when at age four I took myself down to the Millrace--we were renting a house half a block away and I disappeared. She went looking, frantically,. When she found me sitting on the edge with my toes in the water, I was very impressed by her fright. Later on I went with my family to see the floats go down the Millrace, and that was lovely.

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    Grandpa and Lady-dog

    by LPotterf, 3 months ago
    In early 1970's (50 years ago) my grandpa used to bring me to the millrace to play ball with his dog, Lady. It is a memory I'll never forget. It was so much fun to hop in the truck, with Lady in the back & go play ball in the water. My grandpa (Charlie Potterf) was a life-long active member of the community and started a business in the 1930's (Eugene Radiator). Those were the days..... and fond memories of the Millrace.
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    Water is life

    by Canoeing, 3 months ago
    Eugene is lucky to have large rivers descending through town with crystal clear water. With such aquatic abundance the locals over the years have found ways to utilize and enjoy the rivers. Native Americans commuted along the water and lived in harmony with the riparian bounty. Take a look at the mural under I-5 along the Canoe Canal to get a feel for their verve.


    Along came settlers who diverted the river for the sake of industry. The Millrace was likely a large contributor to the boom town times of Eugene. Processing the resources with such efficiency made it possible... Continue reading

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    Diesel Spill and Goose Rescue Mission

    by Bill C., 3 months ago
    In the late 1970s I was a member of a student group affiliated with the UO Survival Center. We were there one day when we learned there had been a diesel spill into the Millrace, and volunteers were needed to rescue as many ducks and geese as possible. We quickly found ourselves in a flurry of activity in the backyard area behind the Greek houses along East 11th, where residents of those houses and other volunteers were bringing in oiled waterfowl to be washed and rinsed and taken out to Green Hill for additional care. We learned that Dawn works... Continue reading
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    Canoeing the Millrace for college credit.

    by Bill C., 3 months ago
    When I was a student at UO in the mid-1970s, there was still a PE (physical education) requirement, and one of the course offerings I enjoyed most was canoeing on the Millrace. I can still remember having to crouch way down in order to get through the long, dark culvert under Franklin Boulevard, which carried us into the portion of the Millrace that ran behind the Greek houses along East 11th Ave. The upstream portion was much wilder and somewhat overgrown. If you ever fell out of your canoe, you discovered that the bottom of the Millrace was at least... Continue reading
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    Field trip to the Millrace

    by Sadiemay, 3 months ago

    I attended McCornack Elementary during the 70's and I remember taking a field trip to the Millrace. There were canoes for us to get in and paddle around in and I will always remember going under the bridge thru archway like tunnels. It was my favorite field trip out of all of the field trips I went on over the years.

    Michelle Philibert-Jeffers

Page last updated: 27 Sep 2022, 04:26 PM