The City of Eugene purchased options on a number of buildings downtown. Normally these would be used to negotiate a large development package ... but this approach is both unlikely to succeed (having failed in 10 years to build a single private building downtown) and undesirable (since the result is unlikely to reflect the city's character).
Among the buildings now available for purchase by the city, are the properties that have most usually been considered "locked up", because the owners, the Conner & Woolley families, do not find it feasible to invest in improving the facilities, in coalition with existing or potential local tenants.
This drives me to conclude that the Conner/Woolley portion of the options should thus be bought by the City.
Under city ownership, I propose the buildings be managed by the tenants of the buildings, in a community tenant Downtown Collective. The property would be installed in a City-owned private trust, to allow the Downtown Collective the greatest flexibility, for example to use volunteer or student labor to make improvements and develop activity. The Downtown Collective would also have an advisory non-tenant membership body, and the tenant mangement body would act in mutual benefit with these other downtown groups. The Downtown Collective would officially fall under the final control of Eugene's City Council. It would have city financial tools available to it, under City discretion, to manage and incubate the space, in the most efficient way possible, as measured by regular monthly analysis.
The Downtown Collective would broaden to include any new tenants in the trust. They thus become self-perpetuating, as tenants work hard to make their individual projects succeed through a continuous fabric of activity that attracts and satisfies the public.
Given the above criteria, the following organizations would become the Downtown Collective: Saturday Market, Lane County Farmer's market, DIVA, The Tango Center, The Jazz Station, The New Zone Gallery, Downtown Events Management, Inc., Quan's Restaurant, ShawMed and Pivot Architecture. Participation is of course optional. Note that protecting, and enhancing, the current tenant's activity is a paramount for the coalition.
Note that among the tenant members, the non-profits and co-ops in this list are already coalitions of many other local Eugene groups. These are automatically invited to be part of the tenant group.
The purchase of these buildings, and the formation of a political body to manage them, will itself bring immediate and intense interest to downto Eugene.
For more information, join the Downtown Collective page at DowntownEugene.org.