Less than 10 years ago, a giant hole occupied the half block across 10th Street from the Eugene Public Library. It was one of two empty pits in the heart of the business district. Less than 10 years ago, the view from the second floor of 45 West Broadway showed the boarded up windows of the Center Court Building, former home of JC Penny. Behind the windows was a sodden mess. And the inside of 45 West Broadway, though still in use, was not much better. Since then, downtown has undergone a renaissance. Now the Library’s neighbor to the north is a thriving satellite campus of Lane Community College, with classrooms and residences clustered around a central patio. The beautifully renovated Center Court, now called The Broadway Commerce Center, is home to growing businesses. 45 West Broadway is full of apartments, restaurants, and movie theaters. How did we do that? And why?
Denny Braud will tell the story. He has worked in Eugene’s Planning & Development Department for 30 years and now serves as its Executive Director. He will explain why it is important to the whole community that we invest in downtown and why we should care what happens there. He will describe the goals of the 2004 Downtown Plan and list what we have accomplished so far.
Braud started his career on the City’s Business Assistance Team, supporting small business development. He has worked in and managed the Business Development Fund small business loan program, the Downtown Revitalization Loan Program, the Downtown and Riverfront Urban Renewal Districts, the West Eugene Enterprise Zone industrial tax exemption program, the Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption program, and the Brownfield Coalition program. He has assisted hundreds of local businesses with their start-up and expansion needs. Braud has played a key role in several complex projects, including the new Federal Courthouse and the Lane Community College Downtown Campus, the Broadway Commerce Center, The Woolworth Building, First on Broadway, Northwest Community Credit Union headquarters, and 5th Street Market expansion. He is currently leading efforts to redevelop the City’s Riverfront property, recently acquired from EWEB. Braud assumed the position of City of Eugene Planning and Development Director in 2016. He oversees City services, including Planning, Building & Permit Services, Economic Prosperity, Affordable Housing, Downtown, Urban Renewal, Parking, and Solid Waste & Recycling.