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<br /> e to that in downtown Portland; (5) the downtown office vacancy rate has <br /> steadily declined since 1986 from about 20 percent to 12 percent (nationally, <br /> the office vacancy rate is about 19 percent). <br /> In response to a question, staff indicated that the assessed value of the <br /> entire city has increased over the past few years, unlike the assessed value <br /> of the Urban Renewal District. <br /> Mr. Schwartz briefly reviewed the history of the various downtown advisory, <br /> policy, and service-providing bodies. <br /> B. Discussion <br /> Mr. Schwartz said one of the commission's goals is to improve communication <br /> and cooperation between the two bodies. He said the commission and council <br /> need to work toward achieving some kind of agreement. He did not want the <br /> commission to develop a recommendation that the council would eventually <br /> dismiss. <br /> Mayor Obie said a lot of energy has been spent on the core of downtown <br /> (Willamette and Broadway), but there are other important parts of downtown <br /> that should not be ignored. <br /> Mr. Schwartz said the commission may have a general vision for the greater <br /> downtown area, but practical considerations have confined its focus to the <br /> taxation districts in the cHy.s core. Ms. Bennett added that the publicly <br /> e owned developm.entsites are in the downtown core. <br /> Councilors indicated that they have been discussing the possibility of <br /> expanding the Urban Renewal Oistrict to the northeast, or perhaps forming a <br /> new district for the northeast portion of downtown (the district expansion <br /> recommendation from the commission was to expand to the northwest). Ms. <br /> Aspinwall-Lamberts said the commission has not had an opportunity to discuss <br /> in detail the options being considered by the council. <br /> Ms. Ehrman said many of the Downtown Plan goals have been met. She wondered <br /> if the remaining goals are still the priorities that the City has for <br /> downtown. She added that a lot of time was spent discussing the proposed <br /> Willamette Street opening, which was not one of the plan's priorities. She <br /> said one of her goals for downtown is an improved economy. <br /> Mr. Bennett expressed concern that the City does not have a clear sense of <br /> direction regarding downtown. He was concerned that downtown progress may be <br /> losing momentum. For example, downtown's retail anchor base is weakening, <br /> thus jeopardizing the economic health of an area where the City recently made <br /> a large capital investment (West Broadway). Mr. Bennett said the physical <br /> configuration of the core does not work effectively; the current mall is not <br /> conducive to economic vitality. He said multi-tenant office space, mixed-use <br /> developments, restaurants, and housing all need vehicular access in order to <br /> succeed. He said the fundamentals of downtown development--access, <br /> circulation, visibility, and security--are not being adequately addressed. <br /> e MINUTES--Eugene City Council November 28, 1988 Page 2 <br />