By Amanda Bedortha

New murals. Gourmet restaurants. Shopping opportunities abound. Crime is down in the downtown sector: What’s not to love about the change and growth Springfield has experienced in recent years?

And more is on the way! Here is a glimpse at some of the projects on the books for 2016-2017, and beyond.


Expanding outdoor pursuits

In 1852, city founder Elias Briggs hand dug sloughs to create a 3.5-mile long millrace. 164-years later, the folks at Willamalane Park and Recreation District are looking to expand his efforts.

Mill Race Path

The three-mile, multi-use trail is set for completion in early November and will provide access from downtown Springfield to the Middle Fork Path, and will feature a new trailhead located at the Booth-Kelly site on South 5th Street. “The Mill Race Path helps fulfill Springfield’s vision of expanding our network of paths,” says Vincent Martorello, Willamalane Planning and Development Manager. “This path will connect downtown with the Middle Fork Path to create a scenic and safe eight-mile loop that should attract walkers, runners, and bicyclists of all ages from all over the region.”

Les Schwab Sports Park at Willamalane Center

In the fall of 2014, Willamalane celebrated the completion of its $3.6 million renovation of the sports fields, adjacent to Willamalane Center on South 32nd Street. The next phase of the project is now underway and will include an entry plaza, flag court, expanded parking, and a perimeter walking path. The entry plaza is being designed to promote a “festive atmosphere” and accommodate food trucks and vendors, while the flag court will serve as a central location for gatherings and award ceremonies.

Art on the horizon

According to Jeff Thompson, Director, Community Relations & Public Affairs for the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the Springfield Chamber gets around 3,000 visitors each year. “We are a town of Murals,” says Thompson. “I can’t tell you how many times a week someone comes in [to the Visitor Center], a European visitor—can barely speak English—but can say Simpsons. It’s amazing.”

Springfield Flame

Imagine approaching the Gateway area of Springfield from Beltline. Up ahead you see a towering 65-foot, steel sculpture of a burning flame. “It is going to be incredible,” says Niel Laudati,
Community Relations Manager
City of Springfield, of the project that has been 10 years in the making. The sculpture is expected to be completed by the end of the year. “It is going to encourage people on the freeway to stop and explore our community,” says Laudati. Thompson adds: “It’s a way to remind people that you are entering Springfield.” Designed by world-renowned artist Devin Lawrence Field, it is going to be “art that looks forward to the future of Springfield,” says Laudati.

 Celebrating women in the military

According to Laudati, there are very few memorials celebrating women who have served in the military. Set for summer 2017 is a sculpture—which will be added to the new Springfield Veteran’s Plaza in mid-Springfield, where women veterans can reflect on their service. This is one of only a handful of sculptures in the U.S. dedicated to women who have served.

Technology of the future

“There are some very educated business leaders here in Springfield,” says Thompson, citing conversations with Springfield business owners holding degrees from Harvard, Yale, and the like—many of which are doing business all around the globe.

Glenwood Parking Structure

While considered old technology, Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is relatively new to the U.S. There are two certified mills in the U.S. producing CLT and one is in Riddle, Oregon. As part of the Glenwood Riverfront Redevelopment Plan, the city is looking to build a four-story parking structure out of CLT with lumber sourced from DR Johnson Lumber. The structure is designed by SRG Partnership. “What’s really cool about CLT is that instead of framing like you would for a house for today you build an entire wall and put it together like a Lego set,” says Thompson. “That cuts building time more than in half!” In addition, because it is an actual timber product, it sequesters carbon. “Where as, if you build a concrete parking structure, it exudes carbon,” says Thompson. CLT is an example of the role of advanced manufacturing in the building techniques of the future.

There’s a lot to look forward to in Springfield’s future. “I think there is a lot of excitement about Springfield and people are wanting to be a part of it and make a difference,” says Thompson. “I think Springfield is proud to of its identity and proud to be part of Lane County.”