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City councilors reject bid for new city hall

Eugene City Councilors rejected a bid Monday night for the new city hall. City officials say bids came back much higher than expected because of a saturated construction market, the uniqueness of the design and the cost of inflation.(SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – The future of Eugene’s city hall project is unclear after councilors rejected a bid for construction at their meeting Monday night.

Monday, the council voted 7 to 1 rejecting a bid of $18.2 million. City officials say bids came back much higher than expected because of a saturated construction market, the uniqueness of the design and the cost of inflation.

Alan Zelenka was the only councilor in favor of accepting the bid.

“Moving to butterfly lot doesn't get us any savings. It only adds to the cost of this building and adds time to it and a great deal of uncertainty about what's going to happen in the short term,” he said.

If the city council chooses to move forward with the plans to build the new city hall at the site of the former location, they’ll need to reopen the bidding process. But there is another option on the table.

“Staff has gone away to come back with some proposals that they'll bring to us on Monday,” said Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy.

The proposals will cover a variety of topics.

One is a potential land swap with Lane County, which could move the new city hall to the butterfly lot down the street.

Councilor Clair Syrett says she doesn’t think the land swap would save the city money. However, she and several city councilors expressed interest in forming a task force to look at land swap possibilities.

“One of the things I would want to learn from the work of a task force is what are the other tangible benefits to the residents of Eugene if we changed our current course? And it needs to be more than it looks good having the city and county working together,” Syrett said.

Monday, July 25, the city council will also be presented with options for moving forward with a re-bid and revisiting the building design and attempt to lower the cost.

The city council will have to choose by November whether they’ll reopen the bidding process.

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