Civic committee recommends Fred Meyer: 'It's not a done deal'

EUGENE, Ore. -- The committee concluded that building a Fred Meyer store on the site is the best financial option. After the information was released Friday, 4-J board members said this is really just the first step in their decision-making process.

"We had only four applicants, so the pool was rather small," said district board chair Mary Walston. "But it's not a done deal, it's just a third party look at it. We will take into account all those community opinions when we make our final decision and then compare that against our budget issues in the district.

Walston said the outside group, consisting of school district employees and a real estate consultant, gave the four applicants points out of 100 based largely on how much money each would bring to the district.

The committee scored Fred Meyer as the leader with nearly 85 points. The City of Eugene proposal scored nearly 66 points for second, the YMCA received 59 points, and 30 for Friends of Civic Stadium's bid.

"Part of it was community benefit, part of it was benefit to the district, and part of it was question of the grandstands for 100-points. It was just a way to filter it down and focus the pieces a little bit more for the board as we do our final review," said Walston.

YMCA associate director Julie Grossman said she wasn't blind-sided by the rankings.

"It looks like they're looking at those sheer numbers right now. I think later on down the road, they'll look more closely at the numbers as far as long term benefit," said Grossman.

The seven-member board is not bound by the committee's rankings. Their next meeting will be held on January 8, with a final decision expected Febuary 19.

"To use a baseball analogy we're not in the bottom of the ninth, we're more in the seventh-inning stretch," said Walston.