eugene ymca press release

COVID-19 stalled sale of lottery-backed bonds from 2019 Legislative session; 2021 Legislature includes the Y in $445 million package

Eugene, Ore., June 28, 2021 - State legislators again awarded $15 million in state lottery-backed bonds to the Eugene Family YMCA to build an ADA-accessible, flexible facility to expand youth development, disease-prevention and wellness programming for generations to come.

“We are beyond grateful that our legislators reaffirmed their confidence in this project and their commitment to our community,” said Eugene Family YMCA CEO Brian Steffen. “COVID-19 had unforeseen consequences and the pause of this funding was one of them. Thankfully, the community and donors continued to believe in the bold and impactful vision for the new Y. They did not allow the global pandemic to disrupt the future of the Y’s work in Lane County, which is critical to growing the Y’s education services for children, expanding our healthy living classes, and deepening our connections and collaborations for teenagers, aging adults, and families.”

model of the new y

In 2019, state legislators authorized $15 million in funding for the Eugene Family YMCA as part of $273.2 million in lottery revenue bonds for 37 projects around the state.

“The state’s $15 million gave this project a shot of adrenaline in 2019,” said YMCA Board President Joe Carmichael. “The state’s commitment and support inspired countless new donors, including significant contributions from the Chambers Family Foundation, the John E. and Robin Jaqua Fund, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Betty Soreng and so many others.”

COVID-19 and the related economic decline stalled the sale of the bonds in 2020. The 2021 Legislature re-examined each of the projects for inclusion in Senate Bill 5534.

“The Eugene Y demonstrated its incredible community impact pre-pandemic,” said Rep. Paul Holvey, D-Eugene. “The COVID crisis simply underscored the need for the Y’s work in addressing critical needs. Its rapid response for child care, virtual health and wellness, and connection for isolated individuals means that more people will emerge from COVID-19 ready to face future challenges. I am grateful to see the Y step forward in response to the immediate challenges and to be able to significantly enhance its impact in vital ways through the new YMCA.”

The $15 million in funding, designated in Senate Bill 5534, passed the Legislature on June 26, 2021, as part of a $445.2 million package for 55 projects. It is expected to be signed by Gov. Kate Brown by early August.

“The economic downturn due to the pandemic had a widespread impact, including delays in developing the much-needed new facility for the Eugene Family YMCA,” said Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene. “My colleagues and I took the first opportunity we could to reauthorize the state funding for the Y. We recognize how vital this organization is for the well-being of our community, and our community needs the Y all the more after COVID.”  

The new state-of-the-art 74,000-square-foot facility will be built at the corner of 24th Avenue and Hilyard Street. The current Y building at 2055 Patterson Street was designed to serve a 1950s population of 70,000 people. It has served the community well for 66 years but it is now in a state of costly structural decline.

“Lane County’s legislative delegation have been steadfast in their support of the new Y,” said CEO Steffen. “Their transformative impact will endure for generations. We look forward to helping the new Y become a reality in the very near future.”

The $42 million Capital Campaign has met several significant milestones in the past year, including the completion of the design by PIVOT Architecture, securing building permits for construction and making the 3rd of 4 land payments for the site. 

“We are grateful for the hundreds of donors who have kept the project’s momentum moving forward during the reauthorization process,” said Danielle Uhlhorn, Chief Development Officer for the Eugene Family YMCA. “With the generous state funding, we are now accelerating toward completion. The final stages will prove to be exciting!”

Campaign leadership will be working with donors and project partners over the next few months to finalize additional critical funding to complete the fundraising and determine groundbreaking and opening dates. 


About the Eugene Family YMCA

The Eugene Family YMCA is one of the region's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Each year across Lane County, the Y engages more than 18,000 people regardless of age, gender, income or background--to nurture the potential of children, teens and seniors; improve health and well-being; and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. In 2020, the Eugene Family YMCA awarded $413,506 in financial assistance. The YMCA has been serving the Eugene-area since 1887.

June 28, 2021