Downtown Planning

In 2007, Springfield voters approved a Downtown Urban Renewal District. This commitment by Springfield’s residents set the stage for a flourishing downtown. Fast-forward to present-day, Springfield is continuing to see the energy of ideas come to life in a special part of the city that is testament to Springfield’s motto: Proud History, Bright Future. Since 2007, City staff and the community have engaged in processes to develop tools—including plans and policies— that will promote and sustain a vibrant Mixed-Use District with:

  • Successful retail blocks
  • Inviting pedestrian-friendly streets
  • Various housing options
  • Enhanced public spaces and civic center
  • Unique cultural destinations, and
  • Convenient connections to Island Park and surrounding neighborhoods

Together with the community, staff is working to create the tools that will implement completed planning projects that support Springfield’s vision for an enjoyable downtown. As part of this effort, the Springfield City Council directed staff to prepare design standards for the Downtown Mixed-Use District. These design standards will positively contribute to how downtown looks, feels, and functions by guiding redevelopment of property and improvements to the public realm (think: streets and landscapes). The standards will also ensure that downtown’s redevelopment is compatible with its existing historic buildings and blocks. Reviewing, refining, and reformatting the standards in the Municipal Code, Development Code, and Engineering Design Standards and Procedures Manual are key elements of the work involved. The revised standards will be presented in a simplified, user-friendly format to clearly communicate flexible options for new development to achieve the intended outcomes.

News and Events

August 7, 2019

City Council is scheduled for a Work Session on September 16 to set priorities for the City’s Comprehensive Planning work in the months ahead. This work may include continued progress on the Downtown Design Standards project. Council Work Sessions are always open to the public. Click here to learn more.

To help inform the next possible steps for the Downtown Design Standards project, graduate students at the University of Oregon tested the draft Design Standards with real-world development projects as part of Springfield’s continued partnership with the Sustainable Cities Institute. This report provided an assessment of whether the draft Standards are easy to use and an examination of their effectiveness in supporting desired outcomes for downtown. The City Council will have an opportunity to review the report. Click here to read the report.

July 2, 2019

The Springfield City Council adopted the amendments to the Downtown Sign Code on Monday, June 17. Click on the links below to view the materials.

If you have ideas about new signage in downtown, July 17 is the day to keep in mind— this is when the adopted changes become effective. In the next few weeks, staff will look to ensure that working with these changes will offer a convenient and positive experience for our community by updating information on the Building Permit webpage and to the sections in the Springfield Municipal Code that are noted in the ordinance. One notable change to be aware of is a new type of sign category: pedestrian-oriented signs. While an application form is still required for these signs, some of these signs are exempt from permit fees. The other code updates did not result in a change to application fees. The City reviews fees on an annual basis, and any changes to fees are effective July 1 of each year.

June 6, 2019

The April 22 Council Work Session provided Council an opportunity to hear about the feedback received as a result of April 16 Downtown Business Meetup meeting and ask questions. Based on the feedback, Council determined that the proposed updates to the Downtown Sign District could proceed to the May 20 Regular Session and Public Hearing without additional discussion at the Work Session.

Staff presented the proposed Sign Code updates to Council at its May 20 Regular Session and Council held the Public Hearing thereafter. There was no public testimony at the Hearing, which is now closed. Staff requested Council direction on further possible modifications to the proposed Code during the May 20 meeting. Staff brought the updated draft to Council at their June 3 Regular Session to describe how the proposed Code incorporates Council’s direction. Council did not request additional changes and had no questions. Though there will be no additional Public Hearing on this item, there will be a Third Reading, Council deliberation, and possible Council vote to adopt or not adopt the Proposed Sign Code on Monday, June 17. Council can still accept public comment during the Business from the Audience portion of the evening’s agenda.

April 30, 2019

At City Council’s March 25, 2019 Work Session, the proposed changes to the Downtown Sign District of the Springfield Municipal Code were reviewed. Specific topics were presented as Action Items A through H. Staff received direction on Action Items A and B and will continue to seek Council’s input at the April 22 Work Session, beginning with Action Item C.

The project team plans to seek guidance from City Council on other aspects of downtown planning projects later this spring.

Additionally, staff attended the Discover Downtown Springfield’s Downtown Business Meetup on April 16 to share information about the proposed updates to the Sign Code with Springfield’s business community. View the informational handout.

Get Involved

Everyone is invited to participate in this process. We need your input to ensure that our planning efforts meet the community’s expectations and aspirations. You can get involved in one or more ways:

Downtown Citizen Advisory Committee

The Downtown Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) began their work in 2008 to advise City staff, Planning Commission, and City Council on how to accomplish the community’s vision for downtown. One recent result of the CAC’s dedicated work and input is a set of recommendations for how to update the development and design requirements that apply to downtown properties. See below for the dates and details of the most recent CAC meetings. Additional dates and details for older CAC meetings can be found here.

Contact Information
Monica Sather, Senior Planner