In 2012 the Booth Kelly Mill site was the focus of a two-term architecture studio through the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP). Students were asked to turn the parcel into a project that would provide living-wage jobs and restore the environment of what used to be a thriving lumber mill.
The SCYP, a program of the UO’s Sustainable Cities Initiative, partnered with the City of Springfield to engage students in dozens of courses that directly benefit Springfield and the cause of sustainable and healthy communities. This particular project, on the former Booth-Kelly Lumber Company site, may be the most challenging of them all. The land was donated to the City of Springfield in 1985 and consists of several old industrial structures, a Union-Pacific railroad spur, and a partially hand-dug millrace and millpond. The City currently leases 200,000 square feet of large industrial space, but hopes to reinvigorate the site for the next twenty-five years and beyond. The site’s location near downtown Springfield raises the stakes on its transformation, as any improvement of the Booth-Kelly property will have an impact on Springfield’s planned downtown revitalization.
After two terms of refining their ideas for the site, the final presentations in June impressed City staff. Students proposed a variety of options for the site, including a youth center, meeting space, retail, light industrial space, and workshops for craftspeople.
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