Unique light fixtures have been installed in Downtown Eugene. 44 LED lighting tubes manufactured by Eugene-based Light Beam Industries and controlled by computer and wireless technology have been mounted to each of 44 street poles along three blocks of Willamette Street and four blocks of Broadway. More lights will soon follow on a one-block stretch of Broadway between Pearl and Oak streets, and on Willamette between Seventh and Eighth avenues.
The catalyst behind this energy efficient and fun project is Downtown Eugene Inc. (DEI) — the area’s association of property and business owners. Sarah Bennett is president of DEI and a local business owner. She says the lighting treatment is a permanent year-round installation. The lights which come on as the street lights go on, and turn off when those go off were funded by contributions from downtown businesses and private citizens. RBA's John Rowell and lighting design consultant Teal Brogden, of Los Angeles, also helped. Eugene-based firm, Light Beam Industries, made the lights.
The goal of the project is to give downtown a consistent identity and to activate the pedestrian walkways and help bring life to the buildings. The idea is similar to the flower pots hanging from some of the light posts downtown. When the flowers bloom, they transform downtown during the summer months. The organization behind the flowers, Downtown Eugene Inc., hopes the LED lights will have a similar effect during the winter months.
Bennett also states that "the lights are custom one of a kind light fixtures. They don't exist anywhere else in the world. We can control them from our desktop. We can program the lights to be pretty much any color we want. For example, they can be green and yellow on Duck game days. They can be red-white-and-blue now during the Olympics or Fourth of July. They can even be tie dye during the Oregon Country Fair."
So far the individuals and businesses that have invested in downtown revitalization have been enthusiastic about the project from the get-go, Bennett said. Dave Hauser, president of the Eugene Chamber of Commerce also stated to the Eugene Weekly back in October 2014 that “we wanted to do something so unique that if you have a visitor, you would tell them, ‘Hey, I’ve got to take you downtown to show you these lights, they’re very cool.”