SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Downtown Springfield has taken a turn for the better in recent years, residents and business managers say.
In her state of the city address on Monday, Mayor Christine Lundberg highlighted successes in Springfield’s downtown, including the addition of more than 15 businesses in 2019.
Jessica Coles, the manager of Cornucopia, a restaurant between 5th and 6th streets, said they opened their doors in October and have stayed busy ever since. She said years ago, she would avoid going to downtown Springfield because she didn't feel safe.
"Eugene used to be the place where I'd like to go," Coles said. "Now it's flopped; downtown Eugene has gotten worse and downtown Springfield has changed dramatically."
Doug Hagan said he used to avoid taking his family downtown becuase of the crime. He said the new businesses have made downtown more inviting for families and shoppers.
"They really cleaned it up," Hagen said. "It's really nice to come down here and bring your family down here. It's total change from 1999 to now."
Former Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken said the turn-around didn't happen overnight. He sent KEZI 9 News a list of things the city has done to improve downtown that date back 20 years. They include the addition of more public safety services and ways to keep costs low for businesses. Leiken said after he left office, city leaders have continued to work to improve downtown.