“Freebie” Site Review – Valley River Center, Eugene, OR
NOTE/ As of Jan 2019 this spot is NO LONGER USABLE. The Mall has shut down to RVers, so unfortunately it is no longer a viable overnight parking spot. Bummer!
One of the nicest “freebie” overnight parking spots we’ve ever encountered, right in downtown Eugene, OR
Location: Valley River Center, Eugene, OR
Coordinates: 44.069704,-123.110905. Link to map location HERE
How We Found It: Word of mouth plus Laurie and Odel’s post.
Nearest Dump/Water: Several dump stations available around Eugene. For a full listing click HERE.
- Access – 5/5
Super-easy access here. The mall has a spacious parking lot and all access roads are wide and paved.
- Nature – 4/5
For an “urban” setting you have spectacularly good nature access here. You are right by several of Eugene’s best downtown green parks (one of which is literally across the bridge), plus next to miles of the lovely river-front hiking/biking trail.
- Isolation – 1/5
This is a city location and it’s a known “freebie” spot so expect some company.
- Pet Friendliness – 5/5
Great pet spot. You are right next to miles of river-walk trails including large, green parks and access to the water. There is even a fabulous off-leash dog-park ~2 miles down the trail in Alton Baker park.
Overall Rating = 3.75
Summary: Although I’ve written about “freebies” on the blog before I rarely review the spots we go to since most of them are simply parking lots. This one is different and deserves a shout-out. If I were to describe my “ideal” urban parking spot this would probably be it -> Want a spacious site? Access to shopping and a movie? Directly next to hiking/biking trails and green parks? A nice river? Throw in a first-class off-leash dog-park? If it’s a “yes” to all then this is your spot. The spot is located nicely in the SW corner of Valley River Center on a lesser-used part of the parking lot. You are RIGHT next to the Ruth Bascon Riverbank hiking/biking trails (in fact you can park with your door open to the trail), plus plenty of green parks (right across the bridge) and all the shopping you need next door in the mall (incl. movie theatre). You can even hike the 2 miles down the river trail to a huge, gorgeous off-leash doggie park. The lot is open to RVers, allowing slides out/jacks down and patrolled by security who will usually come around and give you a free “pass” (2-day limit) to stay. We were there during a Ducks game (a BIG DEAL around here) so it was a lot more crowded than usual and they didn’t bother issuing passes, but it still felt very safe and quiet. My only possible ding is that you do get noise from the trains a few miles away, but it’s a minor point. If we need a few free nights in Eugene we’d have no hesitation coming here again.
Extra Info: Flush toilets in the mall and across the bridge in the park, plus garbage in the lot, but no water or other facilities. Verizon smartphone and aircard worked. Laure and Odel have more info and detailed driving instructions to this spot on their blog here.