The idea for the Lower Umpqua Center was generated as a result of the City’s efforts to revitalize the failing economy of the City of Reedsport. In 1985 City staff attended a conference sponsored by the Oregon State University School of Oceanography on Riverfront Revitalization. The following months, the City took a hard look at their own blighted and underutilized waterfront area, isolated for years from the rest of the community by a long dike wall built for flood protection in 1964 and began discussions on how to turn it around. After years of neglect, the waterfront where Reedsport originated became the focus of a major new undertaking.
Desiring to capitalize on the beautiful Umpqua River and surrounding estuaries, City Officials declared tourism as a target industry and made Riverfront Revitalization a priority project on their list of goals for the community. In l986, a steering committee was formed of representatives from the public and private sectors of the community to get the ball rolling.