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Civic Stadium (Eugene, Oregon)

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Civic Stadium
Civic Stadium with Aqua Sox - Eugene, Oregon.jpg
Emeralds game in July 2004
Location 2077 Willamette Street,
Eugene, Oregon, U.S.
Coordinates 44°02′13″N 123°05′28″W / 44.037°N 123.091°W / 44.037; -123.091Coordinates: 44°02′13″N 123°05′28″W / 44.037°N 123.091°W / 44.037; -123.091
Owner Eugene School District
Capacity 6,800
Surface Natural grass
Construction
Opened October 28, 1938 (1938-10-28)[1]
79 years ago
Closed September 4, 2009 (2009-09-04)
Construction cost $18,000
Architect Works Progress Administration (WPA)[1]
Tenants

South Eugene High School
Eugene Emeralds
Pacific Coast League (AAA), 1969–1973
Northwest League (A), 1974–2009

Eugene Civic Stadium
Location 2077 Willamette Street,
Eugene, Oregon
Built 1938, 79 years ago
NRHP Reference # 08000183
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 6, 2008
Removed from NRHP March 8, 2016

Civic Stadium was an outdoor athletic stadium in the western United States, located in Eugene, Oregon. For most of its history it was owned by the Eugene School District. Opened in 1938,[2] the stadium was destroyed by fire in 2015 on June 29.[3]

History[edit]

Civic Field is located in Eugene OR
Civic Field
Civic Field
Location in Eugene, Oregon

Civic Stadium, located near East 20th Avenue and Willamette Street,[4] adjacent to South Eugene High School, had a seating capacity of 6,800. Built 79 years ago in 1938 through a public-private partnership between the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, Eugene School District 4J, and the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA);[5] the property had been owned by the school district from its construction until spring 2015.[6][7] In October 2008, Civic Stadium was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[8]

Originally built for high school football and baseball, in 1969 it became the home of the Eugene Emeralds minor league baseball team, which previously played at the privately owned Bethel Park (north of Roosevelt Boulevard (44°03′52″N 123°08′43″W / 44.0644°N 123.1454°W / 44.0644; -123.1454); its outfield is present-day Lark Park).[2][9][10][11] The Emeralds moved up to the Pacific Coast League (AAA) in 1969 and needed a larger venue. After five seasons in the PCL, they returned to the Class A Northwest League in 1974 and played in the stadium through 2009.[12] (High school football moved to the University of Oregon's Autzen Stadium in 1969, following the installation of artificial turf.) Before the departure of the Emeralds in 2009, Civic Stadium was one of the ten oldest active minor league baseball facilities in the United States.[13]

The lighted playing field at Civic Stadium had an unorthodox alignment, oriented southeast (home plate to center field); the recommended alignment of a baseball diamond is east-northeast.[14]

Emeralds relocate[edit]

In August 2009, the Emeralds announced their relocation to the University of Oregon's PK Park for the 2010 season. The Emeralds cited Civic Stadium's need of substantial renovations, major problems with irrigation and electrical systems, as well as broken seats, and estimated that modernization could cost as much as $15 million.[15]

The Emeralds played their last game at Civic Stadium on Thursday, September 4, 2009, a 5-3 loss to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. Following the game, fans collected pieces of the outfield turf as souvenirs.[16]

Disuse and destruction[edit]

By 2009, the school district designated the stadium a surplus property, although the district had not made a decision on whether to sell it.[17] As recently as 2007, the school district examined options to redevelop all or part of the property, most likely as medium-density residential units.[18] A local group, Friends of Civic Stadium, started a grassroots campaign in support of restoring the historic venue while also attempting to find alternative tenants.[19]

With the future of the stadium in flux, it was one of ten entries on Restore Oregon's Most Endangered Places in Oregon 2011 list.[20]

In April 2015, the Eugene Civic Alliance raised $4.1 million to buy the stadium and 10 acres of surrounding property from the school district.[21] Eugene Civic Alliance is a non-profit made up of community leaders, including Lane United FC managing director Dave Galas, and the executive director of the Eugene youth sports organization Kidsports, former Ducks basketball player Bev Smith.[22]

On June 29, 2015, Civic Stadium was destroyed by fire.[23] Two days later, officials charged four pre-teen boys in connection with the fire, although the cause had not yet been determined conclusively.[24] The stadium was delisted from the National Register of Historic Places on March 8, 2016.[25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Shattuck-Smallwood, Nancy (August 29, 1989). "Civic Stadium puts 50 on the scoreboard". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. p. 1E. 
  2. ^ a b Harvey, Paul, III (December 10, 1968). "Baseball not new for Civic". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. p. 3B. 
  3. ^ "Eugene's Civic Stadium Goes Up In Flames". Portland, Oregon: KGW-TV. June 29, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  4. ^ Smith, Jeff (June 19, 2009). "Eugene Emeralds Say Hello—And Prepare to Say Goodbye—To Civic Stadium". The Oregonian. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Eugene Modernism 1935-65: Education" Check |url= value (help). June 2003. 
  6. ^ Perrin, Natalie K. (June 2008). "Eugene Civic Stadium: History, Historic Structures Review, and Preservation Pitch" (PDF). University of Oregon, School of Architecture & Allied Arts. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  7. ^ Burns, Jes (August 28, 2013). "Eugene 4J Looks Once again to Off-load Civic Stadium". KLCC. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  8. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Eugene Civic Stadium" (PDF). National Park Service. August 27, 2008. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  9. ^ "State buys Bethel baseball park". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. October 24, 1969. p. 15A. 
  10. ^ Clark, Bob (June 29, 2004). "Deep and playable: Bethel Park". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. p. 1D. 
  11. ^ "Civic Stadium". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. August 1, 1999. p. 1D. 
  12. ^ "Eugene Emeralds: History". Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  13. ^ Russo, Edward (August 19, 2013). "Civic Engineering: The Future of Eugene's Historic Stadium is at Issue — Again". The Register-Guard. 
  14. ^ "Playing Field Orientation – Rule 1.04" (PDF). Major League Baseball. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  15. ^ Hill, Benjamin (August 25, 2009). "Emeralds Pick PK for New Home". Eugene Emeralds. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  16. ^ Morrison, Dan (September 4, 2009). "Ems Play Final Game at Civic Stadium". KVAL. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  17. ^ LeBeau, Arrianee (September 2, 2009). "What Does the Future Hold for Civic Stadium?". KVAL. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  18. ^ Board of Directors Meeting Minutes (PDF), School District 4J, December 12, 2007, retrieved June 29, 2015 
  19. ^ "Save Civic Stadium". 
  20. ^ "Most Endangered Places 2011: Civic Stadium". Restore Oregon. Archived from the original on November 10, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2011. 
  21. ^ Russo, Edward (April 5, 2015). "Civic Lesson in Eugene". The Register-Guard. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Civic Stadium: A Community Triumph of the Past, Present and future". Lane United FC. March 3, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Historic Civic Stadium in Eugene, Oregon Engulfed in Flames". NBC News. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  24. ^ "4 Children to Face Charges in Civic Stadium Fire". KATU. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 3/07/16 through 3/11/16". National Park Service. March 18, 2016. Archived from the original on March 22, 2016. Retrieved March 22, 2016. 

External links[edit]