Civic Stadium (Eugene, Oregon)

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Civic Stadium
Civic Stadium with Aqua Sox - Eugene, Oregon.jpg
Civic Stadium in July 2004
Location 2077 Willamette Street,
Eugene, Oregon 97405
 United States
Coordinates 44°02′12″N 123°05′28″W / 44.0367°N 123.0911°W / 44.0367; -123.0911Coordinates: 44°02′12″N 123°05′28″W / 44.0367°N 123.0911°W / 44.0367; -123.0911
Owner Eugene School District
Capacity 6,800
Surface Natural grass
Construction
Opened October 28, 1938; 76 years ago (1938-10-28)
Construction cost $18,000
Architect Works Progress Administration
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
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 08000183
Added to NRHP October 6, 2008

Civic Stadium, sometimes known as Eugene Civic Stadium, was an outdoor athletic stadium in Eugene, Oregon, United States. For most of its history it was owned by the Eugene School District. On June 29, 2015, the stadium was destroyed by fire.[1]

History[edit]

Civic Stadium, located near East 20th Avenue and Willamette Street,[2] adjacent to South Eugene High School, had a seating capacity of 6,800. The stadium was built in 1938 through a public-private partnership between the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, Eugene School District 4J and the federal Works Progress Administration;[3] the property had been owned by the Eugene School District from its construction until spring 2015.[4][5] In October 2008, Civic Stadium was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[6]

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 Bethel Park. The Emeralds moved up to the Pacific Coast League (AAA) in 1969 for five seasons, then returned to the Class A Northwest League in 1974 and played in the stadium through 2009.[7] (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.[8]

The lighted playing field at Civic Stadium was oriented in an unorthodox configuration, with the batter and catcher facing southeast, resulting in difficult visual conditions for the fielders on the left side of the diamond for games played near sunset.[citation needed] (The recommended orientation of a baseball diamond is east-northeast.)[9]

Emeralds' decision to 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.[10] 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.[11]

Disuse and destruction[edit]

Stadium on fire

By 2009, the school district designated the stadium a surplus property, although the district had not made a decision on whether to sell it.[12] As recently as 2007, the school district examined options to redevelop all or part of the property, most likely as medium-density residential units.[13] 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.[14]

The Civic Stadium grandstand after being destroyed by fire

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.[15]

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.[16] 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.[17]

On June 29, 2015, Civic Stadium was destroyed by fire.[18] Two days later, officials charged four pre-teen boys in connection with the fire, although the cause had not yet been determined conclusively.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Eugene's Civic Stadium Goes Up In Flames". KGW. June 29, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  2. ^ Smith, Jeff (June 19, 2009). "Eugene Emeralds Say Hello—And Prepare to Say Goodbye—To Civic Stadium". The Oregonian. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Eugene Modernism 1935-65: Education". June 2003. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Burns, Jes (August 28, 2013). "Eugene 4J Looks Once again to Off-load Civic Stadium". KLCC. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  6. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Eugene Civic Stadium" (PDF). National Park Service. August 27, 2008. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Eugene Emeralds: History". Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  8. ^ Russo, Edward (August 19, 2013). "Civic Engineering: The Future of Eugene's Historic Stadium is at Issue — Again". The Register-Guard. 
  9. ^ "Playing Field Orientation – Rule 1.04" (PDF). Major League Baseball. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  10. ^ Hill, Benjamin (August 25, 2009). "Emeralds Pick PK for New Home". The Eugene Emeralds. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  11. ^ Morrison, Dan (September 4, 2009). "Ems Play Final Game at Civic Stadium". KVAL. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  12. ^ LeBeau, Arrianee (September 2, 2009). "What Does the Future Hold for Civic Stadium?". KVAL. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  13. ^ Board of Directors Meeting Minutes (PDF), School District 4J, December 12, 2007, retrieved June 29, 2015 
  14. ^ "Save Civic Stadium". 
  15. ^ "Most Endangered Places 2011: Civic Stadium". Restore Oregon. Retrieved June 5, 2011. [dead link]
  16. ^ Russo, Edward (April 5, 2015). "Civic Lesson in Eugene". The Register-Guard. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Civic Stadium: A Community Triumph of the Past, Present and future". Lane United FC. March 3, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Historic Civic Stadium in Eugene, Oregon Engulfed in Flames". NBC News. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  19. ^ "4 Children to Face Charges in Civic Stadium Fire". KATU. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 

External links[edit]