Community members fight back against Hayward Field renovation

Some would like to see the east grandstands made into a historic landmark.

Posted: Apr. 24, 2018 6:23 PM
Updated: Apr. 25, 2018 7:55 AM

EUGENE, Ore. – Community members gathered at the Eugene City Council meeting on Monday night, April 23, to let councilors know that they were not OK with proposed Hayward Field renovations.

Some who attended the meeting asked that the council apply to make the field a historic landmark. If it were to achieve that status it would have to be done by either the city council or the University of Oregon, which owns Hayward Field. However, councilors said this wouldn’t prevent Hayward Field from being demolished.

"If we can start talking about what those options are we might be able to find a solution that is going to work for people, so they can feel like they've been heard and that legacy is continuing in some way,” said Jennifer Yeh, a Eugene city councilor.

They’re most interested in saving the east grandstands, so a couple other options are being considered to preserve those.

One would be to move the grandstands to Civic Park, but this hasn’t yet been approved by the Eugene Civic Alliance. Another would be to possibly integrate the grandstands into the new design, whereas the current design would have them demolished.

Since the release of the design, community members have been letting their complaints be known. Concerns include the issue of noise during construction or lack of parking once the project is completed. But some people wanted to let councilors know that this is also about the historic legacy of Hayward Field.

"Hayward Field is an emotion. It's something that you step onto that field and you feel glorious,” said Neta Prefontaine, sister of UO track legend Steve Prefontaine. “This is going to be a great day. The sun's going to come out and Steve's going to be out there on that field."

Councilors scheduled a work session to further discuss the options at hand, as they said they just didn’t have enough time to take action at this time. They said they’re hoping to get the public and the University of Oregon together to come to a consensus. Some councilors feel personally connected enough to Hayward to want to preserve it.

"People know that structure, and know that that means historic Hayward Field all over the world. And to just kind of throw it away seems like a great shame,” said Alan Zelenka, another Eugene City Councilor.

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