Bit by bit and piece by piece the 77-year history of Eugene’s Civic Stadium is getting hauled away. Charred and broken, the stadium that was set to receive an upgrade, but was instead reduced to rubble by arson.
A fire on June 29 allegedly started by four young boys ages 10 through 12 burned out the historic wood building just weeks ahead of plans to renovate the structure—including with a new grandstand roof. Now the nonprofit Eugene Civic Alliance has to return to the community with something new, something different for the site.
According to a news report from The Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon), the structure was insured for $3 million, meaning citizens of Eugene can expect money leftover after cleanup for redevelopment of the stadium location.
First, though, clearing an old site, now full of warped metal and asbestos-laden wood, takes place. Work by Belfor, based in Springfield, Oregon, just outside of Eugene and air quality monitoring by Douglas International of Veneta, Oregon, west of Eugene, should have the stadium site cleared within a matter of weeks. But that wasn’t how it was supposed to be.
The Eugene nonprofit purchased the 10.2-acre site with cooperation from the city only two months before the fire. With roughly $4 million raised from donations, plans included upgrades to allow the stadium to better host both baseball and soccer, professionally and recreationally.
Now, though, it is back to the drawing board. And fundraising plans.
While the money needed may increase, having no grandstand in place does allow more creativity and freedom in the new wave of plans for the site, still with the expectation of community minded baseball and soccer space.
The alliance board has reaffirmed its commitment to “reimagine” the possibilities within the mission of “development and operation of a community sports and entertainment venue on the historic Civic Stadium property for physical education and recreation of all the children and youth of the community and the community at large,” it says in a statement.
Eugene lost a historic stadium. The Eugene Civic Alliance had to scrap plans for the stadium while scraping the actual stadium. But the community should still end up with what it expected: a stadium serving Eugene.
Tim Newcomb is Engineering News-Record’s Pacific Northwest contributor. He also writes for Popular Mechanics, Sports Illustrated and more. You can follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb or visit his website here.