A group of roughly 40 community members and University of Oregon faculty members who oppose the demolition of Hayward Field’s East Grandstand met in Agate Hall Thursday evening to share their concerns about proposed renovation of the historic site.
The meeting was organized by East Grandstand Supporters, a group that is working to promote the restoration and preservation of the venue, as stated on their Facebook page.
The group’s goal is not to halt the renovation, but to advocate for a renovation that includes the East Grandstand. The date of the demolition is still unclear: the city of Eugene approved permits for the site’s demolition earlier this month but they have not been issued.
“We’re not against the renovation at all — we want the renovation but we want appropriate renovation,” said group member and former Oregon track and field coach Peter Thompson. “The university right now is not working with the community.”
Jonathan Pincus, one of the group’s organizers, said that access to information regarding the renovation has been sparse.
“The people pushing for the development of the project have withheld information for so long and created a compressed timeframe,” he said.
Information regarding the renovations has been difficult to come across as it’s being handled by the The University of Oregon Foundation, a non-profit organization that is not subject to public records laws.
Among some of the members’ complaints was the design of the stadium in relation to the surrounding community.
“We don’t need something sleek and glitzy — we need something Eugene,” Thompson said. “This is the best place to live and train in the world.”
But glitz and glamor were not the sole arguments against the current renovation of Hayward Field: parking was also a concern. James Tice, a UO architecture professor, said that parking for the stadium’s target capacity of 30,000 fans will take up 50 acres.
According the Register Guard, the proposed renovation will eliminate 115 parking spaces from E. 15th and University streets to create a “pedestrian plaza.”
While the original goal for the stadium was to have the renovation complete for the 2021 IAAF World Championships, it may need to be finished earlier in time to host the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials, which will be decided no later than June of this year.
Thompson and the East Grandstand Supporters hope to meet with UO President Michael Schill to discuss the renovation plans.
“If we don’t try, people say there’s no hope,” said Thompson.