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Eugene Civic Stadium: October 1938 to June 2015

Eugene Civic Stadium (file photo)
Eugene Civic Stadium (file photo)
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EUGENE, Ore. - Eugene Civic Stadium hosted its first sporting event October 28, 1938.

In the annual Eugene-Corvallis High School football skirmish, a week after the structure was formally dedicated, the teams played to a 0-0 tie.

In the stadium's final sporting event, the Eugene Emeralds played the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.

The Ems led 3-0 early.

The Volcanoes erupted at the plate and came back to win, 5-3.

In the years since, a group of citizens has worked to see the wooden structure - one of the last of its kind in the United States - reborn as a venue for sports.

The building was put on the National Register of Historic Place in October 2008, the 70th anniversary of its construction.

After repeated competitive processes that saw interest in the property from a developer working with Fred Meyers and the Eugene Family YMCA, the City of Eugene purchased the property with one condition: that a civic group buy and rehabilitate the property.

A group called the Eugene Civic Alliance - including the Friends of Civic and Kidsports - pulled together the money won the right to buy the property from the City.

The vision: a Kidsports field house - and the old wooden grandstands packed again with fans of soccer and other sports.

The Alliance purchased the property in April 2015 for $4.5 million.

Then the Works Progress Administration project - one of two structures of its kind left in the United States as of 2008 - went up in flames June 29, 2015, amidst record heat and drought.

Historic Civic Stadium

  • Civic was dedicated on October 21, 1938, and hosted its first event on October 28, 1938, when the annual Eugene-Corvallis High School football skirmish was played on the original clay and sawdust field.
  • Designed predominantly for football and baseball, the site has traditionally served as a multipurpose facility hosting everything from soccer to rodeo
  • The wooden grandstand is an L-shaped structure designed by local Eugene architect Graham Braden Smith. Smith attended the University of Oregon from 1915 until 1919.
  • Originally built without covering, the roof of the grandstand was completed by the beginning of the 1939 football season.
  • The basic structure of the stadium remained unchanged until 1969, when the school district leased the facility to the Eugene Emeralds, a minor league baseball team.
  • Modifications were made to make the stadium suitable for professional baseball, including installing new turf, adding sound-deadening materials, and doubling the stadium's lighting system, but which do not compromise the overall integrity of the original structure.
  • As of opening day 2006, Eugene Civic Stadium was the 11th oldest minor league ballpark in the United States, and was within the Top 10 by opening day 2007.
  • In 1969, the Eugene Emeralds, a minor league ball team, became the primary lessees of Eugene Civic Stadium.

Source: Civic Stadium nomination to the National Register of Historic Places

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