EUGENE, Ore. — It’s outta here.
Volunteers have torn down the weather-beaten outfield fence at historic Civic Stadium in Eugene. A storm removed part of the 12-foot-high wooden fence last winter, and a group dedicated to preserving the stadium decided to finish the job Sunday with crowbars and sledgehammers — no baseball bats.
The group, Save Civic Stadium, wanted the fence gone because it was an eyesore and because transients sleeping at the stadium used it for cover.
“Our biggest fear is that someone comes in and starts a warming fire,” Dennis Hebert, president of the Save Civic Stadium board, told The Register-Guard newspaper. “And then that’s it. The whole thing goes up in flames.”
A bonus is that the baseball grandstand and the field itself are now in full view of the thousands of motorists who pass by each day. Hebert said that will make it easier for people to “conceptualize” the group’s plans to renovate the stadium into a multiuse sports and music venue
“It gives the stadium a lot more exposure,” he said. “We wanted to make it not look like an abandoned building.”
The stadium, built in 1938, was the home of the Eugene Emeralds until two years ago, when the minor league affiliate of the San Diego Padres moved to PK Park at the University of Oregon.
A “For Sale, Lease or Trade” sign was posted on the grandstand’s outer wall, but the district is “not soliciting or entertaining offers” at the moment, said Kerry Delf, a school district spokeswoman.
The stadium issue will be discussed this fall when the district’s board discusses “a long-range facilities plan,” Delf said.
The possibility of building a new middle school at the site has been suggested, but Delf cautioned that “a lot of public meetings” would be needed before any plans are finalized.
Hebert said knocking down the stadium to build a new school would be unpopular in South Eugene.
“I feel strongly that the community will come out and discourage the district from doing that,” he said.