Civic Stadium, located near E. 20th Avenue and Willamette Street, has been property of the Eugene 4J School District since its construction in 1938. But with the Eugene Emeralds minor league baseball team leaving Civic Stadium to play at the University of Oregon’s P.K. Park, what does that mean for the old staple of South Eugene?
The Eugene School board, after taking public input to heart, decided that it is time for the Eugene School District to find a new owner for Civic Stadium, rather than continue to maintain the property. The school board elected to dispose of the property following a Request for Proposals process, which allows for the broadest range of proposed uses, including preserving the stadium grandstands. The process also allows the school board to consider more than the “financial bottom line” when deciding whether to accept a proposal.
The Eugene School District invited interested parties to submit proposals, describing their plans for the property, offering terms of purchase, long-term lease, or property trade. Save Civic Stadium, Eugene YMCA, and Master Development LLC & Powell Development Co. were among the groups to formally submit proposals.
However, in June, the school board voted 4-3 to decline offers from those interested. The four board members who rejected the proposals cited the importance of “their neighborhood and community impact, financial viability, and traffic issues,” amongst other factors.
In July, the school district’s superintendent, Shelley Berman, was authorized to pursue a potential short-term lease. Letters of interested were solicited from July 28 through August 12, with the school district receiving one letter of interest.
According to the school district’s Request for Letters of Interest, “The lease term is one year, with two successive one-year renewal options. The total term of the lease including renewal options may not exceed three years.” The request issued also stated that those interested in a short-term lease must pay an annual lease no less than $250,000 per year, assume all property tax liability, provide property casualty insurance for full replacement value [value not specified], and provide umbrella liability coverage of an amount no less than $5 million. While these are simple insurance requirements, some of the school district’s other demands warrant questioning. If leased, the lessee must “refrain from occupying the historic grandstands for public use or assembly,” as well as, “refrain from use or entry of the vacant outbuilding adjacent to the third base line and left field.”
Whether or not the school district will choose to accept the lone short-term lease proposal is yet to be determined. While the school district decides what to do, Eugene’s historic Civic Stadium idly waits for its new tenants.