Fairmount Neighborhood plans for Olympic Trials

Neighborhood Association discusses Olympic Trials plans

By Nikki Wyatt

Milne compares the effects the 2008 Olympic Trials had to the project effects of the 2012 meet

The Olympic Trials will interrupt life in Fairmount, just not as much as they did in 2008, was the conclusion reached by the Fairmount Neighbors Association meeting Tuesday night.

A crowd of 30 concerned residents listened to Trials spokeswoman Marilyn Milne discuss parking, crowds, traffic, and potential other inconveniences to the people who live in the area. She began by showing a PowerPoint presentation to compare the 2008 trials to the upcoming 2012 meet.

Statistics from ’08 included the numbers 16,000, 2 billion, and $31 million. 16,000 being the official capacity of Hayward Field. Two billion being the estimated viewership of the Trials and $31 million was the “estimated positive economic impact expected on the city of Eugene.”

The audience murmured in excitement until Karen Alvarado, a Fairmount resident whose house is right next to Pre’s Rock, brought up parking issues from last time the Trials came to town. “People will ignore the two hour signs,” she said, referencing the change from street parking to two hour parking without a permit.

Milne addressed the concern by explaining how the parking system will work during the Trials. “There will be two Park and Rides,” she said, “One at South Eugene (high school) and at Autzen Stadium.”

The shuttles will transport spectators to and from Hayward, while housing their cars in the parking lots.

“We shouldn’t see a lot of Olympic traffic,” she said, “We’ve learned from 2008.”

After the meeting, Alvarado was hesitant to believe that all the problems the Trials pose will be severely reduced. “We need some Pedestrian signs nears Pre’s Rock,” she said, “People fly by there and, with the amount of people that will be there, someone is going to get hit.”

Other things on the agenda were Board of Directors elections and a Map Your neighborhood initiative from Amazon resident Randy Prince. The idea is part of a movement called Action Plan Eugene, which emphasizes knowing and being able to help neighbors in the event of a catastrophe.

Prince talked about how the idea, which merely consists of getting to know your neighbors and having a basic disaster kit, “simplifies emergency preparedness.”

He stressed the importance of not having to rely on emergency services in the event of a true disaster. “Wouldn’t it be better if we just took charge ourselves?”

However, the Trials were the highest priority on Tuesday’s agenda. Milne stressed the importance of an Olympic-caliber meet coming to Eugene.

“This is Track Town USA,” she said, “People understand more about what athletics are about more here than anywhere else.”

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