The Eugene City Council has authorized the city manager to negotiate details of a land exchange proposed by the University of Oregon that would provide property for privately funded upgrades to the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex and provide the city with additional riverfront park land, along with improvements to the existing park.
In fall 2021, the UO released plans for a new privately funded indoor practice facility to be built just west of Autzen Stadium, between Leo Harris Parkway and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The proposed indoor facility is intended primarily for student-athletes in football, but would benefit nearly all student-athletes by providing additional access to the Moshofsky Center, the current indoor practice facility.
To replace the existing outdoor practice fields where the proposed facility would be built, the UO approached the City of Eugene about acquiring additional property for the privately funded construction of two replacement outdoor practice fields.
The UO’s proposal focuses on swapping slightly more than eight acres of the UO’s property adjacent to the city’s new Downtown Riverfront Park and Steam Plant, for four city-owned acres of Alton Baker Park, including a parking lot, across the street from the Autzen Stadium complex. The proposal would allow for the re-routing of Leo Harris Parkway to create a contiguous parcel large enough to accommodate both the new indoor facility and two outdoor practice fields. The project would, in large part, be built on existing paved areas. South of the river, the UO would retain land currently used for educational purposes. The land acquired by the city may be added to parkland inventory.
As part of the proposed development, the university is working with stakeholders responsible for operating the Cuthbert Amphitheater and the Eugene Science Center to mitigate the impacts and plan enhancements such as increased parking, improved ADA access, and possibly a canoe/kayak launch as well as better water quality, and improvements to natural areas and habitat. There is also a desire from the UO to partner with the city to jointly develop a project that would benefit the community.
At a September 2022 meeting, the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon authorized the university to acquire property for the project as described in board materials. The project still requires the review and approval of the Eugene City Council.
Community Open House
A community open house was held on September 6, 2022, at the Eugene Science Center.
Maps and Materials
Additional information, including a recording of a Eugene City Council work session on July 11 on the subject, can be found at https://www.eugene-or.gov/3360/Webcasts-and-Meeting-Materials.
This proposal reflects the UO’s long-standing effort to provide the best opportunities for student-athletes to excel academically and athletically. It helps attract top talent and provides the means for individuals and teams to grow and train together in a world-class environment. It benefits student-athletes in almost all sports, with expanded access to highly coveted indoor training facilities.
Highly competitive, top-tier college football benefits our community in a myriad of ways, but especially economically, with thousands of visitors each fall spending millions of dollars. The economic and community impact of UO Athletics has increased in step with the trajectory of the University of Oregon football program. Maintaining a competitive edge has never been more challenging. This facility helps ensure the University of Oregon’s student-athletes can continue to grow and learn in one of the best environments in the country.
What alternatives were explored?
The design team explored a host of options for expanding the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex before settling on the current design, which maximizes the benefits for the community, with park improvements, as well as student-athletes.
Expansion south of the Moshofsky Center does not afford sufficient space. Expanding into the parking lots east of Autzen Stadium does not leave enough parking to meet city requirements. In addition, the design team examined solutions to the north of the stadium, but those would require student-athletes and coaches to cross busy Martin Luther King Boulevard multiple times each day, creating a hazard and traffic issue.
What are the benefits to the community of this design? To the UO?
While this option offers a superior combination of efficiency and safety, the design team also found this option to have the most benefit for the community, with significant park improvements, such as increased and improved parking, a canoe launch, improved ADA access to areas within the park and improved fish habitat and water quality in a nearby pond.
In this proposal, the proximity of the new training facility and practice fields to existing football facilities enables student-athletes and teams to efficiently move from practice to training and meeting areas, a critical need when regulations limit practice time. It also optimizes safety by not requiring student-athletes and coaches to cross a throughfare multiple times each day.
Questions and Feedback
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