Tri-City Dust Devils by a score of 3-1).
Pk Park - West Entrance (my photo)
Civic Stadium (Image via Wikipedia)District 4J intends to issue a Request for Proposals this fall, inviting interested parties to describe their plans for the property and offer a purchase price (or suggest terms of a long-term lease or property trade). G2’s vision for Civic Stadium may only be one of several schemes that 4J will ultimately consider. If the school board selects a proposal to approve, the district will move forward with negotiating a sale, lease or trade.
Regardless if Civic Stadium survives in one form or another, its life as a minor league professional baseball park has ended. This is a shame.
Civic Stadium is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, primarily in recognition of its rarity as a surviving example of a once common style of timber-framed ballpark rather than the merits of its architecture.(3) What makes Civic irreplaceable isn’t its design but instead the memories that were formed there.
PK Park vs. Civic Stadium: An Assessment
My initial impressions of PK Park are that it is a modern, functional, and attractive facility. I only hesitate to proclaim that the Ducks and the Emeralds have hit a home run (pardon the pun) with PK Park because I cannot avoid comparing it to Civic Stadium.
As decrepit and deficient as Civic Stadium was (is), it nevertheless had several things going for it. One was its setting in south Eugene, nestled against College Hill, its grandstand oriented past the outfield toward the southeast hills. During evening games, the setting of the sun against those hills was truly magical. Another was the smell of the freshly cut grass, as quintessential to the baseball experience as the crack of wooden bats and the seventh inning stretch. Civic Stadium’s large sections of bench seating also fostered a more relaxed attitude toward how families and friends interacted in the grandstand than is now possible at PK Park.
Coupled with its timber construction and long history, these and other factors endowed Civic Stadium with great appeal. Unfortunately, such charm cannot be fabricated from whole cloth. PK Park skirts the perils of historic pastiche, but just barely. Only time will tell if the community will embrace the new building. It will take the passage of many years for PK Park to acquire an engaging patina to rival that which Civic Stadium enjoyed.
(1) Of course, PK Park was purpose-built for use by the resurrected University of Oregon Ducks baseball team, which resumed PAC-10 play in 2009. As such, the stadium’s design was tailored to the college game and not entirely for professional, minor league standards. For example, the stadium presently lacks a visitors’ locker room, a deficiency that will be remedied by future facility upgrades.
(2) Prior to retaining DLR Group, the University of Oregon originally commissioned my firm, Robertson/Sherwood/Architects, and Cameron McCarthy Gilbert & Scheibe Landscape Architects to develop a master plan for the new stadium. We tested alternative configurations for the ballpark, and executed the first phase of PK Park’s development (the design of the field of play).
(3) Natalie Perrin, at the time a graduate student at the University of Oregon, prepared the application for Civic Stadium’s listing on the National Register in 2008.