Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Loss of Eugene's Civic Stadium Recalls Fire at Waters Field

Well, if you have ever wondered what the fire at Waters Field was like in 1966, last night you might have found much of an answer.

Register-Guard, today's front page

Fire at Waters Field, November 12th, 1966
(Salem Library Historic Photos)

Unknown rally at Waters Field, 1945
(Salem Library Historic Photos)
Waters Field was located at 25th and Mission, in almost the same footprint as the main post office. You can read more about Waters Field here, here, and here with a map.

The 1970s era, and non-ADA compliant, footbridge in the RG photo is interesting. Even though Eugene is much better in a lot of ways than Salem for bicycling and walking, the bulk of their infrastructure dates from the 1970s and 80s, in the first flush of the Bicycle Bill. It is ageing, needs repair in some cases, and has also been superseded by new design types. They were ahead of things a generation ago, but in the 90s, 00s, and now teens haven't necessarily kept up. So that's a challenge for Eugene that sometimes gets lost in the fact that they are a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community. But they've got at least one new footbridge and three more in the pipeline.

For more on Eugene's WPA-era Civic Stadium, see this photo essay, wikipedia, and the preservation effort at Friends of Civic Stadium and Eugene Civic Alliance, who had put together a project to renovate it.)


Ann Williams Thomas said...

I think the footbridge is older than that, probably built by the school district, since high school games took place at the stadium as well as minor league ball. I'm having trouble finding the history online. Anyway, yes, not ADA compliant for sure, but always a great place to see an Ems game for free. And sadly also a vantage point for the fire, until the good folks from CAHOOTS (White Bird street outreach team) cleared folks off of it.

What year was the underpass between North Salem and Parrish built? I'm thinking it is of similar vintage.

Ann Williams Thomas said...

OK, a bit later. Circa 1960: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1310&dat=19601206&id=OgBWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=6eIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4205,1057413&hl=en

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

1960! Very interesting. I wonder how much other infrastructure like that predates the bike bill. Thanks for the update!