Update: As of Friday. Only Hayduke can stop the bulldozers now. It’s public property, but there’s no process for input from anyone but the UO President and the donor.
Update: Can Historic Hayward Field supporters convince Uncle Phil to call off the bulldozers?
… Unfortunately, not many people understand “high performance sports,” let alone architecture, so it’s relatively easy to put a shiny object in their view and get them excited. That is the phenomena we are facing today. The University of Oregon won’t say boo because it just recently became the beneficiary of Knight’s very generous gift of $500 million for science. The gift will change the University of Oregon forever, in a good way.
The same could be said of this $200 million gift to Hayward Field, except that the change will be a negative one for track and field in the long run. Let me explain. …
I sincerely hope that collectively and individually your voices and those of many concerned fans and athletes alike will speak to Phil in this final hour. Please don’t let this mistake of epic proportion be the eventual end of the Hayward Field magic.
— Tinker Hatfield
5/31/2018: Here’s a brief report on tonight’s public meeting. KEZI has a report and video, and the Daily Emerald will have more info on the teardown in their Monday edition, which will also be distributed at the NCAA championships this June 6-9 at “Historic Hayward Field”.
There were about 45 in attendance. A mix of university and neighborhood and, judging by comments and BMI, many serious track and field people. If there was anyone from the UO administration or the UO Foundation taking notes they kept their head down.
The organizers were very clear that they supported the IAAF 2021 meet and were enthusiastic about renovating Hayward Field for it, and the audience was too. They just don’t want the historic part torn down.
The meeting was very well run by Bob Penny, and the speakers provided a lot of new information. Jim Tice from Architecture even brought a model of the East Grandstand, built back in the day by one of Marion Ross’s students. Out of wood, of course.
Peter John Thompson, a coach, adviser on stadium projects worldwide, and an IAAF employee for 20 years (I wonder if the FBI has deposed him yet) showed data on how UO had started inflating Hayward Field attendance numbers, presumably as part of their pitch to the IAAF, and was now trying to use those numbers to justify a larger stadium. He explained why a small stadium with space for temporary expansion makes more sense for Track and Field: most meets have about 6,000 spectators, which looks and feels silly for fans and athletes in a big stadium. He also had a fascinating explanation, with photos, for why fans love the East Grandstand bleacher seating so much: the state high school track meets run for 3 days, 9 hours a day, and the athletes can stretch out and nap with their families when they’re not on the field. I understand why people hire this guy to consult on stadiums.
Don Peting, Professor Emeritus of Architecture and Historic Preservation, showed the once secret 2016 preservation report on the East Grandstand, and explained that UO’s strategic communicators had been
strategically mis-communicating lying about it. The Eugene Weekly has a report from Meerah Powell on the truth here.
Robert Melnick, Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture, and a former dean of what is now known as the COD, presented some inaccurate information about the campus planning process, stating it requires meetings of the Campus Planning Committee before approval of major construction. Actually, as amended by some former UO president – I think Frohnmayer – it explicitly allows the president to declare a project as not subject to input from the CPC or anyone but him or herself and the donor. President Schill has made this declaration for the Hayward Field teardown/replacement.
Prof Otto Poticha, Architecture, had more useful information. He has been in contact with the city Planning and Development Department, and reports that they have approved UO’s demolition permit and plan to issue it Friday or early next week. He explained that as soon as it is issued UO can bring in the bulldozers, at which point further public opposition to the teardown is moot. Yes there may be lead paint issues, and yes UO may have to pay a fine for not dealing with them, but that will be post-hoc.
However, Bob Penny wrapped up the meeting by noting that the teardown is not yet a done deal.
First, it would be a problem to bulldoze the grandstand this Monday or Tuesday, given that the NCAA championships start on Wednesday and run through Saturday. So next Sunday would be the earliest plausible day for starting the demo.
Second, it appears that Phil Knight may be having second thoughts on the teardown. Ken Goe reported in the Oregonian yesterday:
I’m hearing from multiple sources that several personal appeals have been made in recent days to Nike co-founder Phil Knight by people who know and respect him. They want the modern design scrapped in favor of one that would address the world championships requirements while preserving the the current look of Hayward as much as possible. Knight and wife, Penny, are lead donors for the reconstruction.
And as it happens President Schill is off to Portland tomorrow.