City gives OK for demolishing soon to be former Historic Hayward Field

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?

Austin Meek has many new details in the RG today including quotes from Knight et al. Ken Goe has a blunt open letter from Tinker Hatfield here. Worth reading it all, here’s a snippet:

… 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.

For more info check the East Grandstand Supporters Facebook page at and for more docs see

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18 Responses to City gives OK for demolishing soon to be former Historic Hayward Field

  1. Just another volunteer says:

    “I said, ‘Phil, I love ya, but I’m still pissed about this whole project,’” Hatfield recalled. “He looked up at me and goes, ‘Tinker, without problems, there is no business.’”

    Today’s RG lead story – at least Uncle Phil is honest about his interests and not shy about using the power of the purse.

    I just wish they’d look at alternative sites since this will be a major pain for the entire neighborhood – traffic, noise, parking, etc. I get that this is the professional sports franchise the powers that be want (city and amours admin) but it really belongs across the river with the rest of the empire.

    • Dog says:

      I agree completely with this.

      We already have a semi-professional sports complex in Autzen Stadium – that stadium could have been modified to accommodate
      the rare event coming to Hayward – instead, we are going to overbuild a new creation, for a one time event, similar to the way that we overbuilt Matt court given the size of the surrounding area.

      Was there ever a time in history where we learned from the past?

      • Pollyanna says:

        Short answer: no. How many days/nights a year is the Matthew Knight Arena actually being used, let alone bringing in dollars?

  2. ex-fan says:

    ‘Tinker, without problems, there is no business.’”

    What the hell does this even mean? In the current context, I’d say it means he has to be the center and he will create problems not just to get his own way but make a big rumble about it in the process. He’s the maligned narcissist who loves to read his own press.

    In the article with Meek, he describes his own college race that, in his mind, had the crowd on their feet cheering louder than for Andrew Wheeting in 2008. Puh-leeze!

    For all those who have posted comments about process, you’ll see in Meek’s article that the process with “stakeholders” was moving along just fine until not enough attention was being paid to Knight. At that point, he just splashed down into the middle of it like a spoiled child, forcing his designer and his opinion. It’s the same old story with Knight, and Shill is too much of an A-kisser to say no.

    • uomatters says:

      Thanks Bob, that’s one hell of a letter! I added a link and excerpt in my post.

      • Dog says:

        I believe the point of any arena is to support and enhance the performers ability – not to degrade it. How about we replace
        autzen turf with concrete and see how that might enhance

    • Inquiring Minds says:

      Two well worded excerpts regarding the architecture being all about Form over FUNCTION:
      ” The 20-foot high stone wall, although nice for a fortress, is not so great for Eugene, unless we are expecting a medieval military attack from Corvallis. The wall, completely severs the community from the track because it’s both a physical and metaphorical barrier. Hayward Field is, in part, a unique and desirable venue BECAUSE it’s connected to students, visitors and casual passersby on a day in and day out basis. It’s a friendly and accessible community asset.”
      “As for performance design, virtually ANYBODY who has ever competed in a horseshoe shaped stadium can attest to the creation of swirling winds which hinder performance and destroy confidence. I’m simply flabbergasted by the lack of consideration for the most important criteria of a good sports venue.”

  3. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    A RG op ed by Bob Melnick former UO dean. About how UO has bypassed the official process, at the behest of the principal donor?

    Is this the same Bob Melnick who some years back took over the art museum, bypassing official process, at the behest of the principal donor? Or am I mistaken?

    I would like to hear please from people with better memories than mine.

    • ? says:

      No more OUS to meddle in the affairs of d-owners(donors)?

    • uomatters says:

      I’d missed Melnick’s op-ed. As much as I hope the FBI digs up some good shit on the IAAF deal soon, and as bad as Pres Schill and Phil Knight have been on transparency and process, I think Melnick’s attempt to equate their efforts to erect a giant dick on campus with the evils of apartheid is perhaps just slightly over-the-top:

      In 1948, Alan Paton published his now famous book, “Cry, the Beloved Country,” about the evils and crimes of apartheid in South Africa. It is now time to say, “Cry, the beloved university.”

    • Better Memory? says:

      Not at the behest of the principal donor, rather at the behest of the Dave Frohnmayer and Alan Price after the principal donor and the wife of the chair of the Oregon Campaign threatened to pull a “Knight,” that is to make a public announcement of the withdrawal of their financial support from the UO unless a negative outside report about their messing with the museum was suppressed and administrative control switched from the Provost to the VP for Advancement, to which Frohnmayer and Price, of course bowed. Melnick is doing the same now that he did then, only without the support of the UO administration, trying to save the UO from the UO’s inclination to subscribe to the perverted ways of the world.

  4. Barbie123 says:

    “City Gives Okay for Demolishing. . . ” Lol. I am trying to insert a photo of the former city hall…also given the “okay to demolish” by the Eugenian Powers that Be. . . but it’s still, unfortunately, just an empty lot, full of gravel and broken dreams.

    • Dog says:

      don’t forget about the former Civic Stadium and “plans” to do something else with that land. Just like the west eugene “parkway”

      eugene planning gives the pace, glacial, a whole new meaning

  5. Privatized says:

    “I think Oregon has a great president. He has said that the university has to look at itself as a private university” Meek quoted Knight. Well, that about sums it up. The UO is no longer a public university serving the citizens of Oregon. It’s Phil’s private fiefdom.

    • ? says:

      ODOT should also look at themselves as a private institution as well then as they do not take any money from the legislature at all; as opposed to the the state and federal dollars that subsidize the UO AND a whole lot of Oregon student tuition increasingly in the form of loans that saddle our citizens with debt for the rest of their lives. Even if the state does not pay a penny, it and its administrators should not consider the UO private until someone comes up with a wad of cash to buy it from the state.

  6. environmental necessity says:

    Hayward Field is being demolished starting this afternoon. I’d post a photo, but don’t know how to do that. Crews are removing the bleacher seats even as (probably because) East Grandstand Supporters are preparing their lawsuit.

    The whole thing sucks.

    Awful, offensive, rude non-planning process complete with bait-and-switch, large-scale deception and double-dealing, and maybe fraud to secure the 2021 event “necessitating” the demolition.

    This is majorly shameful sh*t by UO, Schill, Tracktown, Knight, etc., and I am a defender of Knight against most of my faculty colleagues most of the time. I am like the biggest poor booster of the UO you have ever met and I am losing my zeal over this monstrous affair.