Board could push back Civic Stadium proposal deadline

      EUGENE, Ore. The latest proposals for Eugene's Civic Stadium site could be known later rather than sooner, depending on how the Eugene 4J School Board votes on Tuesday night.

      Local attorney Art Johnson sent the board a letter asking for an extension in the proposal deadline, saying it could allow for other possibilities to surface. The board posted an agenda for a special meeting online over the weekend.

      "My feeling is, and we've always said, we want as many proposals as possible," said Mary Walston, Eugene 4J Board chairwoman. "It's a great site and lots of ideas. So if we can generate some more ideas and some more proposals that is a good deal for everybody."

      Walston said it was difficult to call the last minute meeting, but it had to be this week or never.

      "We wanted to have the meeting as soon as possible because with the Thanksgiving holiday, the first time we could actually meet would be December second, only a day before the deadline," she said.

      Eugene 4J students are out on Thanksgiving break and also observing Hanukkah the entire week. Staff members have also been furloughed while students are out. Walston said some board members left town without being notified of a last minute special meeting. She said two have agreed to attend and vote through telephone.

      When asked if she knew what new proposals, other than that being offered by the Eugene YMCA, Fred Meyer and Friends of Civic Stadium, Walston said she had not heard any specifics, only that new proposals could possibly come forward if there was more time.

      But one of the three groups, Friends of Civic Stadium, is also advocating for a deadline extension.

      Dennis Hebert, president of Friends of Civic Stadium, said they have received a large amount of donations in the past few days. The group is trying to raise money for the stadium to be renovated and used for its original purpose, a public sports facility.

      "What we have here is more than just a stadium that needs to be restored. What we have is an opportunity for the community. The opportunity to provide a great venue," Hebert said.

      "Other cities are spending millions of dollars trying to find land and build a sporting venue at the heart of their city. We already have one. We just need to fix it up and get it running again."

      He said his group has raised $200,000 out of their goal of $1.2 Million. Thirty five thousand dollars of that was matched by outside contributors, some from organizations that save endangered local landmarks. The group says if it can have another strong month of fundraising, it can make a case to the city that it has the money to renovate as long as they take it under their jurisdiction from the 4J schools.

      "We hope that the city sees it as a productive amount and that we can move forth from that," Hebert said.

      He said if the deadline is not extended, the group will continue to raise money, but they will make pushes for expedited donations as opposed to a month and a half long fundraising campaign.