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Track and field City declines landmark status for 93-year-old grandstand

EUGENE — The Eugene City Council has declined to nominate Hayward Field’s East Grandstand as a city historic landmark.

The decision Wednesday came as the 93-year-old grandstand at the University of Oregon’s track and field stadium is scheduled for demolition. The venue has played host to numerous U.S. track and field championships and the Olympic trials.

The university plans to build a modern stadium at Hayward Field. The proposed 12,900-seat stadium — expandable to nearly 30,000 seats — would be the site for the 2021 World Track and Field Championships.

The university submitted its demolition permit on April 27 and the city could issue a permit as soon as this week, The Register-Guard reported .

The city will work with the university to determine what to do with the grandstand’s salvaged materials once they’re removed from Hayward Field this summer. Some of the grandstand’s salvaged lumber will be used for signage, as props for photo opportunities for fans, and for elements incorporated in a new museum at the venue, University President Michael Schill said.

City Councilor Alan Zelenka, who represents the area around the university, said on Wednesday his intent was not to stop the project, but wanted the public to be heard about the planned demolition. “I’m not convinced we or the community could persuade them (university officials) otherwise, regardless of how much protest there was,” he said.

Other councilors expressed confidence that the project would honor the history of the venue while accommodating the future track and field athletes and spectators.

In addition to the new stadium, the project includes a new locker, equipment and weight rooms, and an indoor practice area. The project also will create a new home for the university’s Department of Human Physiology.

The proposed nine-story Bowerman Tower will include offices, conference rooms and an observation deck.

A total of 50 donors, led by Nike co-founder and University of Oregon alumnus Phil Knight and his wife, Penny, have pledged to pay for the proposed stadium. The project’s price tag hasn’t been announced.