Fred Meyer

4J Board Approves Civic Sale to Eugene

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EUGENE, Ore. — The future of historic Civic Stadium is not in the hands of the city of Eugene. Every single member of the 4J school board said this was a very difficult decision to make. but, in the end the city’s offer would bring money to the district the quickest, which is why six of the seven board members voted in favor of the city’s offer.

The board said the city’s offer had the least financial risks and would benefit the community. The Eugene YMCA and Fred Meyer were the other two players in the running to acquire the stadium.

Another key part of the discussion was preserving the historic ballpark. Eugene City Councilor George Brown said this is a move in the right direction, but there’s still more work to be done to finalize the sale.

“The really hard work starts now raising that $3 million for the rehabilitation of the property,” said Brown.

“I really do think it is possible that this is a great opportunity for making our city stronger,” said Jennifer Gellar, 4J School Board member.

With this approval the city now has nine months to come up with a concrete plan for the stadium’s future.

Brown said he’s hopeful they’ll find financial backers during that time. The school board said it’s hopeful they’ll find financial backers during those nine months.

And even though Fred Meyer didn’t get the board’s vote, it’s still hopeful to expand in South Eugene. It’s offer included building a boutique style store and housing, and would’ve brought in $5.25 million to the 4J district.

The retailer said it hasn’t found any other properties it’s interested in in that area of town.

“But if there’s another opportunity whenever it is in the future for that piece of land we’ll definitely be interested in it, it’s a great spot,” said Melinda Merrill, Fred Meyer spokesperson.

The retailer said if the property were to become available in nine months, it would get back in the game to purchase the property.

The school board also said it hopes the YMCA will be able to find another property to expand its facilities.

Board to Select Civic Stadium Buyer

2-19 civic stadiumEUGENE, Ore. — It’s been years in the making, and Wednesday a buyer may finally be selected for Civic Stadium.

The stadium has been vacant ever since the Eugene Emeralds baseball team decided to relocate for the 2010 season.

Wednesday, the Eugene school board may finally select an offer. There are three bids: from the city of Eugene, the Eugene Family YMCA and Fred Meyer. Earlier this month, superintendent Shelley Berman recommended the district sell the stadium to the city for $4.5 million under some conditions. While the YMCA and Fred Meyer say they respect his input, they are hopeful going into the meeting.

“We’re hoping the school board will vote in favor of our proposal, but regardless, we’re optimistic that we will land on our feet somewhere, somehow,” says Julie Grossman with the YMCA.

And Fred Meyer spokesperson Pat Walsh says, “Wednesday night will be a big evening for the community and we hope that the school district will pick the Fred Meyer bid. If not, we will be ready and waiting in case one of the other bids doesn’t work out.”

Fred Meyer has stepped up efforts leading up to the decision with ads both in the newspaper and on the radio. In the end, it’s all up to the school board, which is comprised of seven members. The board will decide whether to go forward with the superintendent’s recommendation to go with the city’s offer, or file a motion to do something else.

The public is invited to attend the meeting. It starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at the Education Center on N. Monroe.

Civic and PK: The Tale of Two Ballparks and One Franchise

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Civic and PK: The Tale of Two Ballparks and One Franchise

Nate Gartrell, EDN

In August, the Springfield Museum opened an exhibit dedicated to the Eugene Emeralds, and their history. Two current Ems players, relief pitcher Will Scott, and catcher Jeremy Rodriguez, attended the opening, and spent their time there chatting with fans and inspecting Emeralds memorabilia.

An Ems game at Civic Stadium, in 2004

At one point in the evening, Rodriguez noticed a photograph of South Eugene’s Civic Stadium, the Ems’ home from 1969 through 2009. In the photo, Civic’s grandstand, built in 1938, was full of fans, and its field, full of Emeralds. Rodriguez’s face lit up.

“Hey, check this out,” said Rodriguez, excitedly tapping his teammate on the shoulder. “That must be the old stadium.”

There was once a time, of course, when every Emerald knew Civic by name; it was their field for more than 40 years, the longest time span of any Ems ballpark. Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt played there, as did long-time major leaguers Mike Sweeney and Bob Boone, to name a few.

But, as the Ems continue their tenure at PK Park, that era of Ems baseball becomes increasingly distant. By moving, and hiring a largely new staff, the Ems organization has indicated its willingness to begin a new era, at PK. Still, a lot of questions about the future remain, both for Civic, and the Ems franchise.

Among them: Can the Ems franchise sustain itself, given that they angered some in the community when they left Civic, after 2009? Will baseball ever be played at Civic Stadium again? And, more to the point, what does the future hold for the 72-year-old stadium, and its iconic grandstand?

PK Park, during an Ems game in 2011

With regards to the former question, the Ems organization seems to be heading in a more prosperous direction, after a post-Civic drop in attendance raised concerns. Their average attendance for their last three seasons at Civic, 2007-2009, was 126,093. In 2010, the Ems’ first year at PK Park, the organization drew much less: 107, 561.

PK Park’s capacity is significantly less than Civic’s; Civic held 6,500, while PK can hold roughly 4,500. Still, many attributed the attendance drop-off to the fact that the Ems were no longer at Civic.

“We had senior citizens who would come to that park every home game, get up in the bleachers, and just root for the Ems, win or lose,” George McPherson, the Ems’ center fielder during their championship 1974 and 1975 seasons, said. “And we lost that whole senior community (after the move to PK).”

The two parks couldn’t be more different; Civic was built as a Works Progress Administration project, and it’s grandstand is made of wood. PK, built 70 years later in 2008 by the University of Oregon, is made of concrete and metal.

After the move, grumbles about PK started mounting. Some fans complained, for instance, that PK’s net, which extends from dugout to dugout, blocked out the field of play. Or that PK’s bleacher section, a small metal grandstand in left field, didn’t compare to Civic’s, which allowed more room for children to run around.

“We knew that there were going to be some struggles with the move from Civic to PK,” Onalee Carson, Ems Director of Community Outreach, said. “It was disheartening to have so many people boycott it, when they hadn’t even seen the product that we have at PK Park.”

In 2011, though, the Ems’ fan base showed more of a willingness to accept PK Park as the Ems’ new home. Regular season attendance increased, to 114,690, and the Ems ranked third overall in attendance in the Northwest League.

“We really didn’t change much from last year to this year,” Carson said. “I think what’s drawing people in is, in this offseason, we were out in the community a little more. For instance, our mascot, Sluggo, did a kids’ reading program.”

Part of the credit, though, undoubtedly goes to the Emeralds players, who turned heads this year when they secured the Ems’ first division title since 2000, and broke a 38-year-old win streak record in the Northwest League, with 14 straight victories.

The outside of Civic, which has yet to be leased, despite offers from around the community.

Another cause of the jump in attendance was the Ems’ willingness to run marketing campaigns in the Springfield area. PK Park, located next to Autzen Stadium, is significantly closer to Springfield than Civic.

“We’ve been developing relationships with (Springfield) and North Eugene,” said Carson. “We had our second annual Springfield Community Day at PK Park this year, so Springfield feels like they have some ownership of the Emeralds.”

That game drew 4,661 fans, the biggest crowd of Ems fans ever to attend a game at PK Park.

Carson is on her second year with the team; her tenure started after the Ems left Civic. Additionally, the Ems’ General Manager, Allan Benavides, as well as their assistant general manager, food and beverage director, and director of corporate sales, all joined the franchise in 2011. All of this emphasizes that the Ems franchise is in restart mode.

Civic’s future, meanwhile, is still up for grabs. The Ems, when they left in 2009, cited a number of problems with the field, including limited locker room space, bathroom availability, and similar structural issues. Two years later, the ballpark has yet to find a new team, or frankly, a purpose.

The 4J School District, which owns the property, has yet to even lease it to anyone. The city council, meanwhile, recently rejected three proposals that would have allowed the property to be changed into a YMCA facility, a soccer stadium, or a Fred Meyer outlet. In the meantime, Civic’s grandstand remains empty.

But some in town are trying to change that. The community group Save Civic Stadium is currently working in partnership with a local YMCA chapter and local business owner Rick Wright, to accommodate both the YMCA, which wants to build a facility on the property, and Save Civic, which wants to preserve the grandstand and renovate Civic into a soccer stadium, rather than hold out hope that the field will be used for baseball again.

A view of PK during a 2011 night game. Photo taken by Jeff Matarrese

“I don’t think (baseball’s return to Civic) is in the stars, as much as it would be wonderful,” Dennis Hebert, Chairman of Save Civic’s Board said . “Soccer’s the latest, greatest thing, and we’re just going to go for it. Everyone we’ve talked to, and the study we had done last year, show that there is a big demand for soccer right now.”

Save Civic has also been organizing Civic clean-up days, which usually take place on weekends. Hebert, a once-avid Ems fan, who attended a handful of Ems games in 2010, but couldn’t bring himself to go during the 2011 season, said the group will continue to maintain the field indefinitely.

“No matter what happens, we’re going to try and keep looking good,” Hebert said. “After the Ems left, 4J just kind of let it go. That was disconcerting to us as well as a lot of people around town.”

Hebert pointed to Civic’s history, as a football stadium, then a baseball field, which housed everything from independent lumber mill leagues, to high school teams, to professional baseball. Just as the Ems are trying to adapt to their new home at PK, Hebert said his organization is trying to begin a new era at Civic.

“This is part of a history that tens of thousands of people have ownership in; every football player in town from 1938 to 1969 played football there,” Hebert said. “And they had graduation there until 1974 for South Eugene High School. How could anyone think of tearing this place down? It’s an icon in the community.”

May 23 – Evening Update

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May 23, Evening Update:

Tim Chuey: Mostly cloudy this evening with a good (50%) chance of scattered showers and a slight (20%) chance of thunderstorms, partly cloudy then becoming mostly cloudy Tuesday AM.

Bank Robbery Suspect Flees Police in High Speed Pursuit: – Eugene Police Officer Aaron Johns responded to a bank robbery that had just occurred at Pacific Continental Bank, 2021 River Road, shortly before 3:00 p.m.  While speaking with a witness he observed a vehicle that he believed to be the suspect in the robbery leaving the area on Beltline Highway.  Officer Johns attempted to initiate a car stop but the vehicle fled and a pursuit ensued.  Several officers from neighboring agencies including Springfield Police and Oregon State Police assisted in the apprehension and the driver ultimately complied on northbound I-5 just north of the Beltline exit.

Investigators have learned that a single male suspect, Robert Allen Little, 54, entered the bank and demanded cash, leaving with an undisclosed amount.  Robert Little then left the area in a Toyota Tercel driven by his son Matthew Little, 31.  The two failed to comply when Officer Johns initiated his emergency lights; leading responding officers on a pursuit through the freeways of Eugene.  The suspects finally complied, stopping north of the Beltline exit on I-5 at approximately 3:10 p.m.  Traffic was temporarily stopped as a safety precaution while the two men were taken into custody.

While no weapon was observed during bank robbery officers did locate a handgun in the vehicle during the arrest, both will be lodged at the Lane County Jail on applicable charges.

THREE YEAR OLD CHILD FOUND WANDERING IN THE STREET – Police Officers responded to Irvington and Byron on a reported three year old child found wandering in the area. The child was found with no shoes and the child stated his father was “asleep.” Officers determined the child lived about three blocks away. Officers found the father, Eric Bunge, in bed and according to the police report he was intoxicated.  When told that his son was found wandering about three blocks away Bunge didn’t seem unduly alarmed. Officers determined Bunge had consumed alcohol and marijuana.  The child was released into the custody of his grandmother.

FBI: Eugene crime down – A report released Monday by the FBI shows certain crimes are on the decline in Eugene, but Eugene Police say the numbers don’t quite add up.

Groups join forces on Civic Stadium plan – Two Eugene groups are joining forces to keep a Fred Meyer store from replacing historic Civic Stadium. KVAL News has learned that Save Civic Stadium and the Eugene YMCA will present a joint plan.

Sheriff: Man found in sleeping bag died from injuries – Deputies said a man found in sleeping bag died after suffering severe wounds to his head and torso, and had probably been dead two weeks.

Oregon Senate against spiritual defense for murder – The Oregon Senate voted to drop faith healing as a legal defense to murder or manslaughter.

Fingers crossed: Hoping old painting is valuable – The PBS show “Antiques Roadshow” is headed to Eugene in just a couple of weeks, and local antique owners are dusting off their family heirlooms.

AAA: Oregon gas price drops 3 cents to $3.93 – The AAA auto club reports the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Oregon is $3.93.

Faith Healing no longer an acceptable defense in murder and manslaughter cases.

May 20 – Morning Headlines

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May 20 – Morning Headlines:

Tim Chuey: – Look for more clouds for your Friday, lots of clouds but not much rainfall for the weekend.

House Fire Fatality in West Eugene – One person dies in Eugene house fire One person died Thursday afternoon in a house fire at 2044 Aldabra St. off Barger Drive in west Eugene, District Fire Chief Craig Shelby said at the scene.

FLORENCE CELEBRATES ITS BRIDGE – By the time the first car rolled over the new Siuslaw River Bridge in 1936, the city’s annual Rhododendron Festival was almost 30 years old.

Medical pot changes debated – Medical marijuana advocates turned out in force at the Capitol on Thursday to take part in a sometimes-rowdy public hearing on a bill that would make a number of changes to Oregon’s medical marijuana laws.

Fred Meyer vote tips balance – With the support of a fourth Eugene School Board member, Steve Master and Peter Powell apparently have the votes to be selected as redevelopers of the Civic Stadium site.

Man, 38, gets 19 years in Blachly sexual abuse – A Lane County man will serve nearly 19 years in prison for molesting a 9-year-old girl inside her family’s Blachly home, prosecutors said. Jason Paul Waltman, 38, pleaded guilty Thursday.

Cultural competency bill fails again – For the second day in a row, a split partisan vote in the Oregon House on Thursday stopped a bill aimed at advancing the cultural understanding of minorities among the state’s licensed heal care providers, in order to improve the quality of health care minorities receive.

Coburg Community School celebrates end of an era & new charter – Coburg Community School is 150 years old and will be shutting its doors this summer; next year, Coburg Community Charter School will welcome 150 students.

Second Oregon horse tests positive for equine virus – A second horse in Oregon has tested positive for a potentially fatal virus linked to a cutting horse show in Utah.

Coburg Community School will become Coburg Community Charter School next year.

May 19 – Morning Headlines

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May 19 – Morning Headlines

Tim Chuey: – A beautiful sunny and warmer day for your Thursday, clouds increase Friday, then a chance of showers for the weekend.

Man gets 13-year sentence for rape in long-cold case – A former Springfield man was sentenced Wednesday to more than 13 years in prison in connection with a long-cold rape case in Eugene. Jason Richard Papaleo’s own DNA fingered him for the 1998 rape.

Russell backs Fred Meyer plan – Eugene School District Superintendent George Russell on Wednesday recommended that the school board select the developers who want to build a Fred Meyer-anchored shopping center on the Civic Stadium

Confederated Tribes take on Florence Housing Issue – Since before the real estate boom and before its bust, the City of Rhododendrons has been in dire need of one thing, aside from sunshine in December: affordable rental housing.

Measure pursues timber payments – Following in the footsteps of the House, the Oregon Senate this week unanimously approved a measure urging Congress to reauthorize and extend federal timber funds.

Split board taps top county official – In a split vote Wednesday, the Lane County Board of Commissioners moved to make acting County Administrator Liane Richardson the permanent holder of the county’s top administrative post.

Budget cuts ahead for Lane County unemployment help agency – A big budget cut of 15 to 20% is coming for a major conduit, Lane Workforce Partnership, that helps the jobless find new work in Lane County.

Horse in Oregon tests positive for contagious, potentially fatal virus – One horse in Oregon has tested positive.

Russell favors Meyer plans for Civic site

April 7 – Morning Headlines

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Thursday morning headlines:

Mayor’s e-mail riles potential Fred Meyer developer
Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy last month showed her preference for two of the three suitors for Civic Stadium, suggesting that they join forces to eliminate the proposal to build a Fred Meyer store on the property.
RV company fire damage estimated at $400,000
A fire at The RV Corral on Highway 99 just after 5 p.m. Wednesday caused an estimated $400,000 in damage to the business’ detail shop, but firefighters were able to save a dozen RVs parked as close as 10 feet away
Lawmakers toss out cigarette-butt litter bill
Sen. Floyd Prozanski’s effort to reduce cigarette-butt littering has been stubbed out by lack of support. The bill would have made the act of cigarette-butt littering a Class D violation for unlawful disposal of a tobacco product, punishable by a $90 fine.
Derek Ean Jackson sentenced to 18-years
Jackson was sentenced Wednesday to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter for recklessly and fatally abusing his baby son last June.
Panel airs abortion regulation bill
For the first time since 2005, anti-abortion legislation received a brief airing Wednesday in the Oregon Legislature. The House Judiciary Committee held an informational session on House Bill 3512, which would prohibit abortions once a pregnancy is in its 20th week, barring a medical emergency threatening the mother’s life.
Roseburg man pleads guilty to child sex abuse
Spencer Blackketter, 40, of Roseburg, has pleaded guilty to child sex abuse charges after making a plea deal with prosecutors.
Oregon FOX Auditions
Registration ends today at 11:59 pm for live vocal music auditions to be held Saturday at Oregon FOX studios, 2940 Chad Drive; check-in is from 9 am to 11 am; each contestant given up to 30 seconds to sing.
Picking up the paddle: there’s a new store in town!
A new sports retail store will pick up the paddle this weekend to celebrate their grand opening. Oregon Paddle Sports opens on Saturday, April 9 on Commercial Street in West Eugene.
Eugene-Springfield Foreclosure Rates Up in January
Foreclosure rates in the Eugene-Springfield increased for the month of January compared to last year.

early morning somewhere it isn't raining...

March 28 – Morning Headlines

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Here are the local headlines as of this morning:

Tim Chuey Weather:
The jet stream shows a trough of low pressure ( “U” shaped area) swinging through the Pacific Northwest with another one following behind it. A frontal system moved through the area bringing a mixture of sunshine  and wet weather. We’ll see another frontal system move in Tuesday followed by another Wednesday and Wednesday night. It’s been a long time coming, but a high pressure ridge (“arch” shape shown at the end of the jet stream movie) will build in late next week warming us up a bit so it will feel more like Spring. It’s about time. It still looks like the rain will still hang around though.
Body of fisherman found in river
Sheriff’s deputies on Sunday recovered the body of a man who died in a boating accident Saturday while fishing with two friends on the McKenzie River. The victim was identified as 59-year-old Warren C. Moran Jr. of Eugene.
Airline’s glitch grounds many flights
Alaska Airlines and its Horizon Air affiliate said Sunday that they have resolved a computer outage that led to cancellation of 152 flights a day earlier, disrupting travel plans for more than 12,000 passengers.
Room rental internet scam takes Eugene college students for thousands
Eugene Police are warning students to beware of a new twist on an old internet scam
Four people are in custody after police spot a stolen car.
Four people are in custody after a short stand-off in the parking lot of Fred Meyer, on West 11th. A Eugene Police Officer spotted a car involved in a burglary that occurred last week. Police followed the car to the parking lot of Fred Meyer and with guns drawn, officers took three men and one woman out of the car and into custody.

March 16 – Morning Headlines

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Here are the local Wednesday morning headlines:

Tim Chuey Weather
The rainy weather will stick around, but without the high winds.
County to raze Extension building
The Lane County commissioners voted narrowly Tuesday to raze the building that formerly housed the Lane County Extension services this summer, opting to make more room for the county fairgrounds to expand its offerings.
Judge upholds city tax ballot title
The ballot measure for Eugene’s income tax for schools can be presented to voters in May without a word being changed, Lane County Circuit Judge Lauren Holland ruled Tuesday.
Barista describes robbery that turned into shooting
A Dutch Bros. barista testified Tuesday in Brandon Lee Plunk’s robbery and attempted murder trial, publicly describing for the first time what led the coffee worker to fatally shoot Plunk’s alleged accomplice during an armed robbery last Thanksgiving Eve.
Board gets first vote on Eugene bond issue
The board will vote on whether to refer a $70 million bond measure to the May 17 ballot. Thursday is the deadline for filing to place measures on the ballot.
Pair questions police encounter
Police say multiple issues led Agent Tom Schulke to question the men’s intentions on the afternoon of March 3. “The fact that Salmon and his roommate, Josh Kennedy, are black is not one of those reasons”.
Fred Meyer to adjust vets’ pay, pension benefits
The Oregon attorney general’s office and the state’s veterans affairs agency say Fred Meyer Stores has agreed to change some of its employment practices following complaints from veterans.

March 15 – Morning Headlines

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The morning headlines:

Tim Chuey Weather Forecast
More rain and wind, hopefully not as much as over the weekend.
Freddy’s best for Civic site, panel says
The proposal to build a Fred Meyer store on the 10-acre Civic Stadium site through a land lease should be strongly considered by the structure’s cash-strapped property owner, the Eugene School District.
Time capsule contains bit of irony
As others have learned, to beat the drums on the opening of a time capsule is to roll the dice as well.
Its for my glaucoma
Dylan Richard Weiss was arrested by an Oregon State Police trooper on charges that he was driving under the influence of intoxicants — in a car whose trunk contained approximately 5 pounds of marijuana.
Tree falls on Springfield home
Doctors are calling a Springfield man a “walking miracle” after a tree sliced his home in half, pinning him to his sofa.
Brian Lanker, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, dies in Oregon at 63
Brian Lanker, who won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography in 1973, has died at his Eugene home.
Retirement home sues over renovation job
Cascade Manor has sued Chambers Construction and Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects.
Why is there no looting in Japan?
This isn’t local, but it is worth a moment.