Crews take down lights off Eugene Civic Stadium

Crews take down lights off Eugene Civic Stadium »Play Video
A crane yanks a piece of light frame off the grandstand

EUGENE, Ore. -  Welders took down the old lights, the metal support cage and the tower supporting the cage atop the grandstands at Eugene Civic Stadium on Monday.

They had to water down the old roof on the west grandstands because the sparks started to fly.

Members of Save Civic Stadium were on hand to watch how the crew from Stratton Construction handled dismantling the old lights. Crews will continue their work at Civic Stadium on Tuesday.

The lights were decades-old hand-me-down - and may have weighed too heavy on the over 70-year-old wooden grandstands.

"The main factor that we've been talking about for years is that we feel that it's undue stress that's been put on the roof since they were installed 40 years ago," said Dennis Herbert, a member of the board of Save Civic Stadium.

Hence the smiles at the sight of crews demolish a part of Eugene Civic Stadium.

"This is wonderful to see," said Tom Halferty, another member of Save Civic board. "I see this as step one of the restoration of Civic Stadium."

The wooden grandstands are "still in good shape," Halferty said. "Those are really strong timbers under there, and it's worth preserving, and I see this as step one.  Yeah, thank you school district."

Even as salvage crews take care of the old light stands, Save Civisc is trying to salvage the chances for a long-range plan to renovate the old ballpark.

Sheldon Berman, Eugene 4J school superintendent, pulled the plug on any short term lease offers, saying it's best for the Eugene 4J School District to sell the property.

Herbert still thinks a combined plan with Save Civic and the Eugene Y is possible.

"We're still in talks with some ownership groups of the United Soccer League to see about getting a team here to anchor," he said. "We're still working with the Y."

Still out there: a proposal to turn the 10 acres into a shopping center anchored by a Fred Meyer store.

"Odds are still 50-50; that's how it goes," Herbert said. "I mean, the Cardinals are going into the World Series."