For the past 9 years on the drive to my dental practice in south Eugene I have driven by Civic Stadium. Over this period of time I have witnessed it going from a shiny gold slipper to a worn out shoe.
Located near East 20th Avenue and Willamette Street, adjacent to South Eugene High School, Civic Stadium was built in 1938 and had a seating capacity of 6,800. In October 2008 Civic Stadium was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1969 it became the home of the Eugene Emeralds minor league baseball teamed and they played at the stadium through 2009. Before the departure of the Emeralds in 2009, Civic Stadium was one of the ten oldest active minor league baseball facilities in the United States.
Citing the need of substantial renovations and the estimated cost of $15 million for renovations, the Emeralds played their last game at Civic Stadium in 2009 and moved to the University of Oregon’s PK Park in 2010. The lights were turned off and the curtain was drawn on the era of Civic Stadium as an iconic and memorable venue of summer baseball and magical memories. The grass turned brown, the weeds grew tall, the fences fell and the paint was peeling. The juxtaposition of Civic Stadium and the sports fields of South Eugene across the street was ironic in that one represented a forgone past and the other the hopes and future of youth. June 29th Civic Stadium burned to the ground and the end was confirmed.
The demise of Civic Stadium presented a useful metaphor of our oral health and the need for upkeep and maintenance, and the importance that it provides to our quality of life. Our mouths, like Civic Stadium, are easier to maintain if we don’t abandon them, and if we do abandon our efforts to establish and maintain the health of our mouth, the costs can become exorbitant to later do the renovation. The community of Eugene lost a landmark and a bit of history when Civic Stadium burned down. Put in the work and effort to maintain your oral health and in doing so protect your own legacy of good health.