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Glenwood’s Indoor Track Facility: A Few Questions

August 3rd, 2019 by dk

I’m as excited as anyone by the prospect of an indoor track facility in Glenwood. My son recently bought his first house in Glenwood, motivated partly by the aspirational plans for the area. The listing agent shrewdly posted them in the dining room to capture a buyer’s attention.

We’ve known for decades that Glenwood will boom soon. We just didn’t know from which direction that boom would come. A surge from the east would return the area to its West Springfield roots, extending downtown as it did a century ago.

The burst could have come from the north, replicating the mix of hotels and shopping in the Gateway area. But now it looks like the energy and vision will come from the west, extending the reach of the University of Oregon and meeting some pent-up demands that downtown Eugene and the Lane Events Center can’t accommodate.

Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg, former TrackTown USA leader Vin Lananna, and TrackTown USA CEO Michael Reilly are solidly behind the project. “We’re working away madly,” Lundberg said. “We’re meeting every week … to make sure that the indoor track is as much a world-class facility as Hayward Field is.”

I have some questions.

Lundberg characterized the track facility as Springfield’s “priority 1A” and a convention center as “priority 1B.” Can one start without the other, or are their fates conjoined?

If the two don’t have to be connected, can the track be built on the inland side of Franklin Boulevard? River views won’t be critical to its success. Another skybridge could always be added over Franklin if necessary.

Travel Lane County representative Andy Vobora described the planned facility as “multi-use,” but that can be interpreted many ways. How will such a large and prominent development be designed so that it’s active all the time?

What will be the University of Oregon’s role in building and maintaining it? They’ll certainly want space for practice and training, but the multi-use aspect promises other opportunities. Poorly conceived sports facilities can become urban “dead zones,” producing a net loss for its neighborhood’s safety and economy.

More to the point, how (and how publicly) will Phil Knight be involved? Will he pay for head-turning architectural design that matches Hayward Field?

Lundberg announced, “We want cranes up by the spring of 2021.” Does that mean its exterior shell could be up in time for 2021 World Championships? The area’s leaders are determined to project imagination and ambition during our moment in the sports world spotlight. Having this structure rising from the ground by July 2021 will tell the world that TrackTown USA isn’t slowing its pace anytime soon.

Parking will always be a bone of contention when a large-capacity structure is sited near neighborhoods. Will this project include a sky tram over the river, allowing Autzen stadium’s plentiful parking to serve this facility, as well as Hayward Field, Matthew Knight Arena, and general campus needs?

Some questions will be answered quickly. Others may be debated for years. Fortunately, TrackTown USA made that name for itself first with long-distance running.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at

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