Sports Blog

Back To Previous Page

Building a Legacy

Published: March 25, 2022

Many enduring projects will provide value to the region long after the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 comes to the United States for the first time this summer.

Setting the Stage

The World Athletics Championships is the third-largest sporting event in the world behind the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. The event will be hosted in Eugene, Oregon in July and is expected to bring over 55,000 visitors to Oregon over the ten-day period including 2,000 athletes from over 200 countries and territories, and 3,000 members of the media.
 
The event was originally scheduled to be hosted in 2021 but was postponed to 2022 due to the global pandemic.

Legacy Projects

Not unlike the Olympics, the large event has been the catalyst for many projects that will exist well beyond the event that will benefit the local community and the state of Oregon.

McDonald Theater Mural
McDonald Theater Mural by Beau Stanton (USA) - Photo by Ben Schorzman

20x21 Mural Project

The 20x21 Mural Project was an initiative of the City of Eugene Cultural Service’s Public Art Program to create 20 or more world-class outdoor murals in Eugene before the World Athletics Championships Oregon22. The project was led by a highly engaged committee representing collaboration across sectors including communications, law, architecture, small business, nonprofit and the arts. 20×21 brings color and life to Eugene’s urban landscape to foster pride and contribute to a sense of identity. Many well-known US and international artists have contributed to the project including Blek Le Rat of France, Franco Fasoli (JAZ) of Argentina, Kiran Maharjan (H11235) of Nepal and many others. As the project grows, it will seek artist exchanges between Eugene artists and international cities. To date, the project has supported the creation of 23 murals in the city. 
 

Sequoia Seedlings 2021 for 2021
Sequoia Seedlings for 2021 for 2021

2,021 for 2021 Giant Sequoia Planting Project

The City of Eugene 2,021 for 2021 project had a goal of planting 2,021 giant sequoia trees by 2021 (when the event was originally scheduled) to help offset the carbon footprint of the event. With a tree-mendous response from the community, the City of Eugene has already exceeded their goal of planting the 2,021 giant sequoias. The trees were planted in shared public areas such as parks and street medians, as well as in private spaces like schools, local businesses and homes. The 2,021 for 2021 project will boost Eugene's urban forest and turn hosting the championships into a more sustainable opportunity for the southern Willamette Valley. 

Riverfront Park Map
Riverfront Park Site - City of Eugene

Downtown Riverfront Development

Major transformation of Eugene’s downtown riverfront is underway, fulfilling the community’s long-held goal of turning a vacant, inaccessible riverfront lot into a vibrant, active, and accessible riverfront district and community destination. The redevelopment of the Downtown Riverfront has been a part of the community’s vision for decades, reinforced through numerous public engagement opportunities over several years. The City's Urban Renewal Agency now owns 16 acres of riverfront property that will become Eugene’s riverfront neighborhood – directly connecting the downtown and campus areas to the Willamette River and creating more access points for the community to enjoy. This will be the site of the Downtown Riverfront Park that will host the Eugene Riverfront Festival during the event.

Festival
Festival in Park

Eugene Riverfront Festival

As Eugene welcomes the world to this once-in-a-lifetime global event, the City of Eugene and REVERE, an event production company, are working in tandem to create an event that is the cornerstone of a “never before experienced city celebration”, the Eugene Riverfront Festival at the new Downtown Riverfront Park. The vision is to celebrate Eugene and Oregon and serve as the primary “experience hub” during the event. The Eugene Riverfront Festival is an opportunity for Eugene to welcome visitors and celebrate the diversity of cultures that make up Eugene. The festival will create a roadmap for future community events in the Downtown Riverfront Park.

Heart & Home of Track & Field - Hayward
The Heart & Home of Track & Field

Heart & Home of Track & Field Community Branding

Eugene was nicknamed TrackTown when it first hosted the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials back in 1972 and since then has solidified its reputation as being the heart and home of track and field. Travel Lane County has helped develop new community branding designed to welcome athletes and visitors to “The Heart & Home of Track & Field”. An online storefront with branded clothing, caps, lapel pins, buttons, window clings, stickers and more is allowing local businesses and stores to dress up their locations and employees to help show community pride and welcome the world. Although initially created for WCH Oregon22, the brand will help the community welcome visitors to the area for the other dozen track events happening this year and will continue to welcome athletes and spectators for many years to come.

Athletes on Stage
Athletes on Stage Courtesy of TrackTown USA

Champion World Hosts Frontline Training Program

To inspire the local community to be excellent hosts and help deliver positive, meaningful visitor experiences, a training program for frontline hospitality workers has been developed by Travel Lane County. The program provides a seven-day email crash course to learn about the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region of Oregon. It aims to make those who take the course local experts in all the fun things to do and see in the region. At the end of the course, a short quiz tests their knowledge and those who complete the training receive a voucher to the Museum of Natural and Cultural History. A Champion World Hosts website (www.ChampionWorldHosts.com) serves as a resource for anyone that needs quick access to guest services information. The goal is to provide excellent customer service and put Lane County on the map as a destination equipped to host the world in large scale events.

Oregon22 Heritage Trail Plaques
Oregon22 Heritage Trail Plaques

Heritage Trail Commemorating Star Oregon Track Athletes

Twenty-two track and field athletes from Oregon are being commemorated around the state with beautiful plaques that are being placed in relevant locations like their hometowns or where they trained. Visitors can find the trail markers as they travel around the state to learn about the people who have helped develop Oregon’s deep connection to track and field. A website (Oregon22HeritageTrail.org) that details the athletes and their achievements, along with a map of where to find the plaques, is being developed and will launch soon. The plaques will continue to educate visitors to the state for many years to come and encourage track and field fans to explore all the natural wonder the state has to offer along the way.

Hayward Field
Hayward Field at the University of Oregon

Hayward Field at the University of Oregon

Of course, the star of the show is Hayward Field at the University of Oregon. The estimated $270 million renovation of the hallowed venue has produced a masterpiece theater for track and field unlike any other in the world. Unobstructed sightlines, seating at track level, the largest permanent video screen for a track and field stadium in the country, and a 10-story tower housing a museum to showcase the 100-year history of the stadium and Oregon track and field are just the highlights. While not built for the purpose of hosting this event, it’s no doubt the magnificent venue played a significant role in bringing the prestigious event to U.S. soil for the first time. Hayward Field will continue to be an international icon for track and field and history will continue to be made in the venue as records are broken and champions are born in its magic.

Inspiring Generations to Come

Beyond the estimated $52 million in economic income the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 will bring to the region, these legacy projects will continue to serve the community for many years to come. Eugene and the state of Oregon are primed and ready to truly welcome the world and will continue to see the benefits of the programs and projects that have been developed in support of this incredible international track and field event.