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City Club of Eugene: Can Eugene Save The Ems?

Love Cross

Program date: Jan. 21, 2022
Air date: Jan. 24, 2022

From the City Club of Eugene:

We could lose the beloved Eugene Emeralds.

The only option to keep the Emeralds in Eugene-Springfield is to build a new stadium. Otherwise, Major League Baseball will move the franchise to a new market, and the Emeralds will be gone. But hope is renewed: On December 14, the Lane County Board of Commissioners directed County staff to continue planning efforts for a multi-use stadium for baseball, concerts, and other community events at the Lane County Fairgrounds.

“This is an exciting step forward for the Emeralds to collaborate with the County to secure a permanent home for our team and a venue that will serve as a centerpiece for community and regional events,” according to Allan Benavides, General Manager of the Eugene Emeralds.

This past year has delivered many changes to the way the Emeralds operate. The changes have been positive and exciting, but one, in particular, presents a challenge to the Emeralds and the community. First the exciting changes: the Emeralds have moved two levels UP the Minor League ladder, from Short-Season Single-A to Full Season High-A. They played 76 games in the short-season format. Now the Emeralds play 132 games in a ‘full’ season format, requiring a move from PK Park. They also signed a 10-year affiliate agreement with the San Francisco Giants.

But now the Emeralds must conform to new mandates from Major League Baseball regarding facilities and stadium infrastructure. The requirements include building locker rooms and facilities for female umpires and coaches, updating coaches and umpire facilities, enhancing player performance and practice facilities, and much, much more.

This program addresses the plans for the new stadium and the impact it will have on Eugene.


Allan Benavides is entering his 13th season as the General Manager for the Emeralds, and his 18th season in professional baseball. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, Allan worked in Hollywood for four years as an agent. In December of 2004, he moved into sports, with a focus on offering fans, especially families, unique and affordable experiences. He currently sits on the boards of the Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Valley and the Ted Norman Memorial Baseball Complex.

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