Following the death of Edwin R. Smith in 2014, friends, family members, and former colleagues asked the City of Eugene Mayor and Council to consider renaming the Washington-Jefferson Park in honor of Mr. Smith due the role he played in securing the land underneath the I-105 bridge back when it was being constructed.
On January 14, 2019, the City Council passed a motion to “request that the Mayor create an ad hoc committee in accordance with council policy on naming of public facilities, to consider the request to rename Washington-Jefferson Park in honor of Edwin Smith.” The committee met over the month of June 2019 and was comprised of former colleagues of Ed Smith, members of the skateboard community, and a representative of the Whiteaker Community Council.
The committee is recommending the park name be changed to Edwin R. Smith Park but that the WJ Skatepark retain its name. Items considered as part of this recommendation included:
- Without Mr. Smith's work, the area would have been filled in, with an embankment up to the bridge, bisecting the neighborhood and offering no public space for recreation.
- The costs associated with the name change amount to approximately $400 for the replacement of one entry sign.
- The proposal received support from the Whiteaker Community Council and the Eugene Parks Foundation
- The change may help reduce the confusion between Washington-Jefferson Park located between 7th and 1st Avenues and Washington Park located at 19th and Washington.
In addition, there was agreement that the WJ Skatepark should retain its name due to the tremendous amount of community effort that created it as well as the fact that it is nationally known by its name. The committee proposed that the new park entry sign read Edwin R. Smith Park and WJ Skatepark.
Public Comment Opportunities
- Written Comments
Comments may be sent to Eugene Mayor and City Council at 125 East 8th Avenue, 2nd floor, Eugene Oregon 97401 or Mayorcouncilandcitymanager@eugene-or.gov
- Comment Deadline
Deadline for submitting comments is July 22, 2019 (City Council action date)
- Public Forum
Regularly scheduled Public Forum at July 8, 2019 City Council Meeting, 7:30 p.m.; Harris Hall, 125 East 8th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon 97401
- Public Hearing
Public Hearing dedicated to this topic on July 15, 2019, 7:30 p.m.; Harris Hall, 125 East 8th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon 97401
Background on Edwin R. Smith
Ed Smith served the City of Eugene in many capacities from 1962 until his retirement in 1991. He was Director of Parks and Recreation from 1964 through 1980, and the Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services from 1988 to 1991. He managed the Eugene Conference Center and Hult Center construction and became Director of the new Facilities Management Department, then Director of Hult Center Operations. He passed away on November 13, 2014. Read more about Ed Smith