The City of Eugene will reopen Trainsong Park on Thursday after consulting with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Oregon Health Authority. DEQ completed soil testing throughout the park earlier this year and recently received the results from a lab. Two small areas will remain closed off for further testing, while much of the park reopens.
DEQ collected additional soil samples at Trainsong Park in February after the unexpected identification of dioxins in the soil closed the park in January. The results of the recent soil sample collection identified two small areas of the park that will need further analysis and possible action to protect public health. Dioxins are a class of toxic chemicals produced by industrial and natural sources. Depending on the level of exposure, dioxins can increase the risk of cancer and the risk of other health effects.
“We closed off portions of Trainsong Park out of an abundance of caution in January,” said Craig Carnagey, Parks and Open Space Division Manager. “Now that more testing has been completed, and following recommendations from DEQ and Oregon Health Authority, we can safely reopen much of the park for community use.”
Several areas of the park were temporarily closed on Jan. 13 until further testing and evaluation had been completed after the dioxins in the soil were discovered. The source of the dioxins remains unknown. DEQ oversaw soil sampling at the park in fall 2021 and the initial results became available in January. The initial soil sampling was taken as part of a background sampling location for the cleanup of the J.H. Baxter & Co. facility. It is unknown what caused the dioxins at Trainsong Park and DEQ doesn’t believe Baxter is the source. DEQ is working with the City of Eugene to further sample the park as a separate investigation from the Baxter cleanup.
During the sampling at Trainsong Park in February, DEQ scientists divided the park into seven units, including the baseball field and grassy areas. The hard, paved surface areas – such as the skate park, basketball courts and playground – were not included in the soil sample collections because of the surface cover and limited possibility of soil contact.
For the areas that remain closed, DEQ, OHA and the City will work together on a plan to determine if soil remediation will be necessary. The City’s top priority is ensuring the safety of community members and park visitors.
See the Trainsong Park FAQ.