After several months of preparation, the restoration of Washington Jefferson Park has started. The City of Eugene has secured contractors to replace soil and grass and repair irrigation and electrical systems in the portion of the park south of the railroad tracks.
The restoration budget is $810,000 and will be paid for with federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The southern portions of the park (between the Union Pacific tracks and W. 7th Avenue) are expected to reopen over the winter after new grass is fully established.
In response to neighborhood and user suggestions, during the restoration a new walkway will be added through the park to improve community safety and connect W. 4th Avenue between Washington and Jefferson streets.
The park closed to the public March 16, after being the site of a temporary camp for unhoused people during the height of the pandemic. The City then assessed the needs of park systems including turf and soil, irrigation, electrical and lighting, and infrastructure and hard surfaces, and identified contractors to perform restoration work. The northern section of the park including the skate park and horseshoe pits, between the tracks and W. 1st Avenue, has remained open and will remain accessible.
When the restored portion of the park reopens, all City Park Rules will be in effect including a prohibition on camping, and the park will be closed overnight. Parks and Open Space staff, including Eugene Police Park Resource Officers, visit City parks regularly to promote safe and clean park enjoyment in accordance with Park Rules. Parking Services and police also address issues in the park.
Anderson’s Erosion of Junction City began irrigation system repair September 12, including replacing broken parts, sprinkler heads and compromised water lines in the section of the park between the railroad tracks and W. 5th Avenue. Soon after, Weiland Electric of Eugene will begin replacement of lighting fixtures and wiring in the same section.
After the irrigation work is done, Anderson’s will remove turf and topsoil in varying depths depending on need, replace with clean topsoil, and then seed new grass. City assessments this past spring showed that small debris, including needles, had been compacted into the ground to a depth of between one and about five inches. The City's project manager estimates that an average of about three inches of soil will be removed across the restoration area.
Work will go section-by-section, from the area between the tracks and W. 5th Avenue, to the portion between W. 5th and W. 6th avenues, and then finally between W. 6th and W. 7th avenues. After new turf has taken hold, the City will clean and refurbish hard surfaces like sidewalks before reopening the park.