EUGENE, Ore.- Major League Baseball gave the Eugene Emeralds just two years to move out of PK Park, and into a new stadium, or else they will no longer be a team.
General manager Allan Benavides said there is some overlap when it comes to the Ems season and the University of Oregon's playing season.
"The overlap with the season here limits the amount of practice that we can have to develop our players," Benavides said.
But the overlap isn't the only problem for the team. There are several changes the team has to make to the facilities to keep up with new MLB standards, Benavides said.
"The field basically meets all of the requirements, but you know there's only one locker room at PK park, we don't have facilities for female umpires, female coaching and staff, and locker rooms and showers for them, that's a huge part of our business that's growing," Benavides said. "We need an indoor gym, we need more facility access for our players."
He said there are a few locations the team is scoping out, including on Chad Drive, two others in Springfield, and a possible location by the Eugene Airport. But the main location is at the Lane Events Center.
The team is looking for a place with a community feel and the Lane Events Center delivers, he said.
"We love the idea of being back in the neighborhood and being in a community that used to be like where the Ems were at Civic Stadium," Benavides said.
But there are still several bases that need to be cleared before the Ems can start work on a new stadium.
Rachel Bivens, marketing manager, said the Lane Events Center is still working on a master plan for the facilities on the fairgrounds. "An initial survey just went out to gather some information about how people feel about the fairgrounds and a number of different, little details about it," she said.
It could take up to 18 months to finalize master plans for the fairgrounds, she said. But the MLB said the Ems have to be in their new stadium by the 2024 season.
Benavides said he's not giving up hope just yet. "Sounds like a heavy, heavy, heavy task, and I believe we can get there," he said.