Originally Posted by Matt B.
You have to love the 4:30 pm Friday announcement. In a nutshell: no 18 hole course, still has to be pay-to-play or completely funded and maintained by a third party.
Will people pay to play a short 12-15 hole course? Can a vendor make a living and maintain a course just selling discs and maybe snacks?
Stay tuned for another 12-18 months and find out.
Thank you very much to everyone who provided feedback to the City of Eugene in the form of survey responses, emails, letters, etc. when we asked for your support. It did make a difference and it is very much appreciated! When the disc golf community sticks together and raises its collective voice we can accomplish a lot.
I was really upset when we got the decision that the original proposed footprint had been modified and the course could not cross the trail. But now that I've had some time to calm down and read the decision a few times I think overall that this is a very positive step, and that we really won here.
This course proposal was in real danger of being scrapped due to the opposition from the Oregon Track Club Board of Directors. Not just modified, but scrapped completely. THE OTC board wanted the course out of West Alton Baker completely and they did everything they could to make that happen, both behind the scenes and with a public media campaign. They not only targeted the proposal with a "Guest Viewpoint" in the paper but someone also sent Steve Prefontaine's half-sister out to all the local tv stations with a bunch of misinformation to accuse disc golfers of "destroying" the trail and disrespecting the "memorial". The OTC board denies being behind Ms. Prefontaine's hysterical antics and I believe that, but she was clearly informed and encouraged by someone parroting their agenda.
The OTC board is very well connected in Eugene, and the OTC and Pre's trail is very well funded by big donors. They were able to get meetings with City officials that the disc golf community could not get. When the City invited five disc golfers to a joint walkthrough of the proposed course, the OTC board brought ten people and proceeded to browbeat us, cut us off as we spoke, and say things that were simply not true about the course proposal. The City officials stood mute and let us take the heat.
If we had not answered their media campaign with one of our own and rallied disc golfers to provide input, the OTC probably would have blown the course out of the water. So from that perspective I think we were successful and we finally exercised a little muscle as a constituency in Eugene.
So this is good news, but we need to be guarded in our optimism. This course has not been approved. The 'footprint' has been modified and approved. We made it over this hurdle but that was just the one placed in front of us by the OTC board. Maybe I'm being pessimistic but I don't see this course going in this Fall or anytime soon. Considering the glacial pace of this process we need to stay patient and keep expectations reasonable. The City now has to work on a Request For Proposal to make public. As far as I know, they have not decided on any contract language or even been working on the RFP. We do not know what any vendor may or may not be allowed to do in terms of sales or what a vendor may be required to have in the way of insurance, business license, etc. etc. I'm not sure starting a pay-to-play venture in the Winter would even be a good idea for a vendor.
Until the RFP comes out we are still waiting. A new course layout needs to be designed and approved. And although the language of the decision seems to indicate that all the "stakeholders" are now okay with the footprint, new objections could still arise from the OTC, the Cuthbert people or someone else. As we just saw, the opinions and desires of the other "stakeholders" have a lot of weight in this process and can easily overpower the feedback and desires of hundreds of regular park users. So we do need to stay positive and stay flexible and recognize the power these groups have and find a way to work with them.
And although I agree with the sentiment that it is important to have 18 holes for the long term success of the course, we have to remember that if we want to modify the footprint again, it is going to be another "process" dependent on another decision with more "stakeholder" involvement and potential opposition, etc. etc. etc. We just saw how long it took to get the OTC to state their opposition, gather feedback, campaign for what we wanted, and wait for a decision on it - two friggin' years! I'm not against the idea per se, but just keep that in mind.
In the meantime we still have general approval to run tournaments like the Food Toss, and I hope Andrew will have a Winter Series event at the site as well. When we are there we need to remember where we are in the process and who is watching. We won this battle but we are still a ways from getting the course installed with a lot of unknown terrain ahead of us. Let's stay positive and keep working together!