Eugene officials work to make Pre's Trail a historic landmark

The City of Eugene is working to name Pre's Trail a historic monument. Photo by Hannah Kintner

EUGENE, Ore. - Pre's Trail could soon be named a historic landmark. The city of Eugene already started the process. They're meeting with stakeholders and researching how to prepare for an application.

As the story goes, legendary runner Steve Prefontaine came up with the idea of a trail covered in bark chips after competing in Scandinavia and seeing similar trails there.

The dream of the trail became a reality shortly after Prefontaine died in 1975. Today, it remains a favorite place for local recreation.

"You'd be crazy to live in Eugene and not know how wonderful it is," said Carole Kirkpatrick who uses the trail every day.

The city is in the early stages of possibly making the trail a historic landmark. It's an idea that has garnered support from the parks department and local athletes.

"Yes, definitely, this is a very important thing in Eugene, and it's important as another way to honor Pre and his accomplishments. This is a great one," said Mike Schwab, a Eugene resident who regularly uses the trail.

"The Parks Department has never had any plans of removing the trail. They want it to be there forever, but I think doing this will just further solidify with the community that we're dedicated to the trail and we're dedicated to keeping the trail," said Erik Burg-Johansen, assistant planner for City of Eugene.

The designation could also open potential grant opportunities.

Berg-Johansen says this is a unique case because most historic landmarks are buildings.

Another complication is the criteria for naming a historic landmark. It ordinarily requires the landmark to be at least 50 years old. Pre's Trail is 41.

However, the criteria also say if it's an extremely significant person, structure, or event, then it could still be eligible.

The city is also looking at the possibility of making Pre's Rock a historic landmark.

If all goes according to plan, the city says Pre's Trail could officially become a landmark sometime this summer.

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