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DuckTownHusker's Travel Guide: Oregon Game

DuckTownHusker

Blackshirt Sith Lord
10 Year Member
Hi all,

After several requests, I've put together some thoughts for those of you traveling to the game this fall. Apologies as this is going to be a long post. If you have specific questions about certain hotels, restaurants, etc., please feel free to post them here rather than sending me a PM, as there's a good chance others will have similar questions. Also, I don't claim a monopoly on Eugene, as BehindEnemyLines currently lives here as well and Impaler has lived here in the past. Anyone is welcome to add to the thread; these are just my thoughts.

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Considerations for Nebraskans

As a native Nebraskan, there are a few things that caught me off guard when I moved to Eugene. Here are a few quick tips to help you out:


  • Oregon has no sales tax. The sticker price is the price you pay.

  • It’s illegal to pump your own gas. Oregon is one of two states (NJ) that enforce full-service gas stations. Just pull up, pop open your gas tank door if there’s a latch and hand the attendant your card. If you try to start pumping, you’ll get yelled at.

  • Bicycles/Pedestrians have the right of way. Technically, this is true in Nebraska but in practicality nobody on foot tries to wrestle a combine or cement truck. In Oregon, cars CAN AND WILL brake for bikes/foot traffic. FREQUENTLY. There are also dedicated bike lanes that hug the right curb in many places, so double check when you’re about to make a right-hand turn.

  • There is a big culture difference between Eugene and Springfield. I try to avoid stereotypes, but in general, Eugene is very liberal and Springfield is very conservative. I-5 bisects the metro area, so on one side people hug animals and literally across the highway is a massive Cabella’s where they buy guns to shoot the animals. You’ll see both types at Duck games, so don’t assume everyone is a bleeding heart, liberal, west coaster.

  • Panhandling is practically a constitutional right in Eugene. We have a ton of homeless. I won’t dive into the economic and social issues that can/cannot address that issue, but the fact remains that you will see people asking for handouts at practically every major intersection in town. Living here you build up a tolerance, but if you’re one who feels compelled to give a few bucks to those on the street you’ll want to either bring a big sack of nickels or learn to get over that fast. From personal experience volunteering, my opinion is that the “legitimate” homeless are typically living at the mission here in town while the “freeloader” types flock to street corners to separate you from your money. You won’t get mugged, but you’ll be asked nicely.

Travel to Eugene

The simplest option from Nebraska is to fly. There are usually a couple flights each day from Omaha to Eugene. They typically connect via Denver or Salt Lake, which means you’ll have two flights of about 90-120 minutes each. The Eugene Airport (Mahlon Sweet Field, airport code EUG) is much smaller than Omaha and on your return trip you’ll likely breeze through security in about 15 minutes. I actually enjoy flying out of this airport quite a bit.


Amtrak also connects between Omaha and Eugene, but it typically goes north through Minneapolis or Chicago and then westward along the Canadian border states and then down through Washington and the Portland metro. It’s certainly an overnight type of trip.


Finally, the last option is to road trip which is almost exactly 24 hours of drive time. Makes for three 8-hour days or two 12-hour days.


Getting Around Eugene

Eugene itself is very similar to Lincoln in many ways. It’s a college town, has a population around the 200-300k mark and has short commutes. I-5 runs north/south and essentially bisects Eugene and neighboring Springfield. Everything to the west is Eugene, while everything east is Springfield. Both cities share a bus service, Lane Transit District, and are very walkable/bikeable cities. That being said, if you’re flying in I would budget for a rental car. The bus service is Eugene isn’t bad, but it largely caters around campus and downtown, which is fine for the football game but poor for seeing anything else you might want to look at.


Accommodations

Eugene/Springfield has a TON of hotel space available, thanks to the Olympic track and field trials and numerous other “global” events in the area. You can find decent, clean rooms for around $100 a night. Some of the older motels downtown or on campus show their age, so check reviews.


Dining

Eugene has too many restaurants to review. However, if you’re looking for the local flair, expect a lot of sustainable and “farm-to-table” type restaurants. Oregonians are big on being eco-friendly, so you’ll often find local hubs cater to vegan, organic, conflict-free and other sensitivities. If you’re eating cheap, parts of downtown are ripe with food trucks. Otherwise, for dinner I’d highly recommend Sabai (Thai) or Beppe & Gianni’s (Italian). Expect lines at either, especially on game day. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants on the campus-side of the river as well. Wild Duck and Rennie's Landing are local favorites.


A sub category should almost be created for Eugene’s pub and brewery scene. There are dozens of craft brewers in the city (and in the state) and the Willamette Valley boasts some of the best wine in the world. The Cooler is the closest bar to the stadium and has great atmosphere on game day, but it's always packed.


Tailgating

Oregon fans are very passionate about tailgating and you’ll find that many locations are within walking distance to the stadium. For those looking to host their own tailgate I'd recommend using facilities at Eugene’s Scottish Rite Lodge. It costs $50 a spot for the entire day and is directly across the street from Autzen Stadium. A bit on the more expensive side for space rent out here, but the proximity to the stadium more than makes up for it. I've also been told the adjacent Boy Scout lot accepts tailgaters for a fee.


For those looking to join an existing tailgate, they can go to the Moshofsky Center (Ducks’ indoor practice facility) up two hours before the game. Food and beer are available for purchase. For an outdoor experience, Essig Field also offers a tailgate open to the public, and has food and drink for purchase.


Parking

If it's a nice day, I recommend parking on campus and walking. It's a bit of a hike, but a nice walk across the river. Also note that the parking meters are generally free on weekends, but check your specific meter. Some hotspots allow only 2-hour parking or may still charge a fee on Saturdays.


If you prefer not to deal with parking, a shuttle service is offered on game days for a small fee. The shuttles start four hours before and leave from the Symantec campus (Springfield) and Valley River Center (shopping mall, Eugene) among other places.


Know Your Opponent

Oregon first fielded football teams in 1894 and were known as the Webfoots until the 1960s when the name formally adopted “Ducks” as their mascot. Autzen Stadium is Oregon’s current home and seats about 54k fans. Ironically, the stadium is named after Thomas J. Autzen, a Portland businessman and alumni of the Oregon State Beavers. While the stadium is diminutive compared to some of the palaces in the Big Ten, expect a loud, noisy affair. The conical shape of the stadium helps draw sound down to field level and it’s not uncommon for Duck games to surpass 125 decibels.


It’s no secret that the UO and Nike are intertwined and it’s very evident in Duck facilities. The Moshofsky Center, opened in 1998 and was the first indoor practice facility in the Pac-10. The $14.6 million facility includes a full-length football field, a four-lane running track and an automated system in place to raise and lower batting cages.

The Hatfield-Dowlin Complex is immediately adjacent to Autzen Stadium and was completed in 2013 and has a 25,000 sqft weight room, both grass and turf football fields and full service dining for all student athletes and staff. The complex also houses Oregon’s football trophies along with Marcus Mariota’s Heisman. They are open to the public on game days.


Quick Duck Facts

  • Conference Titles: 12

  • Division Titles: 4

  • Heisman Winners: 1

  • Consensus All Americans: 8

  • All Time Bowl Record: 30 Appearances, 13W / 17L

  • All Time Record: 641-486-46 (0.566)
 

DuckTownHusker

Blackshirt Sith Lord
10 Year Member
I should add that I'm indebted to my friend Dennis for proving a lot of the information on tailgating and UO facilities. He's a massive Duck fan and made the trip last summer to Lincoln. Super glad to have had his input on this.
 

EastOfEden

Junior Varsity
10 Year Member
I'm not going there from DC, but I found the post a great way to understand the area a bit. I had no idea about the Springfield part of the equation. Some poster local to each away game should do that for each away game, if they have the time and inclination. Thanks for posting.
 

Pops

I have squandered my resistance
15 Year Member
Thinking about this game.. PNW is my heaven on earth. Know many in the area that have asked me to come on lets do this
 

Huskerthom

All Big 10
5 Year Member
I'm not going there from DC, but I found the post a great way to understand the area a bit. I had no idea about the Springfield part of the equation. Some poster local to each away game should do that for each away game, if they have the time and inclination. Thanks for posting.
Well next year (2018 season)when the boys come to MD You, ThotDoc and I can put together some info.
 

DuckTownHusker

Blackshirt Sith Lord
10 Year Member
I'm not going there from DC, but I found the post a great way to understand the area a bit. I had no idea about the Springfield part of the equation. Some poster local to each away game should do that for each away game, if they have the time and inclination. Thanks for posting.
Springfield is actually very similar to Nebraska in many regards. Lots of hunting, fishing and farming in some of the outlying areas. It is pretty funny to see the dichotomy between Eugene and Springfield because Eugene leans so hard to the left and Springfield is very conservative. For example Eugene practically encourages their homeless problem while Springfield has passed a law making it illegal to transfer items from somebody in a moving car to a pedestrian. They passed it under the guise of not inhibiting the flow of traffic but it effectively served to force all the bums to go panhandle in Eugene.
 
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