EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon is just one week away from hosting the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, marking the first time the event has been held in a U.S. city.
The event begins July 15 and runs through July 24. Travel Oregon CEO Todd Davidson said the significance of bringing such a large athletic competition to Oregon cannot be overstated.
"This is the most prestigious track and field event that happens in the world," he said. "It's one of the largest sporting events that happens on a global stage. It's perhaps only surpassed by the Olympics and World Cup Soccer."
Oregon Governor Kate Brown said she's excited to see Oregon and "TrackTown USA" welcome athletes, fans, and media from more than 200 countries for the championships.
"It's an opportunity to showcase the beauty and bounty of Oregon," she said. "It's an opportunity to highlight the amazing small businesses and the products we produce in the state of Oregon. And obviously, an opportunity to boost our economy."
Travel Oregon estimates direct spending by athletes, teams, and fans during the competition could range from $50 million to $200 million. In addition, NBC will broadcast 43 hours of the event.
A boost for smaller rural communities
This week's episode of "Straight Talk" explores the impact of the World Athletics Championships on the state of Oregon, and also on the small communities beyond Eugene that will be hosting teams from around the world.
After being ravaged by the wildfires of 2020, the town of Vida in the McKenzie River Valley has been rebuilding and preparing to host the Irish team. Lifelong Vida resident Cliff Richardson called the hosting duties "an honor."
Michael Bergmann, vice president of the organization McKenzie Community Track, made all the arrangements to host the team in Vida.
"I see the value of popping up track meets in rural communities that can be welcoming and really take ownership in it," he said.
Voters consider changing Portland's form of government
Also in this episode of "Straight Talk," the co-chair of the Portland Charter Commission, Melanie Billings-Yun, explains the reasons the 20-member volunteer group recommended a number of significant changes to Portland's form of government.
The proposed updates include ranked-choice voting, expanding the city council to 12 members elected from four geographic regions and putting the mayor and a professional city administrator in charge of city bureaus.
Both Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Mingus Mapps have expressed concerns about the model being untested and too complicated for one ballot measure. Portland voters will have the final say in the November 2022 election.
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