Friends of the Springfield Arch
The Springfield/McKenzie Gateway Arch Project
The concept of building a physical embodiment of Springfield’s “Gateway” tagline began to simmer in 2010. The idea was based upon a 1920’s era project that put the city “on the map” when the Springfield Ladies Civic Club mounted a successful fundraising drive that resulted in the construction of the first Gateway Arch, near Glenwood. Although that structure was unfortunately lost to floodwaters only seven years later, a look at historic photos of that arch still communicates the feeling of community pride it generated, as well as creating a desire to see such an icon in person.
Following three years of feasibility analysis, research and meetings with public officials, the Friends of the Springfield Arch has been formed to chart a plan for rebuilding the Springfield Gateway Arch. The group agrees that a strategy focused on introducing visitors to attractions in the areas to the east and to the west of the arch’s portal should be developed.
Such a strategy would build upon the strong cross-marketing approach that has long been a part of the relationships between the city of Springfield and the McKenzie River community. Over a 150 year period, the natural resources of the McKenzie River helped develop the mills that spawned Springfield’s reputation as an industrial area. At the same time, generations of hard workers found relaxation in recreational opportunities upstream that supported the development of the world renowned McKenzie River drift boat, as well as the Pacific Northwest’s guiding industry.
Back in 2010, the proposal called for construction of an arch over Hwy. 126 near Springfield’s eastern city limit. Subsequent discussions with the Oregon Dept. of Transportation have resulted in a modification of that plan which calls for placing the arch in an area adjacent to the highway that would be accessed by a feeder road utilizing deceleration/turn lanes off of Hwy. 126.
The new design would create a very attractive venue that would draw people to a site offering short-stay visitor amenities and a tourist/educational venue constructed in a coordinated manner.