Responses to ‘Field of Schemes’

A response to Heather Marek, Anya Dobrowolski and Christine Beneda “Field of Schemes” 

A response to the guest viewpoint by Heather Marek, Anya Dobrowolski and Christine Beneda  

By Ted Coopman 

The voters for Ward 1 Eugene City Council deserve a campaign based on facts, policy and experience not hyperbolic lies and character assassination. 

The guest viewpoint “Field of Schemes” signals a level of desperation and fear of the likelihood of success for both my candidacy and the [Ems multiuse] stadium bond. 

Mischaracterization of a candidate and personal attacks are an unfortunate toxic aspect of politics, and you need to accept that stepping into the political arena. Certainly, the meanness is consistent with the authors’ previous behaviors towards their neighbors.

However, the denigration of my spouse, Stephanie, and delegitimizing elected Jefferson Westside Neighbors neighborhood association volunteers are beyond the pale.

Stephanie is a university professor, textbook author, philanthropist and tireless neighborhood volunteer. She is not merely “his wife.”  She is a strong professional woman with her own mind and her own opinions, not an appendage of her husband. As women, the authors should know better.

The JWN Executive Board is responding to the egregious lies and misrepresentation of the comprehensive outreach around the Ems Stadium and interactions between Allan Benavides and the JWN.

I encourage readers to look at my full list of campaign contributors to get an accurate picture of my support (search ORESTAR and then Ted Coopman), which are overwhelmingly individual neighbors. You can also view my long list of supporters in my ad in [the print] issue and at TedCoopman.com.

Ted M. Coopman is the six-time elected chair of Jefferson Westside Neighbors and a candidate for Eugene City Council, Ward 1. 

Editor’s Note: Eugene Weekly’s policy is to call people by their first and last names on first reference to show respect, however Ted Coopman clarified Stephanie Coopman was OK with being called by her first name only in his viewpoint. 

JWN Board Response to May 9 Guest Viewpoint

By Jefferson Westside Neighbors Board Members

In a May 9  Eugene Weekly guest viewpoint, Heather Marek, Anya Dobrowolski and Christine Beneda presented their reasons for dismissing Ted Coopman as a qualified candidate to represent Ward 1 on Eugene City Council. In so doing they misconstrued the actions of the Jefferson Westside Neighbors Association. We would like to add some additional information to the topics broached by Marek, Dobrowolski and Beneda.

Coopman has strong neighborhood support. He has been elected to the JWN board eight times; twice as a board member-at-large and six times as chair, where he has served with distinction in representing the community.

The JWN board voted in 2021 to support the athletic facility at the Lane Events Center with the Emeralds as the anchor tenant. Ted Coopman’s 2023 testimony before a state legislative committee was a factual reiteration of the 2021 JWN board position to support the Ems [multiuse] Stadium at the Fairgrounds if neighborhood concerns could be worked out.

The JWN has held six public meetings that included information on the Ems Stadium. Ems representatives and Lane County staff attended these meetings. As with all JWN meetings, everyone — JWN members and the general public — are welcome to attend and ask questions. Neighbors have been kept updated via eNews and mailed newsletters.

The “surveys” referenced [in the viewpoint] reached a tiny fraction of residents and were not impartial, representative or large enough to be statistically valid.

JWN volunteers have worked to update historic property surveys and explore the possibility of creating an historic district since fall 2022. As part of a neighborhood- wide fundraising effort, the Emeralds’ general manager, Allan Benavides, offered to match donations up to $1,500. Neighbors’ donations exceeded that match, contributing $2,100 to the project. Under Oregon law, a historic district is prohibited from excluding development of middle housing.

Anya Dobrowolski was elected to the JWN Board in 2023, replacing Stephanie Coopman, Ted’s spouse. However, Dobrowolski immediately refused to serve on the board after being elected. Stephanie Coopman remained on the board and was re-elected in 2024.

As a chartered Eugene neighborhood association, Jefferson Westside Neighbors does not endorse or promote candidates.

Jefferson Westside Neighbors Board Members
Sandra Bishop, 45-year JWN resident
Peter Borden, 4-year JWN resident
Stephanie Coopman, 8-year JWN resident
Sue Cummings, 23-year JWN resident
Rene Kane, 45-year JWN resident
Penny Melquist, 25-year JWN resident

The above members of the JWN board were re-elected at the April 9 general membership meeting. They have served between two and eight years on the board. 

Allan Benavides Responds to ‘Field of Schemes’

Upon reading the “Field of Schemes” viewpoint I feel disappointed and saddened by the tone and continued falsehoods directed at myself, the team and the JWN association.

Eugene, we’re better than this. Over the past several years, we’ve actively volunteered for community events like the JWN picnic and the Monroe Park Cleanup and contributed a matching grant to fund the JWN Historic District task force, as we have with numerous other nonprofits. We’ve attended countless city council and county commissioners’ meetings to advocate for our cause. Without the broader community’s support, we wouldn’t have come this far; it’s the countless emails flooding elected officials’ inboxes with expressions of support that have kept this project alive.

This proposed $15 million bond is one of the city’s smallest, averaging just $22 annually for property owners. In return, we’ll have a beautiful new facility capable of hosting graduations, concerts, high school baseball games and, of course, EmeraldsSportsball.com events.

I’m immensely proud to work for the Elmore family, who have entrusted me to run this team for the community’s benefit. Whether organizing Pride night, hosting Monarcas Beisbol events, or our annual Boys and Girls Club Field of Dreams Fundraiser, the Elmores always encourage us to do more. During the pandemic, while other sports teams closed doors, the Elmores funded us and urged us to assist those in need.

Despite lucrative job offers over my 15 years leading this team, I’ve chosen to stay in Eugene because of this remarkable place and its committed ownership.

Allan Benavides is the general manager of the Eugene Emeralds.