Car rental agency

2022 World Championships in Athletics: What to know if you’re flying or driving to Eugene

The city of Eugene is expecting a wave of out-of-town visitors when it hosts the Oregon22 World Championships in Athletics in July. Here’s what those driving or flying around town can expect:

Eugene has a domestic airport with flights as far east as Chicago and Dallas. Airport manager Cathryn Stephens said the airport has already returned to pre-pandemic traffic levels and she expects the world championships in athletics to make things even better busy.

The airport added three new airlines in the past year, including Southwest Airlines, which Stephens said increased passenger capacity at the airport by 50%.

Stephens said the airport also plans to offer new translation services for non-English speakers, which she said will continue after the event.

Portland International Airport does not expect major spikes in travelers due to the event, Portland Port spokesman Kama Simonds said. But she said the airport would likely provide buses and shuttles from Portland to Eugene for athletes and their gear.

Six hotels in Eugene offer shuttles to and from the airport, including a handful downtown and the Valley River Inn, about three miles from the college campus. Stephens said the Lane Transit District, Eugene’s public transit service, will also provide a shuttle from the airport to downtown during the event.

The city has several car rental companies, but some of them have sold part of their fleet during the pandemic and have not replenished their stock, said Andy Vobora, spokesman for Travel Lane County. A nationwide shortage of rental cars has further tightened supply.

Depending on the rental sites, the cars are either sold out for the event or very expensive. Alamo and all four Enterprise Rent-A-Car locations in the area were full for the weekends that wrapped up the event. Hertz cars were hovering around $200 a day for the weekend, and even car rentals in Portland will be in short supply during the event.

“We suspect rental cars will be expensive here, as they are in many destinations,” Vobora said.

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— Jayati Ramakrishnan