Chilly dip will raise money for Special Olympics.
The forecast for the Eugene-Springfield area today is partly sunny skies with temperatures of about 50, not bad for a February day in western Oregon. But the temperature of the Willamette River is a few degrees less than that right now. Somewhere in the mid-40s, according to the United States Geological Survey Web site. Not exactly indoor-pool pleasant.
"Cold," said Joann Stoller, director of sports for Special Olympics Oregon.
But not too cold for former University of Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington or Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns. They, along with another 150 other folks, are expected to take the "Polar Plunge" today to raise money for the Special Olympics.
Polar Plunge is an annual fundraiser by the Special Olympics organized by law enforcement agencies. It takes place in communities across the nation.
Today's event at 11 a.m. in Maurie Jacobs Park in Eugene is one of five in Oregon between Jan. 30 and Feb. 26, and the first-ever in Eugene. A Polar Plunge event also takes place in Corvallis today, and Stoller wants more people to come out and register today so that Duck fans can out-raise Beaver fans, she said.
More than $19,000 has been raised for the Eugene event, but that's not as much as Corvallis had raised as of Friday, she said.
Harrington committed to the Polar Plunges in Portland on Jan. 30 and today in Eugene, making an announcement before the Civil War football game between the UO and Oregon State University on Dec. 3.
"In this rivalry, nobody loses," Harrington said.
"I do believe Duck fans will come out on top in terms of raising funds for Special Olympics Oregon through its Polar Plunge fund raisers, but if not, that's one Beaver victory I could actually live with," Harrington said before the Dec. 3 game.
"Plungers" must raise a minimum of $50 but are encouraged to go beyond that, Stoller said. The funds go toward training and competition for Special Olympians, as well as transportation, lodging, meals and uniforms, Stoller said.
In addition to Harrington's UO group, officers from both the Eugene and Springfield police departments will take the plunge, along with UO fraternity and sorority members, she said. And, of course, some Special Olympians.
Members of the Lane County Dive Team and other emergency personnel will be on hand, Stoller said.
What: Take a dip in the Willamette River to raise money for Special Olympics
When: Registration between 8:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. today at the end of North Adams Street; plunge is at 11 a.m.
Where: Maurie Jacobs Park
Who: Joey Harrington, Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns and about 150 others
Cost: $50 donation