Mid-valley members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are cheering plans for a new temple in the Eugene area.
Church President Russell Nelson announced in April the intent to build the new temple. Last week its name, the Willamette Valley Oregon Temple, was revealed as well as its size, location and an exterior rendering.
The 10.5-acre site is at the intersection of International Boulevard and Corporate Way in Springfield. No groundbreaking date was announced for the 30,000 square foot single-story temple, which will be the church’s third in Oregon, following Portland and Medford area temples.
“Many members felt deep joy and gratitude at the announcement of this temple. Some of these wonderful members have waited a lifetime for this blessing in their lives,” said Elder David Wright, the area seventy, or regional authority, for the church in the western United States.
“Having a temple this much closer in geography to many members of the church in the Willamette Valley makes it available to more of us on a more frequent basis. That is a reason for our deep gratitude at this announcement.”
Alice Rampton of Corvallis, the area communication co-director for the church, said “the Willamette Valley Oregon Temple will be a beacon for mid-valley members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its proximity will increase accessibility to everyone living closer to the Eugene area and lessen the preparations and time commitment needed to travel to the temples in Portland and Medford.”
Rampton also said that for her “ the temple is a place of peace. I go to a temple for answers to questions, to express gratitude for blessings, to feel relief from sorrow, and to try and catch a glimpse into my relationship with Jesus Christ. It is also a place where I can feel closer to those friends and family members who are living and those who have died. Having a temple closer will be a wonderful opportunity.”
Rampton also talked of the temple as a refuge from the harshness of modern life.
“Kindness and civility are hallmarks within the walls of any temple,” she said. “I’ve never seen anyone speak harshly toward another in the temple. Our world is full of divisiveness and anger right now. I’m thankful for the chance to feel the peace that comes when attending the temple.”
The Latter-day Saints church has shown strong growth in Oregon in recent decades. Church figures show an increase of 105,000 church members since 1970 and 40,000 since 1990. Elder Wright said that “church growth is important to the decision to build a temple.”
The Willamette Valley will serve more than 30,000 church members in the region. Rampton noted than an open house and tours will be held for the public before the temple is dedicated.
“After the dedication,” Rampton said, “the interior will be designated for members who participate in marriage and other faith-based ceremonies, but the outside grounds of the temple will remain open to visitors and those who seek a quiet place for meditation and beauty.”