I'm surprised you were surprised that people in Oregon care about track. They take that sh*t seriously. It's in their blood.
I had coffee with my cousin, who grew up in Oregon, in Seattle before heading down to the Pre last week. Before I said anything about where I was going, she mentioned that Pre had died forty years ago that weekend. Then she asked if I remembered where I was when I heard he'd died. She was surprised that I didn't.
Have you ever sat in the stands at HHF? If not, you should skip the press for a few hours next time you are in Eugene. You'll find yourself surrounded by real track fans, ordinary people who love the sport and who pay attention. It shows. You hear stuff like: "Oh, Maggie Vessey! Didn't we see her come from out of nowhere to smoke the field?" "Oh, that's right. I'd forgotten about that....Wait, wasn't that the year Jenny Simpson almost beat Burka?" And so on.
(This particular couple seemed a little frosty after I admitted that I didn't remember whether it was Kiprop and Kiplagat who won in 2012.)
PS You should take this with a grain of salt. I'm from Washington, so I'm a little biased on the subject of "nice things about Oregon."