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Eugene Weekly : News : 09.14.06

PEOPLE'S PARADE

Politics, social justice and other Eugene obsessions hit the streets.

Eugeneans know how to put on a people's parade, and along with the marching bands and some commercial entries, this year's Eugene Celebration Parade was dominated by good-natured statements on the political scene, the upcoming election, and the human condition.

Taking top honors this year, but getting scant media attention until right now, was the elaborate Peace Train entry organized by the Million Mom March and a dozen other local peace and social justice organizations. About 80 people marched in the entry.

Betsy Steffensen of the MMM was chief organizer, Tim Boyden was the chief engineer and locomotive builder, David Sonnichsen was assistant engineer, Jerry Brule was box car engineer, Bert Byden was choreographic engineer, Karen Steffensen was chief boxcar artist, Carol Melia was musical engineer.

Participating groups included the MMM, CALC, Democratic Party of Lane County Peace Caucus, Darfur Peace Group, WAND, Department of Peace, Wednesday Peace Vigil at the Federal Building, Women in Black, Unitarians for Peace, Free Suzanne Swift. Veterans Against Torture, Middle East Peace Group "We refuse to be Enemies," and Skipping Stones Magazine..

The statement given to the judges reads: "Here comes the Peace Train! Your families, friends and neighbors have joined with our local peace and justice groups to bring you this wonderful train full of love, compassion, and hope for peace in our community and for our beautiful planet. So come ride the Peace Train, All aboard!"

Following the award announcement, Bert Boyden said, "When peace wins, shouldn't it be on the front page?" and, "We want to thank the judges for letting peace win this year. Today peace wins in Eugene, tomorrow the whole world."

Hundreds of Eugeneans volunteered to make the celebration happen and a preliminary count shows that 14,650 wristbands were sold at the entry gates.— Ted Taylor