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Eugene Weekly : Coverstory : 10.1.2009

Around Town

Put down the books and go see Eugene

By Camilla Mortensen

Some students get to Eugene and think they’ve finally made it to the big city. Others get to Eugene and wonder where the city is. Whether you’re from the middle of nowhere or you just drove north from L.A. to enroll in what is known to many as the University of California-Eugene, the “World’s Greatest City of the Arts and the Outdoors” (no, we’re not making that up; that’s really Eugene’s slogan) has plenty of things to do off campus when you aren’t slaving over your studies. 

Photo by Naomi Levit

Members of the over-21 set who want to combine a little beer with their pop culture can just wander a couple blocks off campus down 13th Avenue (everyone will call it 13th Street, but it’s an avenue, trust us) until you come to Max’s Tavern. Not only does Max’s provide free popcorn with your beer, but rumor has it that it’s the inspiration for Moe’s Tavern on The Simpsons. Simpson’s creator Matt Groening is from Oregon, after all. 

Don’t stand still for too long on 13th, or more precisely, don’t stand in that nebulous space between the curb and the sidewalk. That’s illegal from the south side of 12th to north side of 14th; and from campus to Pearl Street. It’s also illegal to skateboard or walk a dog in that zone. This apparently was an effort on the part of the city to move panhandlers and such off 13th.

You probably already know that UO was the setting for Animal House, with the food fight taking place in the EMU Fishbowl and the rest of the film shot around campus and in downtown Cottage Grove. If you want to continue having your beers on the sites of film and TV scenes, then head out Highway 58 and head on over to the Dexter Lake Club where Boon, Pinto and Flounder found their favorite music group, Otis Day and the Knights, singing “Shama Lama Ding Dong.”

Now that we’ve corrupted you with drink and movie watching, you can get a little healthier by going for a run on some of the trails and tracks frequented by UO’s beloved track star Steve Prefontaine (the subject of another film shot around Eugene, Without Limits.) Running fans will often make the pilgrimage to Hayward Field on the UO campus and a less cheerful trip to Pre’s Rock, a shrine near the intersection of Birch Street and Skyline, near Hendricks Park, where Pre died in a car wreck. The runners often leave race numbers, shoes and other running paraphernalia. Heads up for traffic: It’s a blind curve. 

What Eugene is really famous for, of course, is what some call hippies and others call alternative lifestyles. We’ve got several local “intentional communities” (formerly known as communes) and one clothing optional resort (formerly known as a nudist colony). If you’re not quite ready to head out to one of those communities, you can get a taste of Eugene’s alternative art and culture at the Saturday Market until mid-November at 8th and Oak starting at 10 am each Saturday.

And if you really want to embrace being a “Duck,” wander across Franklin Boulevard to the river path, over to Mount Pisgah or any of Eugene’s other parks, where you can walk, people watch and birdwatch. You’ll see everything from ducks to raptors. Just do us a favor and don’t feed the birds (it’s bad for them) or shoot them with BB guns (that’s also bad for them, and illegal, as some members of the UO basketball team discovered last year). Go Ducks.

 

Back To Campus 2009:

Hope, Homework & the Trauma of Composting Incoming UO students reflect on beginning of college, and life thereafter 

Dress A Duck Winners Announced

Around Town Put down the books and go see Eugene

School Gadgetry Contributing to delinquency