You see him everywhere in Eugene: a lizardy, milquetoast cross between Ned Flanders and Smeagol, he is most commonly sighted in liberal strongholds like Market of Choice or Saturday Market, where he saunters among crowds of like-minded progressives with his placid, smug smile and vapid eyes, surveying all that he approves.
Home to old-growth forests of cedar and hemlock, ancient Douglas firs and even more ancient yews, the H.J. Andrews is a blend of science, nature and art. It’s a beautiful spot to go get muddy and roll around in the wild or to sit and meditate.
Westmoreland Animal Hospital on West 11th took the concept of a cute office fish tank and ran away with it, building an enormous wall of glass prominently displayed in their main office. Giant, glossy fish inhabit the tank, swimming placidly from one side of their domicile to the other. In a vet’s office, where worried owners wait with sick pets, the tank serves a therapeutic purpose, slowly lulling visitors into uninhibited calm.
Have you seen that bronze, no, Creamsicle Adonis, strutting down Broadway, making all the passersby swoon? Some even pat his head or ruffle his belly. His name is Tonto, and he’s the king of downtown. Three humans — Jason Pancoast, Elizabeth Fraser-Paul and Taylor Jones — ostensibly own and run the fantastic Shadowfox art gallery and newly relocated Perk coffeehouse, but it’s pretty clear that Tonto is in charge.
If Jake Pavlak didn’t exist it would be necessary for Eugene’s music scene to invent him. As a guitarist with classic local bands like Buckhorn, Yeltsin and Ferns, Pavlak has proven himself a world-class stylist with unique chord voicings, a highly personal ear for melody and impeccable taste level.
While some mustaches stand tall on the promontory of a man’s upper lip, Stephen Buettler (also known as Pancho of Eugene band Pancho + The Factory) has a mustache that reclines atop his mouth like a Rubenesque portrait, like Burt Reynolds on a bear skin rug, like Bill Murray behind the bar. Buettler’s lip fur is sensual, full of promise and intrigue, unconcerned with other mustaches — confident in its own game. Like a Reggie Miller three-pointer or LeBron in the lane, Buettler’s mouth-warmer is simply untouchable.
Car crashes. Gun shots. Break-ins. House fires. Criminal suspects. Stolen goods. Lost pets. There is very little in the way of suspicious activity in these parts that isn’t immediately posted and infinitely commented upon at Lane County Mugshots Uncensored (LCMU), a Facebook page whose watchdog activities run the gamut from philanthropic and altruistic to nosy and neurotic, sometimes tipping the scales into outright calls for vigilante justice.
An obnoxious design fad is rearing its head in Eugene: structures that look like boxy Nike gear. No new building epitomizes that more than the Hilton Home2 Suites going up at 11th and Olive downtown. The hotel looms ominously close over The Kiva grocery like a “Just Do It” storm cloud (sidenote: Do Eugene city planners understand what a decent setback from the street looks like? The sidewalk along 11th feels like a tightrope except instead of a net, there’s lots of traffic to break your fall).
Filching a page from one of the most baffling political campaigns of the modern era, we asked you to help us Make Eugene Great Again by voting in our annual Best of Eugene readers’ poll. The trouble with governing Eugene by consensus is getting a city of punks, losers, college kids, transients, misfits, strays, normals, hillbillies, skippers, artists, techies and hippies to agree on one definition of greatness. Maybe you prefer Eugene to be a dingy crater with reasonable rents. Could be you’d like to see Eugene clean up its act once and for all. Rather than doing much research or studying trends or even lifting a finger to determine the will of the people, we printed (again for the 20th time, or so) a ballot in the pages of our newspaper and waited. And a few thousand of you responded. Some of you maybe even voted your consciences.
You might think of riverfront land as valuable, but in Eugene’s early days, the flood-prone banks of the Willamette were not where you wanted to build your house or business. In the post “dam all the rivers” era we have a much more stable riverfront (and fewer salmon), but our riversides bear the legacy of the bad decisions of the past. You know like, “Hey, let’s turn the riverside into a dump!
In the doldrums of winter, we stare bleakly out the window, watching rain drip down the windowpane for the 30th day in a row. Our dogs, on the other hand, stare fixedly at us, eyes wide and hopeful that any second, we’ll jump up and go for that coveted walk. Or, even better, the all-exalted run.
While we mere mortals aren’t always up to the challenge, we know who can help us: the Oregon Ruff Runners.
Josh and Samara Kramer, a husband-and-wife team, took the concept of dog walking and amped it up a few notches to provide a service that dogs crave.
What’s not to love about the hulking concrete ellipse with whimsical Swiss cheese-inspired peep holes that graces College Hill’s Washington Park? And who even calls it “Washington Park”? It’s The Cheese Park — or just Cheese Park — and there’s no finer place to eat a snack, play with bark mulch or hide from your parents than the ubiquitous cheese. Generations have grown up in its loopy confines, which provide respite from summer sun, and shelter from winter rain.
Heads swivel almost all the way around when people first see the rainbow-colored rock god shredding quietly at Kesey Square. Paunchy office workers on their way to the Broadway Starbucks don’t seem to be able to process what their eyes are taking in.
They don’t get it. And so maybe they chalk the strange vision up to Eugene quirk.
Nonetheless, Karen Dalyea is doing something very important.
Archie, Little Lulu, Muppets, Charlie Brown, Calvin & Hobbes — they’re all here, in one spot at the Eugene Public Library: Comic Island, a refuge for discerning children who just happen to appreciate that the finer things in life include graphic novels and comic books. Accessible, with comfy benches and a bright window, Comic Island is a quiet place of contemplation, even on a crowded day. The library could consider affording space and funding for a Comic Archipelago, and it would probably be just as popular. Comic Island keeps kids into comics, and that keeps them reading. Bravo!
Five riddled clues were given to a group of about 40 runners on a hot summer afternoon. After taking off down High Street, we darted across town making our way to Sam Bond’s Brewery, the downtown farmers market blocks and the island in the middle of the Alton Baker Park duck pond, where a group of Pokémon-hunting teens asked, “Why are you running?” We didn’t quite make it through our list of destinations, but we stuck around for the raffle and beers that followed our hour-long running adventure.
While waiting for the bus one day, we noticed a long row of colorful Buddhas in a storefront window. We followed the reds, blues, yellows and purple around the room stocked with clothing, scarves, Buddhist gods painted on scrolls, journals printed on recycled paper made by Tibetan refugees living in northern India. We’ve been back to buy jewelry, cards and fragrances for birthdays, housewarmings and the holidays.
Michelle Emmons has advice for women learning to mountain bike: “Stop apologizing,” she says. “You’re enjoying life, and you’re out on your bike. You don’t need to apologize every time you put your foot down on the trail.”
The Eugene City Council Ward 1 race is a contest of progressive candidate versus progressive candidate. The list of supporters and donors to opponents Emily Semple and Josh Skov reads like a who’s who of Eugene Democrats.
When the rainy season begins as usual in the Willamette Valley, at the beginning of October, all is well with the world. This year the rains came in a series of unusually powerful storms, delivering almost twice its average monthly rainfall in the first two weeks. The wind accompanying the storms took down many trees, especially near the coast.
• What happened in the Portland courtroom that caused the jury to acquit Ammon and Ryan Bundy and their accomplices in the 41-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon? One theory is that the prosecution aimed too high with the charges. Another is that Judge Anna Brown should have removed two jurors instead of one when she received a complaint of bias, although that may not have affected the outcome.
• After eight years at its spot on Willamette Street downtown, secondhand shop and costume mecca Kitsch-22 will close in November. The Kitsch-22 team tells EW that the space it has leased at 1022 Willamette is too small for the way the business has expanded, while it would “cost too much money to move somewhere else.” So owner Norman Lent has decided to close up shop and retire.