by Jim Watson
A century ago Eugene's Mercy Hospital was located on College Hill (see blog post "Eugene General/Mercy Hospital"). To connect the closest College Crest trolley stop on Willamette Street to the hospital, stairs were constructed in 1910. Though both the hospital and the trolley disappeared in the mid-1920s, the stairs remain across Willamette Street from Civic Park.
The stairs, perhaps the last of their kind, connected to one of Eugene’s trolley routes that was part of a streetcar system that was once described as the greatest for a small city in the United States. The pioneer railway is remembered for having employed Wiley Griffin, Oregon’s first black trolley operator.
Gwynne McLaughlin spearheaded a project to paint a mural on the stairs to honor their history while preventing the graffiti that has plagued them. Muralist Ila Rose painted the mural in May of 2019. Questions? Interest in helping keep the mural in good shape? Please contact Jim at email@example.com.
Black and White Images Property of Lane County History Museum. Used by Permission. Historical information compliments of Andrew Fisher.
Monday, January 20, 2020, 9:00am – 12:00pm
Westmoreland Park sports fields and in the surrounding Friendly neighborhood
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Make a lifelong investment in water quality, carbon reduction, and provide shade: plant a tree! This MLK Day on Monday, January 20, 2020, volunteers will improve the environment, community, and economy by planting trees in Westmoreland Park around the sports fields and in the surrounding Friendly neighborhood.
This is a family-friendly event. Rain or shine. No experience necessary. All volunteers will be entered to win a limited edition sequoia sweatshirt and other Eugene Outdoors swag. Tools and snacks will be provided.
Property owners may request to plant a tree on their property, or in the right-of-way adjacent to their property, through Friends of Trees online.
For more information about Friends of Trees, including how to join a tree planting crew to plant trees around Eugene or Springfield, to support the planting crew with hot soup, food, or beverages, or to donate, visit the Friends of Trees website.
Members of the Friendly Area Neighbors are invited to recycle their qualifying plastics at the next FAN Plastics Collection event.
Friendly Area Neighborhood Plastics Collection
Thursday, January 23, 2020, 5:00 to 6:25 PM (before the FAN General Meeting)
Washington Park Community Center, 2025 Washington Street, Eugene
We recommend scheduling an appointment. Appointments will be honored before walk-ins. Appointments are available in 15-minute blocks. We will email you a reminder and suggest times with fewer appointments to reduce your wait.
Welcome to the "new normal" for plastics recycling. You are doing something good for our stressed oceans and the environment.
And please stay for the FAN Annual Meeting to follow.
The Eugene Carbon Free Challenge is enabling Eugene residents to learn more about their personal carbon footprint and ways to reduce it. Visit the Eugene Carbon Free Challenge (ECFC) website.
This is a joint project of 350 Eugene, City of Eugene, and EWEB to help our neighbors begin to reduce our collective carbon emissions now as part of the Eugene Climate Action Plan. The ECFC team is working to reach as many residents, businesses, faith groups, and NGOs as we can from July to December 2019.
The Carbon Free Challenge consists of a website where each user has their own personal account. After creating and logging into your account, you take an Energy Profile survey of your current energy consumption. The result of the survey determines your personal carbon footprint in tons of CO2/person/year. Your footprint is shown next to a range of where other countries per person CO2 footprints measure, as well as showing the global goal of reducing all human produced emissions to 2.0 CO2 tons/person/year.
After learning what your CO2 footprint looks like, you can move on to choosing "Actions" from over 60 choices—ranging from Easy to Medium to Challenging—in terms of size and cost. Your personal carbon footprint always remains private information to you, but the Actions you complete are rolled up into "Team", "Community Group", and City of Eugene CO2 reduction totals which are viewable on the front page of the site as shown above.
The Friendly Area Neighbors (FAN) Board viewed a demo of the ECFC website on Tuesday, September 3, 2019, to help our neighborhood understand more about the goals of this project. Now we need your help to engage more of your neighbors! You can join our community group "Friendly Area Neighbors" from your Dashboard, clicking the link "Join a Community Group", then start typing to find and select "Friendly Area Neighbors" as shown below.
You can also host a House Party to help with ECFC outreach, and the team will be glad to help you present this website to a gathering of your local street neighbors at a House Party you host. If you prefer to do the presentation yourself, that's fine too. They will provide you handouts and training as needed. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
Please join us now in the work to reduce personal carbon emissions in Eugene and make your contribution to solving the climate emergency! All hands on deck!
Update July 18, 2019: Take the survey to provide feedback on the Central Eugene in Motion process.
As our greater downtown develops, it is important for Eugene's transportation network to have safe and comfortable connections regardless if travel is by car, on foot, bike, bus, or personal mobility device. The Central Eugene In Motion process will explore planned and potential traffic changes with a focus on three key areas. City staff and the community will work together to identify existing transportation issues, explore ideas, and identify preferred design concepts for projects listed in the 2017 Eugene Transportation System Plan (TSP).
Possible changes to streets may include removing on-street parking, adding bike lanes, changing traffic controls, or reducing the number of travel lanes.
The three Central Eugene In Motion focus areas are:
The Midtown Willamette Street focus area is bounded by Willamette Street, 18th and 20th Avenues, and Amazon Parkway and High Street, most of which lies within FAN's boundaries. See the map for details.
In this area existing traffic patterns pose significant hazards for all road users. Between 2007-2016, there have been two fatalities and six serious injuries. Drivers colliding with people on foot caused both fatalities. Drivers colliding with people on bike caused four of the serious injuries, and two were from drivers colliding with one another. See the map for red and orange markers, some of which are stacked on top of each other. For an interactive map, visit bit.ly/fancrash.
With the expected increase in trips to the new Civic Park upon its completion, now is the time to start planning to make significant safety improvements. The City of Eugene will hold an event to launch the Central Eugene in Motion process.
Central Eugene in Motion Open House Kickoff
Wednesday, July 10, 6:00 – 8:00pm
UO Baker Center
975 High Street, Eugene
If you are unable to attend this event in person, you can join the online open house at bit.ly/eugmotion. You may also contact Reed Dunbar, Project Manager, at RDunbar@eugene-or.gov or 541-682-5727.
The FAN Transportation Team will be actively involved with the process. The public is welcome to participate in our monthly meetings and in our online discussion group.
FAN Transportation Team Meeting
First Monday of the month, except January and September.
Monday, July 1, 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Billy Mac's Bar & Grill
605 W 19th Ave
Eugene, OR 97402
The Eugene Drive-In had two different locations during its 40 seasons in Eugene. It opened at 2860 South Willamette Street on July 29, 1948. During the 1960's, while operated by Moyer Theatres of Portland, they began to feature first-run movies. In July and August of 1962, it presented a six-week run of "The Music Man". The theater closed, apparently for good, on September 11, 1962, when its listing dropped out of the Eugene Register-Guard.
It had a replacement, though, because the New Eugene Drive-In had opened the previous July 22 at 1450 Henderson Avenue (in Glenwood). Beginning in the 1963 season, the New Eugene Drive-In, also operated by Moyer, reverted to the name the Eugene Drive-In. According to newspaper ads, while under the Moyer Theatres banner, it closed after 1987.
Greg Giesy, long-time FAN resident, stated, "The drive-in theater took up most of what is Woodfield Station today. The screen faced into the hillside, and home owners above could pay the drive-in a monthly fee to have a speaker (that you normally hooked to your car window) wired in their living rooms so they could watch the movies with sound out their picture window."
The demolition date of the theater is unknown. Its location, superimposed on a recent aerial view of Eugene, is shown below. There is still plenty of parking, and still plenty of cars, but the movies aren't as good.
Read more information about other historic and current movie theaters in Eugene.
Before UO and before OSU, there was Columbia College. Opened November 3rd, 1856 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Columbia was the first college in Lane County, only the fourth in the Oregon territory. Enoch Pratt Henderson, a minister, was hired to serve as president of the college. The first student body consisted of 52 students.
Only four days after classes started, the building was destroyed by fire under suspicion of arson. Classes continued in a nearby home. A less grand, but serviceable building was rebuilt by November of 1857. By then, the student body had grown to 150 students. On February 26, 1858, a second fire consumed the college again. Attempts were made to rebuild for a third time, but the Cumberland Presbyterian Church withdrew all financial support from the project. This being the eve of the Civil War, the church leadership was itself keenly divided by the issue of slavery, and Columbia College was yet another casualty of that acrimony. The school closed for good in 1860. The last remnants were torn down by 1867, with some of the old sandstone building blocks being used to build a store on Willamette Street (Eugene recycled even back then).
Few present day reminders of Columbia College exist. The surrounding neighborhood is called College Hill, and there is a city-placed monument at 19th and Olive. The plaque reads: "Site of Columbia College 1856-1860". Carved into the stone base are the words "COLUMBIA COLLEGE FIRST SCHOOL OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN LANE COUNTY BUILT IN 1854".
Only in operation for four years (not counting time closed for fires and rebuilding) it is not clear if any degrees were ever granted from Columbia College. However, several notable people did attend classes.
Harrison Rittenhouse Kincaid (January 3, 1836 – October 2, 1920) was an American printer, journalist, Republican politician, and university regent who served as Oregon Secretary of State between 1895 and 1899. In Eugene, Kincaid Street is named after him.
Cincinnatus Heine Miller (September 8, 1837 – February 17, 1913), better known by his pen name Joaquin Miller, was an American poet and frontiersman. He is nicknamed the "Poet of the Sierras" after the Sierra Nevada, about which he wrote in his Songs of the Sierras (1871).
Col. William Thompson (1846–1934) was an American-Indian fighter and journalist, the editor of multiple newspapers in Oregon and California.
James Finley Watson (March 15, 1840 – June 12, 1897) was the 25th Associate Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, serving from 1876 until 1878. Previously he served in the state legislature and later served as United States Attorney for the District of Oregon.
Willamette Street will be getting much needed improvements this year, both below and above ground.
Water Main and Services
The Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) has started work to replace the water main and services from 23rd Avenue to 28th Avenue along Willamette Street.
Work is scheduled to continue through the end of June between the hours of 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM Monday-Thursday.
Construction activity may cause temporary traffic impacts, flaggers, and lane changes, along with temporary delays and noise. EWEB will provide advanced notification prior to water service interruptions.
This project is part of EWEB's strategy to improve our water system and increase water reliability.
For more information, contact EWEB's Water Division at 541-685-7595, WaterEngineeringTechnicians@eweb.org, or website.
South Willamette Street Enhancement
After the completion of EWEB's portion of the project, the City of Eugene Public Works will start its work in the fall of 2019.
The project will reconstruct Willamette Street and its sidewalks, driveway aprons, street lights, pedestrian signals, and storm drainage system from 24th Avenue to 29th Avenue. The project will also resurface the pavement from 23rd Avenue to 24th Avenue. Except for 23rd to 24th Avenues, all the new pavement will be Portland Cement Concrete.
Rain gardens (curbed stormwater treatment planters) will be added to some side streets near where they intersect with Willamette Street. Sidewalks will be widened to 9 feet. All sidewalk ramps will be constructed to ADA guidelines.
Some driveways may be consolidated. All driveway aprons will be reconstructed. The power utility will not be undergrounded.
The bicycle lanes and center lane will remain.
Funding sources are from a federal STP-U grant, the Pavement Bond Measure passed by voters in 2012, and stormwater user fees.
For More Information
Project Manager: Patrick Cox, phone 541-682-5331, Patrick.email@example.com
Online road reports: www.eugene-or.gov/traffic
On Twitter: twitter.com/EugenePW
Sign Up to Participate
The FAN Transportation Team will coordinate and publicize the progress of this project through the Friendly Newsletter, Friendly Flyer, Google Group, and Facebook and Twitter feeds. Sign up or follow us to participate and stay informed.
FAN Transportation Team Meetings
First Monday of the month, except January and September.
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Billy Mac's Bar & Grill
605 W 19th Ave
Eugene, OR 97402
Map and Directions
The Transportation team meetings are open to the public.
By Gary Arnold
If you have ever walked by the track in Westmoreland Park, you may have noticed the plaque. Great athletes deserve recognition, but after all, this is Eugene. Even Olympic level athletes aren't that uncommon. Is there anything to this story that deserves a second glance? Read on, and decide for yourself.
Margaret Johnson was born in New York City, in the Bronx. Her father, Duke Johnson, moved the family out to Eugene when she was five years old because he decided Eugene would be a good place to raise his children. A pretty normal kid, she had no particular interest in sports. Just by happenstance, she was passing South Eugene High during an all-comers track meet. On a lark, she entered several events and did pretty well (even though she ran the events in dress shoes). Wendy Jerome was at the meet (wife of world class UO athlete Harry Jerome) and instantly realized that she was watching someone with exceptional talent. Wendy became Margaret's coach and soon ran into a problem. There were no other girls in Eugene that gave her any competition. So she started running against boys—same problem. She eventually was able to find a challenge by giving all her opponents head starts. As she grew older, she started training with some of the sprinters from the UO, and as a high schooler, she usually beat them in practice.
At Churchill High School as a junior, Margaret won the 100- and 200-meter races in the state championship meet, and was part of the winning 4 x 100 relay team. That same year she set an American record in the 200 (22.95 seconds) and tied the world record in the 100 (11.1 seconds). As a senior, at the ripe old age of 17, Margaret ran a time of 11.30 seconds for the 100 meters and 22.95 seconds in the 200 meters. Those times were both good enough to win the state championship, in fact, they were both Oregon high school state records. Consider this: 50 years later, these marks still stand as Oregon high school state records. No one sets a track and field record that stands for 50 years.
Her times were good enough to qualify her for the 1968 Olympic trials. At the trials she won the 100 and took a second in the 200. While staying in the Mexico City Olympic Village, she contracted pneumonia. She was unable to train for almost a week. Nowhere near full strength, she was able to place fifth in the 100-meter Olympic final (time of 11.3) and seventh in the 200-meter Olympic final (time of 23.1).
Margaret had one more Olympic event left, the 4 x 100 relay. Barbara Ferrell would run the first leg, Margaret would run the second leg, Mildrette Netter ran the third, and Wyomia Tyus ran the anchor leg. Wyomia Tyus was the veteran of the group having won two gold medals in the 100 meters and the 4 x 100 relay four years earlier in the Tokyo Olympics. She had just won another gold medal in the Mexico City 100 meters, setting a new world record. Barbara Ferrell, in that same race, had taken the silver medal.
The US fielded a strong team, but there were plenty of good sprinters competing. And several of the national teams had a lot more experience working together as relay teams. Poland was one of the favorites coming into the event, but they had dropped the baton in the qualifying heat and were out.
You can watch the entire race.
This is a classic sports film, and well worth watching, but the womens 4 x 100 begins at time 1:28:00 and runs through about 1:30:00.
The US team did win in a time of 42.88, setting a new world record. But consider this: the first seven teams across the finish line also broke the previous world record. Imagine running a race where you run faster than anyone else ever has, and coming in seventh! The US team didn't break the record, they smashed it. The world record would stand until the Munich Olympics, four years later.
And then came what is perhaps the most amazing part of the story. In today's world of woman's Title 9 access to sports scholarships, the pro track circuit and corporate shoe endorsements, it is difficult to remember a time when opportunities in sports were limited, especially to women and especially to women of color. After the Olympics, Margaret walked away from the world of sports and never competed again. By the time she was 17, she had married, had a daughter, and had moved to California. Years went by, and only family and Margaret's closest friends even knew of her accomplishments. But the record books had not forgotten her, and eventually a new generation of track fans began to discover the story.
Margaret was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and the High School Track and Field Hall of Fame. She was invited to attend the 2008 Olympic Trials in Eugene as an honored guest. And the next year, the old Jefferson Middle School cinder track where Margaret used to train was re-built into a modern all-weather facility and dedicated as the Margaret Johnson Bailes Memorial Track.
The KORE radio station and transmission tower once stood along Willamette Street between 26th and 27th Avenues. The image (GN1330) above is courtesy of the Lane County History Museum and shows the South Willamette area circa 1942 as seen from approximately 25th and Olive (on the eastern flanks of College Hill) looking to the southeast. The street to the lower left is Summit (now called 25th). The KORE radio transmission tower is in the center of the image. The channel of the Amazon Creek is indicated by the dark patches of trees and shrubs in the distance.
KORE began broadcasting in 1927 in Portland. It soon moved to Springfield and then to Eugene. It is Eugene's oldest radio station. The current broadcasting tower is located on the banks of the Delta Ponds, just off Goodpasture Island Road.