Jogging, Running, Track and Prefontaine
The 1970s era "running boom", when jogging suddenly became quite a bit more popular in the USA than it had been previously, can partly be traced to events in Eugene.
Specifically, those events revolve around Steve Prefontaine arriving from Coos Bay at the University of Oregon in 1969. He and a few other track and field athletes that became popular heros and vastly increased the popularity of jogging as a recreational sport.
Today, it isn't unusual to see people out jogging in a number of places, but in Eugene the 1970s "running boom" stayed popular long after the fad had died down elsewhere, and never went away, and now that fitness is back in style jogging is certainly still a common activity here.
Steve Prefontaine had other impacts on the popularity of jogging. His University of Oregon coach had helped create a tiny sportswear company in order to develop better quality running shoes. Originally this company was known as Blue Ribbon Sports, but today you know it as Nike.
It is hard to say how much the success of Nike, the popularity of jogging, and the popularity of jogging created by Steve Prefontaine are intertwined, but the fact is all of that was going on in Eugene at the same time.
So, here in Eugene jogging and running isn't just a way of keeping fit, but it is a tradition.
There is a Steve Prefontaine trail, and the rock outcropping where the young track star lost control of his car and perished in an accident is maintained as a city park called Prefontaine Memorial Park.
Where were the tie dyes...?
I had been forewarned by many that Eugene was the "crunchiest" place on earth. More than one person told me to pack those proverbial tie dies for a blast back to the Summer of 68.
What I found were highly motivated students, dressed in their Duck Store best, darting to-and-fro mulit-million dollar buildings focused on their GPA and future careers!
So much for the Animals of good, old Faber College!!
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It's not just a game but (almost) a religion
Wow...school spirit is very high at U of O. These are students who love their football- especially during a winning season.
I have yet to see if Ivy League schools show that kind of enthusiasm for their home teams.
Make sure to book far ahead for game weekend as the hotels, motels and even B & B's can sell-out completely.
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Eugene History Lesson
A fellow by the name of Eugene Skinner filed a land claim at the foot of Skinner's Butte which is now the center of Eugene in 1846. He built a cabin and in 1847 moved his family into it. His wife, Mary Cook Skinner was the first non-native American woman to live in Lane County. Skinner was born in New York State in 1809 and died in Eugene in 1855.
Skinner started a ferry service across the Willamette River at this site. Legend has it his land claim was often referred to as Skinner's Mudhole, due to the traffic and incessant rains.
The first post office was named "Skinner's" in 1850 with guess who was postmaster? The name was changed to Eugene City in 1853 and later to just Eugene in 1959 the year of Oregon Statehood.
Skinner's Butte still retains the Native American name "Yapoa" (yah-po-ah) and fittingly a retirement home at the base of the Butte is named such. The residents are known for their never ending fight to quell the train horns at the crossings below their abode.
Source: McArthur's book of Oregon Geographical Names
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Put down that cigarette and pick up a crack pipe
There is a list of things the people of Eugene do differently than the rest of the world
1. Don't bathe
2. Smoke crack
3. Do meth
4. Complain about President Bush
5. Collect welfare
6. Have no teeth
7. Can't read
8. Go to a community college for a lifetime
ALthough many of these activities are carried on in small portion in other cities, they account for 90% of this city.
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