Eugene, Oregon

Eugene, Oregon
City of Eugene
—  City  —
The Wayne L. Morse Federal Courthouse

Nickname(s): Emerald Valley, The Emerald City, Track Town
Motto: A Great City for the Arts and Outdoors
Coordinates: 44°03′07″N 123°05′12″W / 44.05194°N 123.08667°W / 44.05194; -123.08667Coordinates: 44°03′07″N 123°05′12″W / 44.05194°N 123.08667°W / 44.05194; -123.08667
Country United States
State Oregon
County Lane
Founded 1846
Incorporated 1862
 – Type Council-manager
 – Mayor Kitty Piercy
 – City manager Jon Ruiz
 – City 40.54 sq mi (105 km2)
 – Land 40.5 sq mi (104.9 km2)
 – Water 0.04 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 430 ft (131.1 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 – City 156,185
 – Metro 351,715
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 – Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 97401-97405, 97408, 97440
Area code(s) 458 and 541
FIPS code 41-23850[3]
GNIS feature ID 1120527[4]

Eugene (play /juːˈn/) is the second largest city in the U.S. state of Oregon and the seat of Lane County. It is located at the south end of the Willamette Valley, at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers, about 50 miles (80 km) east of the Oregon Coast.

As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Eugene has a population of 156,185, and Lane County (co-located with the Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area) (MSA) has a population of 351,715.[2][5] While Eugene has long been the second largest city in Oregon, it was briefly surpassed by Salem between 2005 and 2007.[6][7][8] The Eugene-Springfield, Oregon MSA is the 144th largest metropolitan statistical area of the U.S, and the third largest in the state, behind the Portland Metropolitan Area and the Salem Metropolitan Area.

Eugene is home to the University of Oregon. The city is also noted for its natural beauty, recreational opportunities (especially bicycling, running/jogging, rafting, kayaking), focus on the arts, activist political leanings, and residents with "alternative" lifestyles. Eugene's slogan is "A Great City for the Arts and Outdoors." It is also referred to as the "Emerald City", and as "Track Town, USA."[9] The Nike corporation had its beginnings in Eugene.



Willamette Street circa 1920

Eugene is named after its founder, Eugene Franklin Skinner. In 1846, Skinner erected the first cabin in the area. It was used as a trading post and was registered as an official post office on January 8, 1850. At this time the location was known as Skinner's Mudhole. Skinner founded Eugene in 1862 and later ran a ferry service across the Willamette River where the Ferry Street Bridge now stands.

The first major educational institution in the area was Columbia College, founded a few years earlier than the University of Oregon. It fell victim to two major fires in four years, and after the second fire the college decided not to rebuild again. The part of south Eugene known as College Hill was the former location of Columbia College. There is no college there today.

The town raised the initial funding to start a public university, which later became the University of Oregon, with the hope of turning the small town into a center of learning. In 1872, the Legislative Assembly passed a bill creating the University of Oregon as a state institution. Eugene bested the nearby town of Albany in the competition for the state university. In 1873, community member J. H. D. Henderson donated the hilltop land for the campus, overlooking the city.

The University first opened in 1876 with the regents electing the first faculty and naming John Wesley Johnson as president. The first students registered on October 16, 1876. The first building was completed in 1877; it was named Deady Hall in honor of the first Board of Regents President and community leader Judge Matthew P. Deady.

Geography and climate


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 40.54 square miles (105.00 km2),[1] with 40.50 square miles (104.89 km2) of it being land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.10%) of it is water. Eugene is located at an elevation of 426 feet (130 m).

To the north of downtown is Skinner Butte. Northeast of the city are the Coburg Hills. Spencer Butte is a prominent landmark south of the city. Mount Pisgah is southeast of Eugene and includes Mount Pisgah Arboretum and Howard Buford Recreation Area, a Lane County Park.

The Willamette and McKenzie rivers run through Eugene and neighboring city, Springfield. Another important stream is Amazon Creek, whose headwaters are near Spencer Butte. The creek discharges into Fern Ridge Reservoir west of the city.


Eugene has 21[10] neighborhood associations:

  • Amazon
  • Bethel
  • Cal Young
  • Churchill
  • Crest Drive
  • Downtown
  • Fairmount
  • Far West
  • Friendly
  • Harlow
  • Industrial Corridor
  • Jefferson Westside
  • Laurel Hill Valley
  • River Road
  • Santa Clara (including Irving)
  • South University
  • Southeast
  • Trainsong
  • West Eugene
  • West University
  • Whiteaker

Eugene as seen from Skinner Butte in North Eugene


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches

Like the rest of the Willamette Valley, Eugene lies in the Marine West Coast climate zone (Koppen Cfb), with some Mediterranean characteristics. Temperatures are mild year round, with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Spring and fall are also moist seasons, with light rain falling for long periods. Winter snowfall does occur, but it is sporadic and rarely accumulates in large amounts: the average seasonal amount is 5 inches (12.7 cm), and the median is 0.[11] The hottest months are July and August, with average highs of around 82 °F (28 °C), with an average of 15 days per year above 90 °F (32.2 °C). The coolest month is December, with the average daytime high in the mid 40s °F (7-8 °C), and nights averaging just above freezing. There are 54 nights per year with a low below freezing, and about 3 days with highs not exceeding freezing.[11]

The result of heavy snow in a winter in Eugene

Eugene's average annual temperature is 52.1 °F (11.2 °C), and annual precipitation at 50.9 inches (1,290 mm).[11] Eugene is slightly cooler on average than Portland, despite being located only about 100 miles (160 km) south and having only a slightly higher elevation. Eugene's average August low is 50.8 °F (10.4 °C),[11] while Portland's average August low is 56.5 °F (13.6 °C).[12] Average winter temperatures (and summer high temperatures) are similar for the two cities. This disparity may be largely caused by Portland's urban heat island, where the combination of black pavement and urban energy use raises nighttime temperatures. A lesser heat island may also exist in the immediate downtown of Eugene.

Climate data for Eugene, Oregon (1971-2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 69
Average high °F (°C) 46.5
Average low °F (°C) 33.0
Record low °F (°C) −4
Precipitation inches (mm) 7.65
Snowfall inches (cm) 1.5
Avg. precipitation days 17.1 15.8 17.3 14.2 10.8 7.4 3.2 4.1 5.9 10.9 17.7 17.3 141.7
Avg. snowy days 0.8 0.9 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.2 1.0 3.1
Source: NOAA [11] (extremes) [13]

Environmental issues

The combination of being in the downwind end of the Willamette Valley, the undisputed "grass-seed capital of the world"[14] and the confining shape of the hills has led to Eugene being “the area of the highest grass pollen counts in the USA (> 1,500 pollen grains/m 3 of air).”[15] These high pollen counts have led to difficulties for some of the track athletes who compete in Eugene. In the Olympic trials in 1972, “Jim Ryun won the 1,500 after being flown in by helicopter because he was allergic to Eugene's grass seed pollen.”[16] Further, six-time Olympian Maria Mutola abandoned Eugene as a training area “in part to avoid allergies”.[17]


Graph of Eugene's population from 1860 to 2010[18][19][5]

2010 Census data

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Eugene's population was 156,185.[2] The population density was 3,572.2 people per square mile. There were 69,951 housing units at an average density of 1,600 per square mile.[5] Those age 18 and over accounted for 81.8% of the total population.[5]

The racial makeup of the city was 90.2% White, 5.7% Asian, 2.4% Black or African American, 2.8% Native American, 0.6% Pacific Islander, and 3.4% from other races.[5]

Hispanics and Latinos of any race accounted for 7.8% of the total population. Of the non-Hispanics, 82% were White, 1.3% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 4% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 0.2% some other race alone, and 3.4% were of two or more races.[5]

Females represented 51.1% of the total population, and males represented 48.9%. The median age in the city was 33.8 years.[20]

2000 Census data

The census[3] of 2000 showed that there were 137,893 people, 58,110 households, and 31,321 families residing in the city of Eugene. The population density was 3,404.8 people per square mile (1,314.5/km²). There were 61,444 housing units at an average density of 1,516.4 per square mile (585.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.15% White, 3.57% Asian, 1.25% Black or African American, 0.93% Native American, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 2.18% from other races, and 3.72% from two or more races. 4.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 58,110 households, of which 25.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.6% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.1% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.87. In the city, the population was 20.3% under the age of 18, 17.3% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.0 males. The median income for a household in the city was $35,850, and the median income for a family was $48,527. Males had a median income of $35,549 versus $26,721 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,315. About 8.7% of families and 17.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.8% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.


Religious institutions of higher learning in Eugene include Northwest Christian University and New Hope Christian College. Northwest Christian University (formerly Northwest Christian College), founded in 1895, has ties with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). New Hope Christian College (formerly Eugene Bible College) originated with the Bible Standard Conference in 1919, which joined with Open Bible Evangelistic Association to create Open Bible Standard Churches in 1932. Eugene Bible College was started from this movement by Fred Hornshuh in 1925.[21]

The Eugene area has a sizeable Mormon presence. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has three stakes, consisting of 23 congregations (wards and branches).[22] The Portland Oregon Temple is the nearest temple.[23]

The Reconstructionist Temple Beth Israel is Eugene's largest Jewish congregation.[24] It was also, for many decades, Eugene's only synagogue,[25][26] until Orthodox members broke away in 1992 and formed "Congregation Ahavas Torah".[27][28]

Eugene has a community of some 140 Sikhs, who have established a Sikh temple.[29]

The 340 member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene (UUCE) purchased the former Eugene Scottish Rite Temple in May 2010.


Eugene is noted for its "community inventiveness." Many U.S. trends in community development originated here. The University of Oregon's participatory planning process, known as The Oregon Experiment, was the result of student protests in the early 1970s. The book of the same name is a major document in modern enlightenment thinking in planning and architectural circles. The process, still used by the University in modified form, was created by Christopher Alexander, whose works also directly inspired the creation of the Wiki. Some of the research for the book A Pattern Language, which inspired the Design Patterns movement and Extreme Programming, was done by Alexander in Eugene. Not coincidentally, those engineering movements also had origins here. A Pattern Language is the best-selling book on architecture and planning of all time.

In the 1970s, Eugene was packed with cooperative and community projects. It still has small natural food stores in many neighborhoods, some of the oldest student cooperatives in the country, and alternative schools have been part of the school district since 1971. The old Grower's Market, downtown near the Amtrak depot, is the only food cooperative in the U.S. with no employees. It is possible to see Eugene's trend-setting non-profit tendencies in much newer projects, such as the Tango Center and the Center for Appropriate Transport. In 2006, an initiative began to create a tenant-run development process for Downtown Eugene.

In the fall of 2003, neighbors noticed that "an unassuming two-acre remnant orchard tucked into the Friendly Area Neighborhood"[30] had been put up for sale by its owner, a resident of New York City.[31] Learning that a prospective buyer had plans to build several houses on the property, they formed a non-profit organization called Madison Meadow[32][33] in June 2004 in order to buy the property and "preserve it as undeveloped space in perpetuity."[32] In 2007 their effort was named Third Best Community Effort by the Eugene Weekly,[34] and by the end of 2008 they had raised enough money to purchase the property.[30]


During the late 1990s and early first decade of the 21st century Eugene contained a community of anarchists situated in the Whiteaker neighborhood of west Eugene. This community gained international notoriety in 1999, due to its perceived role in the protests at the WTO Conference in Seattle that year.[35] Following those protests, then-mayor Jim Torrey described the city as "the anarchist capital of the United States."[35]

The Eugene anarchist movement grew out of the treesits and forest defense camps of the 1990s. Demonstrations and riots in Eugene have since occurred [36] notably during a Reclaim the Streets event on June 18, 1999, when protesters blocked downtown streets and smashed the windows of three stores. Some rioters threw stones and bottles at police.[37]

One notable set of events in Eugene's anarchist community's history was the "mud people's" protest.[38] On that day, the participants noticed two blocks of trees, in a parking lot near the downtown area, were slated for removal the following Sunday. The ensuing tree sitting protest on June 1, 1997 was reported widely, as it lasted several hours before the crowd became violent[citation needed] and the police responded with pepper spray. A lawsuit by protesters against police response was settled five years later.[39]

The ongoing trials of accused "eco-terrorists" continue to keep Eugene in the same spotlight.[40]

Historically, Eugene has fostered the anarcho-primitivist movement. John Zerzan, a Eugene resident, is a editor of the Green Anarchy magazine. This author has been associated with the growth of the green anarchist movement and associated with the philosophy behind black bloc tactics that were later found in the Seattle riots; links which he himself denies.[41][42]


Eugene's largest employers are PeaceHealth Medical Group, the University of Oregon and the Eugene School District.[43] Eugene's largest industries are wood products manufacturing and recreational vehicle manufacturing.[44]

The oldest retail business in downtown Eugene and one of the oldest bars in Oregon is Luckey's Club Cigar Store. It was purchased in 1911 by Tad Luckey, Sr. The “Club Cigar,” as it was called in the late 19th century, was for many years a men-only salon. It survived both the Great Depression and Prohibition, partly because Eugene was a dry town before the end of Prohibition.[citation needed]

Emporium Department Stores, which was founded in North Bend, Oregon, had its headquarters in Eugene, but closed all stores in 2002. Corporate headquarters for the employee-owned Bi-Mart corporation and family-owned Market of Choice remain located in Eugene.

Organically Grown Company, the largest distributor of organic fruits and vegetables in the northwest, started in Eugene in 1978 as a non-profit co-op for organic farmers. Notable local food processors, many of whom manufacture certified organic products, include Golden Temple (Yogi Tea) and Merry Hempsters.

Until July, 2008, Hynix Semiconductor America had operated a large semiconductor plant in west Eugene. In late September, 2009, Uni-Chem of South Korea announced its intention to purchase the Hynix site for solar cell manufacturing.[45]

The footwear repair product Shoe Goo is manufactured by Eclectic Products, based in Eugene.

Eugene is the birthplace and home of Bike Friday bicycle manufacturer, Green Gear Cycling.

Many multinational businesses were launched in Eugene. Some of the most famous include Nike,[46] Taco Time,[47] and Brøderbund Software.[48]

Top employers

According to Eugene's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[43] the city's top employers are:

# Employer Number of employees
1 PeaceHealth Medical Group 4,893
2 University of Oregon 4,038
3 Eugene School District 2,794
4 State of Oregon 2,205
5 Lane County 2,000
6 U.S. Government 1,777
7 Springfield School District 1,500
8 City of Eugene 1,404
9 Lane Community College 1,118
10 Walmart 1,100
A vendor's craft booth at the Eugene Saturday Market

Arts and culture

Eugene has a significant population of people in pursuit of alternative ideas, and a large original hippie population.[49] Beginning in the 1960s, the countercultural ideas and viewpoints espoused by Ken Kesey became established as the seminal elements of the vibrant social tapestry that continue to define Eugene.[50] The Merry Prankster, as Kesey was known, has arguably left the most indelible imprint of any cultural icon in his hometown. He is best known as the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and as the male protagonist in Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.[50]

In 2005, the city council unanimously approved a new slogan for the city, "World's Greatest City for the Arts & Outdoors." While Eugene has a vibrant arts community for a city its size, and is well situated near many outdoor opportunities, this slogan was frequently criticized by locals as embarrassing and ludicrous.[51] In early 2010, the slogan was changed to "A Great City for the Arts & Outdoors."

Annual cultural events

  • The annual non-profit Oregon Country Fair, which takes place in nearby Veneta.
  • The annual Eugene Celebration is a three-day block party that takes place in the downtown area. The SLUG (Society for the Legitimization of the Ubiquitous Gastropod) Queen coronation happens the month prior to the celebration at the coronation contest and ceremony. The SLUG Queen is the reigning monarch of the celebration festivities and the unofficial ambassador of Eugene. The annual coronation process takes place in August and is a little like a formal pageant but with a campy spin. The new SLUG Queen presides over the parade at the Eugene Celebration in September.[52]
  • Art & the Vineyard festival held around the Fourth of July at Alton Baker Park attracts 25,000 annually, and is the principal fundraiser for the Maude Kerns Art Center[53]
  • The Lane County Fair and Asian Celebration are two annual events taking place at the Lane County Fairgrounds.
  • Eugene's Saturday Market, founded in 1970 and open every Saturday from April through November,[54] was the first "Saturday Market" in the United States.[55] All vendors must create or grow all of their own products.
  • The Oregon Bach Festival is a major international festival.[56] It is hosted by the University of Oregon.[57]
  • The Oregon Festival of American Music, or OFAM is held annually in the early summer.
  • Eugene's Mount Pisgah Arboretum, which resides at the base of Mount Pisgah, holds an annual Mushroom Festival and Plant Sale and an annual Wildflower Show.[58]
  • The KLCC Microbrew Festival is held annually at the Lane County Fairgrounds. It provides participants with an introduction to a large range of microbrewery and craft beers which play an important role in Pacific Northwest culture and the economy.[59][60]
Conger Street Clock museum
The Eugene Public Library


Eugene museums include the University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and Museum of Natural and Cultural History, the Oregon Air and Space Museum, Conger Street Clock Museum, Lane County Historical Museum, Maude Kerns Art Center, Shelton McMurphey House, and the Science Factory Children's Museum & Planetarium.


The largest library in Oregon is the University of Oregon's Knight Library, with collections totaling more than 3 million volumes and over 100,000 audio and video items.[61] The Eugene Public Library[62] moved into a new, larger building downtown in 2002. The four-story library is an increase from 38,000 square feet (3,500 m2) to 130,000 square feet (12,000 m2).[63] There are also two branches of the Eugene Public Library, the Sheldon Branch Library in the neighborhood of Cal Young/Sheldon, and the Bethel Branch Library, in the neighborhood of Bethel. Eugene also has the Lane County Law Library.

Performing arts

Eugene is home to numerous cultural organizations, including the Eugene Symphony, the Eugene Ballet, the Eugene Opera, the Eugene Concert Choir, the Northwest Christian University Community Choir, the Oregon Mozart Players, the Oregon Bach Festival, the Oregon Children's Choir, the Oregon Festival Choirs, the Eugene Youth Symphony, Ballet Fantastique and Oregon Festival of American Music. Principal performing arts venues include the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts ("The Shedd"), Matthew Knight Arena, Beall Concert Hall and the Erb Memorial Union ballroom on the University of Oregon campus, the McDonald Theatre, and W.O.W. Hall.

A number of live theater groups are based in Eugene, including Free Shakespeare in the Park, Lord Leebrick Theatre, The Very Little Theatre, Actors Cabaret, LCC Theatre, and University Theatre.[64] Each has its own performance venue.


Because of its status as a college town, Eugene has been home to many musicians and bands, ranging from mainstream garage rock, to hip hop, folk and heavy metal. Eugene also has a growing reggae and street-performing bluegrass and jug band scene. Multi-genre act the Cherry Poppin' Daddies became a prominent figure in Eugene's music scene and became the house band at Eugene's W.O.W. Hall. In the late 1990s, their contributions to the swing revival movement propelled them to national stardom. Rock band Floater originated in Eugene. Doom metal band YOB is among the leaders of the Eugene heavy music scene.

Dick Hyman, noted jazz pianist and musical director for many of Woody Allen's films, designs and hosts the annual Now Hear This! jazz festival at the Oregon Festival of American Music (OFAM). OFAM and the Hult Center routinely draw major jazz talent for concerts.[65][66]

Eugene is also home to a large Zimbabwean music community. Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center, which is "dedicated to the music and people of Zimbabwe," is based in Eugene.

Visual arts

Eugene's visual arts community is supported by over 20 private art galleries and several organizations, including Maude Kerns Art Center,[67] Lane Arts Council,[68] DIVA (the Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts), the Hult Center's Jacobs Gallery,[69] and the Eugene Glass School.

Annual visual arts events include the Mayor's Art Show and Art and the Vineyard.[70]


The Eugene area has been used as a filming location for several Hollywood films, most famously for 1978's National Lampoon's Animal House, which was also filmed in nearby Cottage Grove. John Belushi had the idea for the film The Blues Brothers during filming of Animal House when he happened to meet Curtis Salgado at what was then the Eugene Hotel.[71]

Getting Straight, starring Elliott Gould and Candice Bergen, was filmed at Lane Community College in 1969. As the campus was still under construction at the time, the "occupation scenes" were easier to shoot.[72]

The "Chicken Salad on Toast" scene in the 1970 Jack Nicholson movie Five Easy Pieces was filmed at the Denny's restaurant at the southern I-5 freeway interchange near Glenwood. Nicholson directed the 1971 film Drive, He Said in Eugene.

How to Beat the High Co$t of Living, starring Jane Curtin, Jessica Lange and Susan St. James, was filmed in Eugene in the fall of 1979. Locations included Valley River Center, Skinner Butte, the Willamette River and River Road Hardware.

Several track and field movies have used Eugene as a setting and/or a filming location. Personal Best, starring Mariel Hemingway, was filmed in Eugene in 1982. The film centered on a group of women who are trying to qualify for the Olympic track and field team. Two track and field movies about the life of Steve Prefontaine, Prefontaine and Without Limits were released within a year of each other in 1997-1998. Kenny Moore, Eugene-trained Olympic runner and co-star in Prefontaine, co-wrote the screenplay for Without Limits. Prefontaine was filmed in Washington because the Without Limits production bought out Hayward Field for the summer to prevent its competition from shooting there.[citation needed] Kenny Moore also wrote a biography of Bill Bowerman, played in Without Limits by Donald Sutherland.

Stealing Time, a 2003 independent film, was partially filmed in Eugene. When the film premiered in June 2001 at the Seattle International Film Festival, it was titled Rennie's Landing after a popular bar near the University of Oregon campus. The title was changed for its DVD release. Zerophilia was filmed in Eugene in 2006.


Eugene's Oregon Ducks are part of the Pacific-12 Conference (Pac 12). American football is especially popular, with intense rivalries between the Ducks and both the Oregon State University Beavers and the University of Washington Huskies.[73] Autzen Stadium is home to Duck football, with a seating capacity of 54,000.[74]

The basketball arena, McArthur Court, was built in 1926.[75] The arena was replaced by the Matthew Knight Arena in late 2010.[76]

For nearly 40 years, Eugene has been the "Track and Field Capital of the World." After the Mexico City Olympics, the benefits of high altitude training helped propel Boulder, Colorado to prominence in the track world. Oregon's most famous track icon is the late world-class distance runner Steve Prefontaine, who was killed in a car crash in 1975.

Eugene's jogging trails include Pre's Trail in Alton Baker Park, Rexius Trail, the Adidas Oregon Trail, and the Ridgeline Trail. Jogging was introduced to the U.S. through Eugene, brought from New Zealand by Bill Bowerman, who wrote the best-selling book "Jogging", and coached the champion University of Oregon track and cross country teams. During Bowerman's tenure, his "Men of Oregon" won 24 individual NCAA titles, including titles in 15 out of the 19 events contested. During Bowerman's 24 years at Oregon, his track teams finished in the top ten at the NCAA championships 16 times, including four team titles (1962, '64, '65, '70), and two second-place trophies. His teams also posted a dual meet record of 114-20.

Bowerman also invented the waffle sole for running shoes in Eugene, and with Oregon alumnus Phil Knight founded shoe giant Nike, Inc. Eugene's miles of running trails, through its unusually large park system, are the most extensive in the US. The city has dozens of running clubs. The climate is cool and temperate, good both for jogging and record-setting. Eugene is home to the University of Oregon's Hayward Field track, which hosts numerous collegiate and amateur track and field meets throughout the year, most notably the Prefontaine Classic. Hayward Field was host to the 2004 AAU Junior Olympic Games, the 2006 Pacific-10 track and field championships, and the 1972, 1976, 1980, and 2008 US Olympic track and field trials, and will host the latter again in 2012.

Eugene is also home to the Eugene Emeralds, a short-season Class A minor-league baseball team. The "Ems" play their home games in PK Park, also the home of the University of Oregon baseball team.

The Nationwide Tour's golfing event Oregon Classic takes place at Shadow Hills Country Club, just north of Eugene. The event has been played every year since 1998, except in 2001 when it was slated to begin the day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The top 20 players from the Nationwide Tour are promoted to the PGA Tour for the following year.[77]

The following table lists some of the sports clubs in Eugene and their usual home venue:

Parks and recreation

Hendricks Park, situated on a knoll to the east of downtown, is known for its rhododendron garden and nearby memorial to Steve Prefontaine, known as Pre's Rock, where the legendary University of Oregon runner was killed in an auto accident. Alton Baker Park, next to the Willamette River, contains Pre's Trail. Also located next to the Willamette is the Owen Memorial Rose Garden, which is home to more than 4,500 roses of over 400 varieties,[78] and the 150-year-old Black Tartarian Cherry tree,[79] an Oregon Heritage Tree.

The city of Eugene maintains an urban forest. The University of Oregon campus is an arboretum, with over 500 species of trees. The city operates and maintains scenic hiking trails that pass through and across the ridges of a cluster of hills in the southern portion of the city, on the fringe of residential neighborhoods. Some trails allow biking and others are for hikers and runners only.

The nearest ski resort, Willamette Pass, is one hour from Eugene by car. On the way, along Oregon Route 58, are several reservoirs and lakes, the Oakridge mountain bike trails, hot springs, and waterfalls within Willamette National Forest. Eugene residents also frequent Hoodoo and Mount Bachelor ski resorts. The Three Sisters Wilderness, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and Smith Rock are just a short drive away.


In 1944, Eugene adopted a council-manager form of government, replacing the day-to-day management of city affairs by the part-time mayor and volunteer city council with a full-time professional city manager. The subsequent history of Eugene city government has largely been one of the dynamics—often contentious—between the city manager, the mayor and city council.

The current mayor of Eugene is Kitty Piercy, who has been in office since 2005. Recent mayors include Edwin Cone (1958–69), Les Anderson (1969–77) Gus Keller (1977–84), Brian Obie (1985–88), Jeff Miller (1989–92), Ruth Bascom (1993–96), and Jim Torrey (1997–2004).

Jon Ruiz has been the city manager since April, 2008.[80][81] Ten other people have held the city manager position. They were: Deane Seeger (1945–49), Oren King (1949–53), Robert Finlayson (1953–59), Hugh McKinley (1959–75), Charles Henry (1975–80), Mike Gleason (1981–96), Vicki Elmer (1996–98), Jim Johnson (1998–2002), Dennis Taylor (2002–2007), Angel Jones (2007–2008).

Eugene City Council

Mayor: Kitty Piercy

  • Ward 1 - George Brown
  • Ward 2 - Betty Taylor
  • Ward 3 - Alan Zelenka
  • Ward 4 - George Poling
  • Ward 5 - Mike Clark
  • Ward 6 - Jennifer Solomon
  • Ward 7 - Andrea Ortiz
  • Ward 8 - Chris Pryor

Public safety

The Eugene Police Department (EPD) serves residents of Eugene.[82] Eugene is also home of the head quarters for the Lane County Sheriff's Office.[83] At the University of Oregon, the University of Oregon Department of Public Safety (UODPS) ensures safety on campus.[84][85] EPD has a police station in the West University District. Lane Community College also has a public safety department called the Lane Community College Public Safety Department.[86] The Oregon State Police Department has presence in the rural areas around the Eugene Metro Area, and highways.[87]

The Greenhill Humane Society in Eugene is a Humane Society serving the area.[88] The Lane Couny Animal Services, also serves the Eugene metro.[89]


Johnson Hall, University of Oregon

Eugene is home to the University of Oregon. Other institutions of higher learning include Northwest Christian University, Lane Community College, New Hope Christian College, Gutenberg College, and Pacific University's Eugene campus.

Public schools

The Eugene School District includes four full-service high schools (Churchill, North Eugene, Sheldon, and South Eugene) and many alternative education programs, such as international schools and charter schools. Foreign language immersion programs in the district are available in Spanish, French, and Japanese.

The Bethel School District serves children in the Bethel neighborhood on the northwest edge of Eugene. The district is home to the traditional Willamette High School and the alternative Kalapuya High School. There are 11 schools in this district.

Eugene also has several private schools, including the Eugene Waldorf School,[90] two private Montessori schools:[91] Eugene Montessori and Far Horizon Montessori, Eugene Sudbury School,[92] Wellsprings Friends School,[93] Oak Hill School,[94] and The Little French School.[95]

Parochial schools in Eugene include Marist Catholic High School, O'Hara Catholic Elementary School, and St. Paul Parish School.[96]



The largest newspaper serving the area is The Register-Guard, a daily newspaper with a circulation of about 70,000, published independently by the Baker family of Eugene.[97] Other newspapers serving the area include the Eugene Weekly, the Oregon Daily Emerald, the student-run independent newspaper at the University of Oregon;The Torch, the student-run newspaper at Lane Community College, the Ignite, the newspaper at New Hope Christian College and The Mishpat, the student-run newspaper at Northwest Christian University. Eugene Magazine, Lane County's Lifestyle Quarterly and Eugene Living, Sustainable Home and Garden magazine also serves the area. Adelante Latino is a Spanish Newspaper in Eugene, it serves all of Lane County.


Local television stations include KMTR (NBC), KVAL (CBS), KLSR-TV (Fox), KEVU, KEZI (ABC), KEPB (PBS), and KTVC (independent).


The local NPR affiliates are KOPB, and KLCC. Radio station KRVM-AM is an affiliate of Jefferson Public Radio, based at Southern Oregon University. The Pacifica Radio affiliate is the University of Oregon student-run radio station, KWVA. Additionally, the community supports two other radio stations: KWAX (classical) and KRVM (alternative).


Lane Transit District's Eugene Station
Fox Hollow Road is a popular track for cyclists wanting to leave the city.


Mass transit

Lane Transit District (LTD), a public transportation agency formed in 1970, covers 240 square miles (620 km2) of Lane County, including Creswell, Cottage Grove, Junction City, Veneta, and Blue River. Operating more than 90 buses during peak hours, LTD carries riders on 3.7 million trips every year. LTD also operates a bus rapid transit line that runs between Eugene and Springfield—Emerald Express (EmX)—much of which runs in its own lane. LTD's main terminus in Eugene is at the Eugene Station. LTD also offers paratransit.


Cycling is popular in Eugene and many people commute via bicycle. Summertime events and festivals frequently have bike parking "corrals" that many times are filled to capacity by three hundred or more bikes. Many people commute to work by bicycle every month of the year. Numerous bike shops provide the finest rain gear products, running lights and everything a biker needs to ride and stay comfortable in heavy rain. Bike trails take commuting and recreational bikers along the Willamette River past a scenic rose garden, along Amazon Creek, through the downtown, and through the University of Oregon campus. In 2009, the League of American Bicyclists cited Eugene as 1 of 10 "Gold-level" cities because of its "remarkable commitments to bicycling."[98][99][100] In 2010, Bicycling magazine named Eugene the 5th most bike-friendly city in America.[101][102][103]

Passenger train

The 1908 Amtrak depot downtown was restored in 2004; it is the southern terminus for two daily runs of the Amtrak Cascades, and a stop along the route in each direction for the daily Coast Starlight.

Air travel

Air travel is served by the Eugene Airport, also known as Mahlon Sweet Field, which is the fifth largest airport in the Northwest and second largest airport in Oregon. The Eugene Metro area also has numerous private airports.[104] The Eugene Metro area also has several heliports, such as the Sacred Heart Medical Center Heliport and Mahlon Sweet Field Heliport, and many single helipads.[105]


Highways traveling within and through Eugene include:

  • Interstate 5: Interstate 5 forms much of the eastern city limit, acting as an effective, though unofficial boundary between Eugene and Springfield. To the north, I-5 leads to the Willamette Valley and Portland. To the south, I-5 leads to Roseburg, Medford, and the southwestern portion of the state. In full, Interstate 5 continues north to the Canadian Border at Blaine, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia and extends south to the Mexican border at Tijuana and San Diego.
  • Interstate 105/Oregon Route 126: Oregon Route 126 is routed along the Eugene-Springfield Highway, a limited-access freeway. The Eugene portion of this highway begins at an interchange with Interstate 5 and ends two miles (3 km) west at a freeway terminus. This portion of Oregon Route 126 is also signed Interstate 105, a spur route of Interstate 5. Oregon Route 126 continues west, a portion shared with Oregon Route 99, and continues west to Florence. Eastward, Oregon Route 126 crosses the Cascades and leads to central and eastern Oregon.
  • Belt Line Highway: Beltline Road is a limited-access freeway which runs along the northern and western edges of incorporated Eugene.
  • Delta Highway: The Delta Highway forms a connector of less than 2 miles (3.2 km) between Interstate 105 and Beltline Highway.
  • Oregon Route 99: Oregon Route 99 forks off Interstate 5 south of Eugene, and forms a major surface artery in Eugene. It continues north into the Willamette valley, parallel to I-5. It is sometimes called the "scenic route" since it has a great view of the Coast Range and also stretches through many scenic farmlands of the Willamette Valley.


Eugene is the home of Oregon's largest publicly owned water and power utility, the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB). EWEB got its start in the first decade of the 20th century, after an epidemic of typhoid found in the groundwater supply.[106] The City of Eugene condemned Eugene's private water utility and began treating river water (first the Willamette; later the McKenzie) for domestic use. EWEB got into the electric business when power was needed for the water pumps. Excess electricity generated by the EWEB's hydropower plants was used for street lighting.

Natural gas service is provided by NW Natural.


Three hospitals serve the Eugene-Springfield area. Sacred Heart Medical Center University District is the only one within Eugene city limits. McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center and Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend are in Springfield. Oregon Medical Group, a primary care based multi-specialty group, operates several clinics in Eugene,[107] as does PeaceHealth Medical Group.[108] White Bird Clinic provides a broad range of health and human services, including low-cost clinics.[109][110] The Volunteers in Medicine Clinic provides free medical and mental care to low-income adults without health insurance.[111]

Notable people

Notable athletes from Eugene include football players such as Todd Christensen, Quintin Mikell, Kailee Wong, Alex Brink,and Chris Miller. Basketball players have included Danny Ainge and Luke Jackson, while runners include Mary Decker, Marla Runyan, Alberto Salazar, and Steve Prefontaine.

Politicians from Eugene include U.S. Senators Wayne Morse and Paul Martin Simon, as well as Congressmen Jim Weaver and Peter DeFazio. Actors of note include Howard Hesseman and David Ogden Stiers, while Bryce Zabel chaired the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Author Ken Kesey also called the city home, as did Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Other past residents include Eugene Lazowski who saved 8,000 during World War II,[112][113] New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, and astronaut Stanley G. Love,[114] among others.

Sister cities

Eugene has four sister cities:[115]


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