"Eugene" Eugene by leafmcgowan

Eugene Travel Guide: 234 reviews and 356 photos

About the City

Eugene Oregon competes with Seattle for the title of "Emerald City". It is also known as "Hippie Town" and "Track Town USA". Eugene will always have a dear part of my life as "home". While I only lived there from 1993-1994, and 2000-2001, it has been a place I often visit annually and consider to be one of my "homes". Eugene is the 2nd largest city in the state of Oregon. It resides geographically at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers 50 miles east of the Oregon Coast. In 2008, Eugene's population was a heaping 154,620 residents with a Eugene/Springfield metropolitan area of 345,880. Eugene is a town of political and environmental activism, arts, culture, free thinking, and creativity. It is also a college town being the home to the University of Oregon. The city is astonishing magical and well noted for its natural beauty, recreation, activism, arts, and "alternative" lifestyles. It is a mecca for joggers, runners, bicyclists, rafters, and kayakers. The City has a motto of being the "World's Greatest City of the Arts and Outdoors". It is called "Track Town USA" because the Nike Corporation began in Eugene. The City is named after its founder "Eugene" Franklin Skinner. Eugene Skinner erected a cabin that was used as a trading post for the area and was established as a U.S. Post Office on January 8, 1850 and was called "Skinner's Mudhole". Skinner founded Eugene in 1862 and ran ferry services across the Willamette River. Columbia College moved to the area and brought educational interest to the region. The College was devestated by two fires which led to its demise. A few years later, the University of Oregon was built from a public university that the town raised capital to build as the city wanted to become a "center of learning". It did by 1872 when the University of Oregon became a state institution and opened its doors in 1876.


North of town looms Skinner Butte, and to the Northeast are the Coburg Hills, with Spencer Butte south of the city, and Mount Pisgah to the southeast making it a town of hills. Amazon Creek, Willamette River, and McKenzie Rivers run through the town. Eugene resides in the Marine West Coast climate zone and hosts some Mediterranean characteristics with mild year round temperatures, with warm dry summers and mild wet winters. Spring and fall are the most moist seasons with light rain throughout the year. Snowfall is sporadic and rarely accumulates large amounts as the average seasonal amount is 5 inches with a median of 0. The hottest months are July and August with average highs of 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Only 15 days out of the year go above 90 degrees. The coolest month is December with an average medium of mid 40's and nights just above freezing. Eugene has the highest grass pollen counts in the United States wreaoking havoc to those with allergies or asthma. Eugene stands for community inventiveness and is home for many of the community development trends that exist in North America. It was the ground zero for many activist, communal, cooperative and community projects in the 60's and 70's. Eugene prides itself for its small family owned natural food stores, student cooperatives, alternative schools, Grower's Market, Saturday Market, and trend-setting non-profit projects. Eugene has always been a center for Eco-activism and the Hippie movement. It was the launching ground for many of Ken Kesey and the Merry Prankster's ideas and viewpoints. Eugene was also center zone for many Anarchy movements and activism in the late 1990's. The Whiteaker neighbourhood of West Eugene was a hotspot for a community of anarchists with popularity by 1999 which grew out of the treesits and forest defense camps of the 1990's, riots, demonstrations such as "Reclaim the Streets", involvement in Seattle's WTO riots, and gave Eugene the reputation of being the "Anarchist Capital of the United States". Within Eugene's Anarchist movements is a particular branch of anarcho-primitivist movements spearheaded by John Zerzan of Green Anarchy Magazine. Arts, crafts, farming, the University of Oregon, local government, manufacture of recreational vehicles, wood products, and Sacred Heart Medical Center are the largest industries of the area. Many multi-national businesses were created in Eugene such as Hynix Semiconductor America, Shoe Goo, Nike, Taco Time, and Broderbund Software. Eugene is home to many notable festivals such as the Oregon Country Fair, The Annual Eugene Celebration, the SLUG, Art and Vineyard Festival, Lane County Fair, Asian Celebration, Eugene's Saturday Market, Oregon Bach Festival, Oregon Festival of American Music, Annual Mushroom Festival and Plant Sale, Annual Wildflower Show, the KLCC Microbrew Festival, and Faerieworlds. Eugene was the filming location for numerous films including the 1978's National Lampoon's Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Getting Straight, Chicken Salad on Toast, "Drive He Said", How to Beat the High Cost of Living, Personal Best, Without Limits, Stealing Time, Rennie's Landing, Zerophilia, and many others.

  • Last visit to Eugene: Aug 2010
  • Intro Written Jan 13, 2011
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