Editorial: Eugene in Transition


It feels like Eugene is on the edge of a big change and some won’t like it. Our anthem of being the “Hippy Town” or “Weird” no longer rings as true as it once did.

Weird No Longer Weird: Weird is fine but when weird becomes normal change follows. When the attitude of “hippy” becomes more pretentious and self-righteous than that actual “Right” change is inevitable.

The New Hippy: It feels like 30 years of being stuck in our image of Eugene no longer holds the luster it once did. Perhaps reality is edging its way into the city limits or maybe all those who used to shrug their shoulders and say “only in Eugene” aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid anymore.

Perhaps a big dose of normalcy would actually be weirder than weird.

Can Eugene Change: As the Eugene Celebration celebrates 30 years next weekend you can ask yourself who does the celebration represent anymore?

I remember when I first came to Eugene the celebration was the thing to do. Then it became so polarized only one faction of the political spectrum felt comfortable or represented in the celebration but that too I think is changing.

As Liberal and Conservative politics lose their hold and the moderates in the middle rise to the forefront how will Eugene change? I think it will have to change if it wants to stay current and vital.

Business can be Kool-aid: I read the paper today and see where businesses are popping up in the heart of Eugene. “Live and let live” worked for a while but now the economy is opening our eyes to show we need business and jobs to grow and for that to happen sometimes you have to change or clean up your image. Yes, sometimes you have to do what’s best for the city not your own little corner of the world. I think that’s happening.

Fine Lines: Recently I’ve had a lot of contact with people you might consider the Alternative communities. I find I have as much if not more in common with them than I do what used to be my culture. Relationships in business and finding your niche, while taking care of those you do business with, is not a new value but a recycled one from the days of our grandparents.

Too Hard To Box In: You can’t box people in with descriptions and definitions because I find just when I think I have it all figured out something changes, usually me. Our culture strives to create strife and difference but this new counterculture finds harmony in the middle and refuses to side with extremes. I’ve interviewed many from super progressives to right wing farmers who find they need each other to prosper and in that relationship find commonality and a respect for each other.

Squeaky Wheel Silenced: As social service money drops and businesses and developers are the ones giving to great causes, the squeaky wheel may find less grease to push its agenda. As what’s really important rises to the top and “Pet Projects” that once got headlines can’t even raise an eyebrow.

Change is Counter Culture in Eugene: I’m not the same guy I was 30 years ago. Heck, I’m not the same guy I was a year ago. I’ve had to grow and change with the times and perhaps its time Eugene do the same thing.

When counterculture becomes closer to normal than it is to weird what will the weirdo’s do?

Ignore the Noise: When I moved to Eugene I was a Democrat but had to change to a Republican to be different. Now I’m in the process of disaffiliating from all parties because neither represents what I stand for.

Change is hard, change is tough, but hiding change behind superior values or self-serving protests no longer works. We need bike paths and streets for cars and we need to pave those streets because you can’t ride a bike over potholes either. Reality needs to trump our “well it sounds good” mentality.

I’m excited: From Whiteaker to Downtown to the Pearl district and even South Eugene, Eugene is starting to change. We’re still a weird little city but the definition of weird is starting to look different. Far right and far left is so normal. If you really want to keep Eugene weird you will have to move to the middle.

Weird was fun and had its edge but now maybe its time for Eugene to grow up and find it’s more mature self…..now that is weird.

— originally published rickdancer.com

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