If Ali Emami had not reacted to the rumor Ken Kesey Square would be sold to a developer, it would be a done deal. The SLEEPS anarchists would have seized the day.
“Ali Emami, owner of the two buildings that have common walls with the plaza, says that when he heard rumors the public space might be sold and developed into apartments, he came before the Eugene City Council last week to again renew his offer to open up the walls of the buildings and make the space more inviting.I am going to make some proposals for what to do with Ken Kesey Square”
How about a Newspaper Museum and Reader’s Sanctuary?
“Ken Kesey is our George Washington,” said Jennifer Barnes, a self-described modern-day Merry Prankster. “He’s our culture, our history.”
Here is a video about my and Michael’s efforts to save the cottage that Ken lived in while attending the UofO.
Augustus John was the inspiration for the artist Gulley Jimson, in ‘The Horses’ Mouth’. Gulley is in search of the perfect wall for his mural. Joaquin Miller is our Washington. He earned an estimated $3,000 working as a Pony Express rider, and used the money to move to Oregon. With the help of his friend, Senator Joseph Lane, he became editor of the Democratic Register in Eugene. a role he held from March 15 to September 20, 1862. Here is Miller’s daughter.
George Miller platted the City of Florence and Fairmont. He designed a flying machine. Ali Emami’s plan to knock down walls to save the square is right out of ‘The Horses’ Mouth’. This is high drama already in progress! Above is a photo of Augustus John with James Joyce. Get rid of the One Hook Town to hang your hat. We need a Jimson reader, there, confronting passer-byes! We only got one horse on our merry-go-round. Enough! Here’s Miller with George Sterling the co-founder of the Bohemian Club and Carmel. We can reprint old copies of ‘The Augur’.
My friends and I in Oakland were doing Miller before we heard of Kesey. You got to get over the idea folks are trying to do Ken – and move on!
The Eugene Augur was a local countercultural underground newspaper published in Eugene, Oregon, United States, from 1969 to 1974. Starting with its first issue dated October 14, 1969, the Augur, produced by a cooperative of left-wing political activists aligned with the antiwar movement, appeared twice a month, offering up a mix of New Left politics and acid rock counterculture to an audience of students, hippies, radicals and disaffected working class youth in the Eugene area. The paper’s coverage ranged from antiwar demonstrations, exposing local narcotics agents, and rock festivals, to the growth of backwoods communes in Southern Oregon and the annual Oregon Renaissance Faire. In August 1972, the paper cut publication to a monthly schedule. Staffers included Peter Jensen and Jim Redden, son of a prominent Oregon politician and later a reporter for the Portland Tribune.
“I know a chap, a friend of mine, who used to paint girls for magazine covers. The best class of girls, eleven feet high with eyes as big as eggs. Well one morning he put on his best suit, called a taxi and drove to the Tower Bridge, where he tied his legs together, put ten pounds of lead in each pocket, took a pint of poison, cut his throat, shot himself through the head and jumped over the parapet. They saw through this job at once, picked him out, pumped him out, sewed him up, plugged him up, and had him back to work in six weeks.—Gulley Jimson in “The Horse’s Mouth” by Joyce Cary.
“Ali Emami, owner of the two buildings that have common walls with the plaza, says that when he heard rumors the public space might be sold and developed into apartments, he came before the Eugene City Council last week to again renew his offer to open up the walls of the buildings and make the space more inviting.
The square, also known as Broadway Plaza, is home to food carts, public art and periodic gatherings, but it also garners complaints about the unhoused youth and travelers who hang out there. A frequent criticism of the space is the tall brick walls on the south and east sides of the square that close it in.”
I see the whole square famed in durable glass that can be touched and read on the outside. One can read the job listings, or, search the internet. One pays $2.00 dollars admission and gets a paper. Seniors and the physically disabled get in for free. I see a man dressed like Joaquin pointing to his brothers flying machine suspended from the ceiling. Children are allowed to touch the old printing presses.
George J. Buys and A. Eltzroth purchased the paper in December 1869, and six months later bought out Eltzroth. Buys sold the paper eight years later to John R. and Ira Campbell, who would remain owners for 30 years. In 1890, the Eugene Guard became a daily newspaper.
Elizabeth Maude “Lischen” or “Lizzie” Cogswell married George Miller. Lizzie was the foremost literary woman in Oregon. On Feb. 6, 1897, Idaho Cogswell, married Feb. 6, 1897, Ira L. Campbell, who was editor, publisher and co-owner (with his brother John) of the Daily Eugene Guard newspaper. The Campbell Center is named after Ira.
The Wedding of John Cogswell to Mary Frances Gay, was the first recorded in Lane County where I registered my newspaper, Royal Rosamond Press. Idaho Campbell was a charter member of the Fortnightly Club that raised funds for the first Eugene Library.
George Melvin Miller was a frequent visitor to ‘The Hights’ his brothers visionary utopia where gathered famous artists and writers in the hills above my great grandfather’s farm. The Miller brothers promoted Arts and Literature, as well as Civic Celebrations. Joaquin’s contact with the Pre-Raphaelites in England, lent credence to the notion that George and Joaquin were Oregon’s Cultural Shamans, verses, he-men with big saw cutting down trees.
George Melvin Miller was titled ‘The Prophet of Lane County’. Lane County was named after Joseph Lane who ran with John Breckenridge for the White House.
John was known as a colourful personality who adopted an individualistic and bohemian lifestyle. Intrigued by gypsy culture and the Romany language, he spent periods traveling with gypsy caravans over Wales, Ireland, and Dorset. He based much of his work on these experiences, such as the painting Encampment on Dartmoor (1906). John was more modern in his approach to landscape painting, as seen in the bright palette and loose brushwork of paintings such as Llyn Trewereyn (1911–12) and The Little Railway, Martigues (1928).
The Wildest of the Wild West is Coming
The next phase in local content, journalism and advertising will be the most innovative and dynamic since the transition from town crier to printed word. Meeker also explains that there is a $30 billion opportunity transferring to online and mobile.
Adventures in new models began with Microsoft’s Sidewalk that was launched in 1997 and was later sold to Citysearch. As the San Francisco Examiner wrote in 1997, “In city after city, including San Francisco, Microsoft has wheeled out an expensive slickly-packaged Internet entertainment guide called Sidewalk, closely watched by nervous newspaper executives worried that the new Web sites would divert advertising dollars once earmarked exclusively for print.”
Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer later lamented selling off Sidewalk. The recreation of the local content, newspaper-based advertising model has been in transition for almost two decades, but now we know that legacy media has recognized the fate of newspapers and their Web properties.
Opportunity in the post-newspaper world is endless — the next local content models will have the potential to create a new and deeper relationship with consumers. With the average smartphone user touching their phone 125 times per day, content producers can create endless ways to provide high-value content, experiences and opportunities to monetize.
EUGENE, Ore.—This isn’t the kind of high-rise Ken Kesey had in mind.
Real-estate developers in this city of 159,000 people nestled in the hills of western Oregon have proposed building an apartment complex they say will help lure well-educated technology workers and boost the economy.
The problem: To do it, they want to level the public park that hosts a bronze statue of Mr. Kesey, the 1960s-era writer and Merry Prankster who died in 2001 but remains one of Eugene’s most famous cultural exports.
The plan has rankled supporters of Mr. Kesey, best known for his novels “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Sometimes a Great Notion” and for the LSD-fueled antics depicted in Tom Wolfe’s 1968 book “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.”
On a recent rainy afternoon here, Mr. Kesey’s son, Zane, visited the plaza wearing a peace sign painted on his face. He admired the life-size statue of his father.
“Building a high-rise over a groovy section of town just doesn’t feel like the first Eugenian answer,” he said.
The Eugene City Council plans to hear proposals until Jan. 15 and may schedule a vote soon after. The question before them: Whether to keep intact the 80-foot-by-55-foot parcel of city land or modify an area that has become a city landmark.
“It’s been a lively discussion,” said Eugene’s mayor, Kitty Piercy.
The battle echoes tension felt in many cities along Interstate 5, she said. Eugene is experiencing a micro version of a culture clash that already has played out in Seattle and San Francisco. As tech companies proliferate, local populations and cultural institutions are starting to get squeezed out.
“Technology brings jobs and an energy to our city,” said Ms. Piercy, who so far has declined to back any plan for the statue or plaza. “But what we don’t want to happen is what’s happened in Portland, Seattle and San Francisco where we’re pricing everything out of range for middle- or lower-income people.”
At a recent public forum focused on the property, more than 100 people crowded into a windowless room to discuss different plans, including city council member, Betty Taylor, a former English teacher who opposes the apartment plan.
“Cities need places for people to gather,” she said.
The property is the site of neighborhood gatherings, such as concerts, outdoor movie screenings and friendly bouts of dodgeball. But it also has become a hotbed of crime and panhandling by a homeless population that has dwelled in the area for years.
Even the name can’t be agreed upon. It is called Kesey Square by those in favor of keeping the lot a public space and Broadway Plaza by those favoring the apartment building.
“It’s a failed public space,” said Greg Brokaw, a principal and managing partner with Rowell Brokaw, an architecture firm located across the street from the plaza behind one of the most talked-about proposals.
Under Mr. Brokaw’s proposal, which has been presented to Eugene’s city council and won the backing of the Eugene Chamber of Commerce, developers would acquire the land from the city at market value and construct 35 to 40 apartments atop a cafeteria-style eatery. The statue of Mr. Kesey would be moved to a smaller area on the corner, still accessible 24 hours a day.
The building, pending city council approval, would benefit from a 10-year tax exemption designed to stimulate growth in Eugene’s long anemic downtown area. The tax credits, Mr. Brokaw said, are the “difference between [his proposal] being a pipe dream and actually happening.”
At least one Kesey family member, Faye, the author’s widow, has supported Mr. Brokaw’s plan, as long as the statue remains open to the public. “It’s up to the city and everyone else to decide what’s going to happen, but I would like to see the statue preserved and in a place where the public can view it,” she said.
Among the most vocal opponents of the apartment proposals is Ali Emami, owner of the buildings on either side of the corner plaza. One is occupied by his Persian rug store, the other he rents out to a doughnut shop. Mr. Emami, a longtime fan of Mr. Kesey’s work, said he felt “blindsided” by the proposal and has petitioned the city to keep the space and statue intact.
On a recent afternoon many of the advocates for keeping the plaza gathered around the statue. The smell of marijuana, now legal in the state, hung in the air, while rock music blared from a small speaker on a man’s tandem bicycle. A man in a tattered jacket lay down at a nearby planter, some college kids en route to a Starbucks SBUX -0.11 % diagonally across the street, strolled by.
“Ken Kesey is our George Washington,” said Jennifer Barnes, a self-described modern-day Merry Prankster. “He’s our culture, our history.”
Another downtown denizen, Tony Cipolle, said he was concerned about gentrification, and pointed to a large housing complex down the street that is a popular option for college students. Building apartments in the plaza “is a slap to Oregon,” he said. “Eugene is not Fresno, bro.”
Write to Mary Pilon at email@example.com
The clock may be ticking for the unique bit of open space in Eugene’s downtown that is Kesey Square. But Ali Emami, owner of the two buildings that have common walls with the plaza, says that when he heard rumors the public space might be sold and developed into apartments, he came before the Eugene City Council last week to again renew his offer to open up the walls of the buildings and make the space more inviting.
The square, also known as Broadway Plaza, is home to food carts, public art and periodic gatherings, but it also garners complaints about the unhoused youth and travelers who hang out there. A frequent criticism of the space is the tall brick walls on the south and east sides of the square that close it in.
Councilor Betty Taylor tells EW she is hearing that the square “will be sold to developers,” and while she can’t substantiate those rumors, “I can say that I think it would be a huge mistake.”
The Eugene City Council met in an executive session on Monday, Oct. 12. Under Oregon law, government officials can meet in executive session instead of in an open meeting for certain set reasons and if the reason is generally stated. City staff did not return EW’s requests for confirmation that the session discussed selling Kesey Square before press time; however, the stated reason was to “negotiate real property transactions and to consult with counsel concerning the legal rights and duties of a public body with regard to current litigation or litigation likely to be filed.”
According to the Oregon Department of Justice, “A governing body meeting in executive session must return to public session before taking final action.”
Emami, who is also an instructor of finance at the UO, says he first made his offer to open up the walls of the buildings that currently house Voodoo Doughnuts and Northwest Persian Rugs and Imports back in 1995. He renewed his offer in 2004, but, he says, the city told him if it was done, it would be revocable. He pointed out that might result in his spending thousands of dollars, only to have the work undone. He says he’s still willing to make the changes to keep the property public and make it more usable.
In the last six weeks, Kesey Square has been the site of a Eugene Education Association “Better Oregon” campaign kickoff, performances during First Friday ArtWalk, an emergency preparedness fair, tabling for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and frequent appearances of the Oregon Duck mascot before home football games.