It’s 1938 in Eugene, and Spencer Butte is in danger. If Eugeneans can’t raise $7,000, Spencer Butte and its iconic trees will be on the chopping block for the logging industry.
Peeling through archived newspaper articles, Heather Kliever, curator of education and registrar at Lane County Historical Society, reads aloud descriptions of a daunting fate for the prominent Eugene landmark.
The Eugene community succeeded in saving Spencer Butte, she says, with help from the Eugene Business and Professional Women’s Club and chairman of the Eugene city park commission, F.M. Wilkins, a local businessman who was the driving force and voice for the cause.
In the winter of 1938, after a series of town meetings, news stories and donations, the park fund reached its halfway point in eight days, according to Kliever. To make up the rest of the money needed to purchase the land, the city proposed and later voted through a tax levy.