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Carlos Barrera

Photo by Paul Neevel.

A native of Mission, Texas, Carlos Barrera traces his family history back to Spanish colonial times in the mid-1600s. “Half the town is related to me,” he says. “The Rio Grande River is three miles away.” After earning a bachelor’s in fine arts from Pan American University in nearby Edinburg, Barrera became an electrician and an electrical contractor. He worked three years in Austin, then 21 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. “I was the go-to person for historical renovation,” he says. “I replaced old wiring in historic houses.” Tired of the big-city rat race, he moved to Eugene in 1999. “I essentially retired and got involved in social issues,” says Barrera, who joined the successful effort to block a proposed National Guard Armory near wetlands close to LCC. “They moved to Springfield instead.” He also joined his local neighborhood association, Friendly Area Neighbors (FAN), and has now served eight years as its co-chair. “We had a long battle with EWEB to keep the College Hill Reservoir open to the public,” he says. Barrera represents FAN on the Neighborhood Leaders Council. He is a board member of Beyond Toxics and attends meetings of activist groups LandWatch Lane County and Friends of Civic Stadium. “In California, I was working full-time,” he notes. “Now, I take a major interest in social equity. I sometimes have 15 hours of meetings in a week.”

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