Best of Eugene 2008-2009: Civic Pride
Best local uproar
1. The Tasing of Ian Van Ornum
2. Downtown: development/exclusion zone/cleaning up
3. Mayoral race
Eugene police officers sent 50,000 volts through Van Ornum five months ago, and the community is still dealing with unanswered questions from the aftershock uproar. Why did EPD use a potentially deadly weapon against a peaceful pesticide protester? What was Homeland Security doing spying on a small peaceful gathering? Why won’t the EPD and DA let the independent police auditor and review board review the incident? Will the police be held accountable? Will the YouTube video top 50,000 views?
Person of the Year
|Person of the Year & Best Local Politician: Kitty Piercy
1. Kitty Piercy
2. Barack Obama
3. Peter DeFazio
No, Obama isn’t a local, but voters added enough comments about his appearances in town that we felt he deserved to turn up in this poll anyway. But even Obama couldn’t beat Mayor Kitty Piercy when it comes to love from EW readers. Here are a few of the votes cast for Piercy:
• “Kitty Piercy — nicest damn politician I ever met (even drank at Ninkasi during the Whiteaker Block Party!).”
• “Kitty Piercy, because she makes me proud to be from Eugene. She’s a woman who knows how to compromise yet who also can stand tough for what’s right.”
• “Mayor Kitty Piercy for her tireless work to bring Eugene the national awards it deserves for sustainability, wise growth practices, liveability and a good business environment.”
Best Local Politician
1. Kitty Piercy
2. Peter DeFazio
3. Rob Handy
Mayor Kitty Piercy’s intelligence, accessibility, personal integrity and forward-thinking ideas make her a clear favorite of EW readers once again this year. The best way to get to know our mayor is one-on-one, and she’s easy to spot at just about any political or cultural gathering in Eugene.
Best Public Space (Indoor or Outdoor)
1. Downtown Library
2. Alton Baker Park
3. Hendricks Park
Best Activist Group
1. Three-way tie:
The Bus Project www.busproject.org
Community Alliance of Lane County www.calclane.org
Crazy People for Wild Places www.crazypeopleforwildplaces.com
The election, social justice and the environment are the three key issues that our three-way tie for Best Activist Group reflects. The Oregon Bus Project has been around since 2001 and made national headlines in the last presidential election with their “Vote, F*cker” T-shirts, and the Halloween “Trick or Vote” costumed campaign to get young voters to the polls has been emulated across the country. Activist newbies Crazy People for Wild Places also made national headlines with their costumes when mock hazmat suit-wearing Ian Van Ornum was Tasered for allegedly spraying pretend pesticide during an anti-pesticide rally. Tasering aside, the CPWP, a student organization at the UO, tackles issues from old-growth logging to police oversight, and they’re off to a good start after only one year as a group. CALC, the venerable elder of the activists groups (formed in 1966 as an anti-Vietnam War group) rounds out the winners’ list with its much needed ongoing work on peace and justice as the war in Iraq drags on.
Best Eco-improvement Project
1. Three-way tie:
City purchases Amazon Headwaters www.efn.org/~ksl
BRING Recycling 4446 Franklin Blvd., Glenwood. 746-3023.
Saving West Eugene Wetlands www.wewetlands.org
The Best Eco-Improvement Project award makes its debut this year; it’s a category that includes everything from businesses that put solar panels on their roofs to efforts to plant street trees and create more shade in the city. The only business to make it into our winners’ circle is BRING Recycling, where you can reap the benefits of salvaged building materials from local businesses. BRING has everything, including plenty of kitchen sinks, for your reuse and recycle needs. The city’s purchase of one of the Amazon Headwaters parcels is the second member of the best eco-improvement trio. The purchase preserves some of the last pristine forest inside Eugene’s urban growth boundary. Finally, saving the West Eugene Wetlands rounds out the group of winners. Eugene’s wetland conservation plan, adopted in 1992, set precedents across the country. Efforts to preserve the wetlands are back in the public eye now that Hynix’s defunct semiconductor plant in the wetlands needs a new mission and perhaps some chemical clean-up.