Gifts to the city and the passing of Gary Crum

With Storm Kennedy as guest emcee, the City Club of Eugene’s “Gifts to the City” program Dec. 15 was great fun. Otto Poticha, architect and longtime critic of our built city, opened with his gift, “pride of place.” He even offered seven steps to get there: a municipal art museum; protection for the one-percent-for-art program; a transformed City Club that advocates for issues; a new city manager and support staff; a City Council willing to make a difference; directions to EWEB and city public works crews to beautify their work around town; and retention of designers along with engineers to design and renovate our largest public spaces, our streets and sidewalks. Next special gifters were Allan Benavides of the Eugene Emeralds, Bev Smith of Kid Sports, SLUG Queen Santa Frida Babosita, Julia Olson and Tia Hatton of Our Children’s Trust, architect Kaarin Knudson and attorney Ron Sticka. Cartoonist Jan Elliot closed by giving Eugene a better sense of humor and a framed cartoon to hang in the new City Hall — “if we ever get one.” Jon Belcher coordinated the program, which you can hear, if you missed it, on

• We were saddened to learn that frequent Eugene Weekly and Register-Guard letter and viewpoint writer Gary Crum passed away Dec. 13 at age 75. In the Wild West of online comments, Crum was a rare voice of reason. We first got wind he was ill when we saw other frequent commenters noting his absence in the RG’s comments section, missing him and his rational tone. EW reader Elaine Weiss wrote us to ask about his passing, and her comments reflect what so many thought of Crum: “I didn’t know him in person, but have been impressed for years by his thoughtful and important comments in print. Whenever his name appeared, we could count on reading something informed, concerned and intelligent.”