Jon Pincus

Photo by Paul Neevel

After two years at Washington University in St. Louis, studying 20th Century cultural history, Jon Pincus visited Eugene in 1969, just in time for the first Oregon Country Fair. He returned in 1970 for a year of study at the University of Oregon, plus volunteer work at Fair. “I frequented the Odyssey Coffee House,” he says, “where Bill and Cindy Wooten were creating opportunities for community organizations like Growers’ Market and White Bird Clinic.” Following his graduation from WU in 1973, Pincus moved to Eugene, where he enrolled in a UO architecture master’s program, continued to work at Fair, and got involved in many other community activities. “I had a mixed-media radio show one evening a week on university station KWAX,” he notes, “covering social justice issues, art, poetry and related music.” As vice chairman of the Westside Neighborhood Quality Project, he became aware of WOW Hall, the art deco style Woodmen of the World Lodge Hall, built in 1932, just west of downtown, that was rented out to local performing arts groups by the few remaining members of the lodge. When the elderly Woodmen decided to sell the hall, Pincus took a leading role in creating the nonprofit Community Center for the Performing Arts and organizing the 24-hour/5-day WOWATHON that raised $10,000 for a down payment in 1975. He served as manager of the hall for most of the 1980s. “I left to continue my work as a design consultant, focused on historical preservation,” he says. In 1996, he succeeded in having the WOW Hall listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As a Country Fair elder, retired from the governing board, Pincus still puts in lots of volunteer hours with the Fair site crew. 

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