I was filled with warm fuzzies and a big smile as I read about the founding and founders of What’s Happening/Eugene Weekly (EW, 9/22). I come from the same roots: Vietnam vet, Haight Ashbury commune hippie, back to the land and off the grid commune in Oregon, woods work where I became a Hoedad (Mudshark crew), which landed me in Eugene in the early ’70s.
The counterculture was an active and integral influence in this community. Although I was unaware of our similar backgrounds, I was not at all surprised to learn about the mighty women (and men) who made this newspaper a reality. From the Augur news letter and the Odyssey Coffee House came in-depth political conversations with legends like Bill and Cynthia Wooten, who went on to found the Oregon Country Fair, which was originally a benefit for a hippie free school. The OCF is still a major benefactor for arts and education.
The WOW Hall gave all us a place of unfettered discussion about workers rights and unionization back in the ‘20s. We Hoedads used it as our meeting place when the crews were in town. So many businesses sprouted from the marvelous counterculture movement in Eugene; many still operate today and are woven into the fabric of our community.
So, thank you, Eugene Weekly, for acknowledging your roots and sticking with free speech and seeking rational truth. As corporate straight-world insipidness seeks to undermine our successes, I am reminded of a line from one of my favorite movies, Papillon: (paraphrase) “We’re still here, ya bastards!”
Robert “Mouseman” McCarthy