Skinner Butte History Walk

June 28, 2008

LaRee and I first needed to return DVDs to the library. Then with a quick glance at the bronze statue of Eugene Skinner, we walked across the street to view the new expensive meshed photo banner around the big hole. It is too transparent to hide the hole! We tried to read the undersized excerpts from Ken Kesey’s books at the base of The Storyteller statue on Broadway Plaza. We studied Betsy Wolfston’s Four Seasons and then headed down Willamette Street to see the Japanese American Memorial Peace Park, the Celebration mosaic mural by Dallas Cole at the Hilton Hotel, Carl Morris’s 1943 paintings in the Post Office, and the Eugene Amtrak Train Station. I asked a passenger in the waiting room why he had a new 4 foot tall garden shovel attached to his backpack. He said he was on his way to hike the Pacific Crest Trail for two months. We wished him luck and wondered why he needed such a big shovel. Near the train station is another piece of art by Wolfston titled the Marker of Origin. We pretended we were tourists and used our binoculars to read the circular quotations stretching up 30 feet.

The world is a very good world
But you must seek it
It will not do to neglect it.
Lady Morgan, 19th Century.
The trouble with many travelers is that they take themselves along. John Prescott.
It is not down on any map, true places never are. Herman Melville.
Take only memories. Leave nothing here but footprints. Chief Seattle.

Next stop was the Nike Store so that LaRee and Ruth could see the Nike museum displays for the first time while I registered for the Butte to Butte Run. In front of the 5th Street Market, we read the sidewalk inscription about Eugene Skinner and then headed for the Historic District. Two homeowners graciously shared their enthusiasm and pointed out unique features of their homes. Willie Nims told us that his family owned his house since 1948. He showed us the original millstone.

Near the top of Skinner Butte, we spotted a fledgling sitting on the eagle’s nest. We watched climbers hooking up at the columns and children digging for fossils at the Discovery Village playground. We were glad to head to the Steelhead for lunch. It was 92 degrees when we walked back to the Pearl Street Garage at 10th and Pearl to see more of Wolfston’s ceramic art and quotes on her stunning mosaic panels. Back at the library, we watched a colorful, peaceful sidewalk parade with banners stating, Olympics China; Stop Torture Tibet. It was a walk with many unexpected treasures.

Hikers were: LaRee Beckley, Ruth Romoser and Janet Jacobsen, leader.


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