Eugene, Oregon's first roadtrip picture page!

- 29 April 2001 -

Complete with snarky commentary!
Brought to you by Yansa and his el cheapo digital camera!

My neighborhood supermarket, WinCo (née Waremart).

Those of you who know me well know why this is so significantly featured in my photo collection. ;)

It is far larger than it appears. This picture was taken from hundreds of feet away (right by the edge of Barger Drive, for those in the know).

WinCo's corporate headquarters is in Boise, Idaho! Isn't that almost interesting? ;)

River Road, facing south, taken just in front of the parking lot of the Santa Clara Fred Meyer.

The picture didn't capture all that I wanted it to, but meh.

River Road is one of Eugene's busiest streets, but the picture was taken on Sunday afternoon, one of its least busy times. River Road is the eighth wonder of the world -- the wonder being "I wonder how can people stand to live on a street that's so busy!" Yet houses and apartments there don't cost all any less than houses in less traffic-ridden locales. It is truly mind-boggling.

The Arby's restaurant nearest to La Casa de Yansa is on the other side of the overpass. (Those who know what the Arby's sign looks will recognize it -- it's in almost the exact center of the picture.) That is very significant. It explains why in the hell I've spent any time on River Road. ;)

River Road, facing north, taken just in front of the parking lot of the Santa Clara Fred Meyer.

The picture really didn't capture all I wanted it to... mostly this picture shows the lovely scenic beauty of the bus stop sign and the big honkin' oakish tree. But people were starting to look at me and think "Why in the hell is he taking pictures of stupid old River Road?", so I figured I'd better take my picture and scoot. ;)

Take that right-turn lane and you'll get to Fred Meyer, Albertson's, or the significant "Third World Burger King".

(The "Third World Burger King" was a regular Burger King restaurant that was bought by a new company a year or so ago. The new company tore out all the decorative touches, rearranged the tables and generally made the ambience "Soviet cafeteria chic", and, for some reason that truly escapes my entire family, they turned the men's bathroom door upside down. They painted the outside of the restaurant, though.)

(Northwest residents will recognize the Les Schwab sign peeking through the trees on the right side of the picture. C'mon now, let's all hum the timeless Les Schwab commercial jingle! "Dah-dah, dah DAH, dah-dah DAH DAH dah-dah / Dah-dah, dah DAH, dah-dah dah dah DAH!" ;) )

Scotchbroom, as found near the Delta Ponds off of Goodpasture Island Road, in north Eugene.

Back in the '60s or '70s, on the Oregon coast, they were wanting to keep the famous sand dunes in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (near Florence, Oregon) from disappearing. To keep the dunes in place, they brought in all sorts of weird plants from all over the world. Scotchbroom was one of them.

(No, you are not experiencing a visual illusion here -- this scotchbroom plant is as tall as I am. 8} )

Not only did scotchbroom not hold the dunes in place, but it also spread like hell all throughout the Northwest. The truly odd thing is that I never saw it in Oregon before about 1995. I lived for 13 years in Portland ('78-'92) and never saw nor heard of scotchbroom until I went to Seattle on a field trip in May 1995 -- there were huge clumps of scotchbroom all along I-5 once you got north of Olympia.

Nevertheless, when I moved to Eugene in '96, it was here, and it was beginning to appear in Portland. Sic transit gloria mundi. ;)

Scotchbroom is significant because it heralds allergy season for me. When the yellow flowers have fully appeared on the scotchbroom up by Lane Community College -- generally this happens in mid to late May -- I should prepare to sneeze. LCC, however, is about 200' higher in elevation than the Delta Ponds, and the scotchbroom up there is just barely blooming, so I'm safe for a while. ;)

And hey -- if we've gotta have a rapidly-spreading, impossible-to-remove foreign plant in Eugene, at least we've got one with University of Oregon's green-and-yellow color scheme ;)

I took a lot of pictures of a run-down shopping center on Maxwell Drive in Santa Clara.

It is *so* the place where I'd set the finale of a murder mystery book or something. It's this old abandoned vestigial 1950s-era shopping center; it consists of a former supermarket (which is now a "restaurant equipment wholesale" shop) and a former pizza place (which is now boarded up and covered in gang graffiti).

Also, there's this big paved hill thing in the parking area. It vaguely resembles the mounds you find inside the Umatilla Ordnance Depot along I-84 in Eastern Oregon. (The Umatilla Ordnance Depot is where they bury the old chemical weapons). I always suspect it's nuclear. ;)

Anyhow, it's this creepy and truly outré vestigial '50s shopping center in the middle of '50s suburban housing, and it always seems significant to me. I took 6 pictures, but they all turned out dark. :/

If you want me to post some pictures anyway, let me know.

The Delta Ponds, as found off of Goodpasture Island Road, in north Eugene.

Back in the '70s, the Delta Ponds were a gravel-mining area. Today, they're a swamp, owned by the City of Eugene. It's a loverly and significant natural habitat for things like scotchbroom, mosquitoes, and swamp muck, and the occasional confused bird or two. Also, during the rainy season, it looks all nice from Delta Highway (which is just beyond the trees at the back of this picture). During summer, though, it gets coated in icky green swamp muck and looks hideous, but it's "natural", and that's a very Eugene sort of thing. ;)

(Last year, they introduced a little Scottish bug into the Delta Ponds. The bug was supposed to chomp up all the scotchbroom. There is scotchbroom all over this damn picture, so the bug obviously gave up. ;) ) 

The hills in the far background are the Coburg Hills, whose summit is ~10 miles northeast of Eugene.

The traffic in front of Valley River Center, Eugene's largest shopping mall. Facing west.

I wanted to get better pictures of Valley River Center, but I couldn't -- I took about 5, but they all came out really dark. Anyhow... I used to live over by VRC. The traffic here is significantly miserable during Christmas... and, for some reason, it was obnoxious well into February this year (!) You've gotta love acquisitive capitalist society, or something ;)

Strange activist people who live nowhere near VRC have written the Planning Division asking for the huge parking areas to be built over with apartments, because, hey, during Christmas, people who don't live nearby could take the bus. Uh, sure... whatever you say, folks... (They'd end up parking in front of my old driveway, probably. Enough strange people had been doing that already :b )

The back entrance of Lane Community College, facing east.

Well, it's not supposed to be the "back entrance"; LCC planned it as the front entrance. But *I* hardly ever use this entrance, so I call it the back entrance. So nyah. :b

Lane Community College is where I'm supposed to be going to college, but I've been too lazy to go back and finish my damn networking degree. ;)

The building to the left is the Health and P.E. building. It also houses LCC's childcare, and, significantly, it housed the computer labs until a new building was built very recently.

With all the lovely concrete everywhere, LCC seems so European in a '60s sort of way, doesn't it? Well, just you wait until you see the fountain.

The dry fountain at Lane Community College, facing southeast.

Nothing says "yesterday" quite like something that once said "tomorrow", eh? ;)

(This thing just screams "Stockholm, circa 1964" ;) )

See the significant yellow abstract sculpture? See the dwindling but significant puddle of rainwater? Isn't that significant? Have you noticed that I've used the word "significant" in every damn one of my picture descriptions so far? ;)

The fountain used to be about 1' full of water, and about 3" of muck, and also about 1" of coins and such, because that's what people do -- they toss coins, when they are confronted with a fountain.

The fountain was lighted at night. 

The fountain was truly pointless. ;)

The Waiting Place™ at LCC, in its south side parking lot. Facing east.

Doesn't this look like a lonely rural sort of place where the space aliens would descend in The Mother-Ship™ and abduct someone?

What, you can't see it? ;)

The Waiting Place™, which is at the end of the sidewalk shown above, is very significant. I have spent hours upon hours of my time here, waiting for my parents to pick me up from classes. (Incidentally, my parents do not own a Mother-Ship™.) You see, this all happened before I had a Yansamobile™, and it was also before I learned to drive. Hence, whether it was the middle of allergy season or the peak of winter, I spent 15-30 minutes every afternoon waiting for my parents to stop by.

This is not a bad thing. I was very grateful that my parents would drive out here to pick me up, and I enjoyed the wait. It gave me time to wind down after my classes. It's a scenic spot, a good place to stand and think, and it has a good view of campus (or it had one, until the new Math/Science building was built) and a great view of the nearby hills. On a clear day, you can see the Three Sisters mountains on the Lane County line, about 70 miles away. :)

There were several places for me to wait at LCC that were much more convenient, but I always came back to The Waiting Place™.

View from The Waiting Place™ at LCC, in its south side parking lot. Facing northeast.

This is the view from The Waiting Place™. The buildings below house some professors' offices and Engineering classes.

 The hill in the medium distance is the very significant Quarry Butte in Springfield, so named because there's a rock quarry on it (you can see the quarry from The Waiting Place™... and, faintly, in this picture -- the whole top of the left side of the hill looks like it's been scooped out, which it has, in one way or another).

In the distance are the Cascade Mountains. The little bump to the left of the farthest tree on the right is (I think) the Three Sisters, on the Lane/Deschutes county line.

Four weeks from now, all of the grass immediately in front of this view will be as tall as my head, and grass pollen -- which I am rather allergic to -- will scatter in the late spring wind. Blecch ;)

The back parking lot at Valley River Center, facing northeast.

I went back to Valley River Center because I realized I forgot something -- the place where I learned to drive! This very significant parking lot (called "the back 40" by folks in the neighborhood around VRC) is where I spent two years ('97-'99) trying to master the basics of the automobile. Well... I spent maybe 24 total hours over those two years in this parking lot, because I was damn terrified of driving. :b

It's full of fond (and, yes, significant) memories of being behind the wheel of various family cars with various relatives trying to convince me to stop hyperventilating ;)

I did eventually discover that driving was no big deal, but it took a while. 

(The red car in the picture is the Mighty Yansamobile™!)

In one of the second-floor windows of the red building in the background, there's a cardboard cutout of a police officer. This spooked me the first night I drove around out there :} The black building on the right edge of the picture is a really funky-looking office building -- it's larger on top than on bottom, and the outer walls are all mirrored windows. (As you might imagine, there are some sunny summer days when you can't drive by that building even with sunglasses on ;) )

The Willamette River, from the Valley River bike bridge. Facing east.

(The hill in the distance is Skinner Butte, which is located on the north edge of downtown Eugene. The left bank of the river here is the Valley River Center area of north Eugene; the right bank is the lower edge of the River Road neighborhood, a mostly-1950s suburban area that's not generally inside the City.)

I figured that I ought to get at least one shot of the Willamette River... and since I forgot about the Three Sisters Bar (the eerily popular gravel bar in Santa Clara, downstream from this place), I went to the only other place I knew of where I could see the river: Valley River Center. (It's got a valley, it's got a river, so hey.)

I've been to all the other places in my other pictures. I'd never been here before. It's scenic, isn't it?

This is what the river looks like all through Eugene, even through downtown -- trees, not buildings, line the banks. That's by design. In 1975, something called the Willamette Greenway was created -- if you own property along the river and want to take out trees to build something, you've got to ask permission from about 715 different authorities, including the City of Eugene, the State of Oregon, the World Trade Organization, and the Reverend Billy Graham. ;)

However, it makes the river look quite nice, and that's a big deal. Portland's waterfront isn't nearly this pretty. :)

Text written 29 April 2001.
Last updated 19 January 2006.

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