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Are We Ready?

June 30th, 2022 by dk

The world is coming to Eugene’e doorstep in two weeks. Are we ready? Are we really ready? We’ve been planning for this day for years and we’ve been steadily ramping up. Hayward Field is ready. All the supporters of Track Town USA are ready. But what about the rest of us?

The city has done its part. The mural project has exceeded expectations, splashing color into unexpected corners across the town. The Downtown Riverfront Park is open and ready to host the Fan Festival for locals and those unable to score tickets to Hayward Field. The new Farmers’ Market Pavilion will add midweek bustle to the Park Blocks.

The Owen Rose Garden will be in full bloom. Visiting Pre’s Rock will no longer be a harrowing experience. The Peter DeFazio bridge will have a new coat of paint. (Somebody, please implore EWEB to remove the “For Sale” sign from its former headquarters. You’re not a marginal restaurant in a beach town, looking for a monied tourist blinded by romance.)

The shopping center near my home chose last weekend to re-stripe its parking lot. Spit and polish are being added everywhere. It feels like a town that is not just coming of age.  This feels less like a Bar Mitzvah and more like a wedding day. The bride is checking every detail, fulfilling a dream she had as a grade school Halloween princess.

I’m not worried about the first layer of this wedding cake. We’ve been envisioning it since the University of Oregon began wooing its richest alumnus. A firm foundation has been set. I’m also not concerned about the top layer — or maybe, in this case, the over-the-top layer. It’ll show great on TV, a deceptively forgiving medium. Visitors will have a great time.

The middle layer holds all the surprises. Every retailer is planning for peak capacity for two weeks straight. Hotels and Airbnb hosts far and wide expect to be full. Every available car has already been rented. Grocery stores are stocking up. Lane Transit District is probably refusing vacation requests.

Restaurants are scheming ways to accommodate regulars during a time that will be far from regular. Marijuana dispensaries are reviewing their educational materials because there will be whole lot of people coming in who are just plain curious. 

But what about details that are impossible to adjust or difficult to organize? We know our roads will be jammed. Imagine three Autzen events every day for two weeks. Can the police direct traffic on multiple corners for ten days in a row?

Will there be enough plumbers for every clogged toilet across Lane County? Will Hirons have enough helium to fill all the celebratory balloons to be given to winners? Will Oregon have enough sunscreen for everyone who didn’t know to pack a shade hat? Will we wish we had posted traffic signs on our running trails?

Are we prepared to endure and enjoy the disruptions that are coming, but also learn from them? The Halloween princess seldom dreams about what comes after that perfect wedding day.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Wednesday and Sunday for The Register-Guard and archives past columns at

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