Eugene to UO students: 'You Don't Live at Autzen'

EUGENE, Ore. - University of Oregon students unwinding after the first day of classes got a knock on the door from a stranger Monday.

"Good afternoon," the bespectacled figure said. "I'm Mayor Piercy."

Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy and University of Oregon president Michael Gottfredson joined about 75 others in knocking on doors and talking to students in the neighborhoods around the Oregon campus.

They came bearing gifts: a reusable canvas bag, handy in a town where stores are forbidden from using single-use plastic shopping bags and must charge at least 5 cents for paper.

But they also had some words for the wise - or as a pamphlet puts it on page 8, "You don't live at Autzen Stadium."

"We have information that we hope will make you have a really good year, be safe and make good decisions," Piercy told a student.

This door-to-door welcome is a counterpoint to the Eugene Police Party Patrol, which hit the streets last weekend actively enforcing local liquor laws.

Over 60 people were cited or arrested for alcohol-related crimes near campus.

"Unfortunately we made contact with too many people," Captain Karl Durr said. "I'd like to see it that we're unsuccessful and we didn't have any problems."

The personal visits from Piercy and others are meant to put a more welcoming face on a related message.

"It's not just us wagging our finger," Piercy said of the knock-and-talk effort, "but us really saying, 'We like having you here, let's figure out how to have a really good experience for everyone.'"

"It definitely puts the message forward that we want to represent the best of what the university is," said Sam Dotters-Katz, the UO student body president.

The effort was well received.

"It's fantastic," said Connor O'Boyle. "It's obviously very personal and makes you feel like you're part of a small town."