'I had no clue. I thought it was Kesey Square': Eugene considers re-naming Broadway Plaza
EUGENE, Ore. – The City of Eugene is considering changing the name of Broadway Plaza in downtown Eugene to “Kesey Square.”
The life-sized statue of Ken Kesey has been the inspiration behind the alternate name.
The renowned author grew up in Springfield and went to the University of Oregon. In Eugene, he’s known as a local legend.
"He was a larger-than-life personality,” said John Averill, a family friend of Ken Kesey.
A lot of Eugenians say the decision should be a no-brainer.
“He had this presence about him. I haven't met that many people like that. Just sort of commanded attention without trying to command attention,” Averill said.
The leader of the Merry Pranksters also helped define an era, shaping Eugene’s counter culture.
In April, city leaders considered renaming Broadway Plaza to Kesey Square. Now, they want to hear from the public.
“Yes, I think you should. I think it's important to honor our local heroes,” said Ed Lazzara, a University of Oregon student.
“I definitely think that they should,” said Heaven Ramakar, owner of B-heavenly food truck.
Some say it will clear up confusion.
“I had no clue. I thought it was Kesey Square,” said Jacob Lundst, a Eugene business owner.
“I've always known it as Kesey and any time I tell people where I’m located it's the Kesey Square,” Ramakar said.
Other say it will be good for downtown business.
“Helps bring in business. People come over to see the statue,” Lundst said.
The plaza is where Lundst sets up shot every week.
“They'll want to take pictures with it, then they'll start talking to us,” he said.
“I think it holds a special spot to their heart because the man has done a lot of good and this is just a center point of Eugene,” Ramakar said.
Whether or not the name is changed, Kesey’s statue and his legend will remain.
The Eugene City Council will make its decision at a meeting in late August or early September.
Until then, comment can be submitted in writing to:
Mayor Vinis and City Council
125 East 8th Avenue, 2nd Floor
Eugene, Oregon 97401
By email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Or in person during the Public Forum portion of these upcoming Council meetings:
- Monday, July 10, 2017
- Monday, July 24, 2017
Meetings are held in Harris Hall in Lane County Public Service Building, 125 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene, OR 97401 at 7:30 p.m.
You can sign up to speak during the public forum at 7 p.m. Signs ups close at 7:25 p.m.