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'It was known all along that Eugene would be No. 1 because it just is'


30th Annual SLUG Queen Competition & Coronation (Photo by Todd Cooper)
30th Annual SLUG Queen Competition & Coronation (Photo by Todd Cooper)
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EUGENE, Ore. - OK, lay off the bongos for a second and set down your quinoa-chia-hemp milkshake: a national real estate website thinks Eugene is the Best U.S. City for Hippies.

Heavy, man.

"To start with, I've never really had a problem getting marijuana here," Ed Perkins said Thursday on the green streets of Eugene. "I'm absolutely a hippie. Hippie is an attitude."

Murray Willloughby, a traveling street performer, has been in Eugene since April. He doesn't think the town is friendly to the arts because he's been asked to stop playing by several businesses when he plays outside them.

"I think it seems like there's haters here," he said.

It's all good, man. So how did Estately.com come to this conclusion?

"To determine the overall ranking we included some measurables like marijuana legality and use, number of stores selling hemp products, and number of tie-dye products for sale from local Etsy stores," explained Ryan Nickum, blogger for Estately.com. "We then added to this factors like progressive government, local hippie icons, intensity of Occupy protests, and popular 'hippie' festivals.

"This helped us separate similar cities on our list," Nickum said, "but it was known all along that Eugene would be number one because it just is."

Dude.

"I knew it the first time I went to Oregon Country Fair and was reminded of it later while dumpster diving behind an organic produce shop with a bunch of forest activists way back in the day," Nickum said. "It's a badge of honor worn by most of the people from Eugene I've met in other towns, even by those who would never consider themselves hippies."

Far out, man.

"When we ran a fairly informal poll on Facebook the overwhelming response was that Eugene was definitely number one," Nickum added. "I think most of the other placing are pretty debatable, but I don't think there's any way to argue Eugene isn't number one. San Francisco has changed too much, Berkeley's hippie culture is watered down, but Eugene has not only sort of kept up many of those old-school hippie traditions, but it's also worked hippie values into most aspects of the city's culture, business and government.

"Obviously, the city is far more than just its hippie side, but I'd say it's a bigger part of Eugene than the hippie sides are of any other city in America."

Eugene also beat out Olympia, Washington (No. 2); Portland, Oregon (No. 5); Missoula, Montana (No. 11) and Arcata, California (No. 17.)

In his blog post, Nickum took a page from David Letterman, listing the Top 10 reasons Eugene ranks No. 1 in hippiedom.

  1. Ken Kesey, Merry Prankster and author of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," was a local boy.
  2. You can buy tie-dyed underwear from numerous sources.
  3. The city elects a a SLUG Queen each year.
  4. Eugene hosts the annual Oregon Country Fair, a hippie spectacle that has to be seen to be believed.
  5. There are multiple Birkenstock retailers in town.
  6. Plenty of radical environmentalists, anarchists, and other political raconteurs.
  7. The weekly Saturday Market features organic produce and handmade creations by local residents and served as an inspiration for many other similar markets.
  8. Home to Toby's, makers of fine tofu and and more.
  9. A local bicycle shop gives away free tofu when the local Les Schwab Tire Centers give away free beef to customers.
  10. Numerous vegetarian restaurants like Laughing Planet, Cornbread Caf and Caf Yumm.

Of course, what does Estately.com know: They ranked Oregon as the third best state for bigfoot to live.

Kat Wolcott contributed to this report.

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