Best of Eugene
Baby, you're the best!

Compiled by Eugene Weekly staff
Photos by James Bateman

best landscaper: dandylion

For the seventh year in a row we've tallied up all your votes and sifted through hundreds of ballots, counting down to the final hours to break as many ties as possible, all to unearth who would emerge as the ultimate fine winner in a plethora of categories. Sometimes no clear winner emerged, so we tossed the category. Sometimes a winner was way TOO clear and we did as promised — we tossed all stuffed ballots. What emerged was a group of honest winners, hard-working people and businesses or some places nature has graced with more beauty than usual.

Thanks to all who voted!



best tress dresser
Michele Sharpy, The Hiding Place

Michele Sharpy offers more than great haircuts, shimmering highlights and chemical-free shampoo to her clients. Red wine and chocolate are also part of the service.

best tress dresser: michele sharpy

Decadence aside, her clients love Michele for bringing Locks of Love to Eugene. The Florida-based organization makes wigs out of human hair for children suffering from cancer. Michele cuts off ponytails, sends them south, and restyles what's left for free. Anyone wanting to pay for the service makes a donation to Locks of Love, instead.

Michele opened The Hiding Place four years ago. She's the owner, receptionist, shampoo-girl and stylist. The busy pace does not allow her to accept walk-ins, so don't drop by expecting a quick lunch-time fix. Do expect a cut and color to match your face shape, lifestyle and hair type. "I've never had anybody burst into tears in my chair," she says. "My clients love me."

Address: 337 East 11th Alley, Eugene ph. 686-1998.


best computer geek
Tim Overstreet

best computer geek: tim overstreet

Ask Tim Overstreet whether he's more of a computer geek or a computer nerd, and the single (he really wants you to know that) father of two says, "Well, I've got five PCs at home for three people. There's one in every room; even the kitchen. I guess that makes me a geek."

Two-year network admin. for Eugene-based VersaLogic, a "manufacturer of embedded OEM computer products for industrial use," such as hospitals and farms, and recent contractor for Northwest Youth Corps, Overstreet says he's the kinda guy people call to ask what's new and end up saying, "Oh, by the way, I've got this computer problem…" But the former Air Force electronics expert and UO marketing student takes it in stride. "I worked in an advertising agency for six months but realized I wanted to do something technical," he says. His first computer was a Commodore 64 whose whereabouts are now unknown, and as for his next step up, a Gateway 386, well, he still has the case.


best street personality

"Say, excuse me, but have you read the world's funniest joke book ever?" Who among us isn't familiar with that croaky singsong of Frog-on-the-street, peddling his wares along 13th near campus or downtown at Saturday Market? Like tie-dyed socks and garlic-heavy hummus, there's really no better way to describe Frog and his joke books than "…so Eugene." (And judging from the second place winner in this category, looks like there are those of you so over the whole Eugene thing!)


best landscaper

Begun in 1991 by Todd Davis and handed over to current owner Barb Barnard and VP Jill Catino about five years ago, Dandylion's business has been beautifying Eugene. The specialty is perennials, and Barnard says it's a community effort — she employs lots of musicians ("though they don't like to get up early") and English majors. She also credits great customers and designers who participate in conceiving the living creations. Barnard's own backyard attests to her skill: Beds overflow with an abundance of tomatoes and peppers while the perimeter is alive with trees, shrubs, flowers and meandering footpaths.

Barnard says the landscapers and designers treat each yard differently, choosing particular plants that fit in each space. "For fall, a nice touch is designing with bulbs, to look forward to a spring spectacular," she says.


best dreads: allison cassin

best dreadlocks
Allison Cassin

Allison Cassin's knee-length coif reigns supreme in this category. The 30- year-old New York transplant is no dready-come-lately; she's been sporting clumps since 1993.

"I didn't really decide to have them," she says. "I was traveling and they just happened."

Extra points, then, for developing a hairstyle in the consummate Eugene fashion: the path of least resistance. Take a good look, kids — if you're willing and able to shrug your shoulders long enough, someday you too can bask in the accolades of a discerning public!

But not this year. No, 2002 belongs to Allison Cassin's hair (and the person underneath). She doesn't plan on keeping the dreads forever, so we salute them now, while we can.


best powermonger/reactionary
Jim Torrey

Mayor Jim Torrey was voted both the power mongering-est and most reactionary by EW readers. Makes some sense that if you're working to monger the power, you might be a little reactionary to anything questioning your process. Torrey has proved himself pro-sprawl and pro-big business, while also revealing his impatience with the needy of Eugene ("Mean Eugene" EW, 9/26).


best cartoonist: jan eliot

best local cartoonist
Jan Eliot

Jan Eliot has been cracking us up for years with her cartoon series Stone Soup. The 'toon revolves around the lives of sisters Val and Joan, their children, their mother, Joan's new husband Wally, his nephew, Andy and the family dog, Biscuit. Through this cast of characters, Eliot reveals the inner chaos and hilarity of family and extended-family life.

Eliot has been cartooning since 1979 as a form of expression, self-defense and self-sufficiency. She had successes early on and close to home with two other comic strips — Patience and Sarah and Sister City. In 1995, Eliot landed a syndication deal with Universal Press Syndicate for Stone Soup, and ever since, she's been sending her strips out into the world from right here in little ol' Eugene. And she shares the wealth by periodically donating original drawings and the opportunity to have your name in the Stone Soup series to a number of local charity fundraising auctions.


best revolutionary: john zerzan

best revolutionary
John Zerzan

John Zerzan refers to the garden in front of his house — wild, weedy and flourishing — as "… the Anarchist Garden — it thrives on neglect…" Zerzan has proved to be an active and vocal member of those who question authority. Last spring, he published a book titled (appropriately for a revolutionary) Running on Emptiness: The Pathology of Civilization. He also hosts a radio show Sunday nights at 11 pm on KWVA. Zerzan says the anarchist community is alive and well here in Eugene, but politely declines to discuss any projects he's working on right now.


best kayaking
McKenzie River

Just 45 minutes from Eugene, the McKenzie River attracts both novice and expert paddlers. Beginners can push off from Finn Rock for an easy float down flat water. If confidence holds out at the end of the run, they have the option of tackling Marten's rapids. Serious kayakers can start upstream at Ollalie for class IV action and ice cream headaches at Brown's and Reelsides rapids.

The McKenzie's proximity to Eugene allows summer paddlers to put in an eight-hour day, slip in a few hours on the river and get home just after dark. The river also welcomes winter warriors. And crowds never seem to be a problem in any season, discounting local mergansers, oozles and ospreys.


best neighborhood walk
University Area

Because the typical Eugene neighborhood walk is conducted in the rain, a tree-lined stroll through the U-District will keep you drier than most routes. But, unlike most prudent decisions, no sacrifice is involved — walkers get plenty of foliage overhead and an array of sights to take in.

Plus ice cream, if they head in the right direction.

During this time of year, the west side of the hill topped by University St., just south of campus, is a must-walk. Head down 19th Ave. until you get sick of the traffic, turn left and then hike back up 20th, remembering to inhale through your nose.

Crossing University St., on the other side of the hill, even the most preoccupied pedestrian will find a couple of fresh-fallen leaves worth saving. Agate St. is where you turn left, back toward the traffic. It'll take you through campus, if you can get past the ice cream shop.


best place to people watch
Saturday Market

You want to see a bloke with his nipples pierced? Maybe you're into women with cropped, purple hair and tattoos? Whatever turns you on or freaks you out, you'll find someone to stare at or fall in love with at the Saturday Market.

Where else can you find out if last year's bowling shoes are still in vogue and watch the lost art of hackey-sack? You can ponder the personality of the man buying both organic massage oil and naturally scented candles. Follow him to the next booth — perhaps it will be a tarot reader!

Beautiful women bare their midriffs and swish their hips to the beat of a group of drummers. Butts circling slowly and arms stretched high — there's nothing like people watching at the Saturday Market.


best place to buy plants
Farmers' Market

Whether you are looking for the instant gratification of annuals, a lifelong commitment to perennials or Pacific Northwest natives, check out the Farmer's Market. There is no better way to buy your plants than from the folks who started them from seed. They know all the tricks to keep your plants healthy and blooming all season.

A brisk autumn morning is the perfect time to grab a hot coffee, wander through the vendor's booths and plan next year's garden. Boxes upon boxes of bulbs will turn your thoughts to spring bouquets while nearby organic veggie sellers will inspire you to plant and harvest your own greens.


best live music venue: wow hall

best live music venue
WOW Hall

Affectionately known to all as the WOW Hall, The Woodsmen of the World Hall is a historic building in the heart of downtown. Drive by any night of the week and chances are you'll see a bustling corner with music fans hanging out under the spreading canopy of trees overhead, catching a smoke, checking out their favorite band. The WOW plays host to a wide variety of music, and is open to all ages, from that breastfeeding baby with taped-in ear plugs to your 97-year-old grandmother. (There's a smoke-free beer garden downstairs if she gets thirsty.) The club continues to nurture a creative music scene here in Eugene, hosting lots of local bands of all types from punk to folk, along with big-name touring acts from hip-hop to power pop. Community-supported and staffed primarily with volunteers, the WOW is a place for everyone who loves music.


best dance 'til you drop club

When Eugene wants to get down to some dirty dancin', there's no better place to go than Diablo's. Deep in the pit of the Downtown Lounge basement, long late nights are filled with Diablo's primal beats and sweaty bodies that move to the groove 'til the last record winds down to a sleepy scratchy sound and a big, hearty yawn that greets the dawn.


best hardware store

We know someone who forewent the usual luxury clothing item she gives herself every birthday and this year bought a cordless drill instead. Her screws have never been so tight. And her shelving's grown by leaps and bounds. She swears by Jerry's, of course, where Eugenean's flock by the hundreds when it's time to clean out that job jar. Of course, True Value is dear to our hearts, as well, coming in a neat and tidy second place.


best organic farm: sweet leaf

best organic farm
Sweet Leaf

David Sullivan started Sweet Leaf farms four years ago, after being inspired by UO's Urban Garden course and working on many other local farms. You may know the booth at the Farmers' Market, and you've probably tasted their veggies and greens at Marché and other restaurants.


best place for your dog to meet its mate
Amazon Dog Park

Labradors looking for love should look no farther than the Amazon Dog Park. At 6 pm, the place is a canine meat market. Short dogs, sleek dogs, purebreds and genetic wonders from Greenhill cruise the scene with tails held high and noses held low.

best place for your dog to meet its mate: amazon dog park

Pooches can swoon over gangly puppies tripping over their hind legs. For the athletically inclined pup, there's champion Frisbee-catchers showing off for the crowd. Fashion hounds will find the perfect mate sporting a spiky collar, a colorful harness or a stars and stripes bandana. In the glow of the evening sun, with Spencer Butte providing a romantic backdrop, the four-legged frenzy of Amazon Dog Park is the place to pee.


best bottled water
Earth 2 O

Those who carefully follow the bottled water campaigns contend that Eugene's electorate didn't endorse the winner so much as vote against the losers. Earth 2 O's mandate, observers say, remains hazy at best.

Dasani, of course, never had a chance, due to its business ties with Coca-Cola. (And what was that bluish-tinted bottle trying to cover up, anyway?) Slick corporate backing can work against you in this town, and Dasani was no exception.

Aquafina's refusal to take a stance on controversial issues such as school vouchers doomed the campaign in the long run. "We ended up being perceived as wishy-washy, with no substance, and it hurt our numbers," said one Aquafina insider. "I mean, hell, we don't have any substance. We're 100% pure water. Apparently that wasn't enough."

No, voters ultimately opted for that skinny, clear bottle with the pop-valve top — further proof that Eugene has an opinion on everything.


best free activity

Whether on your bike with toes clipped in and helmet strapped on or just checking out the Spandex pedaling past, cycling offers free fun for all. Riders can hop in the saddle and head for the flats of the Willamette River or head up into the south hills via Lorane Hwy. Everyone can appreciate the fruits of cyclists' efforts: firm bums and tight thighs.

For riders, free activities aren't necessarily free of costs. Eugene seems to have an endless supply of stupid drivers who cut in front of cyclists or turn into their paths. Some intentionally drive within inches of a rider's life. For a city with extensive bike paths and quiet, residential streets, mangled wheels and bent frames are all too common. Maybe that's why cycling in Eugene is free?


best local boondoggle
West Eugene Parkway

Maybe we should have called it "Worst Local Boondoggle." The (dis)honor goes to the West Eugene Parkway (WEP), the highway project threatening not only the delicate wetland ecosystems in west Eugene, but also the budget for other road and transportation projects. Officially estimated at a cost of $88 million, recent reports show that WEP could cost a whopping $150 million when all is said and done. There's no guarantee that WEP will improve traffic conditions along West 11th and out to Veneta. But if the grumbling now is any indication, the push to fully approve the project will be a hard-fought one.


best local cause
Fighting the West Eugene Parkway

On the flip side, EW readers also voted WEP "Best Local Cause." Citizens for Public Accountability (CPA) has been persistent in its formal opposition to WEP, going so far as to request a plan designed by Crandall Arambula (EW, 9/19) that is a more "…wetland and transit friendly alternative to the West Eugene Parkway." But we've also heard regularly in our Letters to the Editor from those of you taking a personal, if not formal, stand against WEP. It's pretty clear that the time, money and ecological fallout of this behemoth will hurt the many and benefit only the few here in Eugene.


best reason to move to eugene/best reason to leave eugene
Have a seat. Relax, sit back, have some tea, grab a tissue, let's process this, Eugene. So you moved here because you loved 1) the people; 2) the quality of life and 3) the weather. That's so nice.

Why must you be so Piscean in your ambivalence?

Because then you quickly changed your mind and wanted to move away because 1) the job market sucks (so much for quality of life) 2) the weather sucks and 3) the people suck.

Guess you just got to know everyone a little better, eh?


| Click for Best Restaurants of Eugene |

ew readers' poll best of eugene


best tress dresser
1. Michele Sharpy / The Hiding Place
2. David Wilson / Imagine
3. John Cook / Classic Touch

best computer geek
1. Tim Overstreet
2. Steve Crane
3. David Roth

best street personality
1. Frog
2. Anyone but Frog
3. Eagle Park Slim

best landscaper
1. Dandilyon
2. Mother Nature
3. Dennis Lueck

best preacher
1. None!
2. Dan Bryant
3. Rabbi Yitzhak Husbands-Hankin

best dreadlocks
1. Allison Cassin
2. Sadie Rose

best powermonger
1. Jim Torrey
2. John Musumeci
3. PeaceHealth

best local cartoonist
1. Jan Eliot
2. Jesse Springer
3. Scott Wooley

best revolutionary
1. John Zerzan
2. Peter DeFazio
3. Jeffrey Luers

best reactionary
1. Jim Torrey
2. Tony Baker
3. Eugene Police Department



best location for a new traffic light
1. Costco
2. 25th and Willamette
3. 28th and Jefferson

best place to pop the question
1. Top of Spencer Butte
2. Top of Mt. Pisgah
3. Owen Rose Garden

best place for your dog to meet its mate
1. Amazon Dog Park
2. Alton Baker Dog Park
3. Morse Ranch Dog Park

best wildflower viewing
1. Mt. Pisgah
2. Hendricks Park
3. Spencer Butte

best organic farm
1. Sweet Leaf
2. Horton Rd. Organics
3. Sweetwaters

best kayaking
1. McKenzie River
2. North and Middle Fork of Willamette
3. Probably on a river

best neighborhood walk
1. University Area
2. Hendricks Park
3. Whiteaker

best place to people watch
1. Saturday Market
2. Country Fair
3. Downtown Mall

best place to buy plants
1. Farmers' Market
2. Indoor Garden
3. Gray's

best live music venue
1. WOW Hall
2. Sam Bond's
3. McDonald Theatre

best dance 'til you drop club
1. Diablo's
2. WOW Hall
3. Neighbors/Tsunami (tie)

best hardware store
1. Jerry's
2. True Value
3. Home Depot



best bottled water
1. Earth 2 O
2. McKenzie Mist
3. Tap water

best free activity
1. Biking
2. Hiking
3. Saturday Market

best climbing tree
1. The UO Redwood
2. Love Tree at Pisgah
3. Wherever they are Logging

best local boondoggle
1. West Eugene Parkway
2. PeaceHealth Relocation
3. Re-opening Broadway

best local cause
1. Fighting the West Eugene Parkway
2. Schools
3. Saving Trees

best reason to move to eugene
1. The People
2. The Quality of Life
3. The Weather

best reason to leave eugene
1. Job Market Sucks
2. The Weather
3. The People




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