City Club of Eugene: Gifts to the City 2021
Program Date: Dec. 17, 2021
Air Date: Dec. 20, 2021
From The City Club of Eugene:
At the end of every calendar year, City Club of Eugene hosts a program called “Gifts to the City.” An array of people whose community involvement gives them unique perspectives on Eugene are invited to reply to this prompt: “Imagine you have a magic wand. You can use it to produce a gift to our city that will make it an even better place for us all to live. What would you give?”
Ten distinguished Eugeneans have accepted this challenge. In this program, each will describe their gift and why they believe it will be useful. Former City Club President and housing activist Dan Bryant will offer introductions.
Dr. Silky J. Booker may be best known locally for “King Silky’s Blessing Boxes,” a response to the pandemic. The boxes provide food and supplies to Lane County families in need. After 15 years in the Air Force, Dr. Booker earned undergraduate and graduate degrees, and enjoyed a brief sojourn in England before settling in Eugene. He is a co-founder of the 6th Region Global Chamber of Commerce and founder and chair of the Oregon Black Chamber of Commerce. Last month, on November 19, Governor Brown appointed Dr. Booker to the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs.
Beth Stein is the Executive Director of Nearby Nature, where she works daily to connect youth with the wonders of nature right here in our own community. From training volunteers to teaching preschoolers, writing grants to doing payroll, she wears a wide assortment of hats at her office in Alton Baker Park, often switching them out on an hourly basis. One of her favorite roles is that of the storyteller, and she often tells her staff and volunteers that if you can tell a good story, you can do anything!
Gabe Casteel works with Carry It Forward to build durable, insulated 5’ by 9’ shelters for those who need a safe and warm place to sleep. He and his partner have designed a home that will last, and he teaches others the skills they need to help, skills that will allow them to compete for mainstream construction jobs.
Karin Clarke is the owner and director of Karin Clarke Gallery in downtown Eugene. The Gallery opened in 2002 with the goal of creating museum quality shows to recognize local and regional artists, including the work of her parents, Margaret Coe and the late Mark Clarke. Since then, she’s organized hundreds of exhibits, and she regularly curates from the estates of some of Oregon’s most sought-after artists, like Rick Bartow, Nelson Sandgren, David McCosh, and Carl Hall. In February of this year she expanded, opening Karin Clarke at the Gordon in the 5th St Market Alley.
Ayisha Elliott is a writer and podcaster who produces Black Girl from Eugene. As a consultant, she provides assistance to those who want to create an inclusive environment in business, nonprofits, classrooms and personal relationships.
Roger Jenson is the founder and operator of Bent Spoke Outreach, a grassroots humanitarian service that uses bicycles and trailers to serve the unhoused in Eugene. Bent Spoke volunteers ride 1,200-1,500 miles a month, bringing 600-850 meals a week to individuals who can use help in getting the services they need. They also help individuals get into transitional and permanent housing.
Ryan Moore is a local renter and housing advocate, and a co-founder of Springfield Eugene Tenant Association. He serves on the City of Eugene Budget Committee and has worked in the State Legislature and held various roles at several local nonprofits.
Lyllye Reynolds-Parker was academic advisor in the Office of Multicultural Success at the University of Oregon. Many students credit her with helping them persist through the challenges of higher education and earn a degree. UO’s Black Cultural Center was named after her, in recognition of her years of service. She is one of Eugene’s most esteemed elders and the daughter of Sam and Mattie Reynolds, one of our first Black families.
Helen Shepard, aka Galaxia Cosmos, is Eugene’s 39th Slug Queen, crowned in August 2021. They describe themself as “a slugly space explorer from the planet Gastropoda in the Mollusca Nebula.” They pledged “to rule with bravery, kindness and general moistness.” The Slug Queen is invited every year to bestow a royal gift on their domain.
Sandra Shotridge was raised in Angoon, a Tlingit village in Alaska, and came to Eugene when she was a teen. She is a regular at the Thursday community potlucks at the Many Nations Longhouse at UO. Her volunteer efforts include supporting campaigns for Congressman Peter DeFazio and Commissioner Val Hoyle and organizing marches. She has a passion for making sure her people get their Constitutional rights and taught her kids how to work with her. Making fry bread and staffing Egan Warming Centers are also in her schedule. In January 2020, she was honored as a recipient of the Eugene Human Rights Commission’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leadership Award.