In his first three years as head football coach of the University of Oregon, Mark Helfrich led the Ducks to wins in the Alamo Bowl and Rose Bowl and losses in another Alamo Bowl and the College Football National Championship game. A 4-8 record in the 2016 season was made more dismal by a loss to the Oregon State Beavers. An old sports adage is you can’t fire the players, so you fire the coach. They did.
Every city seems to have its Martin Luther King Jr Avenue, or Boulevard. It typically is in the most dilapidated part of town. You can draw your own conclusion from that. When Portland renamed Union Avenue to Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, there was an outcry, claiming that “Union” was part of the city’s heritage, even though no one was able to come up with what the significance of the name was. About the same time as the name change, the city decided to upgrade the desolate avenue, lined with empty stores and decaying buildings. They improved the street, building a shrubbery-lined median along its length. The crown jewel was a brand new, block-long retail strip. It housed several retail businesses, including a café and a Nike outlet store.
The University of Oregon has many prominent alums: Steve Prefontaine, Ann Curry, Phil Knight, Ken Kesey, and me. A driving force behind the founding of the University of Oregon in 1876 was Matthew Deady. He served as the university’s president for its first twenty years. The first building at the U of O was named in his honor and is still in use today. Deady’s other accomplishments include serving as president of the convention to draft Oregon’s first constitution and he was named Oregon’s first district court judge after statehood. Deady also was a staunch defender of slavery and a supporter of the Ku Klux Klan. Oops.