Oregon daily emerald. (Eugene, Or.) 1920-2012, September 29, 1980, Page 3, Image 3

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    Celebration ushers in new bike bridge
Photo by David Zahn
By HARRY ESTEVE
Of Mm Emaratd
Some 100 bicyclists braved cloudy skies and
cool temperatures Saturday morning to watch
local officials dedicate the Willie Knickerbocker
bike bridge, located a mile up-river from Autzen
Stadium.
Festivities included a bicyle decoration con
test, music by a five-piece brass band, speeches
and a symbolic ride across the bridge. The event
was sponsored by the Eugene Register-Guard,
the Eugene Water and Electric Board and the
Eugene Bicyle Committee.
On hand for the ribbon-cutting were repre
sentatives from EWEB, the City of Eugene and
Lane County. All three government agencies
helped foot the nearly $400,000 construction
bill.
"This is an excellent example of intergovern
mental cooperation,” said City Councilman
Scott Lieuellen in a brief address to the gather
ing of cyclists. “The city has made a commit
ment to bikeways and will ultimately succeed."
Plans for the bridge materialized in 1978 after
EWEB budgeted $320,000 to build a water main
across the Willamette River. The City of Eugene,
Lane County and the State of Oregon then
contributed an additional $72,000 to add a bike
path over the water main.
Currently the bridge does not connect with
any bike path on the south side of the river, but
Lieuallen said the city hopes to build a connec
tion with Franklin Boulevard by next summer.
Problems in obtaining a permit from the
Southern Pacific Railroad to build underpasses
beneath the railroad tracks have delayed con
struction. The city also has been asked by the
Fish and Wildlife Department not to work near
the river after Oct. 15, when the salmon spawn
ing season begins.
As the focus of the ceremony shifted from the
bridge to its namesake, the late Willie Knicker
bocker, old rumours about "Willie K.” surfaced
and nostalgia abounded
Immortalized as "the father of bicycling in
Eugene” by a large plaque at the foot of the
bridge, Knickerbocker was remembered as one
of Eugene's more colorful characters.
Charles Wiper, 62, a winner in the bike
decoration contest, was barely in his teens
when a 50-year-old Knickerbocker delighted
children with his antics.
"He rode what we called a racing bike back
then, and he always wore cut-offs, suspenders
and an old baseball hat," Wiper recalled.
“I used to race old Willie down the street. I
couldn’t keep up with him He lived on the edge
of town and would ride in with his backpack to
do his grocery shopping.”
"He is a symbol of fun and enjoyment," said
commissioner Harold Rutherford, who was on
hand for the dedication. "I used to watch him do
tricks on his bicycle outside my house.
"Then he'd give us kids a piece of candy or a
nickel. He'd do things that would get you thrown
in jail these days.”
Photographer headlines
journalism conference
Gov. Victor Atiyeh and former
White House photographer
David Kennerly will headline the
54th annual Oregon High
School Press Conference Oct.
9.
Some 1,000 student jour
nalists from more than 100
Oregon junior and senior high
schools are expected to attend
the full day of activities, which
include lectures, tours, a writing
contest and at least 50 work
shops.
Gov. Atiyeh will hold a news
conference for selected
delegates at 11 a m. in Room
167 EMU. He will make opening
remarks, after which students
will have the opportunity to ask
questions. Each school will
select one student to participate
in the news conference.
i ———■
Kennerly will give the keynote
address at 2:30 p.m. in the EMU
Ballroom. His talk is free and
open to the public.
In addition, Kennerly will con
duct two critique sessions for
student photographers, who will
bring their photos for his ap
praisal and suggestions.
Kennerly, who attended
school in Roseburg and
graduated from West Linn High
School in 1965, served as White
House photographer for former
Pres. Gerald Ford.
Other speakers include Tom
Koenniger, editor of the Van
couver Columbian, who will de
scribe his newspaper’s cover
age of the Mount St. Helens
story, and journalism professor
Jack Hart, who will discuss
press law and ethics.
1
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