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Public Pleads for Glass Bar Island

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EUGENE, Ore. — It was an emotional scene Tuesday as Eugene residents pleaded to regain access to a beloved piece of land.

Lane County commissioners gave permission for a nonprofit to buy the 63-acre stretch of property.

Those opposed to the plan spoke out at a public hearing before the commission made its decision.

“Glass Bar Island has been a person sanctuary for my family away from the demands of daily life. As a college professor and professional and mother, I’d had the joy of meeting many of intellectuals at Glass Bar Island,” said Douglas County resident Briarlyn McFarland.

Of the residents who spoke Tuesday on Glass Bar Island, they all shared different stories. But their messages were very much the same: This area of land adds something to their lives, and they’re worried they won’t have access to it for much longer.

“Blocking off access to this land is more than just blocking off access to the Willamette River. It’s blocking off access to human communities. There’s a community and a real human heart and participation and people out there who really care about each other and the land,” said Eugene resident Billy Hatch.

There are “No Trespassing” signs are up, and people aren’t allowed to be there anymore. Now the county says the reason why they have it blocked off is because they can’t afford the upkeep for the area.

“The partnership with friends of Buford Park will actually make this more accessible in the future,” said Anne Marie Levis, Lane County spokeswoman.

County leaders say this isn’t about banning access and that the “No Trespassing” signs are only temporary while they try to figure out what to do with the area. And now that they have decided to allow Friends of Buford Park to move forward with buying and maintaining the land, the goal is safety and restoration.

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  1. Concerned Person says:

    Why is no one talking about how Buford park was to be used as a public park to be accessed only by water and not by trail? People are treating this as a full access park for everyone and it was not supposed to be used in that manner. It is part of Willamette River Water Trail and was intended to be used as a learning waterways park system.
    http://www.oregonstateparksfoundation.org/willamette-river-water-trail/
    What people are NOT saying is that the park is really used as a place for Nudists, Drug users,and Public sex acts, Underage drinking,sex and a place to smoke pot away from law enforcement.
    When the weather gets warm you can see many personals ads on Craigs list inviting people to do just these kinds of activities. Why should the public support these kinds of activities?
    It also surprises me to hear public educators say it’s a Family friendly place to be. I know first hand it is not. I had went there one summer to see what talk was about only to be approached by Drunk males asking to have sex with me. I had also noticed many needles laying around and beer cans as well as used condoms hanging from tree branches. This place is very scary to go to alone much less take a family to.
    You can also Google Glassbar island Eugene and get a better idea what this place is really about. Never mind what the general public is up to here, But to hear a Public educator in favor of a place like this just worries me.
    I for one would like to keep it for what it was originally intended for, A water access only park.
    Thank You.

  2. rob says:

    they failed to leave out that its terrible when your taking children down the river and they see naked men standing on the beach where every little girl and boy in the boat is subject to their nudity.

    I used to take my friends kids trout fishing down there but got tired of having to pray that there werent any naked guys standing there as we passed in the boat so I no longer take any kids in the boat on that stretch of river .

    I am glad they closed the access and hope they keep it closed nude beaches should be far from the general publics eye and the rivers belong to the public so in my opinion nudity doesnt belong on the rivers edge

    1. meika says:

      thats rediculous…..and narrow minded. If you dont want to see naked people dont float by there. Thats very simple. Rivers belong to the public….that means everyone. Not just you. There are plenty of huge stretches of river where you can go in this area….and just the one spot that has a few naked people. You get the majority of the river to not have to see them. Or hey heres an idea….educate your children not to be ashamed of a naked body…

      1. Skrit says:

        lol, it really gets even more narrow-minded….there is only mention of naked males, so it’s ok for women to be nude, but not men?

  3. Curly says:

    I understand your concern with your children seeing naked people if they have not been raised to understand that naked is how we were born and being naked is not “naughty”. What I dont understand is why you would Continue to take yours and your friends kids on a very small segment of river that has for over 60 years been known for its “clothing optional” recreation opportunity’s when there are several distinct channels that would allow you to easily bypass this site? Did you make your friends parents aware that you were going to expose their kids to a nude recreation site? Why would you do this, so you can Grandstand your opinions?
    There are many many other pieces of land that the county and state don’t have the resources to maintain, this one has a very strong public following (over 1700 put pen to paper to protest this closure) that states in no uncertain way they want Open Access for All users..
    What if your favorite recreation site is the next slated for blockage and sale, would you not get up and speak as you have today about this one?
    All the residents were asking for was, Access, not money, they are willing to manage it at NO COST to the tax payers, would you do the same for your park..

  4. Mitzi says:

    I went to what we called the Bring swimming hole a number of times over years. I never found it offensive til about 7 years ago when it didn’t seem very family friendly….though maybe my friend and I didn’t get to the glass bar part. I hadn’t been there for a long time. I thought the nude guys etc were really creepy. A far cry from back when we used to swim without suits in an open, non-sexual, community of hippies. O well, nothing lasts forever.

    It is a great place to swim. It would be really nice if it could be a swimming area with suits if Buford gets it. I remember when Mt Pisgah swimming area was a nude beach back in the 1970′s. The local sheriff ended that. Still, we continue to swim there

  5. Concerned person says:

    This was to be a part of Willamette River Water Trail’s system Period. You can’t just take a public park and change it to what a few perv’s may want it for.
    As for those saying you would take care of it at NO COST to the public, You had a chance to show that but you did not do it. Also, When you say no cost to the public, Does that mean
    you folks are willing to pay for all the cars that get broken in to that costs the public or just your little piece of land. Activities that went on their brought nothing but trouble and you can’t deny that fact.
    If you folks need this type of place so bad perhaps one or a group of you folks might want to invest in some private land at no cost to the public.

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