PHOTO: (click photo to enlarge) Oregon State University, located in the small college town of Corvallis, Oregon has never been large enough to support a dedicated gay bar, but the slightly larger college town south of it, Eugene, Oregon, home of the University of Oregon, had a gay bar early as 1972 that was named the Riviera Room at 39 W. 10th, which was listed in a popular guide book by by John Francis Hunter, "The Gay Insider USA," Stonehill 1972, p. 546-547. (See previous post The Gay Insider USA 1972 (9/15/06))
I was surprised to hear the news of a new gay bar opening up in the college town of the University of Oregon in Eugene, which is about 40 miles south of Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, because both towns have never proven big enough to support dedicated gay bars:
"EUGENE, Ore. -- A new business opening in Eugene this summer is already making a big impact on the community. Eugene's first gay bar to open in nine years held an event Saturday to benefit cancer research. The Hammered Lamb held a brew fest in downtown Eugene, not only to help them choose what drinks to offer in their new bar, but also to raise funds for the Relay for Life happening next weekend. Saturday's tasting event was held in the West Broadway Alley, which is right next to where the bar will open. The Hammered Lambs' owner, Colin Graham, says the brew fest was a crowd sourcing event to find what drinks future customers would like to be served at his bar." (Quoted from Amber Wilmarth, "New Eugene Business Raises Money for Relay for Life," kezi.com posted Jul. 18, 2015)
I noticed that this story was buried in the Saturday morning weekend news cycle, probably when the bosses were away who might object to such news being put on the air in a town that is famous for being super liberal and the alma mater of famous gay activists, such as Randy Shilts, but also the home of several anti-gay religious groups.
I've never kept a good track of gay bars in Eugene, but I've posted on it before. See previous post Eugene, OR gets gay bar (9/12/09) that says, "a new gay bar will be opening soon in Eugene, the first since Neighbors closed in early 2006." A week later the Eugene newspaper said, "We wrote about rumors of a new GLBTQ bar in this column Sept. 17, and we've since heard from several readers that Club SNAFU might be closing. Owner Casey Mitchell tells us no date has been set for closing the gay-friendly nightclub, but the building it calls home at 55 W. Broadway is for sale."
Just when I think gay bars are dead, another one opens. Decades ago, gay liberationists dreamed of the day when a college student could attend a frat party and cruise other guys with nobody objecting to it or feel threatened by it. In fact, this kind of mixed sexual orientation social partying has become more common for today's college students, but most gay students still seek the safety of functions organized by LCBT college groups such as the OSU Pride Center. Perhaps this type of sexual orientation and gender identity segregation will always exist, especially today in the age of the internet and computer social networking, which makes it much easier for small segments of the population to meet each other.