City Club of Eugene: 2017 Turtle Awards

May 1, 2017

Recorded on: April 28, 2017

Air Date: May 1, 2017

In a local tradition unique to City Club of Eugene, every year since 1991 the Turtle Award, a cast iron turtle, has been given to two, or three under-recognized civic leaders in Eugene for “sticking their necks out”. That is, they have demonstrated the strong beliefs, vision and courage required to persevere in a risk prone venture for the good of the whole community.

The Turtle Award winners are selected by a committee of previous winners, 38 living Turtle recipients, who meet in person each spring to select the year’s honored award winners. The only task of the Committee is to nominate and vote on the winners for the year.

The criteria for nomination includes:

  • Fostering creative problem solving in Eugene’s public affairs.
  • Stimulating constructive action.
  • Forging cooperative relationships.
  • Honoring diverse perspectives.
  • Sticking one’s neck out for the good of the community.
  • Being under-appreciated by the public.

During the program, John VanLandingham, Turtle Committee Chair, of the Lane County Legal Aid & Advocacy Center, explains the history of the Turtle program and then introduces one or two presenters for each individual who receives an award. Each presenter gives a short dialogue about the person receiving each award, describing the “Turtle-worthiness” for each person. The new Turtle then shares his/her motivation for doing what makes him/her a Turtle.

The Turtle Award personifies the quality of character and self-less community service that is critical to a healthy common life. By recognizing such contributions to Eugene’scollective quality of life, the City Club of Eugene strives to encourage many more Turtles in the future.

The Turtle Award winners for 2017 are:

Anita Johnson is the owner and publisher of the Eugene Weekly, which has a huge impact on civic life in Eugene, and she has participated, quietly and often behind the scenes, in numerous civic issues, such as downtown/Kesey Square.

Otto Poticha is an architect who frequently weighs in – not so quietly – on the design of public spaces, from the Clam that Ate Willamette Street on the mall in the 1980s to recent design issues like the demolition of the old City Hall and the footbridge over I-5 to Gateway Mall

All the winners of the Turtle Award Committee and City Club of Eugene invites the public to attend and discover the heroes among us.

copyright, 2017 KLCC