Larson, Christine

From Lane Co Oregon

[edit] Springfield News, Wednesday September 26, 1990

Larson set to resign

By Jim McChesney (News Staff Writer)

Springfield City Councilor Christine Larson will be resigning the Ward 3 seat she has held for 10 years sometime before Christmas.

Larson, by far the council's senior member, is moving, with her husband, George, to a newly purchased home in north Springfield. The home is outside her ward, and outside the city limits.

The new digs better fit the nead of her family, but Larson has some mixed feelings about living the council she has been a part of for a decade.

"It's bittersweet," she says, "It's been a wonderful experience and I've made so many friends. I'm really going to miss all the people I've gotten to know."

When her resignation becomes final, the council will replace her by seeking applicants from those who reside between Seventh and 21st streets south of the Eugene-Springfield Highway. The appointee will fill the remaining two years of Larson's term.

With her time on the council being counted in weeks, Larson looks back on her decade on the dais.

"For the community, I've seen that we're beginning to make the transition from a timber-based economy to a more diversified one," she says. "We're moving from being a small town with a small-town economy to entering the world marketplace."

Much of her attention while on the council, Larson says, has been aimed at maintaining the basics, what she calls the "Basic hardware" of the city. But Larson has long been aware that a city is not the sum total of its streets, sewers and sidewalks, that it takes more than that "basic hardware" to make a city livable. And it is in those less-tangible areas that she feels progress has been made.

"I think we have made inroads into making the city more livable," she says, citing the museum and depot projects.

"I'm really pleased with that," she says. "It adds humanness. Streets are needed, but there's not a whole lot of hugginess in a street.

"I liken a city to a family. Families celebrate, families do things together, they recreate. Sure, we've had some difficult times, but you don't forget about a birthday party for your 1-year-old just because you're having problems."

One of the areas Larson has worked on recently is the proposed amendment to the city human rights ordinance that would make illegal any discrimination against homosexuals in housing, public accommodation and employment.

"Springfield is a live-and-let-live community," Larson says. "To me, that's what the human rights ordinance is all about. Everyone should be able to live where they want, have a job and be who they are."

Her support of gay rights has not been a totally popular position. And without the give-and-take of public life, she admits, her life will be quieter.

"Some of my friends," she says, "are quite concerned I'm going to fall to pieces."

Not to worry, she says. With a bed and breakfast to run, a new home to settle into, classes to attend and gardening to do, Larson thinks she will be OK.

"I believe I will be very busy," she says.

As for her own political future, Larson is cautious not to rule out anything.

"I can't say no," she says about the possibility of seeking another public post. "But I don't anticipate it."

For the city, Larson's hopes and interest will continue.

"I want it to still be friendly, a family place," she says. "I also would like to see it continue to maintain its identity. I think in Springfield we do have a sense of community."

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