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Giant cows, drinking dogs, spruce geese.

Byline: Bob Welch The Register-Guard

A new year ushers in new

trivia:

Question: Is it safe for dogs to drink and/or play in the stream that runs through Tugman Park in Eugene?

Answer: Eric Jones, public affairs manager for Eugene Public Works, says Eugene has done a lot to improve the water quality in its drainage system. "That said, we don't recommend that anyone drink untreated surface water at any location."

Question: There's a bench just south of the University of Oregon's Knight Library in honor of a "Justin Colonna, 1976-1999." Who was he?

Answer: Colonna, 23, was a 1994 Sheldon High School graduate who died in an avalanche in Colorado. He was the son of Jerry Colonna, former director of secondary programs for the Eugene School District and now superintendent of Beaverton Public Schools, and Susan Lange, a retired Thurston Elementary School teacher. For more information, visit www.justincolonna.com.

Question: Joey Harrington, the former Oregon quarterback, was on television during the UO-UCLA basketball game wearing a "Stop Pre" shirt. What's the meaning of his shirt?

Answer: At the 1972 Olympic Trials in Eugene, ex-Washington State distance runner Gerry Lindgren showed up in a "Stop Pre" T-shirt. It was a humorous jab at the UO's Steve Prefontaine, who, amid shouts of "Go Pre!" from fans, had emerged as the nation's best long-distance runner.

After Pre won the 5,000-meter race, he donned one of the shirts himself in a sort of tongue-in-cheek "in your face."

Thus, Harrington's wearing of the shirt - still available at, say, the UO Bookstore - was clearly a pro-Pre, pro-Duck message.

Question: I've seen an ad in The Register-Guard for Tsunami Books that says, "We make house calls." Why would a bookstore be making house calls?

Answer: To assess collections and see if the new-and-used bookstore might want to purchase them, meanwhile saving the owner lots of time and effort.

Question: Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose airplane that is now in that McMinnville museum - did the spruce wood for it come from Oregon?

Answer: First, despite its name, the plane was mainly made of birch. But, yes, the bulk of that probably came from Oregon, says Aaron Warkentin, a spokesman for the Evergreen Aviation Museum. "We have a letter stating the sale of a large stock of wood up near the Tillamook area to a California company that dealt specifically with Hughes Aircraft," he says. "And the timing is right: early '40s. But we can't say for sure."

Question: What are those large nets in Alton Baker Park, between Autzen Stadium and the Willamette River?

Answer: Part of a hammer-throw area that the city allows the UO track team to use.

Question: Whatever happened to the giant cows that used to be atop the Dari-Mart signs?

Answer: The store, with 36 outlets in Lane County, phased out the cows because they violated new sign regulations that the county instituted. While some could have been left, Pat Straube, one of the owners, said the company wanted a uniform look so it chose to go without.

A few cows still exist and make special appearances at events such as the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

Question: How did the UO come to use yellow and green as its school colors?

Answer: The student body, in an election held in the early part of the 20th century, voted to use colors of the state flower, the Oregon Grape, whose blossoms are yellow and leaves are green. Originally, yellow was to be the dominant color but, gradually, green became so. The Highlighter yellow and black are recent phenomena.

Now, somebody tell me: Who's responsible for the Christmas tree decorated each holiday season on the south side of Highway 126 at Badger Mountain? It's great!

Bob Welch can be reached at 338-2354 or at bwelch@guardnet.com.
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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:Jan 16, 2007
Words:637
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