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Serving high-risk kids.

Byline: The Register-Guard

To a genuine 1970s-vintage Eugene social services advocate such as Jim Forbes, the move to Austin, Texas, will feel as comfortable as a 10-year-old pair of lizard Tony Lamas.

Austin is Eugene simmered in Pedernales picante sauce - way hotter, but undeniably familiar. A sister city on steroids.

Forbes, the hard-working executive director of Looking Glass Youth & Family Services, will retire this month after 32 years with Lane County's largest private nonprofit agency for troubled children and families. He and his wife, Chrissie, are packing up their 25-foot sailboat and his musical instruments and heading for the land of the Long- horns.

Lane County's loss is the Lone Star State's gain. Forbes leaves an indelible mark on the local landscape, from the 10-program, 230-employee agency that served 7,500 people last year to the visionary John Serbu Youth Campus across from Autzen Stadium.

In more than three decades of trying to help runaway kids and dysfunctional families make the transition from hurting to healing, Forbes has earned respect and admiration within and beyond the social service community. He is a consummate coalition-builder.

"He has been a tremendous asset to the city - a person who goes the full spectrum, from social services to concern for the economy and how you generate dollars in the private sector to pay for social services," Eugene Mayor Jim Torrey says.

Through the years, Forbes' sense of humor and hot-fingered piano licks have brightened many a dark spirit as he and colleagues wrestled with devastating budget cuts. Few people outside the competitive meat grinder of nonprofit fund raising realize how profound a tribute the long-term success of Looking Glass is to Forbes' great skills.

Soon, Forbes will have to wrestle only with the wind in his sails on Lake Travis and the heat and humidity while keeping all his instruments in tune.

Hope to see you on "Austin City Limits," Jim. Remember to bring your Birkenstocks.
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Title Annotation:Editorials; Forbes leaves legacy of hope at Looking Glass
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jun 6, 2004
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