This picture shows the peaceful scene of two fishermen in a small boat on the Willamette River in western Oregon. Yet, the picture was taken from a wide pedestrian bridge near the downtown of Oregon's second most populous city - Eugene, Oregon.
Bicyclists, joggers, skateboarders, rollerbladers, and more passed by me while I waited for the boat to move into position for the picture. The day before, thousands walked across the bridge on their way to a University of Oregon football game. More people are unseen on the paths on both sides of this river.
I grew up in Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona. The Salt River ran through the cities, but gravel, rocks, and sand were much more predominant than water there. The Salt River flows through Phoenix only when the dams upstream have to release water due to heavy snowpack runoff or storms.
When my wife and I moved to Eugene, I noticed the predominance of green trees and actual water in riverbeds. I also appreciated the fact that Oregon preserves its waterways for the people and not for rows of exclusive housing that cuts off scenes like this from the public.
The Willamette River meanders north to Portland and eventually into the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. In Eugene, I watch the river's ripples by Roaring Rapids Pizza in Springfield, the fish jumping near the big shopping mall Valley River Center (VRC), and the ducks and geese congregating near the Owens Memorial Rose Garden. I go for walks near my house and see deer, turkey, squirrels, and other wildlife.
Yes, I live in Oregon's second largest city. But I wouldn't want to live anywhere else!
Rick Obst is an Arizona native who moved to Eugene, Oregon in 2005 and fell in love with the verdant Pacific Northwest. He enjoys photography and discovering the many people, places, and events that make this part of the world so special.
To learn more about Eugene, Lane County, and western Oregon, visit 365 and More Things to do in Lane County, Oregon on Facebook. You'll see hundreds of pictures and links to discover the beauty and attractions of this special area.