2017 Bright Idea
City of Eugene, OR
January 1, 2017

Seeking to move away from traditional models of civic engagement where only a few voices managed to reach elected officials, a team of four parks and recreation staff and an eye-catching Volkswagen bus-inspired trailer, called “Little Red,” popped up at community hubs throughout Eugene from May through September 2015. The spontaneous, festive, and casual atmosphere set the stage for meaningful conversations and information sharing while capturing Eugene’s authenticity and sense of place. Activation tools included a photo booth, pedal powered music, children’s activities, a chatter box recording booth to collect personal stories about meaningful parks and rec moments, and free ice cream bars donated by a local creamery. The pop-up visited 30 locations throughout Eugene at local gathering spots, retail outlets, parks, and community events at various times of the day in order to reach a broad demographic representative of the community as a whole. The team had conversations with more than 2,600 people and made visual impressions on several thousand more. The distribution of men and women spoken with was nearly equal and of those adults, close to half of them were accompanied by children. It was also important to match the live events with a similar online experience to reach an even broader audience. Whether a citizen interacted with the pop-up or visited the web and social media pages, the conversation and points of engagement were complementary.