By Vanessa Salvia

We invited anyone to contribute their photos showing scenes that represent the beauty and personality of life in Lane County. Naturally, we got a lot of photos of nature. We all love the tall trees of our urban and national forests, the views from Spencer’s Butte, and the coast — Heceta Head in both sun and fog was a popular representation. From hummingbirds and wildflowers to waterfalls and the golden hour of sunset, the photos we received reflected our area’s immense natural beauty. But that’s not all there is to love about our area! We picked what we felt were among the best photos we received to represent what makes this area special. We hope you enjoy them too. #whywelivehere

Cougar Hot Springs in the Willamette National Forest. Photo courtesy of Aimée Okotie-Oyekan.


Photo courtesy of Cedar Jernigan

“We moved here 5 years ago and we love Eugene! We’re huge Oregon Women’s Basketball fans. We love track events at Historic Hayward Field. We love the coast! We love snowshoeing at Willamette Pass. In a nutshell, we love Eugene.”


Almost Golden Hour. Photo courtesy of Jaklyn Larsen


Siletz River, October 2021. Photo courtesy of Will Dixon, who is holding a Chinook salmon.


The Willamette National Forest by Oakridge, November 2021. Photo courtesy of Dr. Donald Dexter


Stand-up paddle witches on Halloween, October 31, 2021. Photo courtesy of Norman Goo.


Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm in Pleasant Hill. Photo courtesy of Liz Vollmer-Buhl

“It was one of those rare perfect days of warm weather , happy kid, and places to explore. While he ran in the ‘tunnels’ of sunflowers, I took pictures of the bees on the sunflowers. I love capturing these macro shots of pollinators and flowers. It is centering and calming to focus on on these complex and minute creatures and structures. In Eugene, there’s always something in bloom, but spring and summer are the real show stoppers.”

Row River, Cottage Grove, 2021. Photo courtesty of Matt Emrich.


Sunset Child, March 2019. Photo courtesy of Casey Hodnett.

“Weather conditions are always different on top of Spencer Butte, but this day the sunset was spectacular. I was taking photos of the hills turning purple when a family popped up in front of me from the difficult side of the trail. I thought the silhouettes captured that wild and exhilarating feeling of being on top of the world up there. At the moment I took this photo, the sun gave one last burst of light and everyone up there with me seemed to be holding their breath.”


Willamette Mountain Mercantile around Christmas 2021. Photo courtesy of Kerri Vanden Berg

“That was a very busy time for the shop,” she says. “We had 6 to 8 inches of snow in town. Many people rented all of our snowshoes and cross country skis on their winter break. I skied in town at Greenwaters Park that day.”


Photo courtesy of Erin Enright.

Erin’s daughter, shown in an open area near her River Road-area home. They have a filbert orchard in their neighborhood.