EUGENE, Ore. -- The Eugene Celebration kicked off its 30th annual run on Friday. Food booths and live music are in abundance at the celebration, but one booth is not serving up the usual street fair favorites.
Will Dixon is a local architect who has an architectural firm in the Whiteaker neighborhood at 300 Blair Boulevard in Eugene.
"You drop a nickel in the can, and ask anything you want about architecture,” said Dixon. He added, “It just costs a nickel, and I'll talk to you for an hour or two."
He ran the “Architect Is In” booth at the Eugene Celebration on Friday. Dixon admitted that he’s not running the booth for the handful of nickels sitting at the bottom of his tin can.
“Some people say, wow, you’ve only made a buck twenty-five, but I don’t think I’ve ever passed out more business cards in my life,” said Dixon. “And about every blue moon, there’s somebody who’s actually really looking for an architect—has a real project. It’s a win, win situation.”
Dixon said the days of sitting back and waiting for clients to come to him are over.
“We got to be a lot more proactive now, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” said Dixon.
It’s a changing face for his business, said Dixon, gesturing to his hand spray-painted booth made of ply wood. Part of the motivation to build the booth came out of necessity.
“Basically begging for jobs,” he said with a laugh. “I had a good thing going. Everything was going my way until the crash. Half of my projects were put on hold overnight.”
Dixon runs the booth at other events around Oregon and said it has rejuvenated his business over the last four years.
“We’re doing a million dollar house out here on Lorane Highway, and it all started with a nickel,” said Dixon.
Dixon estimated that about half of his clients start with interactions he makes at the “Architect Is In” booth. He said that he’s staying busy enough to run a three-man operation out of his office on Blair Boulevard.
“Kitchen remodel, housing projects and whatever you got going on,” he said. “We like to think of ourselves as the architect of the people—again, taking the stuffiness out of architecture and bringing it to street level.”