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Mark Roberts

A descendent of Oregon pioneers who built the first wagon road to Triangle Lake in Lane County, Mark Roberts grew up in San Francisco suburbs. His older brother Ed got polio at 13 and afterwards relied on an iron lung, yet became a pioneering advocate for disability rights, a professor, and director of the state's Department of Vocational Rehab. "Mom insisted he go to high school in person," says Roberts. "I paid for college at Berkeley as an attendant to disabled students, including my brother." After graduation in 1975, he found a vocation building hardwood floors and an avocation making wines. "I had a wine co-op," he says. He got married, had two sons, and moved to Eugene in 1991. "Ben was 11 and Gavin was nine," he says. "We were looking for a good Waldorf School." He restarted his flooring business, got divorced in 1995, then decided to stop working in 2003. "I didn't want to pay taxes for war," he says. "I did counter-military recruiting with CALC." In 2005, he started a study group on Nonviolent Communication, still ongoing, and a volunteer career in mediation. "I go to small claims court on Monday," he says. "We go to a small room and see if we can work it out." Roberts performs on ukulele with the Radar Angels at the Jello Art Show and the Country Fair. He reads stories to pre-school-age kids at The Dancing Weasel toy store, Tuesday mornings at 11.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 25 April 2013

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