Obie won

Obie won

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// Photo by Alexandra Shyshkina

“The credit freeze was worse than I’d ever seen before,” says Ledoux. “All we could do was just do our best to influence bankers. There was a lot of explaining things to people who were holding on to their chairs with white knuckles waiting for the end of the world to come.

“But for Brian it wasn’t a question of whether. It was when and how.”

Obie’s skills as a salesman came into play and people began buying into his vision. Even the Eugene Hilton, a potential competitor, wrote a letter of support.

Typical of Obie’s unbeatable optimism, he saw advantages in the economy’s nosedive. A few market tenants were unable to renew their leases. Nike relocated and left a large corner space empty. In Obie’s mind the newly available space translated as a fortuitous adjustment to his dream. Now the hotel would actually be a part of the market rather than a separate building.

“We were able to create the space that would allow this to happen,” says Obie, who demonstrated his thanks to his community by using almost all Eugene-area businesses for the construction, design and art on the walls. Reservations already are pouring in, especially for June’s Olympic trials for track and field.