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Ralph McDonald


   When Ralph McDonald's job as national sales manager for Eugene's Percon, Inc., maker of handheld scanners, was eliminated after the company was sold in 2001, he decided to turn his hobby as an antiquarian restoration bookbinder into a second career. "Starting about 1820, masses of people began to read and a hundred times more books became available," he explains. "No one wants to throw out books that have been passed down for generations." McDonald buys and resells antique books online and also works for bookstores, libraries, and individuals. He recently repaired a copy of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility for a centenarian who had received it from her mother in 1906. "A dog had eaten a corner," he reports. "I found another copy and spliced them together." An Oregonian since age 12, when his family moved from Caldwell, Idaho, to Salem, McDonald married Bev in 1971, graduated from Western Oregon University in 1973, and moved to Eugene in 1974. He took part in protests against the Viet Nam War in the 1970s, when he spent time in jail in San Francisco, and later against U.S. interventions in Central America and the Middle East, but he has recently focused on environmental issues. A river runner and a Sierra Club member, he served as plaintiff in the Western Environmental Law Center's legal action to protect the Western Pond Turtle in the Rogue River. "I consider myself to be semi-retired," says McDonald, who co-chairs the Southwest Hills Neighborhood Association along with Janet Bevirt. " I have the time and flexibility to be a civic volunteer." This year, as a member of the Eugene Sustainability Commission, he chaired a committee that asked the city to ban the use of anti-coagulant rat poison that also kills pets and other wildlife.  

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 16 August 2018

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