“I think it’s a story that has all of the elements that we all love,” said Eugene attorney William Gary, who had a front row seat as then-Oregon Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer‘s deputy. “There’s sex and drugs and rock and roll.”
“It made life a little uncomfortable and at times all-consuming,” Gary recalled. “There was a certain inevitability to the collapse of the commune.” Gary said it was a combination of the law and the commune’s own internal drama that led to its dispersement by the end of the decade.
“We avoided any kind of armed conflict in a circumstance where there was plenty of heat and lots of potential for that to occur,” Gary said. It’s that narrow miss that so many people find intriguing to this day, he said – as well as the core struggle to which many people can relate. “Individual freedom and religious freedom versus the well being of the whole,” Gary said. “That is a struggle that is perpetual.”
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