On a crisp November morning, the Wandering Goat Coffee Company is filled with the usual downtown Eugene characters: dreadlocked punk rockers, aging hipsters in various tie-dyed attire and the occasional Birkenstock-laden environmentalists. They come pouring in from the cold armed with laptops, obscure novels and a craving for the comforts only a warm, caffeine-thick brew can offer at this hour. If an artist were to draw a caricatured scene of Eugene stereotypes, the result would likely be just a hair’s breadth from the present tableau.
Yet seated at a small table in the dead-center of the café is a woman whose dress and demeanor seem slightly juxtaposed to the earthy, radical vibe of her surroundings. Unlike many of the Wandering Goat’s patrons, Jeri Stark emits a strong air of subtly- the vibe of a person who is able to say and do meaningful things without betraying a baseline level of humility. Despite her unassuming appearance and soft-spoken composure, after only a few minutes of talking with her one is left with the overwhelming impression that there is far more to this woman than she initially lets on; a theory eventually validated by her laundry-list of professional and humanitarian accomplishments. Although they may never know her name or even give her a second glance across the coffee shop, it is likely that Stark will have had an impact, direct or otherwise, on many of the people enjoying their javas around her.