Leaving a legacy

Greg Evans sits in his office in the Multicultural Center of Lane Community College where he teaches and heads various organizations.

by Shelby Hawkinson

The church was packed and people overflowed into the street the day of Greg Evans’ father’s funeral. Even at the age of four, Evans remembers that day and the feelings and emotions surrounding his father vividly.

“When I was growing up, nobody, I mean nobody, that knew my dad ever had one bad word to say about him,” Evans said confidently. “Not one.”

The Cleveland native, now 51, hopes to one day leave a similar legacy.

So far he is on track.

Aside from being the CEO of his own consulting firm and teaching ethnic studies at Lane Community College, Evans’ most recent leadership position reflects a significant accomplishment in the public transportation industry.

In 2006, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski appointed Evans to the Lane Transit District Board of Directors. Evans made history by becoming the board’s first ever minority and African American member in its 35-year history. Last June, he was elected Board president.

But that’s not even Evans’ proudest accomplishment; that distinction belongs to his recent 2012 APTA Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member Award. As a member of the American Public Transportation Association, Evans was humbled by this extraordinary tribute.

“(It’s a) pretty hefty honor, and I was very excited and pleased about that,” Evans said. “It’s nice to be recognized by your industry for what you do.”

Even with all of Evans’ leadership positions, his involvement in various organizations and committees portray his sincere dedication to his community. In addition to his job at LCC, Evans also serves as the director of the African American Student Program and founded the Rites of Passage Summer Academies. Within his public transit duties, Evans serves on the Oregon Metropolitan Policy Organizations Consortium Board of Directors and Oregon Passenger Rail Leadership Council.

Through all of these various commitments and involvements in these organizations, Evans boasts quite the trophy case because of his hard work and commitment to their causes. But earning five Martin Luther King Jr. Awards, the Oregon Northwest Pioneers Trail Blazer Award, and several other impressive awards does not make Evans a boastful or conceited man by any means.

Former colleague Beth Ann Vidaurri, among many other current and past co-workers and friends, recognize the man behind all of the responsibility and praise.

“He has a tender heart and shares his time and talents with his transit family,” Vidaurri said. “He is a true leader.”

Outside of his lengthy list of extracurricular activities, Evans enjoys spending time with his five children and coaching their various athletic teams. So much so that he even helped jumpstart Emerald Valley Little League here in Eugene 12 years ago.

But Evans isn’t done yet. In the near future, he sees the possibility of giving local politics a go. Growing up in a “hotbed of political activity” in Cleveland, including helping Carl Stokes campaign to become the first black mayor of a major American city, Evans passion for politics and issues is still prevalent.

“My activism and my role in community affairs is kind of an outgrowth of what I saw as a kid,” Evans said.

One of his most notable accomplishments was serving as the chairman of the Rosa Parks Memorial Committee, an organization that raised funds to commission a statue of Parks for the Eugene Station Transit Plaza.

For Evans, the list goes on and on. But behind the never-ending catalog of commitments, achievements, awards, and involvement is a soft-spoken and wise man who values more than just mere titles.

“If I died two minutes from now or 20 years from now, I will want to have left my mark and leave a legacy for my children and my family,” Evans said. “And that is a positive legacy.”

Inside the cluttered office, among towers of cardboard boxes, stacks of miscellaneous paperwork, shelved books, several framed awards and wooden plaques; one object silently stands out.

“I wanna be like that man right there”, Evans said, pointing firmly toward a black-and-white framed photograph of his late father. “When I get out of here, when God pulls the plug on me, I wanna have the same reputation he did.”

At this rate, it seems that anybody that knows Greg Evans does not have one bad word to say about him. Not one.

Greg Evans in the media:

Greg Evans to receive Trailblazer Award 

LCC teacher honored for his racial justice work

APTA Member of the Year

Learn more about Greg Evans on his LTD Profile

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