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The city is also noted for its natural environment, recreational opportunities (especially bicycling, running/jogging, rafting, and kayaking), and focus on the arts.

Eugene's official slogan is "A Great City for the Arts and Outdoors".

It fell victim to two major fires in four years, and after the second fire, the college decided not to rebuild again.

The part of south Eugene known as College Hill was the former location of Columbia College. The town raised the initial funding to start a public university, which later became the University of Oregon, with the hope of turning the small town into a center of learning. Henderson donated the hilltop land for the campus, overlooking the city.

Other Kalapuyan tribes occupied villages that are also now within Eugene city limits.

Pee-you or Mohawk Calapooians, Winefelly or Pleasant Hill Calapooians, and the Lungtum or Long Tom.

Having already developed relationships with Native communities through intermarriage and trade, they negotiated for land from the Kalapuyans.

At this time the settlement was known by Anglos as Skinner's Mudhole.

It was relocated in 1853 and named Eugene City in 1853.

Eugene is located at an elevation of 426 feet (130 m). Mount Pisgah is southeast of Eugene and includes Mount Pisgah Arboretum and Howard Buford Recreation Area, a Lane County Park.

Eugene is surrounded by foothills and forests to the south, east, and west, while to the north the land levels out into the Willamette Valley and consists of mostly farmland.

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Skinner ran a ferry service across the Willamette River where the Ferry Street Bridge now stands.