Well, its a species of fish recognizable by its long horns that protrude from the front of its head, rather like those of a cow or bull. It is also a landmark of the night club scene in downtown Eugene, owned by Shawn Difiore.
In March, Covid 19 hit, and Cowfish was among the local bars that was forced to close its doors with no real indication of when they could open again. When they did eventually reopen again, there was a bit of hope when Lane County reached stage 2 allowing bars to stay open until midnight! Unfortunately, the bar scene was hit especially hard, as shortly after this a new Covid restriction came out that all bars must close at 10 pm, even in stage 2. This was a huge blow to local businesses, and hit Cowfish especially hard as it is the only bar in Eugene with a live dj 7 nights a week, which is known for its later crowd. Shawn put extensive measures into place to create a one-of-a-kind scene in Oregon by creating a place people could go to and still safely dance the night away (in boxes delineating 7-8 ft distance), severely limiting headcounts to 15% of normal capacity, and strictly enforcing mask wearing. This helped create a sense of comfort for people to escape to relatively safely during this crazy time that has challenged so many people's mental health.
Recently, Oregon released another new mandate that shut down bars completely again, for at least two weeks, and now indefinitely. With this vague mandate, it is extremely hard for businesses to decide what services should be cut right away to help save money, as we of course all had hoped that it would really just be two weeks. In the middle of the two week freeze, another vague announcement came out that it would in fact, be way longer than just two weeks until doors could be open again.
The goal of this fundraiser is to inspire a bit of community support for a business that has supported our community for over a decade with regular benefits for community members and small businesses in dire straights, human rights causes, and local non-profit organizations like Sheltercare, OSLP, Womenspace, Egan Warming Centers, Beyond Toxics, OccupyMedical, Juventud Faceta, Civil Liberties Defense Center, Northwest Dog Project, to name just a few. Shawn opens his doors to everyone, and his goal is to have a bar, coffee house, gallery, and dance club that is also a safe place for everyone and anyone. There aren't many bar owners that work as hard as this man to make everyone feel like family when they come in. Shawn gives people a place to perform what they truly love, to experiment, and so they can continue to grow and expand. He manages to create an environment that not many can do, on top of being an amazing boss and friend to so many people in the community. The Cowfish Staff decided we needed to come together, and do something to help Shawn and Cowfish stay afloat during this very tough time for small businesses.
Shawn did not ask for this, as he is the one known for being the guy to always give back, even holding fund raisers even in the middle of covid to raise money to help others when the bar industry is barely holding on. If you've managed to come across this GoFundMe, you've likely managed to visit Cowfish at some time.
Maybe you were a DJ there, performed an act at a cabaret there, drank fancy coffee, played ping pong, danced in boxes, maybe its your go-to downtown bar, or maybe you only went once when you needed a safe place to go when you were feeling scared downtown. Whatever Cowfish is to you, it is a local institution that if closed down, will not likely be replaced in our community for years to come. If Eugene loses this facet of its downtown culture, we will be poorer for it than if just another bar were gone. Shawn is working his butt off to keep Cowfish open through this, and we hope that we can all come together, and help him and the Cowfish staff keep our home. #smallbusinessrelief
- Alejandra Cooper
- Cortney Anderson-Carroll
- Ryan Cluck
- Kelly Olive DelSol
- Michael Hays
Organizer and beneficiary
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