Conan O'Brien, who counted his viewers in the millions on NBC's "Tonight," is playing to a small-town crowd of 2,500 -- and no TV cameras -- as he opens a two-month, nationwide comedy tour Monday.I'm not sure what the lower population limit is to be considered a "city," and Eugene is certainly not a "big city." But Corvallis is about 50,000, and I wouldn't call it a "small town."
For now, the gangly redhead is news in Eugene, population about 138,000 and nestled among forests, farmlands and rivers 50 miles from the Oregon coast. It's home to the University of Oregon, Ducks football and a fair share of the region's beloved coffee kiosks and shops (Nina's Pony Espresso, among the dozen-plus here, gets points for the name).Furthermore, Eugene is more accurately described as Eugene-Springfield; it's one of those strange double towns, where unless you know the area well, you can move from one to the other without knowing it. According to Wikipedia,
With tongue firmly planted in cheek, O'Brien tweeted on his Twitter account Sunday night: "I'm in Eugene, OR and my room faces the theater where I debut tomorrow. The mob outside is in a frenzy."
As of 2008, Eugene had a population of 154,620, and the greater Eugene-Springfield metropolitan statistical area (MSA) had a population of 346,560.Now there's plenty of Oregon that's rural, and plenty that's downright unpopulated- for example, Harney County has a population of 7,609 people (2000 Census figures), with an area of 10,226.5 sq. miles, for a population density of ~0.74 people per square mile. But I don't think of an area with nearly 350,000 people living in it as exactly "small town."
Coco could do worse.