(Above: Tsunami Books proprietor Scott Landfield celebrated the bookstore’s 22nd anniversary in 2017. Now he’s hoping that an infusion of financial support from the public means there will be a 23rd in 2018; photo by Randi Bjornstad)

By Randi Bjornstad

The donations came in various forms — outright gifts, short-term “bridge” loans, longer-term low-interest loans — in amounts ranging from $10 to $30,000.

The outpouring of public support means that Scott Landfield, who celebrated the 22nd anniversary of his Tsunami Books last year, dares to hopes there will be many more bookshop birthdays at 2585 Willamette St. in Eugene.

The prospect looked grim last summer, when Landfield faced a doubling in his rent at the independent bookstore as of July 1, “to about six figures a year,” he said back then. The owner of the property was considering a variety of alternatives, including tearing down the admittedly idiosyncratic building and replacing it with a modern mini-mall such as others that have gone up around Eugene, including one just across Willamette Street.

Landfield figured if he could show five years’ worth of rent in hand, the landlord might let him stay, so he started his own crowdfunding pledge drive and quickly raised $125,000. But the months passed, and progress slowed, until he faced a final deadline of Jan. 15.

The word went out that crunch time had come, and fans of the venerable bookstore sprang into action.

“I needed a total of $302,000, and by Jan. 15 I had promises for $375,000,” a happy-and-relieved Landfield said a few days ago. “Now, I’m waiting to sit down and talk to the owner and see what we can work out for the future.”

When they talked last, the property owner indicated that a successful fund drive could secure not only another five-year lease,  but also improvements such as a repaved parking lot with hookups for food carts that would help draw more business, Landfield said.

“I’m optimistic that we will could have a new lease settled in the next few weeks,” he said. “I’m looking forward to having the actual paper signed.”

Business at Tsunami Books picked up substantially once the public became aware of the possibility of losing the shop with its combination of old, new and rare books and a back room with a stage where musicians frequently perform and authors hold their book release parties.

“One thing I learned from all this is that this community appreciates its local businesses, and if you keep at it, they will support you,” he said. “And if you ask for help, they will give it to you — the power of community is very strong.”

Landfield feels even better about the outcome of his fundraising effort “because it was all handled locally.”

“Most of the crowdfunding efforts are done through websites where the sponsors take from 6 percent to 12 percent of the proceeds for themselves,” he said. “We did all of our fundraising strictly here in the community — we kept the billionaires out and helped ourselves.”

Scott Landfield’s Tsunami Books at 2585 Willamette St. in Eugene appears to have escaped being engulfed by the tide of untenable rent increases in the area, thanks to pledges of support — donations and loans — from throughout the community