Jefferson Westside neighborhood in Eugene is loved for its interesting people and close proximity to the rest of the city, but residents and visitors wish it wasn’t so stuck in its ways.
Aaron Chester lives in Jefferson Westside and owns three businesses. When his daughter was born eight years ago, he asked three people whom he felt were completely content with their lives where they were from and they all said Eugene. Chester toured the city’s neighborhoods and fell in love with Jefferson Westside and hasn’t left since.
“I am a believer in this neighborhood and its potential,” Chester said. “I think it’s kind of a nice combination of longer term residents and college, it tends to be a pretty family friendly neighborhood. I kind of like the ratio of business to residential.”
Although Chester’s kids don’t go to school in Jefferson Westside, he is thrilled that his family lives close to free Montessori schools. “I guess just its proximity to downtown, kind of being in the center of Eugene is nice to me,” Chester said.
Robin Best spent her Friday morning at the Jefferson Westside café Midtown Marketplace and although she doesn’t live in the neighborhood she could see why people enjoy it. “It’s close to downtown and I suppose if you lived in this neighborhood you could get a lot of places fairly easily. I like it because it feels like a neighborhood, little stores and shops and things,” Best said.
University of Oregon student Alexander Friedman comes to Jefferson Westside’s café Perk most mornings to study because he loves the coffee and people. Although he doesn’t live in the neighborhood he chooses it over the University area to do his studying.
“This place is just awesome, they have fantastic coffee and a pretty interesting mix of people that come here, varying in ages and interests and its got a very friendly atmosphere. . . I don’t know why I study here, it’s hard to study here the people here are so nice I almost always get like pulled into a conversation with somebody new,” Friedman said.
Despite the variety of people in Jefferson Westside, Chester feels that many residents carry the same mindset of keeping things the same within the neighborhood. Chester thinks that allowing change could move Jefferson Westside in an even more positive direction. He’s excited for the potential the neighborhood has based off the small changes he’s seen beginning to happen.
“I guess I would like some of them to be less hesitant towards change, that I think smart change and progressive attitude towards what’s going on would be amazing. I mean that so many people want to keep it exactly like it is and that can be detrimental to everything because it can’t stay exactly what it is, it has to change in one way or the other either for the positive and the negative I think if you’re not changing at all then it’s going towards the negative,” Chester said.