On my first tour of Amazon Neighborhoods, I developed a hunch that its residents deeply cared about the sustainability of their community. After researching some of the issues that the community faces, as well as talking to a member of the Neighborhood Association, I have found several pressing issues that affect the neighbors and can be tied into the topic of health care. While browsing the Amazon Neighborhood Association’s website, several pages and links helped to support my theory. The website has an entire page dedicated to “outdoor lighting standards,” which clearly designates Eugene’s outdoor city lighting codes and presents suggestions for saving energy. This may seem like a trivial discussion, but I am under the impression that the Neighborhood Association is legitimately concerned with light pollution and safety hazards caused by outdoor residential lights pointed in the wrong direction. The page talks about how street lights in the neighborhood have been switched to flat-lens bulbs to reduce glare, and the lighting around public buildings like Amazon Pool is carefully directed so that it is minimally intrusive. There are even buildings listed with addresses that are examples of “good lighting,” with the intent that residents will use these buildings’ lights as examples for their own properties.
Under the “Neighborhood Sustainability” tab on the website, there is a brief synopsis of the “Amazon Garden Brigade,” which has been working throughout the year to plant and maintain two school gardens at Harris-Eastside. The Brigade asserts its commitment to food sustainability, and sees the school garden as a great educational opportunity for elementary students. Many houses in Amazon have garden spaces, and the Neighborhood Association’s website has proven to be a valuable tool for the exchange of produce and other goods. There is a message board on the website that allows residents to post ads for their particular excess goods and barter with other locals for what they need. The fact that this neighborhood is able to maintain such a system of trade gives testament to the notion of a sharing community in Amazon.
There are even web pages dedicated to giving (presumably) younger residents advice on how to conduct “responsible partying.” There is advice to party hosts about alcohol and noise laws in Eugene, and about respecting neighbors. The article is very understanding, and sympathizes with the desire to have fun and not be harassed by police. A particular emphasis is placed on the importance of knowing one’s neighbors, which can be the deciding factor in how a noise complaint situation is handled. The laws are clearly spelled out so that residents know what not to do; the Association does a good job of empowering people through knowledge and resisting condescension.
Needless to say, there are plenty of issues here relating to health and well-being, so I hope to have little trouble in picking an issue that Amazon residents feel passionate about. One benefit of having communication in a neighborhood is that collective action like public gardens and cooperation between neighbors is possible.