As students recovered from the three day weekend across a very passive University of Oregon campus, the Whitaker neighborhood was lively with residents enjoying the holiday.
Rich in culture, the Whitaker neighborhood has a “peace and love” vibe carried over from the 1960’s. Murals, statues and signs can be found in almost every direction. It didn’t take the Whitty crew (Maddie, McKenna, Lauren and I) very long to discover the qualities that entice many visitors and keep the Whitaker residents content with where they live.
Our first stop brought us to a park that was located directly under highway 105. With a play structure that looked like it hadn’t been touched in years and a large group of homeless people awkwardly gathered around a picnic table, the park didn’t seem like the best place to hang out. Our tentative perceptions were confirmed when a homeless woman started yelling at Lauren for taking pictures, even though the woman was not in any of them. We decided it was time to leave.
After that we moved deeper into the neighborhood. As we drove down side streets we began to see
why there was a fond appreciation for the Whitaker area. I found myself constantly slowing down or stopping the car because we kept passing eclectically decorated houses.
One particularly fascinating area had two houses next to each other. The first house called the “G-spot” was adorned with odd pieces of art. The
letter G (most likely the reason for the houses name) hung from different areas. The walls of the porch were decorated with posters, pictures, a sombrero and other random items. Right next store was a lime green house decorated in a similar fashion. A bike hung from the side of the house, while the porch donned a Zoltar fortune telling machine.
Aside from the elaborately decorated houses, we found Whitaker offered excellent choices for locally owned businesses. A helpful barista at the quaint but colorful One Cup Cafe offered us suggestions for attractions in the neighborhood. Although these places were closed, Papa Soul’s Kitchen BBQ, Sam Bond’s Garage, New Day Bakery and World Cafe, and the Tiny Tavern all looked like they were places worth visiting.
We finished our journey at the Sweet Life Patisserie. The bakery specializes in health and environmentally conscious pastries and desserts. Here we ate gelato and discussed the “essence of life” with a neck-bearded man who had a parrot named Cody. After we finished our gelato we said goodbye to Cody and headed back to campus.
Although my knowledge about Whitaker is very limited and my experiences are very few, Whitaker appears to be an ideal neighborhood to blog about. Having a strong sense of community and vibrant culture, there is always something new to discover. As I explore the neighborhood further in depth I can even see myself becoming attached to it, no longer calling it Whitaker neighborhood, but simply my friend, the Whitty.