Moving to the Whiteaker neighborhood 20 years ago, Kari Johnson didn’t really have an idea of what it meant to be a part of the area. “I just moved,” Johnson said. Johnson is an artist who paints murals in the Whiteaker area, but she is also the chair of the Whiteaker Community Council.
Lane Transit District extension plans and Skate parks were on the agenda for the Feb. 10th meeting on the corner of Jackson and Clark St. The representative from LTD wanted to run the bus down the Amazon bike path area, but Johnson said it’s a bad idea. “I care about this town and this neighborhood,” she said, “I like to facilitate meetings…I can set a mood and get business done.”
Whiteaker is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Eugene; the poorest of the poor in some ways. Johnson has seen places close down all over Eugene, and doesn’t see a huge increase in the Whiteaker neighborhood in comparison to the rest of the city. She said that the mechanical store, Hollywood Video, and Brown Betty’s Cafe are just some of the many that have closed down due to the state of the economy.
But there are many places that are surviving through the downturns of the economy like Papa’s Soul Food and Red Barn Grocery Outlet.