From housing to traffic, students are expanding into Amazon and locals have something to say about it.
By: Brooke Brown
EUGENE, Ore. – Tension between locals and students in the Amazon neighborhood has increased due to loud music, parties, and more vehicle traffic in the past few years.
With the recent spike in the University of Oregon population, the number of students finding housing in Amazon has grown immensely. The neighborhood sits within a mile of campus, is very accessible to students and has plenty of rental properties. But these rentals have become a problem for permanent residents, mainly because of constant noise complaints.
“Ninety percent of the trouble in the neighborhood has to do with students,” said Ray Peterson, an Amazon resident of 18 years. His main concern is that the music students play disrupts the whole neighborhood, “It’s a generational thing. Young kids like to play their music loud.” Peterson has struggled with this issue for as long as he’s lived in Amazon, and doesn’t see it being resolved any time soon.
Neighbors try what they can to keep the peace. Peterson has personally been part of a group of locals who have tried to talk and resolve the problem with students in houses near them. Students have overall been respectful and some have even warned their neighbors of upcoming parties, but the issue has not been resolved.
Other Amazon locals are less concerned about the problem. “It’s the university that gives Eugene its life,” says Andrea Kazer, 60. In regards to students partying and playing loud music, Kazer enjoys it, “I don’t mind it…I used to do it!” Her only complaint about being near a University is the dangerous driving of young students around Eugene.
Student transportation is the main issue for many other Amazon residents as well, particularly sustainability enthusiast Dave Stucky. With the influx of more students, the number of vehicles on the roads in Amazon has increased immensely. To Stucky, this waste of energy is unacceptable. “In a household of students, there’s usually one car per student, which is a gigantic issue,” Stucky said while tending to plants in his organic Amazon garden. “I absolutely love the students in the neighborhood. But when you’re young and healthy you don’t need a car.”
Rich (who declined to give last name) has lived in Amazon for 19 years, and has also seen the number of vehicles in Amazon increase substantially. But, like Peterson, his main concerns stem from student’s noise levels. “”I hear people walking late at night on the streets and it does get annoying,” Rich said. He deals with the noise from the same rental property every weekend, but considers it more of a generational difference that won’t be resolved anytime soon.
Peterson has gone so far as purchasing a nearby house that used to be a rental in order to help move Amazon more toward the family-friendly atmosphere. He and his neighbors consider it a struggle, but one that is worth fighting to try and keep the peace and quiet. “It’s depressing to come back from somewhere on a Friday night and see all the cars and know – this is gonna be a bad night, I’ll be up till 3am.”
Despite the effort of some students to alert their neighbors of parties and quiet their stereos when asked, the issue continues to bother Amazon’s permanent residents. Perhaps change could occur if both made more of an effort to compromise, but for now, as Peterson said with a sigh of frustration, “It’s an ongoing battle.”