In the red corner, students. In the blue corner, permanent residents. A battle is brewing in the Amazon neighborhood, and there seem to be no punches held.
Longtime Amazon residents such as Ray Peterson resent the growing presence of University of Oregon students as housing closer to the University quickly fills. “90 percent of the trouble in the neighborhood has to do with students,” says Peterson on a stroll through the local cemetery, “it’s an ongoing battle.” Peterson says that one house in particular is always a problem. Loud music and loud voices interrupt the calm airs of the Amazon neighborhood often. Those who have lived in Amazon notice a shift towards rowdy weekends and restless nights, “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,” says Peterson.
The battle persists in the neighborhood. Community members such as Peterson have recently purchased rental properties with the hopes of creating a more family-friendly environment, however, Peterson is not sure of the direction the neighborhood is headed in, for better or for worse. Another neighbor, Rich (who declined to give a last name) expressed a similar concern about changes in the neighborhood, “the potholes, graffiti, more car traffic – might be result of more students around.”
What does this mean for students? At community meetings and between residents, a movement has been struck towards making the community less student-friendly and more sustainable. “In a household of students, there’s usually one car per student, which is a gigantic issue,” says Dave Stucky as he tends to a bee hive in his garden. Dave’s main concern is the presence of vehicles on Amazon streets and alleys, blocking traffic and ultimately adding to environmental problems, in Stucky’s opinion. Stucky; however, feels differently towards the students themselves, “I absolutely love the students in the neighborhood.” Stucky, leads a bee co-op between neighbors in the community and tends to a massive garden with dozens of vegetables, fruits and even hops. Students often come by to help Stucky with his work and to learn about sustainable practices.
Another neighbor, Andrea Kazer, sees students as essential to the atmosphere of the Amazon community and Eugene itself, “It’s the University that gives Eugene its life.” Kazer enjoyed the presence and didn’t mind the loud music and raucous behavior. Students clearly have an influence on the Amazon Neighborhood. The attitudes toward them differ. Students will undoubtedly be a common sight in the Amazon, but will long-time residents and part-time students be able to coexist? Some questions can only be answered by time.