by Alli Jarvinen
EUGENE, Ore. – Loud music, vehicle traffic, and college students have infiltrated the quiet, bike-friendly Amazon neighborhood in south Eugene. Many single family homes have been converted into student rentals, causing long-time residents to take notice.
Rentals compose almost 30 percent of detached homes in the area and the largest percentage of Amazon residents are in their early 20’s. This combination may have something to do with the uneasy situation between long-time residents and temporary college students.
“Ninety percent of the trouble in the neighborhood has to do with students” said Ray Peterson, who has lived in the same Amazon house for 18 years.
Loud music tops Peterson’s list of complaints. “It’s a generational thing. Young kids like to play their music loud,” Peterson said. He and other neighbors have tried to start a dialogue with students about the issue. Some students appear receptive and ask that when the music is too loud, neighbors tell them. This is frustrating for Peterson who says students should already know when their music is too loud. “There is a constant communication issue within the neighborhood,” Peterson said. “It’s an on-going battle.”
The students have let neighbors know when they’re going to have a party. This helps because neighbors can plan around it and know when it will be over, but it doesn’t solve the problem. Some parties get out of hand. “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,” Peterson said.
The noise also bothers Rich (who declined to give a last name), who has lived in the neighborhood for 19 years. “I hear people walking late at night on the streets and it does get annoying,” he said of one particular house on his block. Other issues Rich sees in the area are potholes, graffiti, and more car traffic which he said “might be result of more students around.”
For David Stucky, of the Amazon Bee Co-op, increased vehicle presence is definitely an issue. “In a household of students, there’s usually one car per student,” said Stucky while working in his garden. “It literally wrecks neighborhoods”. Some two way streets on the north end of Amazon look more like one ways, where cars are parked bumper to bumper on either side. “I absolutely love the students in the neighborhood. But when you’re young and healthy you don’t need a car,” said Stucky.
Andrea Kazer, 60, has lived in the Amazon area for a couple years. “They’re brats, all of them!” she joked. She actually doesn’t mind having students around. “It’s the University that gives Eugene its life,” Kazer said. Being close to UO she understands student life. About partying she said “I don’t mind it, I like it. I used to do it!”
UO’s growing student body puts Amazon’s permanent residents in a difficult position. Accommodating an expanding university and the influx of students living off-campus came up in the last Amazon Neighborhood meeting.