By: Evan Sernoffsky / Video By: Jason Williams / Photos By: Matt Debow
Eugene, Ore–Tonya Spears, head of the Cal Young Neighborhood Association, sat down with the Reporting1blog to answer questions about what she thinks are the area’s most important issues.
As head of the Cal Young Neighborhood Association, what are the biggest issues you deal with in your neighborhood?
Land use and crime.
Tell me a little bit about land use and what is going on with that?
There’s a lot of expansion in the neighborhood. People are set in their ways with their neighborhoods and with the whole infill design coming forward. There’s a lot of apprehension about how crowded neighborhoods are going to be. People don’t want their neighborhoods to change too much. They don’t want to be crowded into a more urban environment because so much of Cal Young is suburban—or started suburban. We like the big lots. I have a big lot and want to keep it. I’ve had neighbors build looking into my yard and it’s hard to deal with. A lot of people think that they’re going to end up with two or three homes or condos encroaching—there’s a fine balance.
Do you think there is a lot of negativity toward expansion within the Cal Young community?
Cal Young is such a big neighborhood; there are areas where people are embracing the more dense building environment. Others are dead set against it.
What are some of the specific areas where people are for expansion?
On Coburg Road, there are condos that are being built and nobody’s objected to those. Businesses love Coburg Road; it’s a high traffic and high volume retail environment. Valley River Center is getting five new building that nobody has objected to. Crescent Village, I think that’s an area where people are not objecting to plans
You also mentioned crime as one of the biggest issues. What specifically are the worst crimes that happen in Cal Young?
Property crimes and vandalism, I read in the paper a couple weeks ago that property has declined, which is really great, but there’s sometimes a rash of car break-ins in an area. They travel around and break into several cars. That’s something I’m sure everybody would like to stop.
What does the neighborhood association do to try to counteract some of that criminal activity?
We encourage neighbors to look after each other and report what they see.
Do you have a neighborhood watch?
We have a couple but that hasn’t seemed to take hold. We could have a neighborhood watch where I live but that would be just four or five immediate neighbors. Nobody else seems to want to get involved. Where there’s long-term home ownership it’s a lot easier to get to know people and bring them into your group.
The development on Goodpasture Island Road and the fact that the Crescent Village developers haven’t left town are two big positives to me. They bring more people into the area where there’s vacant land and save the surrounding rural agricultural farm land from needing to be developed because I think it’s as far as it should go.