Life In Trainsong Has Space But Pollution Rules

Railroad car stationed in next to the Trainsong Park

By Tess Jewell-Larsen

The Eugene neighborhood named after its rail yard surroundings has also a legacy of pollution and dirt that is caused by its namesake.

“It’s really bad, and it’s bad for our lungs when it’s that bad,” Says resident Helen Carroll in reference to the Trainsong neighborhood pollution problem. “I’ve lived here for many years and I begged them to put in a row of cypress to cut down on the dirt,” but they didn’t do it. And Carroll says she has no hope that they will.

For 12 years Carroll has lived in the same house in the Trainsong neighborhood and before that in an apartment just a couple blocks away. “I like the space,” she says, but “the negative is the dirt. It’s horrendous. It’s from the industry and rail yards.”

Red Cross youth services worker, Nathan Keffer, also has concerns about the pollution in the neighborhood. “There’s a quite a bit of pollution in the water table. Because this was, and still is, a pretty heavy industrial area, so that presents a bit of a problem.”

“We were thinking about having a vegetable garden,” says Keffer, “and [the pollution is] really something that kinda scratched the idea because the soil is going to be contaminated, the water is going to be contaminated.” The Red Cross couldn’t front the bill to pay for raised beds, “So that kinda frustrated us.”

But that may not be the only problem in Trainsong. Raj Maddox, of B&R Market, says there is a little problem with crime from the teenage kids. Maddox wonders how smart they are. “I mean they wrote… ‘West Side’ on the south side of the building.”

“Meth is probably one thing that would distinguish this neighborhood more so than other neighborhoods,” says Maddox. “If you went out there and spent 20 minutes, could probably find a needle.”

But Maddox and his wife said that they liked the neighborhood well enough. “The only thing I don’t like about this neighborhood, about living in this neighborhood, is the train yard… It wakes you up in the morning.”

House on Bethel Drive in Trainsong.

“I think it’s a pretty good neighborhood.” Says Maddox, “I mean I walked around at night,” says Maddox, “and there’s no problem.”

Keffer likes the bike lanes. “There are bike friendly roads in the area, “ he says. “‘Cause Roosevelt is a pretty main road for this part of town and it has bike lanes, same as Chambers, same with Seneca.”

“I like that it’s quite,” says Keffer. “It’s out of the way.”

Keffer wondered if the neighborhood’s bad reputation was warranted but said that when people, familiar with Eugene, heard that the Red Cross was in Trainsong they say, “’Oh I see.’” Some people may not be as inclined to visit the Red Cross because of its location.

Keffer believes, however, that if people hear that a reputable corporation such as the Red Cross is in Trainsong they might reconsider.

“Trainsong is not that bad, Red Cross is here.”

About Tess

I am the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of HardCider International--an online magazine dedicated to hard cider and the cultures that surround it around the world. I am also an English teacher working in Asturias, Spain. I graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in Journalism and a minor in Japanese.
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