By: Ariel Gruver
While Eugene, Oregon may primarily be known for its college campus and star football and track teams, the city has an abundance of other attractions to offer. Just across the McKenzie River from the University of Oregon campus, the Cal Young neighborhood is considered home to many of the city’s residents.
In addition to residential suburban neighborhoods Cal Young is filled with schools, shopping centers, local businesses, parks, and outdoor activities for locals and visitors to enjoy.
Anna Heintz works at the Eugene Running Company at the Oakway Center on Coburg road. Though she lives in the downtown area of Eugene Heintz explained that she enjoys the Cal Young neighborhood because it is an upscale, well maintained part of the city. There are many coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores and high-end clothing stores in the area. The neighborhood is easily accessible and provides many convenient bus routes throughout. Both Heintz and her co-worker Brad Hudson agreed that the neighborhood consists of a wealthy, older population of Eugene residents. Hudson also described the neighborhood as being more family-oriented.
However, Hudson said, “its a little cookie cutter.” For the same reason that they both enjoy the Cal Young neighborhood Hudson and Heintz argued that these benefits seem to separate it from other Eugene neighborhoods.
Despite this separation, Heintz and Hudson get to enjoy the advantages of working so close to a variety of bike trails and running paths. Heintz stated, “There are a lot of great places to run. It’s very easy to get to the river, the bike path and Alton Baker Park.” Hudson and Heintz host group runs through the Eugene Running Company, which
are held on various routes in the Cal Young Neighborhood.
In addition, as more businesses open up in the neighborhood people from other parts of Eugene are venturing into Cal Young to see what it has to offer. “The neighborhood is definitely growing, and it’s getting better every year,” Hudson says.
At the other end of Oakway Center Karly Kercheval voiced similar opinions. Kercheval works at a local wine shop in Oakway Center and lives in the Cal Young neighborhood. Her home is within a short walking distance of her work. She agreed that Cal Young is a very convenient neighborhood for shopping, getting groceries and outdoor activities. Kercheval appreciates this neighborhood because she says that she feels safer walking alone in the Cal Young area than in some of Eugene’s surrounding neighborhoods.
One minor setback that Kercheval discussed is the traffic. “Coburg road is awful!” Kercheval said. She explained that this road is often congested throughout the day and there is little that people can do to avoid it.
Kercheval also admitted that the Cal Young neighborhood outlines a higher income bracket within the Eugene population, and is often seen as a wealthy, family-oriented neighborhood. For this reason Kercheval feels like many younger people close to her age are spending more time in other parts of Eugene. In her spare time Kercheval goes hiking in south Eugene and goes downtown for the nightlife. “There are a few decent bars in the area but its not like I’m gonna go bowling anytime soon,” Kercheval says.
In the past few years many new businesses have opened in the Cal Young neighborhood drawing in new crowds of people. As residents of Eugene, Kercheval, Heintz and Hudson hope to see some of the social and economic barriers broken down in the future as the neighborhood continues to expand with the population of Eugene.