It’s a quiet morning at the Borders bookstore on Coburg road in the Cal Young neighborhood of Eugene. As we wander around to find employees and browsing customers to interview, there’s a quiet stillness among the shelves of books, but the hum of traffic echoes from busy paralleling Coburg Road.
Borders is located in the recently renovated Oakway shopping center, tucked between Coburg road and Oakway road. The outdoor shopping center consists of 42 shops, including major brand name stores such as Borders, Starbucks, Trader Joes, Nike, White House Black Market, Pier 1 Imports, Old Navy, and Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as many others. It’s a huge hub for national chains and upscale local shops because of its prime location on a major throughway and it provides a one-stop convenience for consumers, which urges many businesses to settle in the Cal Young community.
Jesica, a Borders employee who declined to give her last name, says she lives and works in the Cal Young neighborhood. She just moved into the neighborhood four months ago and says, “It’s very convenient, everything’s around here.” She didn’t have any complaints about the neighborhood thus far.
Andra Shannon, who works in the Seattle’s Best coffee shop located inside Borders, agrees with Jesica and says it’s really convenient and there’s lot of stuff to do and see around the neighborhood. However, this convenience has its negative aspects too; Shannon says the traffic is really heavy and busy sometimes because there are so many stores and restaurants around this area.
When we find Borders employee, Jake Thomas-Low, stacking books in the bridal section, he didn’t even know that this area was called the Cal Young neighborhood. When he was brought up to speed on the area that Cal Young consists of, he tells us that he’s only ever over in this area for work, and he lives in a strictly residential neighborhood just south of the University of Oregon’s campus. Thomas-Low tells us that he likes working around here because there is a nice stretch of restaurants that you don’t see anywhere else in town, including Chipotle, Baja Fresh, Panda Express, and various others. His only complaint about the neighborhood and surrounding area is that the Oakway and Coburg intersection can be really painful to sit through when there’s heavy traffic, especially at rush hour.
Because there are so many shops and restaurants in the Oakway center and its surrounding Coburg Road, traffic builds quickly, which can be an issue for some workers and consumers. This, and the fact that a popular I-5 exit leads directly to Coburg road, can make some citizens of Eugene avoid the area all together.
Overall, the Borders employees seem very satisfied with the progress and surrounding elements of the Cal Young neighborhood. As residents and as workers who spend a good amount of their time in the neighborhood, its convenience factor far outweighs its congestion factor.