Jefferson Westside Sweetens Up!
The residents of Eugene are extremely proud to live in this flourishing community and it shows through their voices and actions. After asking three locals of the Jefferson Westside district their opinion of the neighbor, it was clear that the citizens are mostly pleased with where they live.
Shelbie Raife is a student at Lane Community College and has lived in Eugene for 11 years. “I love Sweet Life,” said Rife with a grin on her face as she bit into her delicate chocolate treat. Raife was sitting alone at a table glancing over the brochure style menu that Sweet Life provides to their customers. She went into detail about the Jefferson Westside area saying that she likes some of the restaurants; however, she feels some parts of this neighborhood are “kind of ghetto”. While she understands that not every part of town can be perfect, Rife enjoys the time she spends at the small local bakery. When asked what needs the most improvement in the area she responded by saying “the roads need some help, they’re pretty bad”. Although it’s evident Jefferson Westside isn’t free of flaws, it was wonderful to see Raife take pleasure in some peace and quiet at one of her favorite local hotspots.
Aaron Sullivan has been a Sweet Life employee for over four years, and feels “like family” whenever he walks into work. Sullivan has lived in Eugene all his life, and the University of Oregon graduate loves the neighborhood and says he has seen tremendous growth and change within the last 10 years. “There has definitely been a decrease in crime and trash, lots of improvement even in the park a block away. I would see needles lying around and it’s not like that anymore”. Sullivan says that one of his favorite things about Jefferson Westside is the “diversity of local business”, and the fact that community members have interest in things outside their work. Sullivan talked about the number of people in the neighborhood that are involved in theatre arts, including fellow employees that work with him at Sweet Life. “We go to each others events, we like to support each other” said Sullivan giggling as another employee smiles and pats his back as she passes.
Erin Moore is the proud mother to a new baby boy who was just born a couple of months ago. Moore has lived in Eugene for over 10 years, and said her absolute favorite bakery in town is still Sweet Life. Before she gave birth to her son, running down by the river was an activity she became very fond of. “I love the access to the river from the neighborhood, taking runs down by the river was and is something I enjoy to do” said Moore. While she does frequent Jefferson Westside she finds the transient homeless population to be quite worrisome. “Esthetically this neighborhood could use a little help,” Moore says quietly as she looks around to the abandon building behind the bakery.
Even with the ups and downs of Jefferson Westside the locals still haven’t seemed to lose their sweet tooth.