On Sunday, January 30, the Maurie Jacobs Park in the Whiteaker neighborhood of Eugene was teeming with visitors enjoying the sunshine. But, while the park had a multitude of visitors some of them had strong opinions on what they liked and disliked about the Whiteaker neighborhood.
Mark Rolle, a resident of the Whiteaker neighborhood, came to the Whiteaker neighborhood from Virginia. He told us that the first thing that caught his eye was the Owen Rose Memorial Garden. He enjoys the tealeaves, roses, and smells in the summer. Although Rolle is enjoys living in the Whiteaker neighborhood there is one issue that he thinks should be corrected.
Rolle says, “More police involvement during the hours of sleeping time.” Rolle explains further that the police are supposed to be able to tell the difference between letting someone go versus someone endangering children or looking to hurt a woman.
Rolle reiterates, “More public safety, more public safety.”
Rolle’s friend John explains that the police around the Whiteaker neighborhood put people in jail for all the wrong reasons.
“Crimes that are not criminal, so if someone has a beer or marijuana, consensual crime, it doesn’t have to be a big deal, don’t fill up our jails with that,” says John.
Mike and Kalee, longtime residents of the Whiteaker neighborhood, have many different opinions than Mark and John.
When asked what he likes about the Whiteaker neighborhood, Mike responds, “The access to outdoors and pubic areas where you can take your dogs. The Whiteaker in particular has a good local color and organic mentality.” Kalee, Mike’s daughter, chimes in as they both agree that there are great places to eat.
“Down by 5th and Blair could use some sprucing up,” says Kalee, “for lack of better word, its ghetto.” Kalee’s dad agrees and explains that there is a big emphasis on alcohol and he would like to see some more alternative activities for the younger crowd.
On the other end of the park is a playground where Joe Becker and his daughter sit on a park bench. Much like Kalee and Mike, Becker explains the biggest downside is the drugs, crime, and poverty.
While holding hands with his daughter, Becker says, “We like the fine arts community in Whiteaker, I think everybody does.” Becker also adds the having the area being a mixed neighborhood is a definite plus.
Maurie Jacobs Park is large and is the recreation hub of many in the Whiteaker neighborhood. The range of family dynamics and duos is endless. But when it comes to things to change and keep in the Whiteaker neighborhood they can agree on this: keep the green but ditch the grunge.