On a beautiful weekend in Whiteaker, residents from all over took advantage of the great weather any way they could. The Maurie Jacobs Park next to the Willamette River was full of bikers, students and families looking to enjoy the Sunday afternoon with friends and loved ones.
Standing by a tree in the middle of the park, vagabonds Mark Rolle and John discussed some of their opinions on the Whiteaker neighborhood. The rugged duo agreed that the parks and outdoor facilities are what make the area great. Rolle, a Virginia native, said that his favorite part of Whiteaker was the Owen Rose Garden, as the multicolored leaves and various scents reminded him of his home.
While the two agreed the scenery and facilities made Whiteaker a favorable neighborhood, the two also voiced some of their concerns about crime. Rolle claimed that there needed to be more police involvement in the area, as the neighborhood can sometimes get rough at night. “If I had to say anything about the corrections of the place it would be more police involvement during the hours of sleeping time,” said Rolle. John on the other hand, focused more on the lack of jobs in the area and claimed that Mayor Kitty Piercy and Governor John Kitzhaber need to do more to create work in Oregon.
Father and daughter Mike and Kalee were enjoying the sunny afternoon with their two black Labrador retrievers at the park. The two shared similar opinions on the neighborhood, claiming the “local color” and “organic mentality” gave the area its unique vibe. However Kalee was concerned that certain parts of the neighborhood were getting out of hand. “5th and Blair can use some sprucing up,” said Kalee. Mike on the other hand was worried about some of the activities the youth in the area were getting involved in. “It seems like there’s a big focus on alcohol consumption,” said Mike. “And I would like to see some more alternative activities.”
John Becker sat at a table in the shade with his daughter, while his other children played on the swing-set nearby. Although they don’t currently live in Whiteaker, Becker said that his family spends a lot of time in the area to enjoy the parks and the art community. “We like the fine arts community in Whiteaker,” said Becker. “I think everyone does.” With children of his own to worry about, Becker had some of the same concerns as Mike. “The downside is the drugs,” he said as he looked over at his daughter.
While most residents agree that Whiteaker provides a fun and unique living experience in Eugene, they also voiced some concerns about their neighborhood. With the lack of public security and the rise of drug and alcohol use in the area, residents hope to see their neighborhood get back on the right track soon.