Cal Young/ Harlow Community Members Talk on Neighborhood Issues

The lack of ethnic diversity is a draw back to the Cal Young and Harlow neighborhoods. Thursday April 14, community members weighed in on the positive and negative aspects of the Cal Young and Harlow communities.

In the Cal Young neighborhood is the Sheldon Community Center, located off of Willakenzie Road, which offers 2 to 4-year-old child care, preschool classes, after-school programs for students from Hult, Gilham, Meadowlark, Buena Vista, and Willagillespie Elementary Schools, and courses that range from baby-sitting certification to Thai Chi. Although this thriving community center can be seen as an asset to the area, there are some issues that need to be addressed.

“There is no diversity in this area. To be honest its not diverse at all,” says Kevin Leonard, a behavioral specialist at the Community Center. Leonard was born in Eugene and grew up in the Churchill neighborhood. Considered “the foreigner from the other side of town”, he identifies Churchill as rich in ethnic diversity.

Gayle Martinez, the Community Center office coordinator, also sees the absence in ethnic diversity but recognizes instead a difference in the socioeconomic levels in the Cal Young neighborhood. “Diversity as in ability and the lower income, I think we do have,” she says.

A draw for lower income families in the area is that Sheldon High School offers a program called the Life Skills Network, which provides classes and opportunities to students ages 14-21 who struggle with developmental disabilities. Along with a learning aspect the program offers a Community Living Component that places 18 to 21-year-old students in apartments in the neighborhood.

Coburg Road serves as a dividing line for the two neighborhoods and is an industrial hub for Eugene. Victoria Palmer, stylist at Oh My Dog! Pet Salon, attributes the popularity of this grooming, training, doggie daycare to the traffic that Coburg Road receives each day.

Having such a prime piece of real-estate allows Oh My Dog! to avoid having to target customers through other marketing strategies like radio advertisements and television commercials. However, all the additional savings goes toward rent.

“Its definitely the highest place in town as far as rent for a retail space goes,” Palmers says.

East of Coburg Road in the Harlow neighborhood is the Garden Way Church. Aerin Stebnicki, a Ministry Leader at the church, feels that it is a benefit to the Garden Way community to be so close to the University of Oregon campus and attract students to the church. She says, “College students bring a lot of energy, excitement, and ideas.”

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