People who live and work in the Amazon area are a happy bunch. The Amazon is a neighborhood with plentiful bike trails and parks, and recreation was a common interest among the residents we chatted with.
Rita Kingsbury, a 28-year Amazon resident, works at the City of Eugene Recreation Services office on Hilyard Street. She started working for the recreation department in 1983 when she first moved to Eugene, and is now happily retired and working at the Amazon recreation center for a few days a month.
“I picked this neighborhood number one because when I first moved here my kids were in school and it had the best schools,” said Kingsbury. “Also because of the park, and because I live just about five blocks from here. It’s a block and a half from the bus station, and it’s walking distance from two supermarkets.”
Amazon Park and the recreation center are important to Kingsbury and the neighborhood’s residents. The recreation center offers a diverse array of activities ranging from painting to tai chi to preschool. Kingsbury enjoys participating in the fiber arts guild at the Campbell Center, and attends art luncheons every week.
A little farther down on Hilyard Street is Black Sun Books, a small bookstore selling new, used, and out of print books. Michele Miller works at the store, occasionally filling in for her husband, who has owned the store for almost 18 years. Miller moved to Eugene in 1971 and used to live in the Amazon, but is planning on moving back soon. The retired high school teacher loved how she could easily walk and bicycle around the neighborhood.
“There are restaurants. I like the ease to the university if I want to go over there for one reason or another,” said Miller. She doesn’t think that the “great neighborhood” needs to improve on anything.
Access to other parts of town is an important and convenient feature of the Amazon. “It’s a great place to be. You can get downtown easily; you can get anywhere you want pretty easily. It’s right by the bike path and the running path,” she said.
A block away from Miller and Black Sun Books is Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life on Alder Street. Joe Peck, the bike shop’s manager, has lived in the Amazon in 2004, but moved away because the properties in the neighborhood were out of his price range.
The only thing Peck didn’t love about the neighborhood was the location of his house on Hilyard Street. “It was the turnaround for the police when they would do the neighborhood watch,” he said. “We couldn’t have any really awesome parties because the police would drive by every 30 minutes.”
Peck enjoys using the neighborhood’s “awesome road network” for biking, and liked how he used to live near it. Peck also fondly reminisced about playing at the Amazon Bowl, Eugene’s first skate park, when he was younger.
The quiet neighborhood is home to many active and content residents that frequently use the abundant walking, running, and bike paths. Maybe people in the Amazon are so happy because of all the endorphins!