Life and Work in the Trainsong Neighborhood

By Diana Higgins

Trainsong neighborhood residents and workers said Friday afternoon that the area is a safe place to live, despite the amount of industry. Some do, however, wish that Trainsong would make some changes.

The Trainsong neighborhood in Eugene, west of the downtown area on 99W, is characterized by a series of train routes and many industrial companies and factories. While the area is home to many businesses, there are also residents with a lot to say about how living in the area is.

“I love living here,” said Justin Stout, owner of The Lasagna Cart and a new resident in the neighborhood. “Ya’ll actually have trees.”

The Lasagna Cart owner Justin Stout is proud to live in Trainsong, but wishes the area around his business had more pedestrains.

Stout recently moved from Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas and opened his lasagna cart in Trainsong in late 2010. He prefers the area to a big city feel, and does not mind the number of large industries or factories around his home. Although the neighborhood works for his new life in Oregon, Stout said about his cart location, “I would much rather be over by the college or over on Coburg where there’s much more foot traffic.”

Others feel limiting effects of the industrial area as well. Rob Ward, Assistant Manager at  B & R Autowrecking, moved to Trainsong from Las Vegas, Nev., one year ago. Ward said, “it’s harder to make friends here than Las Vegas, by far.” He said the only place in Trainsong that he meets people is at work.

B & R Autowrecking is one of the many large companies in the Trainsong area, occupying the northwestern portion of the neighborhood.

Ward does, however, appreciate the mix of residential areas and industry. “I like it, personally. That’s how Las Vegas is.” Ward’s employee, Dan Watson, disagreed.

“It sucks,” said Watson, who wishes that his neighborhood would not get covered in saw dust every summer from a nearby mill. “Industrial Alley-that’s what I refer to is as.”

Both men do feel safe in the neighborhood. “You don’t have to worry about your car getting jacked,” Ward said. The two also had some ideas for improving the area.

“I’d like to see better roads,” said Watson. Ward agreed, saying he doesn’t drive his car to work because of the roads’ bad conditions.

Many residents associate the neighborhood with a high number of transients, as well as police officers. Father Richard Rossman of the St. Peter Catholic Church said he doesn’t feel that the area is dangerous, but that the number of transients has increased since he first came here six years ago. After a few break-ins at the church, an alarm system was put in place. “I feel safe with the alarm, but not everybody has an alarm,” said Rossman.

Mary Benson, a local bartender, also recognizes the large number of transients in the Trainsong neighborhood, but feels that the police presence is a good thing for the area. “Some people seem to think it’s a drug town, and it isn’t.” She would like to see “more higher end shops to bring people in.”

Overall, the local residents seem to enjoy living in Trainsong and would like to improve the neighborhood’s appeal. However, the industries in the area remain a huge part of the local neighborhood structure. Says Father Rossman, “I’d probably like to be someplace else with real neighbors.”

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