No place like the Amazon

Driving into the Amazon neighborhood of Eugene, you see houses, trees, people jogging, parents picking up their kids from the local elementary school-seems like the typical neighborhood scene. But what about the area attracts people to live there? The only way to find out is to ask the residents and employees who work at the local businesses.

On Friday, April 15, I took a journey with my group through the neighborhood to gain a little insight about Amazon. Our first stop was the City of Eugene Recreation Facility located on Hilyard Street where we met Rita Kingsbury. Born in New York, Kingsbury moved to Eugene in 1983 and has been a resident for the past 28 years.

“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.

Close proximity to two grocery stores, the bus station and the park were among her other reasons for favoring the neighborhood. Kingsbury has not only resided in Amazon since 1983, but she also began working for the recreation department in the same year. She retired eight years ago and currently works at the Amazon recreation office twice a month.

The facility offers a wide range of programs and activities such as painting, clay-making, dancing, preschool and summer camps for kids. Kingsbury takes part in some of the programs such as the fiber arts guild at the Campbell Center.

Along with the recreation center, Black Sun Books is also located on Hilyard Street where we met Michele Miller, a retired high school teacher. Miller first moved to the Amazon neighborhood in 1971 and was a resident until about four years ago. She has plans to move back soon.

“I like that I can walk and bike a lot,” said Miller. “I like that there’s a bookstore. I used to come to this bookstore a lot. I like that there are restaurants. I like the ease to the university if I want to go over there for one reason or another.”

Biking seems to be a favorite among the residents and employees of the neighborhood, including Joe Peck, the manager of Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life located on Alder Street. Peck lived in the neighborhood from 2004 to 2007 on Hilyard Street, which was used as turnaround spot for police while they performed their neighborhood watch. Peck mentioned he enjoyed the neighborhood because it was close to the University of Oregon and it was a great place for biking.

“Just southwest of town there’s a really awesome trail, not a trail, but some road network that works really well for road biking,” said Peck. “Living in this neighborhood put me pretty close to that.”

Although Peck purchased a house elsewhere, he only had positive things to say about the neighborhood. He moved to Eugene from Eastern Oregon when he was 3-years-old and remembered the Amazon neighborhood housing the Amazon bowl, Eugene’s first skate park, which he enjoyed as a child.

According to the individuals we spoke with, Amazon neighborhood is the place to live and provides various amenities that many can take advantage of in order to stay active.

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