On a raining Wednesday morning, Friendly Area Neighborhood is anything but. It’s 8 a.m., and the street stretching east from 18th and Chambers is covered in mud. Most of the businesses I pass are still closed. But with an umbrella in hand, the walk isn’t all that bad, and I get to see an area of Eugene I had not thought much about before.The area is largely residential until a little after Charnelton Street.
The Meridian is a small collection of different shops, ranging from Folkways, a natural fiber clothing story, to Uncommon Scents, a bright and unique perfume shop. I recognize the Meridian for Cafe Yumm, a vegetarian restaurant, and my favorite in Eugene.
South Eugene Professional Plaza houses most of the small offices within a motel-like complex, where, on the perimeters of a tiny parking lot, more than ten medical practices are squeezed side-by-side.
But not all the offices in Friendly Area are for humans. Down the street from the Professional Plaza is Healing Paws Wellness Center, an alternative veterinary clinic that uses both conventional and unorthodox methods for the healing of animals.
Businesses and residences aren’t the only things Friendly Area Neighborhood holds. Located on the far east side of the neighborhood, Amazon Park is a 90 acre piece of land used by Eugenians for all sorts of purposes. It holds a dog park, amble bike paths and beautiful green pathways enjoyed by runners and walkers alike. Below is the intersection of two such paths.
But for me, it’s much too early for a jog.
Eugene Coffee Company is located at 1840 Chambers Street on the far west side of Friendly. The Coffee Co. uses only local, organic grounds for its brew, and houses a growing collection of nearly 100 snow globes. It opened in March 2008, and has been a social hub ever since.
Friendly Area Neighborhood is a quiet but subtly interesting place. Only a leisurely walk through it, even on a miserable rainy morning, gives any insight into the opportunities to be had here.