Downtown Eugene is a very versatile place. Including the people who wander the streets. Perhaps it is the fusion of the poverty-stricken contrasted with the young thrill seeking students that make Downtown Eugene so unique.
Johanna Solares a working 22-year-old has a quick and simple answer, “I love the shopping but hate the one-way streets!”
Steve Lenox, a middle-aged man leaving The Kiva had much to say about the downtown area. “I’m from the Seattle area so I like the quaint small town feeling but I think that the city leaders need to help bring in more businesses.” He talks about how Whole Foods has repeatedly tried to come to Eugene but that they have not been supported. “I don’t mean adding big name companies but we need more business to help this economy.” He hesitates, “I’m unsure of how to say this in the correct way but the panhandlers in the area are a big problem. They take away from the businesses while making people uncomfortable with their sometimes aggressive nature.” His wife does not like shopping in the Downtown area because of this even though she works at Cornucopia on 5th street. “She always has someone walk her to her car at night for fear of her safety.”
Jen Lambert, a student at the University of Oregon, loves the unique local shops such as Voo-Doo Doughnuts and enjoys almost always seeing familiar faces.
A high school student, Jordan Williams, was socializing with a group of her friends by the bus station, “I don’t even want to answer because I hate downtown.” I proceeded to ask why and she responded with one word, “dirty” and walked away.
I stopped Tim O’Connor while he was on a walk with his friend. He is a twenty-something-year-old who says “The corner of Pearl and Willamette is pretty much a squatter camp. I don’t understand how businesses like The Davis even attract business.” He proceeds to talk about how the Downtown area is overwhelmingly dirty. O’Connor adds, “They definitely need to bring in more business.”
The Downtown area is unique but it seems the general conclusion is that the overwhelming population of homeless people and the dirtiness of the area overshadows what people love most, the shops and small town feel. _ Alexia Wray