Location is a major benefit of living in Cal Young, according to residents of the Eugene neighborhood.
Residents also listed green space, strong public schools and the University of Oregon’s presence in the community as among the neighborhood’s best qualities.
“I like having the university around,” longtime resident Gil James said. “It’s nice to have young people influencing our community because honestly, [they’re] the future.”
James works at the university, which employs over 4,600 workers as one of the city’s largest employers. The Cal Young neighborhood is located less than two miles from the university’s main campus and is even closer to Autzen Stadium, where the Ducks play their home football games.
Sheldon High School finance director Julia Girod also listed proximity among her favorite aspects of Cal Young, in addition to its safety and strong school system.
The neighborhood is home to Sheldon, Cal Young Middle School, Willagillespie Elementary School and Buena Vista Spanish Immersion School. Buena Vista offers its 295 students full Spanish immersion for grades K-3, followed by half Spanish, half English education in grades 4-5. It is one of three language immersion elementary schools in Eugene’s 4J district.
From a student’s perspective, the neighborhood also benefits from its abundant public green space. Sheldon student Sally Stender listed the neighborhood’s proximity to local parks as one of its best features.
“[I like] how much space there is,” Stender said. “There are parks close [by].”
Parks within and around the neighborhood include Oakmont City Park, Bond Lane City Park, Alton Baker Park and Delta Ponds City Park. Alton Baker Park features several miles of walking and cycling trails, a dog park and a BMX track, making it one of the city’s most popular recreation areas.
Of course, residents also noted areas for improvement in Cal Young. Girod cited the neighborhood’s bus service as a downside, saying that some local students have to walk as much as a mile to catch a bus to school.
This problem was exacerbated last fall by state funding cuts that caused Lane Transit District to stop providing free bus passes for students. Families must now meet several criteria for their children to qualify for a free bus pass, meaning that some students are being forced to walk longer distances to access school bus transportation.
For residents like James who cycle to school or work, the bus system is less of an issue. James listed city politics, school investment and environmental sustainability as the three most urgent areas for improvement.
“We can’t keep relying on gasoline,” James said. “Our lifestyle needs to change in our neighborhood and around the world.”