Plethora of parks, shopping, make Friendly neighborhood ideal for families

Home to nearby shopping centers, rolling hills graced by some of Eugene’s quainter homes, and more parkland than even the most spritely dog would know what to do with, the Friendly neighborhood is living up to its name as one of Eugene’s more family friendly areas to settle down, according to residents.

Despite the abundance of running trails and playgrounds in many of the neighborhoods five parks, neighborhood residents, such as Natalie Reeves, were happy to point out that the Friendly district provides much more than just fresh air.

“It’s pretty diverse in what it offers,” Reeves said, citing the plethora of shopping options along Willamette Street, which serves as a main vein for businesses in the district.

Dotted with everything from grocery stores to upscale restaurants, Reeves wasn’t the only resident who appreciated the local feel of the area’s stores. However, Reeves was quick to warn against changes, such as the Eugene 4J School District’s proposed plans to replace the now dilapidated Civic Stadium with a Fred Meyer’s supermarket, disrupting that overall health of the area.

“Long term, I think (a YMCA) would fit this area better as opposed to a shopping center that could close at anytime,” said Reeves.

While changes may be in store for the Friendly neighborhood resident Jack Bennett, who has lived in the area for 20 years, feels “the combination of open space and convenience to shopping centers” has served to enhance the community’s reputation as a great place to raise a family but thinks it will need to work on keeping it’s school system healthy to maintaining its standing in Eugene.

“Schools are key if you’re going to have a family,” said Bennett, who sent all four of his daughters through the Friendly neighborhood public schools.

Now with the Eugene 4J School District announcing it faces a possible 11-million dollar budget shortfall in the upcoming year, according to a report by KMTR, keeping that resource healthy is becoming increasingly difficult. Although, that challenge doesn’t scare many of the residents who already call the Friendly district home.

Neighborhood resident Jessie Marquez doesn’t regret sending her children through the public school system in the area and feels that the overall vibe is what makes it more than worth it to call the Friendly district home.

“Children can be pretty independent here,” Marquez said, “They have a lot of freedom that they might not have in a bigger city.”

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