Located in the southwest corner of Eugene, stands the Bailey Fire Station of the Churchill neighborhood. To the left, basketball courts, a playground and a skate rink sit on a grassy hill and a block to the right stands the Churchill High School. Across the street is an empty parking lot bordered with various businesses. Several streets past that, a sign states “Reserved Natural Habitat” on a large field. Within the boundaries of Churchill a variety of landscapes exist.
The varying types of landscapes are a key feature some people of Churchill find distinguishable. “Two minutes in that direction is country side while if you drive two minutes in the other direction, you can encounter a more urban setting,” said Tim Zerr, a fireman who has worked for the Bailey Hill Fire Station for five years.
There are several different fire stations in the Eugene area, which consists of 24 neighborhoods. From a fire station’s point of view, each one has a distinguishing quality that makes it different from the rest of the community. “For example, the Sheldon area is known for having a lot of nursing homes, the downtown stations are more preoccupied with the more intoxicated,” said Zerr. “Our station is known for having everything.”
In addition to the suburban neighborhoods and the reserved natural habitats, Churchill offers many businesses offering different services. “There are places to eat, recreational sports complexes, and extensive retail,” said Grafton.
The landscapes are not the only thing that varies in the neighborhood. “You can find any type of person, whether they are homeless or a neurosurgeon, an honor student or someone who uses drugs,” said Jason Crane, a manager of the neighborhood DS Market & Deli. “But there is a lot of heart and compassion in the people here.”
Captain Derek Grafton of Bailey Hill Fire Station notices a certain demeanor of the community. “When we go touring of the area, I notice that we are very well received in the community,” said Grafton. “We encounter very friendly people here.”
Despite the presence of different groups of people, Crane notices the sense of community in Churchill. “The other day, I saw a guy helping an elderly woman jumpstart her car,” Crane said. “When in a lot of other places, that same person would be jacking her car instead.”