A common theme among employees who work in the Trainsong neighborhood in Eugene is not knowing where that neighborhood is located. Larry Bradley, the owner of Chocolate Decadence, said that the worst part of the neighborhood is that nobody knows where it is. He says he hears people say, ‘Trainsong’ but he himself is unsure of the coordinates.
A Red Cross employee, Tia Fitzgerald, smiled politely at the front desk but her face turned blank at the mention of Trainsong. The only person who knew sufficient information was Jon Crawford, a handsome, weathered man who was walking his tiny dog, Kingpin, in Trainsong Park. When asked if there is a sense of community in Trainsong, he said there is not much of one, that it is, “Mainly just me and my neighbors.” Crawford enjoys his place of residence but says that people’s perceptions of the neighborhood are “Probably a little bit inaccurate.” The reason Crawford moved to Trainsong was because he went to a housing agency where he found his current house. The agent told him it was a great match, but that “It’s in a not so good part of town.” Another man, Eric Lahmers, who works at the Four Corners Veterinary Clinic, said some negative perceptions are that people are not well off. He said it’s a mix of regular homeowners and, “I don’t want to say lower class….(but) downtrodden…” Lahmers thinks that businesses should re-do their exteriors to improve Trainsong’s image. For example, Buker Shoes redid their front area, adding a porch.
When asked what else is in the neighborhood, Lahmers responded that there are rough characters, but that he doesn’t have a problem with it. He said, “They kind of leave us be.” Crawford echoes that same mentality in that he walks Kingpin until 2 AM, but said nobody else does that. The only frustration Crawford sees in his neighborhood are the renters who abandon their pets because, “The whole block moves in and out.” But Crawford sees that issue as the fault of the property management companies that don’t screen properly. Crawford now has 15 cats from previous renters. Regarding drug problems in Trainsong, Crawford said there was a house full of drugged people holding others hostage in the neighborhood a few years back and the SWAT team had to intervene, but that those events could happen in a wealthy neighborhood in Southern California. Crawford acknowledges there are some homeless people who sometimes sleep in the park, but that it doesn’t bother him in the slightest.