Jefferson Westside neighbors agree that the community is transforming and moving Eugene in a positive direction, but would welcome more change.
The Jefferson Westside neighborhood extends west from the edge of downtown on 13th and Willamette to 18th and Chambers and consists of both residential and business locations. In 2010 the JWN was voted Eugene’s first “Neighborhood of the Year” for “demonstrated leadership, responsiveness to neighborhood needs, and commitment to membership outreach and engagement.” The neighborhood has a mix of college students and permanent residents, which create a diverse community.
Being so close to downtown opens opportunities to explore and get involved with the community. “Being right in the middle of Eugene is nice to me,” said Aaron Chester, a resident and business owner in the Jefferson neighborhood, “I kind of like the ratio of business to residential,” he said. Chester and his wife own three different businesses in and around the JWN: Perk Espresso, DELUXE, and Kitsch. He has been working for the past 10 years to improve the downtown area and believes that the Jefferson Westside Neighborhood has been a positive influence.
The central location appeals to residents because places downtown and the University of Oregon campus are close to commute to but far enough away to keep up a quite and family-friendly neighborhood. Sean Carroll has lived in the neighborhood for two years and enjoys the welcoming and peaceful community. “This side of town is more relaxed,” he said, “People wave to you when you walk down the street”. Carroll likes the different small businesses but also notes that more would help increase comers throughout the neighborhood.
The numbers of small businesses run locally by community members like Chester is slowly growing and many are positive about it. “It would be nice to see more businesses,” said Robin Best, a customer at Midtown Marketplace. She does not live in the neighborhood but has always enjoyed the area mentioning how the neighborhood meshes together business and residential in a way that doesn’t disturb the feel. “It feels like a neighborhood,” she said. Community members enjoy the local aspects of the businesses and are encouraged by the impact.
Chester is excited for the future of Jefferson Westside and believes in the neighborhood’s strong potential. “I’m excited to see things happening,” he said, “that the holes are finally getting filled, that things are finally getting done and that half of that, in my opinion, is because of, kind of, the Jefferson Westside area moving east.”