There are plenty of attractions to keep people entertained in downtown Eugene, and they can appeal to people of all ages and walks of life. Downtown Eugene is home to many restaurants and businesses, but Lily Leach, an employee for Voodoo Donuts, doesn’t think it is a residential neighborhood.
“Another restaurant is moving around the corner, which is pretty exciting,” said Leach. “Sometimes it feels like we’re on some island.”
But on this island, Leach believes there are plenty of things to do in downtown Eugene. Lauren Eilers, a mother of two and a resident of Eugene for eight years, can attest to that. She takes her children, ages 3 and 6, to the library and Skinner Butte Park in order to keep her children entertained.
“During the day I think downtown is pretty clean, busy and family friendly,” said Eilers. “And at night, there is a really good music scene for younger people.”
However, one thing that does tend to ward off potential visitors to the downtown area is the homeless population that resides in its streets.
“I remember sometimes when we walk here with the preschool there would be a group of bums trying to entertain us,” said Eilers. “Sometimes it was okay, but them sometimes it’s like okay, okay, alright, alright.”
However, Leach, who has seen her fair share unusual characters while working at Voodoo Donuts, tries to treat all of her customers the same.“Late at night there is weird stuff that goes on, but that’s apart of living in the city and working downtown, and I don’t really feel threatened,” said Leach. “They’re just people, and I try to treat everyone the same.”
But Robert Aiken, a resident of Springfield, Ore., has found ways to take advantage of the wide array of personalities that walk the streets of downtown Eugene. Aiken and his friends like to sit, specifically in the park near the Eugene Municipal Courthouse on Pearl St., and people watch.
“We just sit out for a few minutes, and actually people watch,” said Aiken. “That’s what a lot of us like to do: sit there and BS with our friends and think god, that person really needs some mental help.”But regardless of the fact that there are some eccentric people in downtown Eugene, some who have lived here for over four decades wouldn’t change a thing.
“Sometimes change can be a bad thing,” said Aiken, a resident of Springfield for over 43 years. “The old cliché is that if it’s not broken, then don’t fix it.”