The Whiteaker neighborhood or, “The Whit,” is known for its artistic expression and unique local businesses. A previous resident of Whiteaker, Beau Leslie, said that the main attraction of Whiteaker is to have a good time, and to express yourself. He said, “You feel welcome here.”
Whiteaker is home to many small businesses, one such business is Red Barn. Red Barn has made a positive impact on the community as an organic grocery store that sells everything from organic beer and wine to fresh organic produce. It is located on Blair St., close to Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen and the Ninkasi Brewing Company.
Christiana Hansen, works at Red Barn, and said that the businesses in Whiteaker thrive off of the local residents in the neighborhood, and everyone is very supportive of each other. She also said that she would appreciate seeing more businesses come into the area that would encourage more people, who live outside of Whiteaker, to come to the neighborhood. “I think that there’s this idea that it’s not safe.” Hansen said that most of the travelers and homeless individuals who live in the neighborhood that she encounters in and outside of Red Barn are actually quite friendly, and people shouldn’t feel threatened by coming to the Whiteaker neighborhood.
The New Day Bakery is also a local business in Whiteaker that has a significant impact on the community. Owner and manager since 1989, Bill Mahoney, said that he frequently visits the Red Barn for anything he may need, “We try to support the people that are here in the neighborhood.” Mahoney also countered the frequent stereotype that Whiteaker is an unsafe neighborhood, when he said that he loves raising his children in a neighborhood where you know all of your neighbors and everyone is very supportive of each other.
Whiteaker is home to some great businesses, local and the like, however, individuals don’t know about all the great things it has to offer. When asked about changes he would like to see in the community, Mahoney said, “I’d like the people on the other side to come over more.” Whiteaker has gotten a bad reputation, however, it is completely the opposite. Residents and business owners are welcoming to the entire Eugene community and anyone who may be passing through, it’s more just a matter of getting people on the outside educated about the great opportunities that are offered in, “The Whit.”