West Eugene neighborhood Trainsong has a bad reputation throughout Eugene, but residents insist the little-known area has more good than bad.
The neighborhood is small and mostly residential, but does house some local businesses, a park, and plenty of trains. Larry Bradley, owner of Chocolate Decadence, said that he wasn’t even sure what Trainsong was, but the most challenging part about his store location is that “nobody knows where it is,” and that many who go say they almost turned around because of the neighborhood. Trainsong’s biggest obstacle is to change the perception of the neighborhood to make it more inviting to those who visit, Bradley said.
Eric Lahmers, a employee at Four Corners Veterinary Clinic in Trainsong, said that the neighborhood’s reputation could improve if businesses tidied up their appearances. He said that, while some residents and buildings in Trainsong look “downtrodden,” many of the people and buildings are nice. It is much like Whitaker neighborhood, Lahmers said, where “three houses are really nice, old, kind of cool-looking houses and then there’s one that’s totally dilapidated right next to it.”
Trainsong resident Jon Crawford said that the neighborhood is much friendlier and safer than many believe. He often walks his dog through the park at 2a.m. without worry, and said that any trouble that does come is taken care of quickly by police. Some neighbors do cause problems, such as drugs or gang activity, but they often can’t afford the rent and leave quickly. Crawford blames this problem on the buildings’ renters not screening applicants properly, not the neighborhood itself. The perceived problems in Trainsong neighborhood are problems that can be found in any neighborhood, Crawford said, but Trainsong has many advantages. The local park is always busy, with a playground for younger children and a small skate park and basketball court for the older kids, and the neighborhood is quiet, with residents mostly keeping to themselves, which is one of the main reasons Crawford chose to live there.
Bradley said there is a sense of community in Trainsong, with Chocolate Decadence, a donut business, a BBQ, catering, and Oakshire Brewing all located off one of Trainsong’s main roads, Bethel Drive. “I eat the leftovers from the caterer, I get donuts every once in a while, I don’t drink beer, but I walk over there and give them chocolate samples so they can hand to their customers,” he said.