Residents in the Whiteaker are aware of the stereotypes that surround their neighborhood, but some wouldn’t change a thing.
Beau Leslie, a former resident of the Whiteaker neighborhood, still works in the area and said, “The Whiteaker is where the outrageous people can feel welcome. If people around the neighborhood know you, its chill. If they don’t, there like ‘whats up what are you doing in my neighborhood’? But I think every neighborhood should be like that,” he said.
The Whiteaker is a neighborhood that has a rich history. Environmental activism coupled with political demonstrations are a few of the factors that have created the subculture stereotype that engulfs “The Whit.”
This subculture can be witnessed in everyday life by venturing into the neighborhood and seeing the Whiteaker pirate flag hanging from residents roofs. It can be understood by seeing the murals painted on local businesses within the community.
It’s also a neighborhood that has its share of localized issues. Graffiti covered buildings of local businesses and a heavy transient population in the parks are a few of the problems that affect residents.
“There is some graffiti that is not artwork graffiti,” said Christiana Hansen, a resident of the Whiteaker. “They just gratified the Maurie Jacobs Park. I wish folks that live in the neighborhood would respect and treat it like their home,” she said.
When asked what the difference is between graffiti and artwork graffiti is? Hansen said, “Graffiti is straight lines. If somebody where to paint some flowers on there in a nice way. Something that was trying to beautify instead of destroy.”
The graffiti at Maurie Jacobs Park is an issue that has many in the Whiteaker wondering what to do. At the recent Whiteaker Community Councilmeeting on April 15, the committee discussed possible solutions to the ongoing issues in the park.
The Whiteaker neighborhood is also a neighborhood in transition. Local business such as the Red Barn Natural Grocery and The New Day Bakery still make up the majority of business in the area, but businesses such as Ninkasi Brewery and corporate franchises like 7-11 and Taco Bell have infiltrated the area.
The influx of businesses in the area is a positive for community members such as Bill Mahoney, the owner of The New Day Bakery, and Whiteaker resident for over 25 years. The new businesses are bringing in new customers to the The New Day Bakery, but Mahoney said, “There have been the same people coming here for years. It’s a community place, that’s whats good about our neighborhood.”