It is evident after driving for 5 minutes around the Amazon Neighborhood that this area of Eugene, Oregon is immensly different from other parts of the city. Noted for its schools, small businesses, playgrounds and parks, the region is known for its recreational activities including biking and running. While there are a few lingering University of Oregon students, the area is mainly dominated by families, empty nesters, and Senior citizens.
However, with all these attributes comes a great deal of responsibility to keep it safe and clean. The upkeep of such areas is lacking tremendously and many of the residents in the area agreed that the Amazon Neighborhood and the City of Eugene need to intervene.
Many of the students, families, and Senior citizens in the area have ideas of what would be best for the area and all have hopes that it can be safer and cleaner. Tim Vignos, a resident in the Amazon Neighborhood since July 2011, explained that he decided to live here because there were, “a lot of trees, close enough to Albertsons, but not too close. The right distance to the basics and… the houses are a little more spread out.”
While Tim usually goes by bicycle, he takes his dog to the dog park at least 3 times a week. He has continuingly seen the effects that the rain and other extreme weather Oregon can bring and longs for more maintance on the trails.
“I wish the Amazon running trail was taken care of better because when it rains, it turns into mush,” Tim explained. While the weather in Eugene is not always sunshine, little changes made by residents or the city like adding more woodchips or gravel onto specific areas could make a great deal of difference.
Dylan Dornfeld and Kiel Berg, both 19, also believe that the Amazon Neighborhood desperately needs an upgrade. But, instead of more maintanence on the trails, they believe it is needed at the Skate Park. The University of Oregon students go to the Skate Park around 4-5 times a week and regularly see the condition that it is in. “Honestly, I think it just needs repaving,” Dylan explained, “Like the cobblestones? How are you supposed to skate on this?”
Although both of the students showed interest in getting involved by going to city meetings to speak up for the skaters in the area, they were not exactly sure how to go about it. “I would repave that myself,” Dylan jokingly explained.
Another concern was the fact that many of the available properties get taken by small businesses or starting families, prompting University students to steer clear of an area that promotes recreational activities. While it is good for the small businesses, Dylan explained, “That could all be housing and there wouldn’t be such an influx when the students need housing when the kids have to camp out on the street… to get a house.”
The 11-year resident, Kelly Collins, believes that Neighborhood is fairly well kept, especially with the damage that the weather does. However, now that he has a family he is more concerned with the safety of the area. “It would be nice to have a little fenced-in area for the kids to run around, so you don’t have to chase them all the time,” he explained.
Kelly was originally drawn to the area because of the nice playground structures and the proximity to everything that is essential like the grocery store and restaurants. He eagerly awaits for the public pool to open in late May, early June so that he can bring his daughters.
With the University being so close to the other schools and the area in general, Kelly explained that he does not mind. “I see students everyday,” the Lane Community College Professor explained, “It doesn’t bother me.”