Firefighters and business owners express their concerns
By Chloe Longfellow
It seems as though people are becoming less and less personal within their communities due to other ways to solve problems. In the Churchill neighborhood some of the problems stem from the strict budget but also from a lack of connection between residents.
The Churchill neighborhood has a lot to offer as long as you know where to look. There seems to be a divide in the residency as there are low-income neighborhoods that are not kept up as well as upper middle class neighborhoods with mansions sitting on acres of land. The community disconnect is from the diversity of the residents and abuse of resources.
Firefighters David McNeil and Derek Thorstenson in the Churchill neighborhood explained how the divide in the neighborhood affects them because people will immediately call 9-1-1 instead of asking a neighbor for help. Even though there are plenty of resources in the Eugene area, homeless people take advantage of the system. “There’s nowhere else in the country like it. Very generous here.” Thorstenson said about the availability of resources for the homeless.
With only three full-time ambulances in Eugene due to funding, overcrowded hospitals and busy medics have become an issue. “Medic unit is very busy here. They get 15-20 calls a day,” McNeil said.
As residents get older, the more they need medical assistance. Yet, with diminishing budgets it makes it harder to keep more ambulances and fire trucks readily available. “It’s an interesting dilemma we’re in here,” Thorstenson said.
Koho Bistro, the only restaurant in Churchill, sits inside a plaza where half of the businesses have shut down due to the poor economy. Angela Chan, the owner, talked about how she thinks it would help their business if the plaza were doing better as a whole. She wants to “Help bring more life around here,” she said. Due to the lack of traffic in the plaza there has been a lot of crime that has happened there such as break-ins and vandalism. The plaza sits across the street from Churchill High School and attracts a lot of teenagers. There are neighborhoods surrounding the area but the crime has not seemed to stop. They have had to install video cameras and louder alarm systems in hope to diminish the vandalism and break-ins. “We hope the alarms are loud enough for the firefighters across the street to hear or scare off intruders,” she said. Usually in a close knit community there would be a safe feel being able to count on one another, but Churchill has not displayed that.
Talking with the residents and people employed in Churchill they give off a very friendly vibe that would not suspect of crime or community disconnect. There are many factors that go into problems within the Churchill community, and residents are aware of them.