River Road Concerns Hang Weary on Surrounding Community
By: Nick Feeney
University of Oregon Journalism Student
Every neighborhood addresses concerns within their community, in hopes to improve the overall quality of the district in which they live in.
Living in the Eugene district, local neighborhood folks voice their concerns in regards to the biggest issues within their surrounding community, as they are constantly faced with a lack of general resources for the public, poor funding, disputes with taxing and even the inability to vote.
28-year-old River Road native, Banner Witt, works at the local Joann Fabric’s, where she has operated as a manger for the past five years. Witt vented on how too often individuals walk around desiring money, simply begging residents daily for support in regards to gas money, food, and various job opportunities. Witt has spent majority of her life in the Eugene district, and claims that people take advantage of situations within the community, asking for assistance when they do not help others in tern. “Their needs to be more help over in this area because the biggest help is over downtown where the missionaries are,” Witt says. At least the missionaries give individuals amble work and opportunities to get off their feet and survive. People come into her store and make themselves comfortable, sitting at their pattern tables, lounging around the store and still consistently asking for money. There is even a homeless man that sits at the corner of the shopping center everyday, pleading for help. It is evident that their needs to be more availability to this neighborhood for things for the public to do, and places for individuals to be comfortable at. This would help prevent people from being so reliable. “They need support but that is not our job,” Witt says. “I can barely support my own family, let alone another.”
Local fireman, Chris Anderson gave his perspective on the reoccurring issues within his district, speaking from his personal standpoint in reference to his daily job. Anderson explained how the fire district has been going through property annexation, occupying city taxes that are being taken away from these workers, as they are unable to fund the fire station with less income. With only three paid fireman on staff, the fire station needs 40 volunteers to upkeep their jobs while still being able to afford the place. A solution to these problems would be receiving and operating levy where they can increase taxes. As the tax base goes down, they are looking to have other means at what the city can do to help provide aid. Anderson continued to explain how the most common calls are almost completely medical, or deal with the elder community in regards to respiratory distress and helping individuals from collapsing.
Bob Hemble, works at the River Road Knechts Auto Parts, and has lived in this area for years. Besides the overflow of traffic, Hemble is furious with the fact that he is restricted from voting in the elections due to where he lives. “I live outside city limits, so I cannot vote for who is mayor,” Hemble says. Even though he is considered to be living in River Road, he is still not allowed to vote in the elections. Hemble’s neighbor is the city limit, which is what ultimately restricts his voting privileges. Hemble feel as though it would make sense to be unable to vote if he lived in the Santa Clara district, yet this is not the case. At this point, nobody has tried to protest these rights, nor change the boundaries but Hemble hopes for a change in the near future.
The overall reoccurring issues within the River Road district continues to go on, yet day by day civilians such as Witt, Anderson and Hemble do their best to make their community a better place to live in.