By: Caitlin Taylor
Springfield, Ore.— Traffic streams through the intersections of the Gateway neighborhood in Springfield. Pulling into the Gateway Marketplace on the edge of the area, the word “unfinished” comes to mind. There are a fair number of businesses and also a fair number of empty spaces with “For Lease” signs haphazardly hanging in the windows.
The Gateway neighborhood spans to includes many businesses both locally and commercially owned. While some new businesses open for the first time, others are shutting their doors for good. This constant change leaves the employees of the Gateway businesses commuting from Eugene for work without spending copious amounts of off time hanging around the neighborhood.
Matthew La Shay works at FedEx Office in the Marketplace and commutes to work from Eugene but doesn’t spend time outside of his job in the Springfield area.
“I like that (Gateway) has all the businesses but I usually head back to Eugene to hang out,” he said, adding that Hop Valley Brewery is one of the only places in the area that he enjoys visiting.
When it comes to problem areas, the lack of businesses in the area doesn’t top the list.
“The traffic flow around here needs some work. The (main) intersection sucks. It’s the slowest thing I’ve ever had to deal with,” said Alissa Gerber a Quiznos employee. La Shay shared the sentiment, saying, “Anything in the mall area, with just the one strip, get’s pretty backed up. Ridiculously so”.
The mall they are referring to is the Gateway Mall, one of the busiest locations in the area.
Annah Elliot, an employee at the Hilton Garden Inn, notes, “The mall definitely needs some revamping”. Like so much of the rest of the neighborhood, the mall is nearly deserted. While the Cinemark 17 movie theater, Target and Cabela’s are the most obvious sources of popularity, there are stretches of the mall with no businesses open and no sign of new businesses on the way.
Businesses and traffic top the complaints list for some the variety of food available irks others.
“There’s a lot of steak houses. I’m not a steak eater so I wish there was more variety,” Elliott said.
The area has the potential for new businesses to come but in the meantime the local employees would rather spend their time elsewhere when it comes to time off.