The Gateway neighborhood was not always the gigantic entity it is today. In the city of Springfield, Oregon’s nearly 130 years of existence, the most popular spot in the Gateway area — the mall — has only been around for 18% of that period of time, and many of the other popular locations showed up after the mall was built.
Because a large chunk of the neighborhood is so young, there has been a good deal of trial and error with the construction of new businesses, houses, roads, etc., and people who work and visit the area have plenty of thoughts about the neighborhood.
Nikki Henderson works at Pacific Home Health and Hospice in the Gateway marketplace, located on the northern side of Gateway. She lives in Coos Bay, Ore., which is over 100 miles away from Springfield, so she does not spend much time in Gateway when she’s not at work.
Henderson does like certain aspects of the marketplace, though.
“It’s clean, easily accessible,” she said, noting how centrally located the her business is.
Carolyn Stahly — the CEO of the Register-Guard Federal Credit Union, also in the marketplace — has worked in the Gateway neighborhood for over 30 years (ten at the Credit Union). Unlike Henderson, who has only worked in the area for a few years, Stahly remembers the days when Gateway had a very small amount of businesses.
The area has really transformed in Stahly’s career and she enjoys many of these new places.
“There’s a variety of different stores, merchants, and services,” Stahly said. “It’s easy to get to, easy to leave, easy to run errands, food, shopping, all of those things are really nice.”
Workers aren’t the only ones who like Gateway. Brooke Adkins, who visits the Gateway Mall at least once every week, loves to shop at the various stores in the neighborhood’s largest attraction.
“I like that it’s cheaper than Valley River!” Adkins said, referring to the Valley River Center mall in Eugene, Ore.
Adkins didn’t have anything negative to stay about the neighborhood, but Henderson and Stahly didn’t shy away from criticisms.
“There are a lot of homeless people behind the [Pacific Home Health] building,” Henderson said, wishing this weren’t the case.
Henderson added, “Traffic could slow down.”
Stahly also mentioned the traffic. While she generally finds it easy to get in and out of the marketplace, certain times of day can be tough for drivers, especially around 4-6 p.m.
She went on to say, “At the holiday time, forget about going anywhere, for lunch or anything. It’s impossible to get in and out in less than an hour, even to the mall area.”
Stahly fears the traffic will become even worse, with two currently vacant buildings next to the mall soon to be replaced by new businesses.
The Credit Union’s CEO hopes that with the arrival of these businesses, the City of Springfield will reconfigure the roads so that traffic doesn’t turn into “a nightmare.”