What they are Saying: Downtown Springfield

By Nick Schwarz

Springfield, Ore.- Lighting in the city comes up as one of the chief complaints for residents of the downtown area. Competing against Eugene, right across the highway, is tough for small time business owners.

Marian Austin, a chef at Mamma’s Kitchen in Downtown Springfield, discusses what she feels could be improved in the area.

“It’s dark down here…. It’s gloomy. We need light. Light brings out more positive energy,” she said.

She went on to say the city has rules against putting lit signs out on the street. Austin has to pay in order to keep her sign lit at night. “I guess it’s a city issue,” she said.

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Glenn Myers, owner of Trash and Treasure, shares a similar complaint. He names lighting as one of the main things that could be improved.

“It’s growing. Things are improving down here, for awhile there things were kind of scary,” Myers said. “We had the strip club and the bar, and lots of riff-raff- it’s getting cleaned up.”

It appears that Springfield is in the midst of transition. No longer are there as many neglected buildings and the art spread around the city adds a nice splash of color.

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Myers also commented on the diversity of businesses in the area. “There’s the art school, there’s the antique shops, there are a couple of nice restaurants.”

Downtown Springfield is not lacking in attractions however friendlier looking streets would be one step in the right direction towards bringing in more business.

Betty Gullickson, volunteer manager for the downtown area, felt that there have already been many positive changes.

“It’s been revitalized, it’s wonderful. And the neighbors, since we’ve came, are very generous  and very accepting,” Gullickson said. “(They) are so happy we’re here.”

Business owners seem optimistic concerning the recent evolution of the downtown area but there is still  more to be done. The variety of specialty shops  and attractions should be able to attract people from Eugene and Springfield. As long as owners continue to improve the look of the city the future will remain bright.

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