By Matt Scotton
EUGENE, Ore. — Take a walk through the Whiteaker neighborhood and one thing becomes apparent, art reigns supreme. The residents of Whiteaker believe that there is truly no other neighborhood like it.
Stroll past Red Barn Natural Grocery and the sound of a cello begins to emerge. You begin to realize that it is not a recording, but there is no one around. Almost hidden in shadow of the tree, a cellist performs for anyone who is willing to listen; or maybe simply for himself. “It is saturated with arts,” Whiteaker resident Olive DelSoul said. “Every single person is representing the arts in some way.”
People who live in the Whiteaker say that there are certain things that you get living there that are lacking throughout other areas of Eugene.”Whiteaker is a one of a kind place and it is growing every day.” said Papa Soul Food manager Joshua Hosaka. Other people share Hosaka’s opinion. “The roots of a rebellion are here in Whiteaker,” DelSoul said. “This is a neighborhood with identity. Where else is Eugene has this?”
Two Whiteaker residents, Reilly and Melissa Ferrell, compared living there to living in a place like Chase Village (Reilly Ferrell use to live there). He said that people live so close in a place like that, but no one knows the people who live right next door. In Whiteaker, “neighbors actually talk to each other.”
However, while the residents love the neighborhood, there are still things that they would like to see changed. People in the neighborhood voted to allow camping out of one’s van. The Ferrells say that often times vans line the street by their house. “On one hand I don’t want to enable these people to stay here for months on end,” Reilly Ferrell said. “But on the other hand it’s cool that people actually do support those people who need somewhere to camp and stay.”
The Ferrells went on to say that one big problem that they have with some of the campers that they have found drug paraphernalia. “We have found needles in our backyard,” Reilly Ferrell said. “It’s fine that people are staying in our area but when you find used needles in your own backyard, you see the downside of allowing people to camp.”