Homelessness Takes Center Stage for Some Whiteaker Residents

Many homeless people in the Eugene area find residence in the Whiteaker neighborhood.

By Matt Scotton

whiteaker

A local Whiteaker restaurant. Photo: Matt Scotton

EUGENE, Ore. — The Whiteaker neighborhood is full of art, food and breweries. However many residents of the Whiteaker neighborhood also feel that homelessness is becoming a bigger issue.

“I don’t see a whole lot of problem,” Whiteaker resident Sherri Brown said. “The homeless people who hang out in the park right down the street mostly. It really gets over run in the summer.” Brown also lives next to Scobert Park. The are a lot of transients that take refuge in the park; often times they are intoxicated as well. Once someone got rid of two of the letters on the park sign so that it would spell out “Sober Park” instead.

However not everyone agrees with Brown. James Larkins moved up from Humboldt, Calif. into the Whiteaker neighborhood two years ago and thinks that homelessness may not be a problem that is confined to just the neighborhood. “There are homelessness problems in a lot of places,” said Larkins. “The west coast, there are problems everywhere.” Larkins loves the Whiteaker neighborhood because it is so friendly.

Randy and Robin Brewer live in Springfield, but they have been going to the Whiteaker neighborhood for years.”It’s a matter of perspective. We see homeless people everywhere,” Robin said. “Even in our neighborhood that is a middle class community, it’s just everywhere” Robin thinks that there may be a simple explanation as to why many transients choose to live in the Whiteaker neighborhood as opposed to others. She said that “there are more homeless people that hang out here because the people in Whiteaker are accepting.”

While the Brewers do not live in the Whiteaker neighborhood, they have been going there for 26 years and they have seen a lot of changes throughout the neighborhood. When they first started going to there, Tiny Tavern was basically the only place there, but as population increased more businesses started to pop up. Sam Bonds was the first of the new businesses.

“More people have come here because more people are moving to Eugene. More students, families of students come to visit and need something to do,” Brown said. Over the years the Whiteaker neighborhood has continued to change for the better. Brown said that there use to be a lot of needles that people could find in the park, but that is not happening as much any more.

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