What’s the biggest problem in Whiteaker?

Homeless and transient population causing mixed feelings in the Whiteaker neighborhood.

This colorful and vibrant mosaic sculpture is located in front of Pizza Research Institute on 3rd and Blair. Photo by Mark McField

This colorful and vibrant mosaic sculpture is located in front of Pizza Research Institute on 3rd and Blair. Photo by Mark McField

By: Arturo “Tito” Onesto

EUGENE, Ore. – The breweries and restaurants are making Whiteaker a hotspot for residents and visitors alike. The growth of the neighborhood is a great thing but homelessness and the transient population is still a big issue in Whiteaker.

Resident of nine years Sherri Brown said, “I don’t see a whole lot of problems. The homeless people who hang out in the park right down the street mostly, it really gets over run in the summer,” then she added “there are a ton of police always driving through the streets, looking for something. I mean sometimes it’s an authentic case but sometimes it’s wasting tax payers dollars”. As far as the park goes Brown said, “it’s not as bad as it has been, finding used needles in the park” as she recalled a past incident, “one day someone crossed out the ‘c’ and the ‘t’ and called it Sober Park as a joke”.

When asked about the transient problem, Red Barn worker and a newly Whiteaker resident James Larkin said, “There are homelessness problems in a lot of places, the west coast, there are problems everywhere”. When asked about Whiteaker as a whole Larkin said, “I love it here. I came here twice and never wanted to leave. It’s corky”. Larkin had nothing but good things to say about Whiteaker, and could not name a single problem with the neighborhood he loves everything about it.

Springfield residents and long time Whiteaker visitors Randy and Robin Brewer didn’t see the homeless and transient population in Whiteaker. Robin said, “it’s a matter of perspective. We see homeless people everywhere, even in our neighborhood that is a middle class community, it’s just everywhere”, then she added, “maybe why there are more homeless people that hang out here because the people in Whiteaker are accepting”. As far as their favorite part of the neighborhood was Robin said, “Sam Bonds, the breweries, the artistic community, it’s just a magical place”.

Residents, visitor, and workers of the Whiteaker neighborhood have different views on the homeless and transient problem. Residents see it as a nuisance and visitors and workers feel like its not a problem, specific to Whiteaker but it’s a problem everywhere.

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