In between the bustling college town of Eugene and the sprawling mill town of Springfield lays a land not many people give very much consideration. Glenwood is an unincorporated town that is a neighborhood of Springfield, however there are some areas that are annexed to Eugene. It is known as a place with many second hand shops, car lots, trailer parks, the dump, Roaring Rapids Pizza, and Dari Mart. It’s described by outsiders as “sketchy” or “seedy” and one would not want to wander around Glenwood alone at night.
Dee has been manager of Action Surplus, an army surplus store in the heart of Glenwood, for the last 20 years. She lives in Eugene but drives into Glenwood every day to run her shop. She describes Glenwood as an industrial area with a lot of transients. She says “it’s kind of like a little forgotten area” and that most of the people who live there are retired and reside in one of the numerous trailer parks. Dee talks about how dangerous the area was in the past with so many transients by the river and panhandling at the intersection of Franklin Boulevard and Old Franklin Boulevard. The Springfield police have recently cracked down on camping and panhandling and it’s cut down on the number of transients in the area. She now feels safe to travel down to the river on hot days and enjoy the sunshine.
Currently, the City of Springfield is working on a 20 year urban renewal plan to “improve” the area of Glenwood. Dee explains that this would include wiping out all of the housing and businesses and installing a big park along the river. The City has promised that 10% of the population would be able to remain living in Glenwood, however, Dee explains with concern, the other 90% and all of the employees of the area would be displaced. In theory the plan sounds like it would create a beautiful space, but in reality it sounds like it would inflict a lot of suffering on community members. This plan deserves a little more looking into by this reporter to get more information. Many residents have lived in the area for many years which seems to show that it is more than just “seedy” or “sketch.” There is a hidden gem somewhere in Glenwood that makes it a place to stay. That gem has yet to be found by this reporter but the hope is to locate it by the end of this term.