Observing North Eugene: Emerald Park

It’s 3:36 on a cold, sunny Wednesday in October. The wind blows between the towering douglas-firs. An after school group occupies the playground, and a few feet away an elderly couple sits on a park bench discussing the previous nights third-party presidential debate; it’s a normal day at Emerald Park in North Eugene.

About 15 children are playing on the play structure. The boys play tag while the girls pretend that the top of the slide is their private castle tower. They try and keep the boys from using the slide resulting in their teacher reprimanding them.

One boy tries to jump off the of the structure and ends up with bark dust logged in his knees. He cries and walks it off while the teachers assistant explains him the law of gravity.

“Yeah that’s what happens Kale,” She said. “When you jump off tall things you hit the ground much harder, don’t do that Okay?”

He agrees after finishing his fit of sobs. He enters back into the playground hoopla two seconds later.

Across the park two joggers run on the dirt paths that encircle the park. They talk while keeping a brisk pace. They finish their second lap and head down the street back towards River road.

Back at the playground the after school group’s recess time is culminating. The two women rally their flock and head them back into the River Road Community Center adjacent to the park. Only a 4 young girls remain.

Two are obviously sisters, dressed in all pink with the same blonde hair and pale skin. They swing in unison for a while, but the bigger of the two quickly picks up speed and height. Their mother comes over to help the young one go higher.

About 100 yards away is a small skatepark consisting of a small half-bowl and two short flat-bars. Only one guy rolls through the concrete obstacle course. He easily kickflips the hump in the middle of the park and tail stalls the lip of the opposite wall.

He makes it look so easy…

Next to the skatepark are two beach volleyball pits. Someone has written “FUCK” ten feet wide by ten feet long in the sand. Someone should erase that, there are kids around.

At the picnic tables the elderly couple finishes their conversation.

“I just don’t think Jill Stein or any of those other candidates would ever win enough votes,” the man said. “They have good ideas especially on drone wars, but there are too many people who vote for Obama just because they don’t want Romney to win.”

They leave and are instantly replaced by a group of teenagers, four boys and two girls. One of the boys starts to smoke a cigarette, another pulls out a pipe. He doesn’t realize the trees don’t provide as much privacy as they think.

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