Downtown Eugene Residents Discuss Upcoming Elections
Community members in downtown Eugene weigh in on the upcoming election and their uncertainty about various pressing issues.
by Will Kanellos
As Election Day nears, residents of downtown Eugene have already began casting their ballots for the upcoming Nov. 6 election, yet many are still unsure about various issues. President Barack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney have finished the three debates and are on their final tour before one is sworn into office. In the most recent Gallup poll, Romney is up five points over Obama. During this final tour, both candidates will be pushing to sway undecided voters.
Oregon registered voters have already received their ballots due to Oregon’s mail-in only voting system. Many residents have already voted, but some downtown residents believe that candidates have not fully addressed numerous issues.
“I would say an issue they aren’t addressing enough is education and the sciences. Science within education,” said Jamie Goulding, a sales associate at Passionflower Design. Goulding has already voted and believes it is absolutely necessary, despite her uncertainty about how issues are being addressed.
Darrell Olson, owner of Poppi’s Hot Dogs agrees that the candidates have not thoroughly discussed the prominent issues of this election. “I don’t think any of them have been addressed to be honest. I think they are dancing circles around each other and telling you what they want to hear,” Olson said. Olson has also voted, but thinks that the existence of the Electoral College and large corporation’s influence in politics make his vote and the votes of other citizens unimportant.
“I don’t really care who we vote for, whether it’s Republicans, Democrats, or Independents or Pacific Greens, it’s about who’s willing to do what the big dogs say,” Olson said. “That’s the problem, we have huge corporations with billions of dollars putting money in the pockets of the politicians.”
American economic classes and issues surrounding them have been a focal point of this election and is a divisive issue for the candidates and citizens alike. A self-titled “two percenter”, Jim Wilson of Eugene believes that the country needs to change in order to grow. The problem is reaching a consensus.
“The most important issue is consensus. Unless they get it together nothing is going to happen. Unless both sides work together, you go down with the ship,” Wilson said. “It’s not that difficult to come out of this mess, you do X, Y, Z. It’s all common sense.”
At a local level, Wilson is doubtful about the future of downtown Eugene. “Everything went to Springfield, this is frozen… Who the hell is going to come downtown you have people scaring people,” Wilson said. The large homeless population in downtown is an issue that concerns many businesses in the downtown area. Eugene city council recently voted in favor of keeping the exclusion law, with hopes of improving the image of downtown.
“I think downtown has kind of been plummeting the last few years,” Goulding said, “you know if you could encourage the local economy a little bit.” Goulding hopes that the law will encourage more people to come to downtown to shop and support the local businesses located in the area.