By: Emilie Osterkamp
As I weaved in and out of the streets of Eugene’s Jefferson Westside neighborhood, I found familiarity accompanied by a bit of surprise. All but one of the streets that form the perimeter of the neighborhood are heavily commuted and for many serve as the “gateway” to their Eugene destination. To the everyday commuter Chambers, 18th, 13th, 7th and Willamette are generic streets. To an extent that may be true, however the community that is embedded within these streets has a great deal of character and charisma.
Residents briskly walked their dogs in the frost bitten air down the narrow streets decorated by colorful houses. Even braver souls saw it fit to sit outside a local market to enjoy their morning warmth in a mug accompanied by the paper. Walkers paused at Monroe Park, located in the silent inner streets, to greet their neighbors and catch a breathe of fresh air.
On the busy outskirts of the neighborhood, parking lots were yet to be filled. The Events Center tucked in between 13th and the Amazon Creek awaited it’s next event as the Lane County Historical Museum awaited visitors. Next door, the Faith Center showed a hint of life with a semi-filled parking lot of early rising devote Christians, while the Dutch Brothers on Chambers flourished.
With a touch of commercialism, but a great deal of community continuity, the Jefferson Westside neighborhood is filled with gems of all sorts.