-By Derek Brown-
Freedom of expression is alive and thriving in Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood. From political posters to public art displays , the oldest and most historic neighborhood in Eugene announces itself louder than any other place in the city.
Established in 1890, when Oregon’s first governor, John Whiteaker, purchased the ten block area, the community has grown to become a vibrant illustration of Eugene’s creative culture.
During a stroll through its streets, one will encounter an array of murals and community art. Outside the acclaimed establishment, Sam Bonds Garage, lays the remains of a rusted automobile from the days of the Model T reign. A couple steps further, two faces have been carved into a dead tree trunk. These two artistic displays illustrate the convictions of the Whiteaker neighborhood: an emphasis on historic preservation while also salvaging the seemingly worthless as valuable sources of expression.
This demonstrative quality isn’t limited to the public property of the neighborhood. Private residences have joined along, often having elaborate color combinations and unique front yard decorations. It can be assumed that this coordinated effort to stand apart from ordinary neighborhoods has helped contribute to a close-nit community feel that many communities strive to achieve. In other words, instead of book clubs and cookie exchanges, the Whiteaker stresses communal acceptance of eccentric expression to tie the community together.