The People and Whiteaker: A Match Made in Love

by Silas Valentino

Photo Courtesy of Silas Valentino

The Whitaker Neighborhood on a Saturday night is filled with residents and Eugenites alike enjoying the area’s sweet offerings.

The Whit is home to one of Eugene’s most prized communities and it releases an impenetrable tractor beam that draws-in both socialites and residents.  “It embodies Eugene’s culture more than any other neighborhood I’ve been in,” said resident Valarie Cooley, “It’s funky.”

The three locations that attract are Whiteaker’s Sam Bond’s Garage, Papa’s Soul Food and The Tiny Tavern. The three spots are separated by a Y-intersection, causing neighbors and visitors alike to bounce in and out across the street like a Froggy Competition down the way at Blairally Vintage Arcade. “Some of my friends used to live here,” said Rick Harder, “We used to go to the Tiny Tavern after softball games.” Whiteaker binds together people from all different cultures and life and in return, the people of Whit come together to create a picture-esque community worthy of a Norman Rockwell painting. “Like the first day we moved in, for example, all the neighbors around us said ‘hey’ and we’ve never experienced that in any other neighborhood that we’ve lived in,” said Cooley. She’s not alone, resident Chris Hoke recognized the benevolent vibe too, “I love it, they are cool people here. The kind of people who say hello to ya when you’re walking down the street, it’s a very friendly neighborhood.”

“One thing that I think is a huge problem is we were walking down by the railroad tracks and the place is covered with human waste,” said Cooley. “I guess the homeless population use it as their toilette.” Whiteaker has an arms wide open stance and there are times when the neighborhood is embraced with trouble and hoodlums. “Sometimes there are fights in the streets,” said Harder. “But only once in a while.”

The Whiteaker neighborhood is only a ten block sprawl but within the grid lies a district filled with people who love their home.

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