by Sarina Albeck
Nowadays Eugene Downtown is a flourishing, busy place. This has not always been the case. The neighborhood has transformed a lot in its advantage. “Downtown Eugene is traditionally a dead space. I’m happy that there are hipper new businesses coming in—businesses that attract hip people”, says Mark Sheppard, barkeeper of one of the many bars in Downtown.
The place where he works is a good example for the ongoing transformation of this neighborhood. The Barn Light is a cozy mixture of a coffee shop and bar that has opened only a few weeks ago, but already attracts a lot of young people, just like The Bijou Art Cinema and Vodoo Doughnut, as he says. Nevertheless, he thinks that the Downtown businesses still “need more vibrancy”.
The Public Library is a place often mentioned by the people who are on their way in Downtown. Barbara Smith likes living in downtown because “it’s close to the library” and Dana Miller even comes to this neighborhood only for the library.
However, inhabitants and passersby mention several things that still need to be improved in Downtown Eugene:
Barbara Smith hopes that someday there will be found a way to help the many homeless people, that are characteristic for this neighborhood. “It’s just a shame. I feel really bad for them”, she says.
The library and the bus system are the Brownie points of this area for Jeremy Cook, who films a movie about animal rights. However, there is one drawback for him in Eugene Downtown: “One-way streets, it gets people confused. I don’t know how many accidents happen, but I’m sure there are a lot”.