By Gina Ginsberg
The Whiteaker may possibly be a friendlier than the Friendly neighborhood. Located in one of the prime cross sections of Eugene, it is a popular place for daytime shoppers and café goers and is also a place with incredible nightlife with more breweries to be added soon. The main drag has music, bars, and eateries to choose from that people from all walks of life come to enjoy.
Residents and Whiteaker enthusiasts alike had a lot to say about this lively area, but they all agree that it feels welcoming. “It’s got a really strong sense of neighborliness,” said resident Valerie Cooley. Another resident, Chris Hoke agrees, and appreciates the kindness in the neighborhood. “I love it, they are cool people here. The kind of people who will say hello to ya when you’re walking down the street, it’s a very friendly neighborhood,” said Hoke. Hoke also said that he feels a sense of acceptance in the Whiteaker of all sorts of folks. “Jews, Catholics, Presbyterians, they’re all here,” said Hoke.
In a community that is accepting to all, there is also some rowdiness. “Sometimes there are fights out in the streets, but only once in awhile,” said long time Eugene resident Rick Harder said he has been coming to the Whiteaker for years, he said the neighborhood could use some more lighting in the streets. He was waiting for a table at Izakaya Meiji with his wife that he met at The University of Oregon. “We used to go the The Tiny Tavern after softball games. It was so clean you could eat off the floor,” said Harder. He and his wife agreed that today The Tiny tavern is “a real dive.”
The open-mindedness also attracts a homeless population in Whiteaker, and the railroad tracks have a lot of foot traffic. “The place is covered with human waste. I guess the homeless population all sort of use it as their toilet, that was really shocking to me,” said Cooley. She hopes that Porta Potties will be added to the area.
Fortunately, with a sense of community as strong as The Whiteaker, there is a push to keep the neighborhood clean. Andrew Lathorp, who works at Sam Bond’s Garage said “I’ve never lived in or been in a neighborhood that comes together for more things and is more active. They have an annual clean up where people get together and walk around and clean up trash.”
The Whiteaker has been a community with activists for a long time, and whenever problems arises, it seems there will always be people who love it enough to find some sort of solution.