Neighborhood Issue Story

Ground water was slowly seeping in from somewhere beneath the cement floor.  What was supposed to be the basement’s drain began to act more like a leaky faucet. The dark water kept rising; the smell of mildew tainted the air.  Surely, this basement was not in proper condition for a resident to call this home.  In fact, two roommates have each paid $500 dollars per month to live in this below-ground floor of their Eugene home.

For students living in the south university neighborhood, this story is a familiar one.  Landlords in Eugene are beginning to gain a reputation for mistreating student tenants and ignoring common renters’ rights that are protected under Oregon law and the Eugene Rental Housing Code.

Shelby Goldstein, a 20-year-old junior at the University of Oregon, spent the entirety of last year living in a makeshift bedroom down in that porous basement.  She and her three roommates tried desperately to have their houses’ problems addressed by the renting company that owned the house, as well as by their landlady. “I couldn’t believe how unprofessionally the company was run,” Goldstein said. “Our landlady was horrible at communicating and it took her an unbelievably long time to accomplish anything that was needed”

Among these problems that were long, or permanently, neglected: groundwater in the basement bedroom area, dangerous amounts of black mold growing on the bathroom walls, a non-functioning refrigerator and other faulty appliances, and the worst outdoor rat infestation that a local exterminator had ever seen.  The renting company then forced each resident of the duplex to pay $500 for an exterminator.

Gabby Anthony, a 21-year-old senior at the University of Oregon, and her three roommates moved into Goldstein’s house after she had moved out.  Anthony is an experienced renter, having lived in several different places during her four-year residency in Eugene. “Living within the Capri Apartments,” Gabby said when asked about if she had ever had a poor experience with near-campus housing. “The management was not well organized and I had many maintenance issues that took them weeks on end to fix, if they even fixed them at all.”

Anthony’s experience in the house, in stark contrast to Goldstein’s, was generally positive. “This is the first year that I have worked with a private landlord, and I highly prefer it to dealing with property management companies,” said Anthony. Although the house was sold from a company to a private landlord, problems still persist. A broken window remains patched by cardboard rather than being replaced, months after it was accidentally broken.

Anthony said to students looking to rent in the neighborhood, “they should be aware of who they are legally getting involved with and to make sure to read the fine print when committing to a lease agreement.” 

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4 Responses to Neighborhood Issue Story

  1. mdoughe3 says:

    I really liked your description at the beginning and the multiple references. Maybe give an example of a “good” landlord and what constitutes one.

  2. bethmaiman says:

    I thought your lead was really good and is a great way to grab the readers attention. I like how you presented a new article in a more feature like way. I thought if you could add a different source other than a student that would make the story even stronger. Overall, there is a great tone to your story and it is well-writen.

  3. tomkomarissa says:

    I really enjoyed reading your story because it caught my attention, and kept it the whole way through. I really liked your description at the beginning, and I like that you included both sides of the renting experience for students in Eugene. The only place I kind of stumbled was when you put a long attribution in the middle of your quote by Gabby.

  4. jhaworth19 says:

    The first part of my comment is going to be similar, but still just as true. Your lead was one of the only ones that caught me and your pacing was just right to easily keep my attention through the entire article and I enjoyed reading it the most out of the articles I read. The beginning sets a scene for an issue that is very important to a lot of people in the University area. I think that some of the quotes are a bit superficial, but I know from having the same experience that it’s difficult to get a good, full quote. Let the person speak for themselves if possible. The quote with Gabby is a little clunky and could be paraphrased at the beginning. Also use her last name within the story. I like how you make sure that the problem is still an issue at the end of the article and the quote offers some advice to readers. I also like the part about Oregon law and if you had more space and time it would be great to make that more in depth and give specific examples (which in this case are the personal stories and I think you could have connected it back to that a little more strongly) because that is major.

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