What's the deal with Eugene/Springfield? (Portland, Ashland: ski resorts, rent, crimes)
Eugene areaEugene - Springfield metro area
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I'm also doing research on moving to Eugene in 2010, and I have to say, I was super excited when I first began, but after reading all of these posts about the horrible crime and useless government, I can't see how I'm any worse off staying in Houston. I can't stand Texas and we really don't fit in here (Austin is wonderful, though), and while I don't care much for enforcers of any sort, at least I know the cops will respond here in a rather timely manner if something untoward happens. I am totally familiar with "Drag Rats" and homeless youth in a downtown area, Austin has tons of them, but they don't do much harm and tend to form their own families and stick together. They generally live close to the University, but I have never heard of any trouble with them either except that they are constantly asking for change.
Are things at least improving in Eugene? Is there no way to oust the lackluster mayor and get a better one, or are the people of Eugene too laid back or too busy with activism in some other area that they can't be bothered? Is it likely the real estate market will be somewhat back to normal again by 2010? We actually would prefer to live somewhere on the outskirts, maybe just purchase land and build a small house, and not in Eugene proper, but I have a feeling we'll be spending a great deal of time in your beautiful city anyway and all this bad news is making me think to look elsewhere.
I was also wondering if there was any way to find out more about Eugene's different neighborhoods? Here in Houston they are so large sometimes that they might have their own websites for the community, but I doubt that's the case there. I have heard people mention that West Eug. and downtown are areas to stay away from, and that south and north of downtown are generally pretty safe, but we aren't looking for a traditional suburban neighborhood, don't have children to think of, and don't have a heck of a lot of money, either. Is there a (relatively) safe AND affordable neighborhood in Eugene? I have heard that the Whiteaker community tends to be more "hippie", but it is also close to Skinner Butte Park, which I have heard from these forums is a scary place.
Kitty (our Mayor lady) is trying so hard. You know, you can email her directly and she is good about replying back as long as you keep things respectful. She's doing her best. I think she learned a lot of hard lessons this past year. She seemed to totally lose touch there for awhile, I think the hype surrounding the Olympic track trials and the chaos surrounding elections spun her in circles and perhaps not so great directions... but she's on a better path now it seems.
I'm from Texas. And while there are some big differences between Texas and Oregon, Eugene reminds me of Austin 20 years ago - when Austin was still cool. The only thing Eugene is missing is SXSW ... but Portland is a short drive north... if you're into music at all, you might want to consider Portland over Eugene, or plan to drive up there frequently. Eugene has some good shows and things that come through, and a few decent local bands... but just not a lot of it, and personally I feel like it's a bit hidden. Unless you know where to look or who to talk to, you'll miss it.
People here seem to immediately go on defensive when anything "police" related is mentioned. In Texas, I always had the feeling that most people respected the police, and I did feel that I could call anytime and receive help from them. Out here, not so much. I don't feel that as much. Even when we lived up in the Seattle area I felt the same thing... the police gave us attitude, and the public seemed to snub them. I don't know why it feels this way out here, it just does. It's unsettling. People out here are more self-reliant and enjoy their liberties... I think they see the police as people who stick their nose in other people's business, or a threat somehow to a person living their life the way they see fit. I dunno... it is something to consider. We feel totally safe here, but at the same time, we know that we will need to rely on ourselves should anything happen and not depend on outside sources for help. It would be nice if we call them and they actually come and are helpful, but we're learning not to rely on it, and to plan accordingly.
I can't stand Houston. I'm sorry. I'm from Dallas, and couldn't stand Dallas, either, but I really can't stand Houston. I don't miss Texas at all, but sometimes I miss watching the storms come in. Texas rain really kicks your butt. It rains here, but it's more a mist. I can't remember the last time I saw a storm front coming in, or some fantastic lightning shows.
Skinner's Butte is not scary. I wouldn't go there at night, but during the day it's fine. There are some trails and you'll see parents with their kids, or ladies running around and doing exercises. We do see homeless people or wayward youth mucking around... but they are harmless. White Rock Lake in Dallas is far more creepy. By far, Spencer's Butte is everyone's favorite local butte. Mt. Pisgah is also a local favorite place to be.
The Whitacer Neighborhood is more than just "hippie", it's eclectic. It's attracting some local trendy businesses recently... clothing shops, chocolate shop, bakery, a winery. It's a really bizarre neighborhood.... funky. A bit like Austin in the old days. We like it, and have looked at homes in that area recently. The parks there are great, it's right on the river path bike trail, there's a community garden, it's close to fun shops and downtown, it's easy to get on the highway from there, there are lots of fun old houses with soul and charm that look as if they just need a bit of love and paint... there's a really nice hostel there, and gardens... It's a very affordable neighborhood, too... I think because of it's bad reputation that it is trying so hard to overcome. The only thing keeping us from buying there are the schools. We prefer the schools our kids are currently in, or the ones which feed into South Eugene High School. You can read more about Eugene's neighborhoods by following links on the City of Eugene's websites.
Thanks so much for your great response, haggardhouseelf. Truly, anywhere in Eugene is probably oodles safer than anywhere in Houston. We're in the Greenspoint (aka Gunspoint) area of Houston and regularly hear sirens and gunshots. Last week a bus driver on her morning route (with kids inside) discovered a beheaded body not more than two blocks from my house! My fiance definitely plans to get his concealed handgun license there.
About the pumping your own gas... do the stations stay open all night like they do here? Is there ever a time when you can be caught stranded? I imagine that's probably a nice little perk when it's frosty outside, but I think it would annoy me after a while and the reasons given don't make sense given the millions of self-serve fill-ups that occur all across the country every day.
There are problem people in every city. Frankly I think the crime rate in Eugene is lower than most cities of its size. Regarding the comment by the poster who thought that the police should take finger prints when goods were stolen... few departments in any city have the resources to do that, and process the results, when the theft is of modest value.
Any community with a large population of young people who have cash to spend is a target for drug retailers... it is a problem around the U of WA too. It wasn't like that when I was a student, but then I am fast approaching my 70th birthday.
Eugene is politically liberal, no doubt about it. Oregon is not Utah. Folks are tolerant as long as others do not impose their beliefs or present a danger.
You know I get really sick of hearing how bad Springfield and Eugene is. I have lived hear most of my life. Is the crime is worse here. Well no more than anywhere else. Although I am not found of Eugene. OUR TOWN Springfield has great people. We try to help each other. Neighborhoods come together in support mental and finacial when theres a tragidy. And watch out for each other. I am seeing that allready with our economy. They don't play that I am not going to get involved attitude. Which I have found just about everywhere else. But the main thing I love about this town is that: We have 7 lakes , 2 snow ski areas within 2 hrs the 3rd or 4th largest ski area less than three hours away. The beautiful Oregon Coast is 2 hours away. 100's of miles of bike paths. Including the Costal Scenic Bike Path. And 1000 and 1000's of acres of Wilderness area. 2 major rivers the Willamette and the McKenzie that run right thru town. Awesome fishing and river boating. I have been in or over 41 states in my life. AND NOTHING, NOTHING COMES CLOSE TO THE BEAUTY WE HAVE HERE.
So the next time you want to talk something or someone down. Look outside or in the mirrior.
If I have to be stuck somewhere. I can't don't know of, or can't think of any place I would rather be.
At least there is alot to do very, very close to home.
Have a Good day Jeff
For readers not familiar with the area (and perhaps shocked by the plethora of negative posts here), as a general rule, any Eugene living experience is strongly effected by:
a. the area of town in which you live and
b. the type of people you surround yourself with.
With that in mind, go ahead and reread the previous posts and categorize them in just that way. You'll likely see a very clear pattern...Then you can decide which category you fit into, and viola! You will know how much you will enjoy living in Eugene (or not).
I don't see how anyone can live on minimum wage, regardless of where it is they live. I've always felt minimum wage was more for high school and college age workers.
I think it's really sad when adults - especially those who choose to add children to their list of responsibilities - are still earning minimum wage. What happened to those people? How can they possibly survive? Or do they just assume that welfare will be there to help them out? It must be so hard, living like that. Maybe it's due to addictions, or mental problems, I dunno. Maybe they just didn't get a very good education? Depression? There are so many people just squeaking by, and they could be doing so much better.
Cost of living is high on the West Coast. CA, OR, and WA... I'm from TX and it really took us awhile to get used to the difference. We've lived in all three western states and in our experience the Redmond, WA/Bellevue area was the worst. California was bad, too... but Oregon - out of the three - has been the most tolerable. Oregon has also, in our opinion, been the most beautiful and livable place. We absolutely love it here. I don't see how anybody could afford to live here on $8.40 an hour, though. To those thinking of relocating to Oregon: Don't expect to move here and earn only the minimum wage and live well. That would be very foolish.
Kitty (our Mayor lady) is trying so hard.
People here seem to immediately go on defensive when anything "police" related is mentioned. In Texas, I always had the feeling that most people respected the police, and I did feel that I could call anytime and receive help from them. Out here, not so much. I don't feel that as much. Even when we lived up in the Seattle area I felt the same thing... the police gave us attitude, and the public seemed to snub them. I don't know why it feels this way out here, it just does. It's unsettling. People out here are more self-reliant and enjoy their liberties... I think they see the police as people who stick their nose in other people's business, or a threat somehow to a person living their life the way they see fit. I dunno... it is something to consider.
I don't think it's a coincidence that you also saw a strong distrust of police in Seattle- after all, Eugene and Seattle both share a history of having a strong anarchist element. I don't know if you were here when Reclaim the Streets happened, or with the tree sits and riots in Eugene the late '90s and the Battle of Seattle, but I think a lot of the distrust towards police, and the police's distrust of citizens, stems from that. I remember one Halloween in the late '90s when I wasn't allowed t go Trick-Or-Treating for fear of rioting. They've really died down in recent years- I think since 9/11- but a lot of the bad feeling still exists on both sides.
I, a native of California's Santa Barbara, have just visited eugene.
The people I've met here have been mostly friendly, and I witnessed a lot of emotive beauty in this city which I don't see very often in CA. Less of a drive to be rich and more of a drive to have a beautiful life. I suppose that is what fog, rain, and cold can help a person realize.
So the average person, I'll say, is more worldly and understanding of an individual.
However, about the crime thing, I've gotta say..
It was in central downtown, near the bars, and I was 150 feet from a police officer's vehicle for 20 minutes, 90 degrees from the front of the car. It was 12:00 and the officer and his partner were in the car for almost the entirety of the time. There was a clear line of site to my vehicle the whole time. I had a headlamp on, focused on the doorhandle and lock area, and was crouched in front of my car, wearing a hooded black sweatshirt, picking the lock the whole time.
The officer didn't approach.
I drove away.
In my city, I would have had an officer approach me in no time and ask what I was doing.
Is there something special about this police force?
....hmm the starbucks guy says they're spread pretty thin.
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