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Old 08-02-2008, 09:47 PM
 
11 posts, read 109,199 times
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Hi there,
we are a family with school age kids seeking to move back to the Northwest. We left Portland when our kids were two and moved to a lovely midwestern town for 6 years, but miss our Northwest life a lot. At this stage of our life, Portland seems too big, so we've been on a quest to find the right town. We spent a weekend in Eugene over the summer and really liked it! It seemed to have everything on our "A" list - sweet, bikeable, safe enough for our kids to have some independence in their lives, good schools, surrounded by nature, community minded, hopefully we could get jobs (social work and teaching)...So, ever since we got home, I started obsessing about Eugene - reading every rating and statistic I could get my hands on (I don't think I would do this if I were near enough just to FEEL if it would be a good fit, but since I'm far away, it's the best I can do). Now I have fears (especially since our current home is on the top of every list), and I'm wanting perspective of those who know Eugene well...
1. On all the ratings, property crime looks very high and I'm wondering if that may have something to do with the proximity to Springfield, or if both towns have a lot of crime. What's Springfield like and how much do the two towns impact each other?
2. How about allergies and cancer rates, both of which are high?
3. Are there many people transplanting to Eugene, or does it seem like most people have lived there a long time and don't especially want/need new friends in their lives?
4. How would you describe the vibe / culture there? Someone who lived in Eugene and left because they didn't like it said that "everyone gets high on a daily basis and the city strives for mediocrity" She said Eugene is "anti-hip" (which is kind of what we're after in avoiding Portland, in hopes of raising down-to-earth kids) - I realize that these comments are from one vantage point, but I'd love to hear someone comment on them...
5. Do you love raising kids there? Given that we don't want to live in a ranch house (we've always lived in old houses and love them), what neighborhoods/schools might you favor that would have a great sense of down to earth community and park access? Can your kids trick-or-treat alone or go to the park alone there? Are there nice small neighborhood parks that attract a lot of families?

Thank you in advance for any perspective you might have. Eugene seemed like a great place and we're really hoping that it is the place we've been looking for!
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:03 AM
 
6,034 posts, read 13,148,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldylocks View Post
1. On all the ratings, property crime looks very high and I'm wondering if that may have something to do with the proximity to Springfield, or if both towns have a lot of crime. What's Springfield like and how much do the two towns impact each other?
Compare the statistics that you can find by searching around the City of Eugene website and the City of Springfield website.

For example, here are two links where you can find out some info about Springfield: http://www.ci.springfield.or.us/Poli...6%20Report.pdf or City of Springfield, Oregon 97477. Google city of Eugene and you can find info about Eugene as well.


Eugene and Springfield both (from what I have found, searching online) have about 1 officer patrolling for every 800 residents. The population of Springfield is 57,320'ish and the population of Eugene is 153,60'ish. Eugene has the University, but the city does not patrol (handle crime for) the University. Eugene, for 2006, posted 10,000 total crimes for the year of 2006. Springfield posted 8,307 total crimes for the same year. It does seem that, when you consider the different in population, Springfield does have higher crime. The stats can be misleading, though.


Crime in Eugene seems to happen mostly in certain areas - downtown, Whittaker, certain parts of River Road/Santa Clara, and West Eugene. Of course it can happen anywhere, but those areas seem to have the worst of it. Especially downtown at night. Lots of homeless, druggies, and teenage kids causing problems. There have been stories in the newspaper regarding it - and what to do about it - recently. The newspaper here is the Register Guard.



There are certainly areas in both Springfield and Eugene which are high-crime, but there are also areas in both places which are really lovely and safe family-oriented neighborhoods with great parks, good schools, and fun things to do. Don't let people scare you away from Springfield. Eugene people give it a really bad rap. The same way Pacific Northwest natives are always giving Californians a hard time.

I personally never liked Springfield until we discovered the Thurston area, and also the area around Island Park. Then I began to see it's charm. Springfield is not as pretty a town as Eugene can be, but Eugene has some not-so-charming areas as well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldylocks View Post
2. How about allergies and cancer rates, both of which are high?
Eugene is at the southern end of the Willamette Valley, and it surrounded on three sides by mountains and buttes. Air tends to get trapped here. North of Eugene, is the "grass seed capital of the world", and every summer some people are affected because of the grass. There is also a lot of fungus and mold here during the cooler months because of all the precipitation. If you are an allergy sufferer, those are definitely things you will want to consider.



I'm not sure about the high cancer rates. I heard something about a possible link to cancer and a creosote plant in West Eugene, but I've not followed that story for a year or so... I'm not sure what's going on with that anymore.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldylocks View Post
3. Are there many people transplanting to Eugene, or does it seem like most people have lived there a long time and don't especially want/need new friends in their lives?
Eugene is a college town, and it also seems to be a place where people like to retire. To me it feels that people come and go and come back to this place. It's one of those places that, once you have experienced, you know you'll be back again someday.

We moved here from out of state, and we're welcomed everywhere we go. Eugene is a very warm and friendly place, in our experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldylocks View Post
4. How would you describe the vibe / culture there? Someone who lived in Eugene and left because they didn't like it said that "everyone gets high on a daily basis and the city strives for mediocrity" She said Eugene is "anti-hip" (which is kind of what we're after in avoiding Portland, in hopes of raising down-to-earth kids) - I realize that these comments are from one vantage point, but I'd love to hear someone comment on them...
I live in Eugene and I have never done drugs or even gotten high. Hmmm. No - everyone is not on drugs in Eugene. That's crazy! Eugene, also, is a lot more "hip" than other places we've lived. Eugene is ahead of it's time, I feel, in many ways. We have some of the best tap water in the nation, some of the coolest bike trails I've ever seen anywhere, Faerieworlds and the Country Fair (which are experiences like you've never had anywhere else), BRING which is an amazing business and educational experience... we have wonderful schools for children and good universities, we have excellent food for all kinds of people, we have the Saturday Market and the Holiday Market which is so much fun! And, we have our own scale model solar system. Check out this link: http://www.efn.org/~jack_v/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldylocks View Post
5. Do you love raising kids there? Given that we don't want to live in a ranch house (we've always lived in old houses and love them), what neighborhoods/schools might you favor that would have a great sense of down to earth community and park access? Can your kids trick-or-treat alone or go to the park alone there? Are there nice small neighborhood parks that attract a lot of families?
Yes. We love having the privilege of raising our kids here. there are all kinds of housing options... talk to a Realtor and they can help you find something - house and neighborhood - that will fit your family. I would never let my kids trick or treat alone even in a nice neighborhood, so I don't let them go alone here. Actually, we usually go to something at a church or community center rather that go door to door.

A few of our favorite parks:
We like to go to this park in Springfield, and my kids love Splash! (http://www.willamalane.org/1_aqua/lpsc.htm - broken link)
Alton Baker Park - feed the ducks then walk the defazio bridge over the beautiful Willamette river to let the kids cool off in the EWEB fountain
Skinner's Butte Park (http://www.eugene-or.gov/portal/server.pt?space=CommunityPage&control=SetCommunity &CommunityID=675&PageID=1568 - broken link), which was featured in national news
Amazon pool and community center

I have to go watch a film with the hubby... otherwise I could go on forever about how much I love this town. Oh - and the library... I love Eugene's libraries... nice people there, too. And my kids love their schools... Oregon teacher's are well paid, compared to other western or PNW states anyway...
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Old 08-05-2008, 06:57 AM
 
11 posts, read 109,199 times
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Default thanks!

thank you so much for your time and perspective. sounds like it's a wonderful place on many levels, but like all places, there are things to consider. You mentioned teenage kids getting into trouble (of course that happens everywhere), but do you think it will be a good place to grow teens as well as little kids?
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Old 08-06-2008, 04:46 PM
 
6,034 posts, read 13,148,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldylocks View Post
thank you so much for your time and perspective. sounds like it's a wonderful place on many levels, but like all places, there are things to consider. You mentioned teenage kids getting into trouble (of course that happens everywhere), but do you think it will be a good place to grow teens as well as little kids?
I just reread my last post, and I wanted to apologize! Typos and mistakes oh my. It was late and hubby was rushing me. Anyway - I am glad you were able to get something out of it despite all my word usage and grammatical errors!

Around the downtown area, for whatever reason, there is a large group of... youth? Some call them homeless youth, some call them teenagers. I've personally never taken the time to get to know any of them so I do not know who they are or what their business is. Evidently they have been causing trouble at night in the downtown areas with local businesses. If you find the Register Guard newspaper online you might be able to find a story about it. There are lots of druggies and homeless people downtown as well, night or day. I have never had any trouble - we go to the downtown library often. But I'm from a large city where that is the norm. To me, Eugene's homeless/druggie/youth problem is minor, but to others they seem shocked. It's one of those things that seems to be a matter of perspective, depending on your own past experiences.

My oldest has just turned 13, so I am new to the mothering a teenager thing. But my feeling is that if you have established a good sense of right and wrong in your child, as well as good manners and how to behave respectfully towards others, your teen should be fine anywhere you live. Also, I feel like it's important to keep them busy during the teenage years. I feel like if they are busy with school (even summer classes), art classes, swim team, tennis club, or whatever else they enjoy doing, they will be spending most of their time doing productive things rather than getting involved with the "wrong crowd". Many teenage problems, it seems, stems basically from boredom. Younger kids are happy to play Lego's or color or entertain themselves at home for long stretches of time, but teenagers seem to get bored very easily. With our own son, we've found wearing him out with hiking, biking, and swimming has really made him very happy. At first he griped about being signed up for the camp he is in, but after the first week he thanked us for doing it. He's having a blast now, and has also shown interest in working for the camp as a Summer job through high school, as well as being a lifeguard year-round as well through high school and college.

Anyway... that was the long answer. The short answer really I think is - yes. I think Eugene would be a good place to raise a teenager as long as there's good parenting going on, and you seek out recreational things for your teenager to do to keep their bodies and minds busy when they are not in school. I would have loved to have been a kid, and teenager, here. There is so much to do and it's so easy to get around by bike. The schools are good - not the best in the country or anything like that... but the teachers here are wonderful. The farms around town offer lots of opportunities for volunteering and working - not to mention good, fresh, food. There is a big focus on the environment and the health of the planet for the future. This is a wonderful place to grow, no matter what age you are.

Last edited by haggardhouseelf; 08-06-2008 at 04:54 PM..
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Old 08-06-2008, 08:46 PM
 
11 posts, read 109,199 times
Reputation: 17
Default thanks AGAIN!

Thanks again for your words of wisdom. You are totally right about the parenting thing, analyzing a place with this intensity, from afar has caused me to focus on the details within my fears rather than on the big picture. Thanks for the reminder that kids bring their foundation with them wherever they go, in any situation or environment. If we teach them well, and give them lots of lovies, hopefully they'll make good choices.

I want to tell you that I have so appreciated the time and thought that you have put into responding to my questions. I was eating it all up and didn't even notice the grammer.

I'm going to start looking at the Eugene paper and see if I can continue to get a good feel for it. By the way, is it EUgene or euGENE?

Thanks a zillion!
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Old 08-07-2008, 02:24 AM
 
4 posts, read 20,116 times
Reputation: 12
Thumbs down unsafe

Eugene is the most crime ridden place I have ever lived and I have lived in Pittsburgh and Boston previously. Everyone I know here has had crappy things happen. My car has been broken into (window smashed to get in). Friend #1 has had the same car stolen 3 times in the last year, Friend #2 has his truck broken into on a regular basis (the first time they just broke the steering wheel $2000 worth of damage trying to steal it). Friend #3 on her first night after moving to eugene had her hotel room broken into and her laptop stolen. A couple I know woke up to a man standing at the foot of their bed and even more disturbing incident happend to another friends cat who came home and had clearly been raped. When she reported it to the police they said that they had been getting some frequent reports of the same happening to other residents pets. None of these people live in an area of Eugene that would be considered a bad area and a couple live in what is supposed to be a nice area in the south hills. I have considered quitting grad school and leaving this place but have come to far to quit now but I am looking forward to getting out the day after I graduate. If I had kids, I definitely would not feel safe letting them wander in the neighborhood on their own. Eugene's crime is bad and Springfield is worse. This place is crawling with meth addicts and homeless.

The culture here is full of pseudo-hippies. Uneducated people who prefer to focus on looking like the stereotypical image of a hippie rather than actually educate themselves about the issues and adopt a hippie mentality, unless you consider just smoking a lot of pot, reading tarot cards, and talking about horoscope charts a hippie mentality. There are more christian radio stations and racists here than in the midwest although probably not as many as what I experienced in North Carolina.

If you want a wonderful family friendly, safe area with an amazing school system, that could almost pass as Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, try Amherst, Massachusetts. We called it our bubble, never lived in a safer more comfortable place. Portland, Maine is also a favorite. I know these suggestions are not the Northwest but good luck on your search, I'd keep looking.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldylocks View Post
Hi there,
we are a family with school age kids seeking to move back to the Northwest. We left Portland when our kids were two and moved to a lovely midwestern town for 6 years, but miss our Northwest life a lot. At this stage of our life, Portland seems too big, so we've been on a quest to find the right town. We spent a weekend in Eugene over the summer and really liked it! It seemed to have everything on our "A" list - sweet, bikeable, safe enough for our kids to have some independence in their lives, good schools, surrounded by nature, community minded, hopefully we could get jobs (social work and teaching)...So, ever since we got home, I started obsessing about Eugene - reading every rating and statistic I could get my hands on (I don't think I would do this if I were near enough just to FEEL if it would be a good fit, but since I'm far away, it's the best I can do). Now I have fears (especially since our current home is on the top of every list), and I'm wanting perspective of those who know Eugene well...
1. On all the ratings, property crime looks very high and I'm wondering if that may have something to do with the proximity to Springfield, or if both towns have a lot of crime. What's Springfield like and how much do the two towns impact each other?
2. How about allergies and cancer rates, both of which are high?
3. Are there many people transplanting to Eugene, or does it seem like most people have lived there a long time and don't especially want/need new friends in their lives?
4. How would you describe the vibe / culture there? Someone who lived in Eugene and left because they didn't like it said that "everyone gets high on a daily basis and the city strives for mediocrity" She said Eugene is "anti-hip" (which is kind of what we're after in avoiding Portland, in hopes of raising down-to-earth kids) - I realize that these comments are from one vantage point, but I'd love to hear someone comment on them...
5. Do you love raising kids there? Given that we don't want to live in a ranch house (we've always lived in old houses and love them), what neighborhoods/schools might you favor that would have a great sense of down to earth community and park access? Can your kids trick-or-treat alone or go to the park alone there? Are there nice small neighborhood parks that attract a lot of families?

Thank you in advance for any perspective you might have. Eugene seemed like a great place and we're really hoping that it is the place we've been looking for!
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:11 PM
 
103 posts, read 240,475 times
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I don't currently live in Eugene, but have lived there in the past. I still like Eugene, but that is because it seems better than Salem.
Salem is a prison town and full of illegals. Illegals can be nice. Illegals can be BAD!
I wonder what the level of illegals is in Eugene and what areas they live in?
I'm so sad to see how my state has changed over the years. In the 60's there were NO DRUGS.
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:16 PM
 
6 posts, read 30,359 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkjasdf View Post
Eugene is the most crime ridden place I have ever lived and I have lived in Pittsburgh and Boston previously. Everyone I know here has had crappy things happen. My car has been broken into (window smashed to get in). Friend #1 has had the same car stolen 3 times in the last year, Friend #2 has his truck broken into on a regular basis (the first time they just broke the steering wheel $2000 worth of damage trying to steal it). Friend #3 on her first night after moving to eugene had her hotel room broken into and her laptop stolen. A couple I know woke up to a man standing at the foot of their bed and even more disturbing incident happend to another friends cat who came home and had clearly been raped. When she reported it to the police they said that they had been getting some frequent reports of the same happening to other residents pets. None of these people live in an area of Eugene that would be considered a bad area and a couple live in what is supposed to be a nice area in the south hills. I have considered quitting grad school and leaving this place but have come to far to quit now but I am looking forward to getting out the day after I graduate. If I had kids, I definitely would not feel safe letting them wander in the neighborhood on their own. Eugene's crime is bad and Springfield is worse. This place is crawling with meth addicts and homeless.

The culture here is full of pseudo-hippies. Uneducated people who prefer to focus on looking like the stereotypical image of a hippie rather than actually educate themselves about the issues and adopt a hippie mentality, unless you consider just smoking a lot of pot, reading tarot cards, and talking about horoscope charts a hippie mentality. There are more christian radio stations and racists here than in the midwest although probably not as many as what I experienced in North Carolina.

If you want a wonderful family friendly, safe area with an amazing school system, that could almost pass as Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, try Amherst, Massachusetts. We called it our bubble, never lived in a safer more comfortable place. Portland, Maine is also a favorite. I know these suggestions are not the Northwest but good luck on your search, I'd keep looking.
Well, obviously you have nothing good to say about Eugene. Can't really take someone like you so serious when all you do in your posts is bash this city. There are great things about this place, just like all places. There are bad things about this place, just like all places. However, in no way at all does the crime in Eugene compare to Pittsburgh's. Are you kidding me? Please start being honest.

Christian radio stations and racists? What? Are you just making stuff up? You sound pretty foolish about now. While there are religious people everywhere, the last place you'll find religious radio stations is in Eugene. Not that it's a bad thing to have them, but Eugene is a open minded city. A city that doesn't get off on pushing ideas onto others. You'll struggle to find any type of religious talk on the local radio.
Racists now? There is very very very few incidents of any racism in this area. The last I can remember is a few months ago, I believe gas was poured on the street in the design of a cross, and burnt. Shocking to hear, and the first of it's kind I heard about in a very long time, I couldn't remember something like that before it happened. Besides, there are not true racists here.(Not to make excuses for them) The racists you find here are more ignorant people that have found their beliefs on the internet and on T.V. Not through direct contact with the KKK or Neo-Nazis.

Uneducated people? I know there's 4, and may be 5 higher educational institutions or colleges. I find it hard to believe that your statement has any credibility what so ever.
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Old 08-30-2008, 04:19 PM
 
39 posts, read 67,853 times
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Coldylocks, it is euGENE. It is also PREEEfontaine, not PRAYfontaine and willAMette, not WILLamette.

Just a few pointers. . . I lived here a bit before I figured these things out. We are raising a family here and I do like it a lot. Is it perfect? Of course not. . .sometimes we get almost hit by angry bikers who refuse to say "On your left" on the paths. . . (that one still puzzles me) but that is about the worst of it. Lots of people here from all walks of life, including the "trustafarians" (psuedo hippies) but also lotsa normal middle of the road folks.

I hope you enjoy it here.
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:20 PM
 
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Biker's rule Eugene... I mean the bicycle biker's. Eugene is something like 15th or 16th in the Nation for the number of people riding their bikes to work. The bike trails are wonderful and very easily used here, and people certainly use them for biking as well as walking and running for exercise as well as just to get where they need to go. Most of the parts of Eugene along the bike trails are charming, too, so it sort of makes you want to get out there on your own and leave your gas-guzzler at home.

But you have to be careful... whether you are riding your bike, walking, or driving your car. The larger number of people out on bikes means a higher risk of biker/car or biker/walker or runner incidences. It's important that we all are constantly careful and observing all the road and path rules. The rules are there to keep us safe, and all too often I see biker's especially not following them and putting themselves and others in very dangerous situations. Every day - and I am not exaggerating - I see people on those racing or road bike's not even stopping at red lights or stop signs in my part of town. It's really scary. I almost hit two bikers who crossed the busy street right in front of me while I had a green and they had a red and do not cross light. They are just simply lucky I reacted as quickly as I did - this is also a town full of elderly and retired people who do not react as quickly...

Sometimes I feel that there should be some sort of biker license... some safety class you have to take first and pass. Maybe I'm nuts for saying that. Native Oregonians seem to hate stuff like that!

Anyway... we are a family raising kids and we absolutely love Eugene. It's had a very tough year this year... some tragic deaths in the community as well as job layoffs and business closures... the Olympic Trials didn't bring as much business as the Mayor was hoping... it's had a bad time of it of late. Poor little town!

Fall is here, though, and with it the start of an exciting new school year, lots of new beginnings going on and the looking forward to another holiday season... fresh pressed mulled cider, trips to the farm for corn mazes, pumpkins, hay rides... pumpkin bread... leaf piles to jump in... the smells of woodburning stoves and fireplaces... that last fall camping trip before it begins to snow and get too cold (for us!) to camp in our favorite mountain spots... I love this time of year in the Pacific Northwest. We've lived in other parts of the country, but Fall here is our absolute favorite. We feel like we're giving our children the childhood that they are meant to have... more simple and wholesome and less material. It's lovely.

Sorry to blabber on... and this is an old thread, too!
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