First Impressions of Eugene, Oregon

The other morning at breakfast somebody asked me if I liked Eugene (Oregon). “I LOVE it,” I responded, and though I hadn’t really thought about this at all, added, “you know those little houses with yards that are really gardens? That’s what I want to live in here.”

Not planned at all, but it’s true. One of those “Indiana Jones” houses (his home as an adult, as seen in Last Crusade), with a little foyer that’s got a slanted roof; a homey sort of place just big enough for one person, maybe two if they really like each other.

Present circumstances don’t allow me to blog regularly, let alone attempt such a thing, of course, but it’s something to aim for.

Good Country for Old and Young People

This town fits me like a glove – I hardly expected that upon moving here and had actually planned on Portland, but the seismic risk in a major urban setting as well as the higher cost of living sent me to Eugene instead.

Some people are a little loopy here, but I’m old and experienced enough now to take that in stride. There are also plenty of more traditional Oregonians, too, and everybody coexists. You just find where you’re comfortable and settle in.

Eugene’s a good town for old people now. I suspect that in future decades, most of the young people I see here now will then look back on it as their “golden age.”

The same place, seen so differently by different people.

Things blend nicely here. Too, it reminds me of America as I knew it growing up…it’s very difficult to explain. That dream house of mine is pure Fifties; there’s also Sixties radicalism here, Seventies dopiness, Eighties go-getting, Nineties…well, whatever the Nineties were about. (I stopped counting as Y2K rolled in.)

Well, I unlimbered the camera over the weekend – maybe pictures will speak louder than words.

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks use

This truncated image of the Rosa Parks statue in front of the Eugene Public Library shows at least shows the quiet courage she is honored for. The delightful part is that this is also at the downtown central bus station.

That’s a full-sized bus seat and you often see people sitting next to her.

Sadly, the ones I have seen so far look like people who just need a friend. Eugene is a wonderful place, very free, and so they honor Rosa Parks; however, there is also plenty of freedom to fail and hide from life, too.

Rough Stuff and White Picket Fences

flowers and fence small

Here is a white picket fence and flowers that I saw in the Whiteaker district, allegedly one of the toughest districts in Eugene.

It’s one of the prettiest but not the only such sight throughout the district.

Not all yards have white picket fences, but people do take extraordinary care in their yards, and many do turn them into flower and herb gardens.

A Touch of “Soul”

soul food use

Just down the road is a self-styled “Southern-style BBQ and ribs joint.” I don’t know about that, but it’s a beautiful little restaurant. Apparently they grow their own herbs, too.

And again, this is in the rough Whitaker district, not too far from a natural foods shop and restaurant. Apparently efforts are being made to reclaim the place.

A Touch of Color

Blue and Green

This image is in the same district. It’s just an industrial cinder block wall with vines growing on it, but I really enjoy their painting it bright blue that way. At first I thought there was no reason in the world for them to have done that, but apparently it’s part of the local brewery.

Still, it’s a random work of art – you can see the basic color scheme of industrial tan and gray in the background, but evidently somebody looked at that wall and believed it should be blue. They were right, too.

Enough for now. Local trees deserve their own post…I have never seen such tall trees, not even in the South! I do have an associate’s in forestry, though I never used it professionally; however, the urban forest around here (and the wild forest seen on the train starting in the Columbia River Gorge after we got on the west side of the Cascades) has rekindled that old interest.
More on those later.

Edit, April 22nd: Of course, I didn’t notice until after posting the above that Ms. Parks’ statue actually sits on the Eugene downtown bus station side of a small street, while the library has a statue of a man in front of it. There is no plaque, but he’s dressed in what appear to be ranger clothes, holding his hat in his hand, and he’s sitting on a log…John Muir, perhaps? Someone very well known around here, clearly.

Categories: Random thoughts

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