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How Would You Describe Downtown Eugene...With Just Three Words?

Brian Bull

Eugene-area residents have until Monday night to share three words that describe the downtown.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports. 

What three adjectives come to mind when you think of downtown Eugene?  We asked some people at the corner of Willamette and Broadway.

MONTAGE:  “Amazing".  "Dirty"  "Unique". "There’s homeless in our breezeway sleeping and leaving their garbage and…"  "You can eat off the floor in New York."  "...it’s uncomfortable for my customers." "Likable." "Beautiful." "Colorful." "Accessible....and it’s friendly."  "And fun!”

Last year was the first time the City of Eugene asked the question.  The top answers then were “dirty”, “homeless”, and “unsafe”. 

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Eric Brown, of the City of Eugene's Planning Division.

Eric Brown of the City of Eugene’s Planning Division walks through Kesey Square.  He says they’ve worked with Eugene Police to improve safety, as well as boosting cultural programming for public areas.

“So making sure that there’s fun, family-friendly, events happening," says Brown.  "To try to welcome families, young professionals…retired folks.” 

Brown would like the new survey’s answers to reflect their efforts to revitalize the downtown.  

Jacob Callister is a city planner with the Lane Council of Governments.  His three adjectives for the downtown currently are “better”, “promising” and “alive”…pointing to the Park Blocks.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Diners and pedestrians in Kesey Square, considered by many to be the "intersection of downtown and downtown."

"It’s been a fun summer to watch that place come alive, with the live music and activities.  It felt like a success to me.” In a nearby alley, musician Jeff Roberts plays his resonator guitar.  His take on the city center is a mix of the good and bad.

“There’s times when the downtown is beautiful and vibrant, and other times when it’s just very desolate and you wonder where all the people are.” 

Hear Jeff Roberts play his resonator guitar in an alley he describes as "wonderful" for acoustics.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Local musician Jeff Roberts, and his resonator guitar. He thinks highly of downtown Eugene, but often wishes it was less desolate.

Other Eugenians tell KLCC they’d like to see more people actually living downtown. 

City planners say increased use of public spaces, improved police presence, and promoting the area’s businesses should help.  But they’re far from done, so surveyinput will help guide them on future efforts.

People can fill out the survey before 5pm Monday.

Copyright 2017, KLCC. 

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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