Living in University

Ah, the University!

Where I came up, where I got my bachelor’s degree, where I studied late nights at the library and where I hid beer in the upper boughs of a graveyard apple-tree.

Whether the last sentence rings true or not, it’s just the tinniest fraction of descriptive language available to me for describing the buzzing mini-metropolis that is the University of Oregon.

One can be connected to this neighborhood in a hundred ways: Be you a scientist studying memory in the bowels of some campus laboratory, an athlete using the ultra-fancy sports facilities, a merchant plying wares off the busy 13th Ave., a sorority sister chanting blah-blah on a green lawn, a family hosting a track-star during the Olympic Trials or a leaf on the wind blowing down a wide, maple-laden boulevard, the University district is an old-school standard here in Eugene. It puts us on the map for more than timber sales, a creator of legend through our chummy relationship to the mighty Phil Knight and the Oregon Ducks.

Lo! Autzen Stadium glows in the light of the setting sun as seen from the sides of Hendrick’s Park to the east. An lo! the Knight Arena, host to such acts as Macklemore, The Eagles and Motley Crue shines silver along Franklin Boulevard, it’s birth giving advent to auxiliary businesses sitting under it’s eastern shadow like Little Big Burger and the Wild Duck Cafe.

Some old streets criss-cross this neighborhood. Of course we have 13th Ave. running from downtown smack into campus’ west side, becoming pedestrian through the vintage classrooms until it drops all the way across to Agate, the Erb Memorial Union, the UO Law School and the aforementioned arena. But a selection of homes are settled comfortably on the University’s southern and eastern banks, many rentals from ‘20s through the ‘70s, many gorgeous and classic older homes on streets like Orchard, Villard, University and Potter. Slowly driving University St. with a relative simply visiting is a good way to show off some beautiful structures on the way to Eugene’s best Sunday french toast at the Studio One Cafe on 19th Ave. And before you leave, make sure to get a loaf of Eugene’s best bread across the street at Eugene City Bakery.

The University has a couple of official neighborhoods, one called West and one called South University Neighborhood. All-in-all they wrap campus up with commercial and residential zones, stretching south from Franklin Boulevard all the way to 24th Ave., and more-or-less from the area around High Street east over to Agate Street. The actual boarders are a bit jagged, but students have no excuse as classrooms are in the middle.

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