The trick to finding a place to live in Eugene isn’t so much finding the specific house you want to live in, but finding the neighborhood that fits your lifestyle. It’s pretty well known that West University is where you go to party, but as the Emerald has documented recently, it’s also where you go if you want all of your stuff stolen. Thankfully, in my four years in Eugene, I’ve managed to avoid living in West University, but my housing experience can hopefully help you find the area that’s right for you.
Perks: Close to Autzen Stadium, frequent parties
Drawbacks: Far from campus, noisy on weekends
My freshman year, I lived in the dorms and, as fun as it was, I wanted nothing to do with living in them ever again. So myself and a friend of mine from the dorms decided we were going to move out of the campus area. Because of how easy the apartments were to find and how similar they were to living in the dorms, it was logical for us to move to the Kinsrow neighborhood. Our experience there wasn’t bad — the apartments were furnished, the utilities were included, there weren’t any major problems — but it was certainly expensive. I lived in a two-bedroom apartment that year that cost more than the three-bedroom house I live in now. Because cost was a major concern for me, I had to find somewhere cheaper to live the next year.
Perks: Close to University, beautiful neighborhood
Drawbacks: Corporate landlords, lots of families
Where I ended up the next year was a really shoddy house in a really pretty neighborhood in the heart of South University. It’s easy to get to the parties when you want to go and to avoid them when you don’t, and it’s nice to go home to a quiet neighborhood. Still, whenever you have a lot of people over, you feel out of place, especially when there’s an elementary school just a couple blocks from your house. It was nice to be close to the action of college, but still be tucked away from the hustle and bustle of weekend nights for the most part.
Perks: Outside of the student atmosphere, more private landlords
Drawbacks: Far from campus, REALLY far from campus
I took the neighborhood qualities I really liked from South University and decided to magnify them. I ended up in an even prettier part of Eugene by moving downtown, and I went from a corporate landlord with whom I had a contentious relationship to a private one who, simply put, is awesome. Like, house-catches-on-fire-and-she-doesn’t-charge-you-rent-for-that-month awesome. It’s been an enjoyable experience, to say the least. Living far from campus has kept me out of trouble, and the 15-minute bike ride I take every day has helped keep me in shape, so even that “negative” has some big positive aspects, as long as it’s not raining.
Even though I’ve lived a lot of places, I found the similarly calm (boring) places I could live that fit my demeanor, and that’s really what has made my living experience better each year. Spend a little time in every place you’re looking at before you make a commitment, and you’ll find the place with the perfect atmosphere for you.