About Eugene and Springfield, Oregon

Eugene, Oregon is in the southern end of the Willamette Valley in Oregon and is the second largest city in Oregon with a population of about 150,000. Eugene’s next-door neighbor, Springfield, has a population of about 60,000. Eugene is just south of the 45th parallel, putting it midway between the equator and the north-poll, and is about one hour east of the Pacific Ocean.

Eugene was named after Eugene Skinner who came to the eponymous city from New York State in 1846 and built a cabin at the base of what is now known as Skinner’s Butte. Eugene was called Eugene City until 1889, when the “City” was dropped. Some now call Eugene the “Peoples’ Republic of Eugene,” referring to its liberal character.

Eugene Neighborhood Area Map
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Map of the Eugene Neighborhood
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Eugene Area Map
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Map of the Eugene Area
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Springfield, when viewed on a map, is to the right of Eugene; this is also true politically. It was founded in 1848 by Elias and Mary Briggs, who were apparently quite practical. They came up with the name “Springfield” because a water-source was located in the middle of their field. The spring has since been capped off, and is at 2nd and B Streets. Springfield is separated from Eugene by Interstate 5, the West Coast’s major arterial running between Canada and Mexico. The Briggs’s emigrated from Kentucky, which might have given rise to Springfield’s nickname, used by the locals, of “Springtucky.”

Springfield, Oregon is also the inspiration for the city of the same name in Matt Groenig’s cartoon The Simpsons. Springfield is the new home to Riverbend Hospital, which is the prettiest, nicest, and biggest hospital between Portland and San Francisco.

Timber was king in the Eugene/Springfield area until the 1980’s when a combination of environmental regulations and poor economic conditions led to its decline. Up until the 1970’s, the air was fragrant with freshly sawn logs and the hint of sweet fir smoke from wigwam burners.

The drone and the hum from the mills were a melody of progress in Eugene, producing many solid middle-class jobs with good wages. However, those days are gone. There are maybe a dozen mills left in the Eugene/Springfield area, down from perhaps as many as 100 in lumber’s heyday.

Eugene and Springfield had a brief flirtation with high-tech in the 1990’s with the construction of plants by Sony, Hyundai, Homag, and Symantec. Only Symantec remains here today. There are some 170,000 jobs available in the Eugene/Springfield area, but only a small percentage, about 3,000, are currently high-technology based.

The University of Oregon is a major economic force in Eugene, and has been since it opened 100 years after the founding of the United States. As an alumni of the U of O, I think of it as the place where the movie Animal House was filmed.

These days, the U of O is perhaps best known for its football team, the Ducks. Enormous and very generous gifts have been made by several alumns, such as Phil Knight. Mr. Knight and his former track coach, the late Bill Bowerman, founded the shoe making company Nike.

The climate in Eugene is quite mild, and dominated by the influence of the Pacific Ocean. For about seven months of the year Eugene is rainy, receiving over four feet of rain annually. While sometimes dreary, many prefer the rain to hurricanes, tornados, Arctic freezes and squelching humidity. In the warm months, extending from June until October, Eugene is one of the prettiest places on earth. High temperatures are frequently in the 80’s and 90’s, with minimal humidity, and it usually cools off considerably at night. Only a handful of days per year does it get either very hot or very cold. Before Seattle absconded with the term, Eugene was commonly known as the Emerald Empire because of its green lush vegetation. Today, Eugene’s green-ness comes from its citizens.

The best part about Eugene is its amazing proximity to recreation.
Within about an hour are the coast, and the mountains. If you drive an additional hour, you can be in the desert or the hip city of Portland. Seattle, Reno and San Francisco are only a day’s drive away. And, our nice airport puts anywhere in the world within easy reach.

The best fishing outside of Alaska can be found in our waters; Salmon, Steelhead, Trout, Sturgeon, Bass, Perch, Halibut, Cod and even Tuna can all be caught. Nearby reservoirs and lakes offer boating opportunities. Waterskiing is common on most lakes and sailing is especially popular at Fern Ridge and Dexter Lake. Windsurfing opportunities abound. For the beginner, our gentle winds and uncrowded local lakes are excellent places. Challenging world-class conditions are just three hours away at the Columbia River Gorge. And, if you’re really brave, you can try surfing or kayaking on the Pacific.

Hunting is also excellent in Lane County. Deer and elk are routinely taken from the nearby hills. I’ve also seen bear, bobcat and cougar by my house in the Springfield area, however, they aren’t usually hunted locally. Duck and goose hunting are also good, but it can be difficult to find a place from which to hunt. Upland birds such as quail, grouse, and pheasant are around, but are easier to find east of the Cascades. Wild turkeys abound, but because of their gamy taste, aren’t vigorously pursued.

Hiking, ATVing and Dirt-biking are common. Serene trails through old growth are nearby and welcome the hiker. Shotgun Creek has dedicated off-road trails for the motorsport enthusiast. And, within a half hour’s drive in any direction are miles of BLM/Forest Service roads just waiting to give your sport-ute some use. One of the prettiest sites I have ever seen is Hendricks Park in April when the Rhododendrons and Azaleas are in bloom; this shouldn’t be missed.

If you’re a rock-hound, Oregon is nearly paradise. Close to Eugene, fossil leaf-casts can be easily found. The columnar basalt of Skinner’s Butte is interesting to view, although not particularly collectible. Agates can be readily found in the gravel beds of the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers. Amethyst crystals can be acquired from the Gold Hill area, north of Blue River. Gold and highly mineralized ores can be found in the Bohemia Mining District, outside of Cottage Grove, and Quartzville area, outside of Sweethome. Petrified wood, Pyritohedra, as well as Holley Blue are also available near Sweethome. Obsidian and Geodes are abundant on the east side of the Cascades. Fossils and coal can be found on the Southern Oregon Coast. Of course, there are more rocks and more sites, but this discussion will put non rock-hounds to sleep in a hurry. For more information, click here.

Snow skiing is both popular and within a couple of hours of Eugene and Springfield. The Willamette Pass and Hoodoo ski resorts, owned by prominent area residents, offer good snow and are close by. Mt. Batchelor, in Bend, has world-class skiing, but is more of a drive, and not a day-trip. Pristine trails are available for cross-country skiing, and there are also separate places for snowmobile enthusiasts.

Track & Field
Eugene is world famous for its running and track & field. It is the home of the late Steve Prefontaine and where the Nike waffle-soled running shoe was invented. In 2008, Eugene was host to the National Olympic Track and Field Trials. For the recreational runner, there are plenty of trails to enjoy, as there are for the recreational bicyclist.

The arts are also well-represented in Eugene. The Hult Center for Performing Arts is a beautiful 2,500 seat theater that attracts both local and national acts. Eugene has its own symphony, ballet, opera, and choral groups. The acclaimed Oregon Bach Festival is a series of concerts held every summer in Eugene. The Shedd Theater also brings some very interesting music to town. One of the late Mr. Shedd’s (think Marshall Fields and the Chicago Shedd Acquarium) great-grandchildren lives in Eugene and was generous and responsible for this great venue. Eugene’s best fine-arts museum, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, is on the U of O campus. The other closest museums are in Portland, Seattle and San Francisco.

Housing prices in the Eugene/Springfield area are sometimes said to be somewhat unaffordable. However, for West Coast cities of Eugene/Springfield’s stature, I can’t think of anywhere more affordable. The median house price in Eugene typically is similar to that of the Nation as a whole.

Eugene and Springfield have distinct areas, each with their own unique flavor. The different areas are:

Eugene Neighborhood
Springfield Neighborhoods
Surrounding Areas

Area: River Road
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-North: Beltline
-South: Chambers Connector Bridge
-East:  Willamette River
-West:  UP Railroad tracks/Northwest Expressway.

History: The River Road area is an older neighborhood in Eugene.  Large stately houses, of another era,  can still be seen along lower River Road and Park Avenue.  It used to be primarily filbert orchards and farming, but just a few orchards still remain.

Characteristics: Easily accessible.  The hot-bed of alternative, sustainable, building-methods.

High School: North Eugene High.

Housing stock and prices:  The housing stock is mixed.  Most was built before 1960.  Lots tend to be larger because the previous use of wells and septic tanks required it.  Quite a few streets don’t have curbs and gutters.  Housing prices in River Road are about average in comparison to Eugene as a whole.

Area: Santa Clara
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-North: Beacon Road
-South: Beltline
-East:  Willamette River
-West: UP Railroad tracks/Northwest Expressway.

History:  Similar to the farming and orchards of River Road, but the development primarily occurred from the 1970’s onward.  Many new subdivisions were built from the 1990’s on.  Previously, the villages of Irving and Fir Grove were in Santa Clara; now they’ve been absorbed.

Characteristics: While access is excellent, Santa Clara has a more secluded feel than River Road, perhaps because it’s at the edge of town, rather than the middle.

High Schools: North Eugene & Willamette.

Housing stock and prices: Mostly newer tract homes.  Lots tend to be between 5,000 and 8,000 square feet.  Some larger lots exist along the River Loop streets, but those are uncommon.  Average house prices in Santa Clara are more than the rest of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area:Bethel Danebo
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-North: Clear Lake Road
-South: Roosevelt Boulevard
-East:  UP Railroad Tracks
-West: Greenhill Road

History: Bethel Danebo has been historically an area of affordable homes.  Building was steady up until the 1980’s.  Houses gobbled up pasture.  Explosive growth occurred in the 1990’s, and the area is mostly built-out.

Characteristics:  Easy access.  Mostly tract homes.  Some larger lots still exist, but those are rare.

High Schools: Willamette and Kalapuya.

Housing stock and prices:  Ranch houses are common.  Also common are the houses of the 1990’s, perhaps described as modern farmhouses with complex rooflines.  Average house prices in Bethel Danebo are less than the rest of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Whitaker
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-North: Willamette River
-South: 6th Street
-East: Skinner’s Butte
-West: Chambers Connecter Bridge

History: Whitaker is an older neighborhood, with many houses dating to the 1930’s.  It also has a fair amount of industrial and business use.

Characteristics: This is perhaps Eugene’s most diverse neighborhood.  It has its fair share of groovy folks, as well as people wanting to be near downtown, but at affordable prices.  It was the home of our local anarchist movement in the late 1990’s, but there are also pockets of higher end homes with views of the River.

Schools: North Eugene

Housing stock and prices:  Older houses, from the 1930’s and before are common.  These houses were suburban, not farm, when built.  Many of the houses are quite cool looking and not like your average suburban ranch.  Average house prices in Whitaker are less than the rest of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Downtown Eugene
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-North: 6th Street
-South: 18th Street
-East:  Ferry Street Bridge
-West:  Jefferson

History: Downtown is Eugene’s oldest area.  Many of the old houses and buildings have been razed to make room for new.  The downtown area was severely hampered by Eugene’s failed social experiment to close it off to traffic in the 1970’s.  Stores fell like flies off a bug zapper once shoppers were forced to walk all over the place in the rain, preferring the nice and warm Valley River Center mall instead.  Most of the impediments to traffic have been dug out and nice traffic-friendly streets are back again.

Characteristics: Pockets of turn of the century houses remain outside of downtown’s core.  Central downtown has high-density, high-rise office buildings and is mostly business oriented.  However, residential properties are still available; several innovative urban village condos and apartments have been built.  If there’s a good area for night life, outside of campus, downtown would be it.

High Schools: Churchill, North Eugene or South Eugene.

Housing stock and prices: Many of the remaining houses, located to the south and west of the central downtown core,  date to the 1920’s and before.  Like Whitaker, many of the houses are quite interesting.  Architects tend to live in this part of Eugene.  Average house prices in the Downtown Area are more than the rest of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Campus
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-North: Franklin Boulevard
-South: 19th Street
-East:  Hendrick’s Hill (Where Prefontaine died)
-West: Patterson

History: The campus area is inextricably linked to the University of Oregon, and to a lesser degree, Northwest Christian College.

Characteristics: This is a lively area, oriented towards University of Oregon students.  Franklin Boulevard is the central business street.  13th Street is where town meets gown.  Some consider the campus area to be a subset of the Southeastern Eugene area.

High School: South Eugene

Housing stock and prices: Much of the housing stock was built in the 1940’s and before.  Bungalows are common.  Although owner occupied is not rare, there are many rentals in the area that cater to college students.  Average house prices in the Campus Area are more than the rest of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Southeast Eugene
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-North: 19th Street
-South: Spencer’s Butte Park
-East: I-5
-West: Willamette Street

History: Development has occurred in this area throughout the history of Eugene.

Characteristics: Access to the area by car is less easy than other areas of Eugene.  This is the area known as The South Hills. Much of the terrain is sloped and hilly.  Willamette street is the commercial heart of this area.  Up through the 1980’s, kids would drive up and down Willamette Street on Friday and Saturday nights, in what was known as “dragging the gut.”  Police have largely eliminated this now.

High School: South Eugene

Housing stock and prices: Housing stock is quite mixed, ranging from estate-like, near palaces to older, somewhat run-down, fixers.  There are also a number of condominiums in the area.  Average house prices in the Southeastern Eugene Area are more than the rest of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Southwest Eugene
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-North: 18th Street
-South: Spencer’s Butte Park
-East: Willamette Street
-West: Bailey Hill Road

History:  Southwest Eugene contains College Hill, the site of Eugene’s first College, Columbia College, which burned and was not rebuilt.  As you go from east to west, the buildings tend to get newer.

Characteristics: Quite similar to Southeast Eugene.

High Schools: South Eugene and Churchill

Housing stock and prices: Housing stock is quite mixed, ranging from estate-like, near palaces to older, somewhat run-down, fixers.  There are also a number of condominiums in the area.  Average house prices in the Southwestern Eugene Area are more than the rest of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: West Eugene
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-North: Roosevelt Avenue
-South: 18th Street
-East: Jefferson
-West: Greenhill

History: The east side (of West Eugene), which borders the Downtown area, was one of Eugene’s original suburbs.  The houses tend to be older.  Heading west, you’ll encounter Eugene’s industrial district, which was started in the 1950’s.

Characteristics: The east end feels more like downtown than not.  The west end is decidedly industrial.  Access isn’t bad.

High Schools: Churchill, North Eugene, South Eugene, and Willamette

Housing stock and prices: Most houses were built from the 1940’s onward, although it’s not uncommon to find older houses in West Eugene.  Bungalows are popular.  As you head farther west, the houses get newers.  Condos are available.  Even though there is plenty of industrial development, you won’t find the rehabbed industrial loft here (or practically anywhere else in Eugene).  Housing prices in West Eugene are about average in comparison to Eugene as a whole.

Area:  Ferry Street Bridge, North Gilham
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-North: McKenzie River
-South: I-105
-East:    I-5
-West:  Willamette River

History:  The Ferry Street Bridge area gets its name from the Bridge of the same name.  Historically, this is one of the older areas of Eugene.  Eugene Skinner ran a ferry across the Willamette at the location of the current bridge.  Development of the area, didn’t occur until much later, however.

Characteristics: Easy access.  Central to everything.  Some distinguish the northern part of Ferry Street Bridge as North Gilham-Ayers road, but I don’t find the distinction particularly helpful.  Access is good.

High School:  Sheldon

Housing stock and prices:  Much of the development of the Ferry Street area occurred from the 1950’s onward.  Rambling Brady Bunch houses are common.  These are usually found on larger lots.  There are also upscale houses built from the 1990s onward.  Average house prices in Ferry Street Bridge Area are more than the rest of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Centennial

-North: I-105
-South: Willamette River
-East: Pioneer Parkway
-West: I-5

History:  The Centennial area was most influenced by the construction of several major projects in Eugene, namely, I-5, I-105, and Autzen Stadium, all of which were built in the 1960’s.

Characteristics: This is a varied area.  West of I-5, and closer to Autzen Stadium, there are vast numbers of apartments for students.  The Kelley Butte area offers hillside living with upscale views.  Further east are older houses in Springfield, some of which are even historical.  Access is adequate.

High School: Springfield High School

Housing stock and prices: Most of the houses in Centennial were built from the 1960’s onward.  Houses are fairly typical of suburban development.  Housing prices in the Centennial area are about average in comparison to Eugene Springfield as a whole.

Area: Central Springfield
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-North: I-105
-South: Willamette River
-East: 42nd Street
-West: Pioneer Parkway

History: Much of the development of the central Springfield area is older.  The Central Springfield area used to serve as home for major lumber mills and their workers.  In fact, the local high school mascot is the Millers. 

Characteristics: Predominantly flat terrain, with the exception of the Dorris Ranch area, which is hilly.  In general, more affordable housing can be found here than other areas in Eugene Springfield.  Main Street is the commercial hub of the area, but there are a few big box stores in the Olympic Street area.  A good mix of residential and commercial uses are found in Springfield.   Industrial uses are located in proximity to Main Street.  Access is good.

High School: Springfield High

Housing stock and prices:  The Washburn Historical district has houses dating back to the 1800’s.  As you head further east, the houses become newer.  Housing is typical suburban.  Average house prices in the Central Springfield Area are less than the rest of Eugene Springfield, when taken as a whole.

Area: Glenwood

-North: Willamette River
-South: I-5 and the Franklin Boulevard
-East:  Willamette River
-West:  I-5

History: Glenwood, until recently has been neither fish, nor fowl; that is, neither part of Eugene nor Springfield.  They recently chose to be part of Springfield.

Characteristics: Glennwood is primarily a mix of industrial-commercial and to a lesser degree residential.  Access is good.

High Schools: Springfield High or South Eugene High

Housing stock and prices: The existing housing stock in Glenwood was mostly built before the 1970s.  Average house prices in the Glenwood Area are less than the rest of Eugene Springfield, when taken as a whole.

Area: Hayden Bridge
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-North: McKenzie River
-South: I-105
-East:  42nd Street
-West: I-5

History: Much of Hayden Bridge was previously mint fields and filbert orchards.  Suburban development has occurred at a steady, but leisurely pace.  Most houses were built after the 1950’s.  Major factors influencing the area have been the construction of the Gateway Mall and Riverbend Hospital.

Characteristics: The Gateway area, to the east of I-5, is separate from Hayden Bridge, but for simplicities’ sake, I’ve lumped them together.  Gateway is a commercial hub, but also has a large number of apartments and condos.  Hayden Bridge is comprised of both typical suburban housing, and to a lesser degree, country houses on larger lots.  Access isn’t bad.

High Schools: Springfield and Thurston

Housing stock and prices: Most of Hayden Bridge is typically suburban.  To the west by Gateway Mall, you can find apartments and condos.  To the north, closer to the McKenzie River are larger lots with a country-feel.  In the middle of Hayden Bridge, you’ll find average suburban development.  Average house prices in the Hayden Bridge Area are more than the rest of Eugene Springfield, when taken as a whole.

Area:  Thurston
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-North: McKenzie River
-South: Jasper Road
-East:  79th Street
-West:  42nd Street

History: Much of the houses in the Thurston area were built from the 1970’s onward, with significant higher end developments occurring from the 1990’s on.

Characteristics: Predominantly single family housing.  There are also quite a few apartments available.  Condos aren’t common.  Main Street is the commercial hub.  Access is good.

High School: Thurston.

Housing stock and prices: 1970’s area ranch homes abound.  Closer to Thurston High, you’re more likely to find larger lots and less density.  In the South Hills of Thurston, you can find high-end homes that rival the quality of any other surrounding area.  Average house prices in the Thurston Area are less than the rest of Eugene Springfield, when taken as a whole.

Area: Mohawk Valley and Camp Creek
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Boundaries: Both are large areas to the north and east of Springfield.  The Mohawk Valley generally follows Marcola and Hill Roads.  The Camp Creek area follows Upper and Lower Camp Creek Roads.

History: These areas were settled early, with records of pioneer’s cabins dating from the 1850’s.  However, none of these early houses remain, to my knowledge.  Camp Creek draws its name from the days of Pioneers and Native Americans who camped in the area.  The towns of Marcola, Wendling, Mohwak, and Mabel, in the Mohawk Valley, were once thriving hamlets dependent on timber.  Only Marcola is still recognizable as a town.

Characteristics: Country-style living is common.  Larger houses and acreage are typical.  There is both pasture land as well as hill-side development.  The Mohawk River, and its propensity to top its banks on occasion, influence the area.

High Schools: Thurston and Mohawk.

Housing stock and prices: Housing stock tends to be mixed.  Ranchers, manufactured and high-end houses may be found on the same streets.  Country style housing predominates, but pockets of suburban-feeling areas can be found.  Average house prices in the Mohawk Valley and Camp Creek Areas are morethan those of Eugene Springfield, when taken as a whole.

Area: McKenzie River Valley
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Boundaries: The McKenzie River Valley generally tracks Highway 126 on its climb east of Springfield.  This is a big area, containing the towns of Walterville, Deerhorn, Cedar Flats, Leaburg, Vida, Blue River, Nimrod, and McKenzie Bridge.

History: Highway 126 follows an old wagon road, described as early as 1889.  Modern development of the McKenzie River Valley has been centered around the McKenzie River and its recreation opportunities.

Characteristics: Other than the organized towns, the McKenzie River is decidedly country in feel.  There are a few patches of more suburban development, however.

High School: Thurston

Housing stock and prices: Much of this area was built from the 1970’s onward.  Pockets of older development, particularly along the McKenzie River, can be found, however.  Houses with river frontage and/or views command high prices.  Average house prices in the McKenzie River Valley Area are more than those of Eugene Springfield, when taken as a whole.

Area: Veneta, Elmira, Alvadore
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Boundaries: These three towns are located to the west of Eugene, situated around Fern Ridge Lake.

History: The damming of the Long Tom River in 1941 has played a major role in the area.  Farming was and is still important to the surrounding area.

Characteristics: Outside of the settled towns, the area is decidedly rural in feel.  Filbert orchards and farm fields remain.   West 11th / Route 126 is the main the main arterial connecting the area to Eugene.

Schools: Willamette and Kalapuya.

Housing stock and prices: Many of the houses have been built from the 1970’s onward.  It’s still possible to find older farm houses on acreage, but these are growing less common.  Houses on or near Fern Ridge command high prices.  Average house prices in the Alvadore, Elmira, Veneta Areas are more than those of  Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Coburg
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Boundaries:Coburg is north of Eugene, and can be reached via I-5 or Coburg Road.

History: Coburg’s history is old, at least by local standards.  It was originally called Diamond, after a pioneer, not the stone.  It was renamed in the 1860’s, by a blacksmith, after the name of his favorite horse.  Until 2008, the growth of Coburg has been limited by its lack of a sewer plant.  One is now being constructed with a completion date of 2011.

Characteristics: The town of Coburg is charming and historic.  The surrounding area is rural in feel.  Access is good.

High School: Sheldon

Housing stock and prices: Some historic houses remain, primarily centered around the town of Coburg, which is suburban in feel.  Country and farm property are elsewhere.  There are some very high-end houses to the east of I-5, abutting the base of the Coburg Hills.  Average house prices in the Coburg Area are more than those of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Junction City, Harrisburg, Monroe
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Boundaries: Junction City, Harrisburg, and Monroe are three separate towns to the north of Eugene, and to the west of I-5.  All of which can be reached by driving north along Highway 99.

History:  Each of the three towns date to the 1800’s.  Farming was the primary influence in their formation.

Characteristics: Classic small-town Oregon.  Access is good by Highway 99.  Although the cities-proper have a small town feel, this quickly gives way to agriculture/country when you get outside of the city limits.  The area is still primarily agricultural.

High Schools: Junction City High, Harrisburg High, and Monroe High.

Housing stock and prices: Homes range from typical suburban style in the towns themselves, to country style outside of town.  Average house prices in the Junction City, Harrisburg, and Monroe Areas are lessthan those of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Creswell
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Boundaries: Creswell is about 15 minutes to the south of Eugene, along I-5.

History: Creswell’s history dates back to the 1870’s.  Lumber mills once played a prominent role in the town’s livelihood.

Characteristics: Creswell is primarily a bedroom community to Eugene.  Access is great–Interstate-5 bifurcates the town.

High Schools: Creswell High.

Housing stock and prices: Like many other small towns around Eugene, Creswell has a suburban feel in the central area, which quickly changes to a country feel as you leave the city limits.  It’s possible to find either suburban or country houses, depending on where you look.  Higher-end homes are common around the golf course.  Average house prices in the Creswell Area are less than those of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Cottage Grove
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Boundaries: Cottage Grovel is about 30 minutes to the south of Eugene, along I-5.  Cottage Grove is at the southern end of the Willamette Valley.

History: The settlement of Cottage Grove dates to the late 1800’s.  Timber has always been important to the area, and gold mining was briefly, dying off around the 1920’s.

Characteristics: Cottage Grove has its own unique feel.  In many ways, it seems like Oregon in the 1960’s, at least to me.  There is a small-town feel to the central area, and as you get outside of town, it quickly becomes rural. 

High School: Cottage Grove High.

Housing stock and prices: Housing stock in mixed in cottage grove.  You can find houses dating from the 1890’s to present.  Larger homes and acreage are more common as you go farther away from town.  Average house prices in the Cottage Grove Area are less than those of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Drain, Yoncalla
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Boundaries: Drain and Yoncalla are in Douglas county, along the I-5 corridor, about 45 minutes from Eugene.

History: Drain was first settled in the 1860’s by Charles Drain, a pioneer.  Yoncalla dates back to the 1850’s and got its name from Mt. Yoncalla, Indian for “Home of the Eagles.”

Characteristics: Both are classic small town Oregon.  Yoncalla and Drain were once dependent on timber, but the mills have closed, and timber production has slowed.  Both towns are set-off from I-5 a bit, but access is still good.

High Schools: North Douglas High, Yoncalla High.

Housing stock and prices: Housing is more rural than not.  Wells and septics are common.  Homes on acreage are also common.  Average house prices in the Drain and Yoncalla Areas are less than those of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Crow, Lorane
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Boundaries: Both Crow and Lorane are to the south and west of Eugene.  Access is from the Territorial Highway.

History: Crow dates back to the 1870’s and is named for the settling Pioneers James and Helen Crow.  Lorane is named after a niece of the Crows.  Territorial Highway is one of Oregon’s oldest roads dating back at least to 1851.

Characteristics: The Crow Lorane area is quite rural.  There is an actual hamlet of Crow, but Lorane is more of a wide spot in the road.  Terrain runs from flat to gently rolling hills.  There are also vineyards in the area and some are stunningly palatial.

High School: Crow High

Housing stock and prices: This area is country-living.  Power and phone are about the only city services you’re likely to find.  Isolated country houses on acreage are common.  Nice houses on large parcels can be quite expensive.  Average house prices in the Crow Lorane Area are more than those of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Cheshire, Blachly, Triangle Lake
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Boundaries: Cheshire, Blachly, and Triangle Lake are along Highway 36, about 30 miles to the north and west of Eugene.

History: Cheshire started in 1913 as a rail-stop along the Southern Pacific Line.  Blachly dates to the 1890’s and was named after a local resident.  Triangle lake dates back to the 1880’s and seeing it on a map makes evident the origin of its name; it looks like a triangle.

Characteristics: These are rural areas, and access is not great.  Triangle lake is popular with water-skiers in the summer.

High School:  Triangle Lake

Housing stock and prices: The areas of Cheshire, Blachly, and Triangle Lake are rural in feel.  Houses on acreage are common.  Around Triangle Lake, are some quite nice, and expensive houses.  Average house prices in the Cheshire, Blachly, and Triangle Lake Area are more than those of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Noti, Walton, Swiss Home, Deadwood, and Mapleton
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Boundaries: Noti, Walton, and Mapleton are along the Highway 126 Corridor, west of Eugene.  Deadwood and Swisshome are a quick jog up Highway 36, north of Mapleton.

History: The road from Eugene to Florence was started in 1881.  All of the towns in the area have been influenced by the road in one way or another.  Timber also played a big part in the histories of these communities.

Characteristics: This is sparsely settled, beautiful, timber country.  Access is from Highway 126, which is very scenic and also quite curvey.  Mapleton is on the banks of the Siusilaw river and feels more like a coastal community than anything else. 

High Schools: Mapleton High School

Housing stock and prices: For such a large area, there are not as many properties that come up for sale as you would imagine.  Much of the surrounding land is industrial forest or publically owned land.  There are areas of simpler, affordable houses, as well as very expensive country-estates.  Average house prices in the Cheshire, Blachly, and Triangle Lake Areas are more than those of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Pleasant Hill, Dexter, Jasper, Fall Creek, and Lowell.
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Boundaries: Pleasant Hill and Dexter are east and south of Eugene, about 15 miles up highway 58.  Jasper, Fall Creek and Lowell are to the north of Highway 58, and follow the Lowel-Jasper Road.  All of the above areas are no greater than 20 minutes to Eugene Springfield.

History: The history of these towns and this area is closely tied to the construction of Highway 58 and the major flood-control damns, constructed in the middle part of the twentieth century.

Characteristics: Mostly flat, pasture properties.  Some waterfront and hillside properties are available also.  With no real industry of their own, this area is either for retirement or a bedroom community of Eugene Springfield.

High Schools: Pleasant Hill High, Lowell High

Housing stock and prices: This area is rural.  Large lots or acreage is common.  Estate quality large houses can be found.  Average house prices in the Pleasant Hill, Dexter, Jasper, Fall Creek, and Lowell Areas are more than those of Eugene, when taken as a whole.

Area: Oak Ridge, Westfir.
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Boundaries: Oakridge is about 45 minutes up Highway 58 to the west and south of Eugene.  Westfir is next-door to Oakridge.

History: Oakridge was only served by the Southern Pacific Railroad until the 1940’s when Highway 58 was completed.  Timber used to play a big roll in the town’s livelihood, but does so no more.

Characteristics: Oakridge has a much different look and feel than Eugene Springfield.  It’s a former timber town that’s trying to recover.  Tourism is the main industry any more.

Schools:  Oakridge High

Housing stock and prices: Housing in Oakridge is from the 1940’s on.  It is often quite affordable. Bungalows and ranches abound.  Average house prices in the Oakridge and Westfir Areas are less than those of Eugene, when taken as a whole.