In another LJ community someone from Texas asked about Eugene as she is wanting to move here and start college at UO. Here is my reply, relevant because it shows some of why I love this city.
Howdy Texas! I moved to Eugene July of 2000 from Houston, TX. Growing up in Arkansas, Mississippi, then the Marines where I lived in Tennessee, Florida, Hawaii, Japan, California and visited Nevada, Alaska, and other countries such as Thailand, Spain, Saudi, Kuwait, Bahrain… I ended up in Houston. I love Houston. I have lots of great friends in Houston. But I wanted to go to the Pacific Northwest and I moved up here and ended up in Eugene.
Eugene is the best place ever. Like any town there are those who are here who say that they hate it and there is nothing to do and that it is too small. But these are generally from young people who’ve not seen the world and aren’t looking to put down roots yet. I understand their wanderlust and I reccommend they go explore the world.
Eugene is large enough to get great performers touring the country, whether it is Ani Difranco or Rob Zombie. We have a GREAT symphony here. The Hult Center houses opera, symphony, ballet, and other performances. Being a college town there are clubs and bars to go to. Being the Pacific Northwest there are coffee shops a plenty. Bookstores are abundant here as well, whether you like Barnes and Noble and Borders, or independant booksellers. Our new library will be opening on Dec 26 and of all the places that I’ve been I’ve never seen a library as beautiful or well thought out. Being Oregon there are a wide variety of folks here, from down to earth types, to independants, to fundies, to hippies. Being Eugene they are all mushed together into one city. The festivals are wonderful here, and lots of them.
It rains a lot during the winter months, but it is NOTHING like a Texas rain. I am used to the heavy downpours of Houston. I’ve seen only one lightning display (and everyone in town was going outside at night to take a look). It rains here like a constant drizzle. To Texas eyes it looks decieving, that it isn’t raining much. But it will get you wet faster than you know.
I live just a couple of blocks from the center of downtown. From where I live I am three blocks from the library, five blocks from the symphony hall, and six blocks from a gym. Within a half mile radius of me there are 7 coffee shops, four bookstores (all indie), two Aikido dojos, the Willamette River (which is beautiful and has extensive bike paths), three theatres (the sort where plays are acted out on stage), and between four and six small art galleries.
As I walk down the street I’ll pass by two guys talking about socialism, a hippy in a tie die on an old bike with dreads, a yuppie mom pushing a baby in a stroller, and elderly lady delivering a neighborhood newspaper. All of this and I’ve not talked about the university area.
I might suggest that you find a place in the Whitaker neighborhood if you are into tie dies and stuff, however the beauty of Eugene is that you’d fit in anywhere. Bring a bike or ask around for a place to get a cheap bike when you get here. Lots of bike paths and while it is raining outside people are still biking.
And the mountains… I am still in awe of the mountains. A three day camping trip into the wilderness is just the cure for psycho-social disorders. Snow is starting to appear along the top of the Coburg Hills, and it is piling up in the Cascades to the East.