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Eugene, Oregon is a thriving, modern city in the Pacific Northwest located where the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers meet. It is the second largest city in the state after Portland and is home to around 160,000 people.
Brief history of Eugene
The region was part of the roaming grounds of the Kalapuyan peoples who traveled the area gathering food to take back to their permanent settlement. Other native people also roamed the region with evidence having been found of around 10,000 years of periodic occupation.
French fur traders first visited the area around the 1800s to trade with the locals and bought land from the tribes. The traders married native women and permanently settled what would become Eugene around 1830. The arrival of malaria in 1830 devastated the settled and native population changing the character of the region forever.
Eugene Skinner arrived in 1846 with 1,200 settlers to rebuild the area. They built their town on a hill overlooking the Willamette River. The settlement was originally called Skinner’s Mudhole but it was relocated and renamed Eugene around 1853.
The city grew slowly but steadily until the arrival of Columbia College. The college burnt down but the University of Oregon was built later with public funds. Since then, Eugene has been growing at a modest pace and building a rich and diverse culture.
Doing business in Eugene
Logging was one of the main industries of Eugene but was far from the only one. There are still some logging and paper products made here but the economy has shifted towards healthcare, retail, agriculture and trade. There is no single major industry any longer which will help the city survive any future recessions or depressions.
Major employers in Eugene include; PeaceHealth Medical Group, University of Oregon, U.S. Government, Springfield School District and McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center.
Highlights of Eugene
Eugene is a small but forward looking city. It doesn’t have the high profile arts and culture scenes that many other cities do but it has plenty on offer for visitors and residents alike. The outdoors plays a significant role in local life given the geography but there are a lot of indoor venues too.
Some city highlights include the Oregon Ducks, Oregon Bach Festival, Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Hayward Field, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Spencer Butte, Ruth Bascom Riverbank Trail and the Museum of Natural and Cultural History.
Eugene city character
Thanks to the university, the culture of the city is rich and varied. Eugene is a very forward thinking city with a real emphasis on green living, environmental awareness and social responsibility. Combined with the work ethic and generosity of the region, it makes for a very pleasant environment within which to live and work.
Eugene is known for welcoming those from alternative ways of life and has been referred to as Hippie Mecca. It also named itself ‘A Great City for the Arts & Outdoors’. It is a fairly accurate label given the emphasis on living with the world around it and the embracing of outdoor sports.
Eugene is made up of just 23 neighborhoods. They are Amazon, Bethel, Cal Young, Churchill, Crest Drive, Downtown, Fairmount, Far West, Friendly, Goodpasture Island, Harlow, Industrial Corridor, Jefferson Westside, Laurel Hill Valley, Northeast, River Road, Santa Clara, South University, Southeast, Spencer Butte, Trainsong, West Eugene, West University and Whiteaker