EUGENE, Ore. — The Trude Kaufman House is currently vacant, and neighbors say that it’s attracting unwanted visitors. They’re hopeful a new tenant could solve the problem.
Neighbors say they’ve noticed problems with people loitering and starting fires at the vacant building. So on Tuesday night they’ll discuss a future for the building that was meant to provide a community resource.
“I think it’s been boarded up for something like two years now,” said Stephen Heider, Jefferson-Westside Neighborhood Association Chair.
But just because it’s boarded up doesn’t mean people haven’t found their way in.
“The neighbors have noticed people coming and going at odd hours and staying in the back and what not,” Heider said.
With recent reports of squatters starting a fire in the building, neighbors have had enough.
The Jefferson-Westside Neighbors Association will hold its monthly meeting Tuesday night to discuss plans for the future of the historic building. A possible candidate is the OSU Lane County Extension Service. Leaders of the extension service says they’ve had their eyes on the building and want the neighbors’ approval to move in.
“It would be a great home base. It’s centrally located in Eugene. People know the building,” said Patty Driscoll, OSU Extension Service Program Assistant.
Neighbors say the intent of the Trude Kaufman House is to provide a service to the community. Staff at the extension service think they can offer just that.
“We could reestablish the gardens that were there and have kind of a demonstration garden there for the citizens of Eugene,” Driscoll said.
OSU’s Lane County extension program offers classes on sustainable gardening and farming. Faculty hope to use the classes as a means of giving back to the community.
‘It’s somewhere where we could be holding classes for the public, and they could be getting that information from us,” Driscoll said.
It’s a chance for the neighbors to fill a void and the university to provide the service it wants to give the public.
“Trude Kaufman would appreciate it being used…and it’s a very lovely old house,” Driscoll said.
The extension service will give its pitch to neighbors of the building at Tuesday night’s Jefferson-Westside Neighbors Association meeting.
Ultimately, it’s the city’s call as to how the building gets used, but OSU staff says they want the neighbors to be on board before moving forward.