Friendly (Eugene, OR)

Named after a much-loved German immigrant who took the city by storm, South Eugene's Friendly neighborhood offers a variety of post-war houses with easy access to two of the city's largest parks. Inside its boundaries, you'll also find a 2-acre nature preserve, one of Lane County's top elementary schools, and a crunchy granola vibe that could only come from having two locally-owned grocery stores committed to selling sustainable products. "This is a quirky little area," says Betty Lou Duncan, the owner and principal broker at the Duncan Real Estate Group. "You either love it or you don't."

Sampson Hirem Freundlich, a.k.a. Samson Friendly, ran an upscale mercantile that brought the latest fabrics and patterns to downtown Eugene in the late 1800s. He spent 22 years on the University of Oregon's Board of Regents – which prompted the college to name one of its first dormitories in his honor. He served two terms on the Eugene City Council and one term as the city's mayor. More importantly, Samson Friendly tirelessly advocated for a 1907 ballot measure that continued the college's funding and kept it from closing after less than 30 years. The city named Friendly Street in his honor and the Friendly neighborhood is named after that street. But Samson Friendly isn't the only connection this neighborhood has to the University of Oregon. Residents call the neighborhood's eastern half College Hill because it stretches over a small hill that looks out over the university's main campus.

The Friendly neighborhood was developed well after its namesake died in 1917. Most of its houses were built after World War II, so its streets are lined with a mixture of bungalows from the late 1940s, ranch-style houses from the 1950s and 1960s, and split-level houses from the 1960s and 1970s. You might also see a few bungalows from the 1930s the closer you get to the city center and some Northwest Contemporary houses, which put a regional spin on mid-century modern design techniques, as you head towards the top of College Hill. Depending on their size and location, these houses fetch $450,000 to $650,000. They sit on medium 6,000 to 8,000-square-foot lots with room for a driveway, plenty of trees, and a fenced backyard. Duncan says some of the neighborhood's houses are in excellent condition, while others are a little rough. "You'll have a recently updated listing and right next to it is a rental that hasn't been touched since the 1960s," she says.

Neighborhood children will start their K-12 education at Adams Elementary School, which named the sixth-best of Lane County's 25 elementary schools. Students who live east of Friendly Street – which slices the neighborhood in half – will move on to Roosevelt Middle School and South Eugene High School, which are the county's second-best middle school and its best high school, according to Those who live west of Friendly Street will attend the Eugene School District's Arts and Technology Academy, which made Niche's list of standout middle schools for 2023, and Churchill High School, the third-best high school in Lane County.

Two of the city's largest parks – Amazon Creek and Westmoreland – stretch along the neighborhood's eastern and western edges. These two 100-acre parks offer a wide range of recreational facilities, including a disc golf course, a dog park, a sand volleyball court, sports fields, tennis courts, and walking paths. Closer to the center of the neighborhood, you'll find basic sets of playground equipment along with sand and water play features at Friendly Park on Friendly Street and Washington Park on Washington Street. The Friendly neighborhood is also home to the community-owned Madison Meadow nature preserve, which protects a 2-acre stretch of the Willamette Valley's wetland prairie dotted with orchard trees and has been visited by 100 species of birds.

Continuing this commitment to the environment, the Friendly neighborhood also hosts two small grocery stores – Cappella Market on the east side of College Hill and Friendly Street Market on its west side – that pride themselves in selling locally-raised meats and organic produce. It also has a Market of Choice and a handful of restaurants like the Glenwood Restaurant, a breakfast and lunch place that's been recognized with at least six "Best of Eugene" awards, Viking Brewing's Southtowne Pub, where you can pair a Shield Maiden Saison with a smorgasbord, and the Friendly Garden food cart pod, which hosts Masa's Yatai Japanese cuisine, Uumami Mediterranean, and Bartolotti's pizza.

"That's Friendly, it's just crazy," Duncan says. And that special bit of character makes this neighborhood a great place to call home.