Eugene is of course famous for being the home of “Animal House“, that legendary movie of campus debauchery. When I walked by this house the other day, that’s obviously what sprung to mind, a big old run-down house with a couple of old cars out front and other signs Animal House-dom.
Now you might assume that there’s still plenty of these student hell-holes around given that Eugene is a university town, but you’s be wrong. Not only is this house not occupied by students, but it’s just about the last of its kind. Student housing has gentrified at an even faster pace than the rest of the town. Things have changed mightily that way, which makes this a bit refreshing, even if it isn’t a genuine Animal House.
Here’s the original. And even it wasn’t exactly representative at the time when the film was shot in 1978, as this old house was scheduled to be razed and replaced with an ugly medical office.
Just a few blocks away stands one the many giant new student housing complexes built in Eugene in the past dozen years or so. There’s been a huge boom in these here and in other university towns, as large corporations realized there was money to be made, especially during the recent period of extremely low interest rates.
Student housing trends reflect the changes in society at large, meaning the greater stratification of income means that most students know come from upper-middle class families (or better), and grew up in nice newer houses. So kids nowadays are not interested in slummy old houses, even guys. This has changed the whole student housing rental market here considerably. The older apartments near the campus are increasingly being rented by non-students, and the once very high rents for houses near campus have moderated. And many of them have been sold, due to high real estate prices and moderating rents for them.
Students want to live in these places, as they have all the amenities, including designated socializing/party areas, like on the rooftop of this building, the HUB.
Back to this house. It’s out on the west side, not a typical student area. But it’s still something of an outlier or time capsule, as gentrification’s relentless march has its effect. Well, that and a Volvo 122 does tend to hark back to a different era.
The driveway includes an old Toyota pickup and a bit of other stuff. As rents have risen, owners of rental properties have found it more lucrative to spruce them up and get tenants that are bit less old-school than these.
Of course I don’t know who actually owns this place. Someone’s aunt or uncle?
Speaking of Animal House, being named Niedermeyer and living in Eugene means I do get asked none too often about that. Of course! I am Niedermeyer!
And looking at this clip, one would hardly recognize the location now, with historic Hayward Field in the background. it’s currently a massive construction zone, as it was all torn down to make room for a new Hayward Field.
This is what’s going up, another massive project financed by Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, which started right here at Hayward Field, when Knight started making better running shoes at home and selling them to his fellow runners.
The Animal House era is truly gone.