EUGENE, Ore. -- Patrick Miles is recovering at Sacred Heart RiverBend after a brutal assault at Trainsong Park. According to Eugene Police, five men assaulted Miles early Tuesday morning. Miles can barely talk because he's in so much pain. Five days after the attack, that same park is packed with kids. Resident Nicole Sharette said kids used to never come to the park.
"This was not a place where families came and played," Sharette said. "People were afraid of the park."
Sharette is the president of the Trainsong Neighborhood Association. The group is less than two-years-old, but it's already having an impact on this community where 86 percent of the residents are renters. About 500 people showed up for neighborhood events last year. But, the real change, Sharette said, didn't require money, just open minds.
"One of the problems when you have a high crime rate is that neighbors assume it's the other neighbors," Sharette said. "And so no one was talking to each other. We were all afraid that our neighbors were criminals. Once we got out and started communicating, not only do we realize that our neighbors are there to help us out but that we want to help them out."
The city is taking note. Trainsong has been nominated for "Neighborhood Of The Year". The community also just received a city matching grant. The money will go towards re-surfacing the trail around the park. It's fitting, Sharette said, because the path her community is headed down is already looking smoother.
"I see a lot of promise," Sharette said.
KVAL News looked into the crime statistics of the Trainsong neighborhood compared to the rest of Eugene. Last year, there was one rape, 56 assaults and 50 reports of thefts -- a fraction of the city's overall crime rate.