Posts Tagged ‘Eugene’
Each fiscal year, the City of Eugene allocates a small amount of public money to the Human Rights Commission, which goes toward community event funding requests. The Oregon Vagabond is pleased to announce that on June 21, 2011 the City of Eugene Human Rights Commission (HRC) endorsed our Vagabond Basketball Tuesdays, Writing Workshop and Support Group. The HRC also approved our request for funding; we were granted $100 (maximum) to spend on these activities. Recipients of Human Rights Commission funding have met the approval guidelines and aligns with their mission – “The City of Eugene values the dignity of all human beings. We are committed to:
- Ensuring that human rights are a central part of every City program;
- Respecting and reflecting cultural and individual diversity;
- Fostering mutual understanding; and
- Promoting inclusiveness, justice and equity.”
For more information, visit the City of Eugene Equity and Human Rights Center‘s website.
The Oregon Vagabond is very thankful for and encouraged by receiving the support of the City of Eugene Human Rights Commission.
On Saturday, June 25, I attended an event held from noon to 3:00 p.m. under the Washington-Jefferson Bridge, an outreach to those experiencing homelessness in Eugene. Hosted in partnership by the University Fellowship (UFC) and Free People who serves Eugene’s homeless community, everything at this event was free: music, food, beverages, haircuts, clothing, photo sessions and crafts for kids… all provided by volunteers.
Jennifer Brown and her partner Alonzo Cole, along with their children Jorden Cole 5, Zoie Garcia 3 and their friend Celeste Lee 7 attended the event. What brought them is best shared in Jennifer’s own words:
“What brought me to the event was my friend Starrla who is also my daughter’s (Zoie) aunt and Jeff, who is like my dad – we call him Papa. Papa is currently homeless and during the summer he enjoys it most. I myself have lived through the homeless times during my childhood living in cars 5th wheels and tents, in my teen years, up in the mountains off the side of the road. Having parents with drug addictions led to our homelessness. Although I am currently unemployed and life has thus had its struggles, I am doing okay and have a mobile home to call my own. I am very fortunate for the resources the community has to offer and am currently a volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul and getting work experience.”
I took photos of Jennifer and her family as they were waiting for the volunteer photographer to do a photo session with them. I told the kids that they could practice their poses with me… “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.
People lined up for the opportunity to pose for a free portrait session with friends and loved ones, like Jennifer’s family and these two buddies here:
I ran into my homeless friend Bobie and hung out with her as she had her hair cut by a volunteer. Although Bobie has had an extremely difficult year, when we talk she not only shares some of her heartbreaks and problems with me, but she shares her amazing, optimistic perspective on what her life could be like in the future, IF…. I think her new look reflects that vibrant glimmer of hope that resonates in her voice and eyes when she talks about her dreams.
Bobie before her haircut.
People lined up and patiently waited their turn for a free haircut.
The new Bobie!
I too am thankful for the resources our community has to offer those experiencing homelessness, and the messages of love in action, faith and hope in Christ shared by UFC and the mission of Free People to serve the homeless, as they say “without requirements or expectations, offering practical assistance for those in need.”
Click here for a list of other resources and social services available to the homeless community in Eugene/Springfield (Lane County, Oregon).
More photos from the event:
Gathering at Washington-Jefferson Park.
Free music. Free clothing.
Food prepared and served by volunteers.
Free medical advice.
Face-painting and crafts for kids of all ages.
by L.E. Erickson
When you get off the road and enter Eugene, you will notice a few things. One, downtown, two, all the parks, and three, the river. But mainly what you’ll hear about is the Whitaker. All of these places are all what nakes up Eugene. At times there are social settings that haven’t reached the same culture as everyone else in the US.
What occurs in this town while you’re homeless is mainly up to you. All of the mentioned spots are good and a couple bad. Don’t be drawn into downtown’s everyday drama; it has been blown up beyond all proportion. The parks are cool for short periods of time.
Now at the river, you can swim, laugh, enjoy your personal beverages and just have fun. It also can be a relaxing place to tan or meditate.
All these things can keep you sane in this town while you’re here.
The Whitaker is unexplainable, just treat “the Whit” right and it will do the same for you. And remember, friends, winter is coming, so prepare. Everyone is in this together, survive as friends and we will all make it through anything. Fight and we’ll perish. That’s exactly what the Eugene police want, what the taxpayers and all the other officials in this town push for: NO HOMELESS.
So remember while you’re here, the citizens are not just the community, the homeless are as well.
By Thomas Templeton
When we first arrived in Eugene we was only going to stay for about a week, then we was headed back to California to settle down. It has been two months now and we are still here in Eugene.
I thought being homeless here would be like it was everywhere else “hard and uneasy.” But it’s not like I expected, it’s better. There are so many opportunities and resources for us homeless it’s incredible. Here in Eugene they have feeds downtown Monday thru Thursday at a diner that serves three sides, which is actually very good food and the people who volunteer are really nice people who take four hours out of their own day four days a week just for us homeless. That should only show that not all people think only of themselves but of others too!
On Saturday at twelve a group of people get together at Washington Jefferson to feed not only homeless but everyone. On Friday the church feeds, so unlike bein’ in California with very little ways to keep from bein’ hungry, Eugene has the best sources for homeless that keeps us striving for another day. Most everyone thinks bein’ homeless means that you’re a dirty and unhealthy bum, but that would be the largest judgment on homeless anyone could ever make. Us homeless in Eugene have almost more resources to keep our hygiene to its max. For example, homeless have the Mission who not only lets us shower but also lets you get clothing and tennis shoes almost when needed. We have the Service Station, which feeds you and also lets you shower, and on top of that, they have washers and dryers, which to me as a homeless is very thankful for the opportunity to be able to experience bein’ homeless in Eugene.
People ask why I chose to settle down in Eugene and I tell them that, because of all the resources, Eugene has inspired me to not just want to better myself but Eugene makes me feel like I have to. That if I can do it anyone can and that is what I feel I should do for myself as a homeless. I want the people who does for the homeless to be able to see me one day soon and be able to say I knew you could do it, all you need was opportunity and encouragement from others. That what I hope for myself is to achieve what I’ve been striving for 27 years of my life, freedom from being under judgment.
By Michelle Gunn
I’ve been asked where I’m from. I don’t know how to answer that question. I was born in Coos Bay, Oregon, but by the time my mother died when I was nine, I’d lived in 22 states.
Eugene is now my home. This is a beautiful city with a small town feel. People take care of each other here. If I’m hungry I can get food, if thirsty there is always a water fountain nearby. The people here are willing to share “until the wheels fall off,” as a friend of mine always says. I am proud to call Eugene my home and you all my neighbors.
There is so much love in this town – if you ever need anything all you do is ask and it will happen. I’m still not sure where I’m from, but as far as home goes it’s here in Eugene.
by The Wanderer
Regarding my life today working for The Oregon Vagabond, I can say this much – the stories we choose to write for the community are written from the heart, and we don’t mind sharing our personal stories. When I chose to live on the streets, I started out doing a lot of things which today I am not proud of. I started getting into a great deal of trouble with the law. It was getting harder and my luck was running out. Then I was introduced to the homeless newspaper (Street Roots) in Portland. I had been trying many different ways to make a living. One day I went to the office, applied for the job, and got myself a stack of newspapers. Then I had to pick an area where I would stand and hold up a few newspapers for sale. When people purchase the homeless paper, vendors keep all the profits, and buy more newspapers at the print-cost. Now I’m calling Eugene home, and I work for the Vagabond. So please keep supporting our newspaper, the vendors need these jobs and I hope you enjoy reading it.