Homeless speak out about camp at Lane County Commissioners meeting

Campers said they want to be self-sufficient and don’t want help from St. Vincent de Paul.

Posted: Nov. 6, 2018 6:55 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The homeless people living at a camp near Highway 99 and Roosevelt Boulevard voiced their concerns about the camp at a Lane County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday.

County officials opened the new camp near St. Vincent de Paul’s Lindholm Service Center so that people could get food, do laundry and take showers.

Lane County currently works with St. Vincent de Paul, but to ensure the increased number of campers in the area have what they need, the county has worked to expand their partnership with the organization.

However, the campers said they want to be self-sufficient and don’t want help from St. Vincent de Paul.

County officials said the partnership is necessary because they can’t provide the services these campers may need on a day-to-day basis.

“It doesn't discount at all the work the campers in the 99 location are doing among themselves and the community they're creating, but we also have the responsibility to provide access to services and opportunities in our community that aren't always easy for individuals to navigate on their own,” said Devon Ashbridge, a public information officer with Lane County.

Campers said that isn’t the only reason they are upset.

They also said they are upset because they said the county still hasn’t provided them with services they said they were promised.

"How dare you trick us into moving out of your face with promises that were absolutely never coming to fruition,” homeless advocate Eric Jackson said.

Jackson said many of them have not received bus passes, power or easy access to downtown areas.

County officials said the camp went up quickly and they are doing their best to provide services to the campers.

Officials with St. Vincent de Paul said campers do have access to the services at the Lindholm Service Center and said they strive to provide care in a compassionate way. 

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