Sleeping safely: Eugene opens new site for homeless campers

The location on Garfield Street has water, food and bathrooms.

Posted: Oct 4, 2021 12:51 PM
Updated: Oct 4, 2021 7:17 PM

EUGENE, Ore.--Eugene’s first “Safe Sleep Site” is open.

Officials say about 13 people moved into the site at 310 Garfield Street Monday.

The site is capable of holding a total up to 55 small cars or RVs and has running water, food, and bathrooms. Residents of the site will have access to running water, bathrooms and hot food. The Portland chapter of St. Vincent de Paul also donated a kitchen bus that seats up to 18 people. This will provide campers access to hot meals.

MORE: Campers at Washington Jefferson Park in limbo as Safe Sleep Sites pushed back

KEZI 9 News spoke to some of the first few people moving into the site. Genni has been in a unhoused situation for a few months. She said she is thankful to be living at the 310 Garfield location for the city's "Safe Sleep Sites."

"How can you really pass it up when you've got a chance of being somewhere that you know you're going to be safe for an extended period of time compared to having to move," said Genni. 

Genni is waiting for a house through the Homes for Good program; she said she should be hearing back soon on her future living situation.

City officials said sites like the 310 Garfield location are designed as a temporary spot for people to stay while they get things together to find a more permanent housing situation. 

These "Safe Sleep Sites" will be monitored 24/7, so people living there can feel safe. There will also be codes given to residents of the sites to enter bathrooms and other facilities. 

Kayla Pollard is a client service coordinator for St. Vincent de Paul; she has been working with the city to get people ready to move into the site. 

"We went out a couple weeks ago and we just talked with the folks that were staying in the RV's or their vehicles and let them know that we were going to be launching this program to see if it was interest to them, and then we went out last week and actually scheduled appointments; today, tomorrow, and Wednesday for move-in times for individuals," said Pollard. 

Pollard said the process has been smooth and she is excited to continue working with the community. 

RELATED: City of Eugene hopes to provide smooth transition for Safe Sleep Sites

KEZI 9 News also spoke to another new resident of the site. Katherine Nodine has lived in Eugene for about 7 years. She said being able to move to the 310 Garfield location is a blessing. 

"It really warms me up to know I've got people watching my stuff when I'm not here, and it's nice. I just hope that they can get it going even further and longer for other people," said Nodine. 

Nodine also said she is thankful to finally get a good night's sleep aftering living off of Delta Highway for the last year and half. 

Another location next door to the 310 Garfield is the 410 Garfield location. This site was approved in September by the City of Eugene. Officials said it will hold around 80 tents. The city is still working with the company that owns the building to figure out when the site will open and what it will offer people. 

MORE: Eugene councilors approve 3 new 'Safe Sleep Sites'

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