Tempers flare at Bethel community meeting

A crowd of Bethel residents on Thursday night confronted leaders of a charity organization who want to build a house for homeless boys near an elementary school and a park.

Posted: Jun 15, 2018 12:08 AM
Updated: Jun 15, 2018 7:41 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A crowd of Bethel residents on Thursday night confronted leaders of a charity organization who want to build a house for homeless teenage boys near an elementary school and a park.

In a public meeting at Bethesda Lutheran Church, 4445 Royal Ave., neighbors said the proposed 13-bed house near Avalon and Legacy streets was not appropriate for the location which is close to Bethel Community Park and Meadow View School.

"It's built on a playground next to a K thru 8 school, in the middle of the Meadow View area neighborhoods where people have worked very hard to create good lives for their families," one man said. "And now they're gonna go strip all that away from them by bringing in something that nobody in that area wants and will reduce their quality of life."

But not everyone was against the idea.

"I feel we're being hypocritical," Dina Fortier said. "We talk about the homeless people, and then we don't do anything about it. And it can't change if we don't do something about it. If we're constantly turning our back then how's it gonna get resolved?"

The group behind the project, St. Vincent de Paul, opened a similar home for teenage girls in Eugene.

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