Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Legalized Homeless Camps in Eugene, Oregon and the Consequences That May Follow

   Late September 2013, six out of eight city council members in Eugene, Oregon passed an ordinance to authorize one, volunteer-ran homeless camp to be set up. This camp would be a test run. Recommended by City Manager Jon Ruiz, the council would vote again on authorizing more than one 15 person camp, if this test run passed. The criteria of this passing would likely be subjective to the councilors opinions. Non profit groups and volunteers would provide the garbage service and portable toilets at no costs to the city.

   Councilor Claire Sryrett said, (according to article in Registered Guard September 24, 2013, by Edward Russo) “...is not a cure for homelessness in Eugene, but the camps will be better for some of the 'hundreds of people' who have been sleeping for years in city parks and other public land.”. George Poling, one of the two dissenters, had a differing opinion as he states, “All we are doing is warehousing them and not working with them to end their homelessness.”

     As a resident of Eugene for about a decade, I know this city to be one that is friendly to the vagabond culture, at least compared to other areas in US. There are many beggars on the street corners, young and old, men and women, sometimes at seemingly every intersection you come to. Of course there is food and shelter available to them for the most part, with The Mission, food banks, churches, food stamps, Shelter Care, Looking Glass, Whitebird, and more. This doesn't mean it's easy being homeless, or that these resources are all open to them particularly, but mostly the reason why anyone is begging is for cash is for: drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol.

Mathew Knight Arena
   Eugene, Oregon is a very liberal town because of the counter culture 60's when beatniks and hippies would come hang out here as a social center for drugs and music. The likes of which are Ken Kesey, Jack Kerouac, Grateful Dead, and the Merry Go Pranksters. The town has become a city now, and its main influence of change has been the University of Oregon, which has been blessed with money from Alumni Phil Knight -- who founded Nike. The University attracts many students from all over the world and has a campus worth likely billions of dollars. This is an interesting contrast to the rotting culture just behind the grounds of the campus, and this is where this 15 people homeless camp has been set up. Right by the main thoroughfare of the city, near downtown, this eye sore can be seen with its portable toilet and many tents.

   This manifested growth of liberal socialistic sympathies, must be from a guilty conscience of those ex- hippies who are now yuppies living the good life off of the “man”. Kitty Piercy being the principle one, as she is the Mayor of this vagabond/college opulent city. One could gather that this grand idea is a badge of honor for the bleeding heart liberals, and a way to rationalize living the good life at the expense of their integrity.

   In the mind of a homeless person named Dawn Mclaren, writer for the Vagabond Paper November 12, 2011, he says, “No one asks to be homeless and in one day anyone can be.” Indeed I can attest to this fact as I have spent long periods homeless, and I didn't plan this to happen. This statement is very profound in actuality, this may be the truth more than you know. Especially if there is a dollar collapse and the system held up by an illusion falls apart.

   So is this a good idea, what are the consequences? Is the worst just an eyesore and more beggars on the ever-rare vacant corners? Well consider the occupy Eugene movement which began in October15, 2011 and ended on December27, 2011. This camping fiasco was ended with someone being murdered in one of the camps. Rick Youngblood was beaten one night by two men after an argument, and died the next morning at the hospital. This ended any sympathy the occupy movement had with the people who live in Eugene, and ended the camping a few days later. I might add, it took about a year for the grass to recover from the thousands of people involved with the mess. According to KVAL news on December 11, 2011, reported by Kristina Nelson, “Drinking, drug use, sexual assaults-- according to the Eugene Police Department-- it's all happening on a daily basis at occupy Eugene.”

   In conclusion, I want to deduct the consequences to this experiment, and touch on some of the sociological issues involved. The main danger here is the gathering together an assortment of unstable people to a spot in the middle of an urban area. The same problems are going to occur which happened at occupy, and worse, if made a permanent allowance. The solution isn't good enough, and this half effort is only going to help rich people feel better, as if they did something. Really, they could start a real shelter that housed hundreds of people or help gather funds for places like the Mission, which gives people a home, food, and support to get out of the cycle of homelessness. The people I see at these camps are usually able bodied younger people who seem to just be lost and looking for something cool to be a part of. 

   Any homeless person with a half of brain, camps out by a river or somewhere isolated where they can enjoy life away from people. The sociological problems here concerned are too enormous to jot down easily, but let me try and be concise to say: the money masters create the problems and then they come up with the solution -- which gives them control. We are simply in a destructive period of time nearing collapse, awaiting the money masters to pull out the rug and make us totally dependent on big brother. The solution in reality, in actual truthful point-of-fact, direct, upfront candor is: Jesus Christ and following the Holy Bible in the King James Authorized Version. It says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." If this was followed we wouldn't have a homeless problem.

   Sounds harsh? It's love, if I didn't love the homeless, I would tell them: “we will make a way for you to be homeless forever, don't you worry.”


  1. We need to end homelessness. No more half measures. http://wh.gov/l8kgK

  2. This is a very well written article. And there is no doubt that Jesus moves mountains. That God is the only answer to all the difficulties that homeless people face. I do think that we forget that God does not always answer prayers directly or immediately. Drug addicts and alcoholics would be the toughest crowd to 'cure'. they are quite headstrong and willful about living in sin. The rest? Well, they all need prayers unending. Definitely one social problem that requires work on the part of the individual, excluding kids-who are dependent on adults, Christians and the local government. Powerful article.

  3. Thanks for reading and commenting Rafyel, it is a problem that is tough to cure. There are testimonies of people who have found the Lord Jesus and been transformed from living on the streets in addictions to productive members of society and God's kingdom more importantly. Scott Lively comes to mind, and even my wife now, praise God.
    I will have to give an update on the camp situation in the near future. I do think the problem is mostly a hopelessness, and mental/spiritual wounds that haven't been addressed properly. Society is just not welcoming to those who aren't appealing to customers in the service industry. In small part that is a glimpse of the situation. God bless.


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