A Word To kitty Piercy

Posted: June 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

Greetings and best wishes Mrs. Piercy. I hope your day has been good and that all things are well in your life and work.

I would like to discuss with you an issue that is dear to my heart and a matter of my every day survival. This issue is the lack of sleeping areas and facilities for the homeless. You see Mrs. Mayor,I am one of Eugene’s legions of homeless (1.8% of our population actually) and i have a couple of things i would like to discuss with you if you have the time. Of course, the wonderful thing about written correspondence is that if you do not have the time when you first get the message you can always put it aside and wait until you are able to make the time for it.

First off please let me say you have been a great mayor in most areas of your political agenda  and i do think that you are a well meaning person who is interested in helping those in need. If i did not believe this i would have never have voted for you to begin with.  I believe that you are sincere and have tried to do what is good and right, however, with that being said, i also think that  on the issue of homelessness in Eugene you have come up short. Not due to a failure of effort, you have most definitely tried on their behalf. No, i think the failing is in the fact that you, not being one of us, simply do not understand the needs of the homeless as well as you could and therefor do not have a true understanding of how to act in a way that will be the most beneficial to both the homeless and the city itself. If you can find it in yourself to listen for a bit,I would like to address two of the issues the city drops the ball on the most. perhaps you will find something of interest thats will make you efforts applicable to more of the homeless than just those with vehicles.

1. restrooms: Ma’am, in this city there are very few restrooms available to the public and therefor the homeless after about 6pm.  The restrooms at the parking structure downtown is open until 10pm, but after that there is nowhere to relive ourselves. Unfortunately this only leaves one option, public urination. Believe me when i say Mrs, Piercy that this is not something the homeless want to do any more than its something you want them doing.  It’s not only unhealthy and disrespectful, but it’s humiliating to us. We would much rather use the restroom in privacy instead of looking for a bush out in the open to handle this in. not only do we get forced to do this in public, but, we run the risk of being ticketed or worse by the police. Ma’am, it would be awful to be forced to register as a sex offender due to being hit with a “public Indecency” charge. As Mayor i know you can not be pleased with the idea of people using your city as a public bathroom either. it is absolutely not acceptable, but, what else are we supposed to do? use our pants? Solution: there is two ways to improve this situation Mrs. Mayor.  One would be to leave the restrooms in the parking structures open throughout  the night. This would be no different than closing them at 10pm. Nothing that can not happen at 9:30 pm will happen at 12am. There is no reason for the closure of these restrooms. It is merely a procedure and one with no reasoning behind it. Two, Place outhouses in public places for the use by people who need them. This would be a good way to curb the urinating in public. Places such as the park in which Saturday Market is held, or in public parks or alleys (where they would fit) would give those of us living on the streets a place to relieve ourselves without messing up the public places or risking criminal convictions. Now, unless you think i do not understand the concerns about doing this let me assure you, i do.

The prevalence of both Heroin and Meth in our city makes these public restrooms a risk for abuse. There are those who would use these to abuse the drug of choice and would leave needles and other messes in these areas.  There are ways to guard against that also, however, as several of the homeless population in Eugene reads my blog, i will not post these resolutions here. Feel free to contact me on facebook and i will gladly explain these to you.

2. Camping: Ok, I understand you have made attempts at addressing this issue. Your legalized camping program has been very helpful to several people I know in Eugene and it has given some of us a secure area to sleep and store our stuff, however, there are weaknesses in it. For one, to participate in this program you must first possess a car as all of the sites are for vehicles. Ma’am, only about 40% of homeless actually have a vehicle of some sort which leaves the majority of us out of the running for a place to legally camp. Second, even if these sites allowed for people to camp without the use of a car, most are completely too far removed from the reachable parts of the city for the typical homeless to take advantage of. An example would be the site near the airport. Mrs. Piercy, buses do not even run out to this location. The closest bus being outside of airport road on Hwy 99 and only running 4-5 routes a day ending at 5:30pm. These areas are completely of no value to the average homeless citizen of this city. Solution: Again, i am not blind to the issues of allowing the homeless to camp in either public or semi public places. Messes, drug paraphernalia and the afore mentioned public urination all come to mind. I believe this is a two fold solution. One, designate camping areas in semi public areas that do not provide cover for drug use. Areas that will allow them an area to sleep but that will also keep them somewhat in the public eye. as far as garbage goes you create a job or two by hiring people to conduct morning cleanings of the area to pick up any trash left behind by those sleeping there. Two, petition the federal government for grants to create living for the homeless and use the grants to buy or build an area that would operate much like the warming centers that Eugene has during cold weather. They for sleeping only, must be gone by a certain time and the doors are open all night for people needing the sleeping space. Again, you could create a few jobs by hiring people to man the shelter and run it each day. I understand that this does not happen over night, but it can happen and with your record I am sure you could make it happen Mrs. Piercy. the federal government for a rather large catalog of things, i am sure something could be found that would allow this to happen.

Once again Mrs. Piercy, i feel you have been a force for good in the City of Eugene, but on this one issue i think there needs to be a reboot on how it is thought about in  your administration. It would take a little effort, but things can change with this issue.

I thank you for you time and consideration and hope you will be able to take my issues seriously and as those of a one time supporter of yours.

 

respectfully,

 

EW

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