The City of Eugene has extended the 24/7 clean air shelter at the Expo Center at Lane Events Center/Fairground to remain open until Thursday at noon, when the air quality advisory ends. Staff will continue to reassess the need for extending clean air shelter space. Due to COVID-19 health protocols, the overnight respite center will serve up to 15 vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness. Currently, only one section of space in the Lane Events Center is available due to another multi-day event happening there.
Access to the respite center is available through referral through White Bird, open daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. at 341 E. 12th Ave., or their 24-hour crisis line, 541-687-4000.
In addition, the Hilyard Community Center will be open as a daytime clean air shelter from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and through 5 p.m. Thursday.
The City of Eugene and Lane County have been working together to establish clean air shelters since Wednesday, September 9. These started out at Hilyard and Petersen Barn Community Centers and the Lane Events Center for people who do not have access to indoor shelter. Lane Events Center expanded to include an overnight shelter on Sunday. Our homeless outreach staff have been working to share information about the shelter’s availability directly through partner service providers.
The challenges of securing adequate, safe space and appropriate staffing while also protecting vulnerable community members from COVID-19 have been significant as we work to offer our community smoke respite shelter options. City staff have been actively reaching out to partners across the community in a search for overnight shelter space. We have faced a significant challenge in finding additional space that is large enough to accommodate COVID-19 protections with HVAC systems that can ensure safe air quality. We appreciate the help of community partners in identifying additional respite sites.
To date Lane County has worked with homeless service providers to distribute N95 masks, so far supplying 360. The City is currently working to set up distribution of additional masks to homeless service providers to support demand.
Read more about McKenzie/Holiday Farm Fire information and resources.