Occupants of a temporary camp for unhoused community members near W. 13th Avenue and Chambers Street in Eugene will have an opportunity to move out of winter weather and into a warm, dry shelter starting January 10, with the help of St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County.
Conditions at the 13th Avenue temporary camp have degraded steadily since the onset of wet winter weather. The City has regularly brought in deliveries of bark and other material for moisture control, and site staff have worked with occupants to relocate tents to drier areas, and to replace tents that have become unusable because of weather and site conditions. However, recent severe weather underscores that there is no reasonable solution to keep the site habitable.
St. Vincent de Paul, service provider for the Safe Sleep sites at 310 Garfield and 410 Garfield, and operator of several other programs funded in part by the City for unhoused residents, has offered the use of an indoor hoop building at the Dawn to Dawn site at 717 Highway 99 North, as a way to shelter occupants of the 13th Avenue temporary camp. The facility will be heated, and have access to food, showers and laundry, and each occupant will be provided with a new sleeping bag, pad and tent with standing room, and storage for personal belongings.
The hoop building at Dawn to Dawn can hold about 37 tent spaces, which are being offered first to occupants of the 13th Avenue temporary camp. Also, St. Vincent de Paul will hold beds in its Dawn to Dawn program for occupants of the 13th Avenue temporary camp. Together, these spaces would provide a healthier, safer shelter option for the people at 13th Avenue.
The Safe Sleep site at 410 Garfield Street is in the final stages of preparation, and will be ready to receive occupants indoors within several weeks. Because of the conditions at 13th Avenue, the City has been weighing other more immediate options.
The City had always intended to prioritize occupants of the temporary camps for available healthier, safer shelter options, such as the Safe Sleep sites. With this new opportunity from St. Vincent de Paul now available, the City intends to close the 13th Avenue site to everyone, including those currently camping at the site. Once closed to the public, the site will be rehabilitated.
City staff and St. Vincent de Paul will assist occupants with packing campsites and moving, as desired and requested. Vehicles and staff are available to help with moving starting January 10.
The St. Vincent de Paul programs at 410 Garfield St. and Dawn to Dawn do not accept pets, for health and safety reasons in the congregate settings. City staff know that several occupants remaining at 13th Avenue have pets, and staff have been exploring different options for those campers. Campers can choose to work with St. Vincent de Paul staff and Greenhill Humane Society for temporary pet accommodations, or they can work with City staff to temporarily relocate to an alternate location if they choose to keep their pets with them.
Starting January 18, the 13th Avenue site will be closed to everyone. People currently camping at the site will need to complete their transition to a new location by that date.