Occupy Eugene is extremely saddened by the news of the death of Rick Adam Youngblood, who was involved in a fight at the Occupy Eugene site late Monday night.
Life on the streets is rarely easy. The unfortunate and hidden truth about homelessness is that it can be violent and dangerous, as we saw in the microcosm of street life that sprung up at Occupy Eugene. As a society, we condone and promote this state of affairs when we push the unhoused into the shadows on the periphery of our community and limit the resources available to them. The fight which ended Rick Adam Youngblood’s life was an unsettlingly common event; of a type generally dismissed by society.
One aspect of the Occupy Eugene camp at Washington-Jefferson park often overlooked by media and the police is the sense of community and place that it provided to the unhoused who lived there. Many of the unhoused individuals and families residing at the camp testified to the dramatic increase in safety and security that the location provided. It is unfortunate that this aspect of the camp’s function will not be replicated or replaced by the “transitional services” the city is attempting to coordinate for the camp’s residents.
In Younglood’s situation, the Occupy Eugene volunteer medics on site were able to respond more quickly than other emergency medical personnel would have been able to, and worked with police personnel to assist Rick when they arrived. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances and location of the fight and the severity of his injuries, they were not able to provide assistance in time.
We thank members of our community, and Eugene police who did their best to tend to his injuries, and we send our condolences to Mr. Youngblood’s relatives and friends.
Occupy Eugene is holding a candlelight vigil in memory of Rick Adam Youngblood and other victims of street violence at 6:30pm today, December 23, at the Morse Free Speech Plaza.
This press release has been approved by the General Assembly of Occupy Eugene.