For 75 days, in one of the longest running occupations in the US, Occupy Eugene provided a legal place to sleep, three meals daily, professional medical assistance, job skills trainings, and most importantly, a community for hundreds of homeless folks in Eugene. Simultaneously, we have explored with the city how Eugene might better serve homeless people.
This week, the city of Eugene unilaterally shut down the site at Washington Jefferson Park, and after two nights of the Wheeler Pavilion being open to provide beds for those coming from the Occupation, folks are back on the street again, just in time for Christmas.
Occupy Eugene appreciates that the city has put forth additional funds, created a task force with seats for homeless people, and expanded the car camping program by adding sites and allowing tents. However, these efforts do not add up to the far greater support that was available at the Occupy Eugene site, and none of the city’s efforts are happening on a community basis among equals, which was more respectful than a government handout.
The alarming number of people who are homeless is a consequence of our deeply unjust economic and political systems, systems which Occupy Eugene is dedicated to changing. In the meantime, we are proud to have taken on the task of helping some of the people most affected – entirely with volunteered time, and as a community.
Occupy Eugene remains strong, renting an office in the Grower’s Market Building and making use of a donated warehouse on 7th and Polk. Plans to participate in the national Occupy the Courts protest are underway, and the unfair foreclosure of many Eugene homes presents another opportunity for Occupy Eugene to support people impacted by unjust systems.
We invite the community to join in our efforts to address systemic injustice while we continue to occupy the minds of Eugene.
This Press Release was approved by the general assembly of Occupy Eugene.
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