One of the things that make us lucky here at the village, which we abbreviate as E1V, is all the help we get from benefactors, donors, and volunteers. Whenever someone has a need, it seems like help arrives from multiple sources and problems get solved.
Problem Solving. If you like problem-solving, this is a fun place to be, as there are ever new challenges, some foreseen, and others popping into reality full-blown like Poseidon rising out of the ocean.
With the Covid imperative cooling down if not diminishing, the city felt it was time to bring the tent community in Washington Jefferson Park to an end by relocating everyone to Safe Sleep sites around the city.
While the new site on Garfield run by St. Vinnies is an excellent facility, it is not set up to accommodate pets. Wanting to help out E1V volunteered to take ten of the remaining households, all with pets, mostly dogs.
And that is where the problem-solving begins. As you can see, our site, while large, only has a fraction of the area paved and ready to take residents, and this area is pretty full already, with over 30 villagers. (This is actually an older photo. The area with the RVs is completely full now.)
Where will we put everyone? In what sort of structure? And again this is why we feel lucky to have so many community partners. First, the city helps out:
Then Rexius Landscape steps up and offers to put some gravel down to create a space for the tents. This ends up being quite the event, as they show up with a kind of space aged machine that shoots the gravel where you need it in a remarkably precise way, providing a spectacle for all lovers of large machinery (mostly grown men bouncing around like boys), as it puts down gravel in a 60 ft. by 60 ft. area to the West of the motorhomes in about an hour, and has the time to lay some gravel behind our warehouse to provide level, elevated access for villagers to their common room, as well as great relief to anyone who thought it was going to be crews of volunteers with shovels packing it down.
Okay, so, we have the tents and the space, but until July, when the rains end for a couple of months, what will we do to keep these tents from being swamped on the ground in classic Eugene, OR fashion? Under the guidance of our resident builder and problem solver Amiel, volunteers and villagers really outdid themselves building platforms for the tents in little over a day.
As of now, we have already welcomed one former park-based dog owner to our community, and we are currently working out some of the kinks with the setup and will be soon welcoming at least nine other folks with their pets.
We appreciate Allen Hancock, City of Eugene Park Ambassador, for helping us to make contact with our new villagers and his past two-years of service to help people experiencing homelessness shelter safely in place.
There is so much work to be done, and we are getting so much help from all over the place. It is hectic and challenging, but it is really really fun too. Stay tuned.