On Thursday, January 16th, The Eugene Police Department (EPD) announced that Whoville, located on the corner of Broadway and Hilyard, would be served with an eviction notice the following morning. The city of Eugene released a statement to the Register Guard that the evicted parties could either go to the approved rest-stop at Roosevelt and Garfield which is already at maximum capacity or that they could potentially receive assistance from local services to transition into safe and legal shelter; waiting lists are already frustratingly long. The mention of the city-approved Rest Stop has since been redacted.
The citizens of Whoville have courageously created a safety net for many who otherwise seek dubious refuge in various corners of the city. At Whoville they share supplies, food, clean water, bathrooms and a hand-washing station. The occupants check in on each other frequently as they depend on each other for physical and mental support.
Occupy Medical offers preventative treatment for many issues that commonly afflict Un-housed citizens during wintertime, including but not limited to: Influenza, H1N1, Bronchitis, Pneumonia/Atypical Pneumonia, Urinary Tract Infections, and an array of skin conditions such as Trench Foot and Frostbite. Dispersing this segment of our community puts OM out of their reach and at further risk for illness. By forcing Whoville to close without other viable shelter, the mental and physical well-being of these people are put at further risk. Under these circumstances, it is less likely that they will or can access the health care they need.
Life on the streets is dangerous. Sleep deprivation chips away at the body and the mind. Separating Eugene’s Whoville citizens from access to adequate healthcare is a serious issue. Separating Eugene’s Whoville citizens from a bathroom is a serious contamination issue for the entire community. Roughly 40-50 people stay at Whoville. That’s about 1500 pounds of fecal matter a month that mayno longer be disposed of in a sanitary manner, as stated by Alley Valkyrie.
We at Occupy Medical, feel compelled to remind you that two short weeks ago Mayor Piercy graciously bestowed an award of service upon OM, recognizing the importance of “…significant efforts to address the health needs of our community’s most vulnerable residents,” and we do implore you, City of Eugene and Eugene Police Department to:
-Cease and rescind the eviction.
-Find secure, safe, and legal shelter for these individuals.
-Make significant efforts to address the health needs of our community’s most vulnerable residents.
The eviction of Whoville will only increase the risk of exposure and transmission of illnesses that have been otherwise successfully prevented or treated with our partnership. We stand by our belief that health care is a human right and we care about the people in this community dearly. The removal and dispersal of the people of Whoville will have negative effects on us all.
Please, we implore you, don’t exile these people back to the shadows.
The Volunteers of Occupy Medical