Press Release from SLEEPS in Eugene, Oregon

Posted: January 21, 2013 in In Solidarity!, News Beyond Portland
Press Release
January 16, 2013

“God knows these are out of the box times.  When are we going to rise to the occasion and start thinking out of the box?  Old ideas created the problems we’re in.  They sure as *….* aren’t going to solve them.”  (SLEEPS activist)

The Trude Kaufman house, a former senior center, has lain dormant for two years now and the city plans to let it continue to do so until the generous Kaufman Trust fund runs out in 2015. Why not put seniors to work there instead, volunteering to help those who are unhoused?

The City has referenced expensive maintenance needed and a scant budget.  In a community with over 18% REAL unemployment and 1500 people on the streets there are many licensed plumbers, electricians and other construction workers who are sitting idle and who would be thrilled to be able to do anything useful.  People want to be productive and they would be eager to put their skills to use and help provide shelter day or night for those who are suffering on the streets.  BRING and other recycle opportunities have ample supplies at very low cost so both materials and labor are readily available. Seniors have time and talents.
In an era in which capital resources are scant and need rampant, it would behoove the community to tap into an evolving “gift economy” and explore the innovative service cooperatives.  It will be at least a decade, if ever, for job recovery.  We as a community need to develop other ways of utilizing each others’ talents and supporting each other…our current system is failing.
The Kaufman house is but one example of buildings that are racking up costs but lying unused in Eugene.  And buildings are just one issue where we’re stuck in a rut policy wise.  Just as we need to rethink building use, we need to rethink other policies that waste resources and hurt people.  Our anti-sleeping laws are another such issue.  We’re using outdated theories to address current era problems, a recipe for disaster.

Contact:, Jean Stacey 541-653-7589

Here is the story from SLEEPS:


Hedon Face

HEDIN BRUGH is a tough survivor and relentless activist who lives on the streets of Eugene.  He’s fought for the trees and environment for much of his life.  More recently, he’s fought against illegal foreclosures, fought for first amendment rights and now he is fighting for those who are unhoused.   Instead of resting secure in the knowledge that he can take care of himself on the streets, he constantly worries and works for those for whom he knows life on the streets is pure  hell.  “I worry most about families.  Especially women with children.  And men with children, there is no place they can go.”

Though the Mission recently accepted its first father and child family, their family space and that of First Place has long been full.  And lots of folks can’t manage the Mission environment or living in the basement of a church, with no privacy.  They might WANT to manage it but just not be able.

Hedin has been watching the shuttered Trude Kaufman House at 10th and Jefferson for two years now.  And for the third time in recent weeks he and other SLEEPS activists are pitching tents at 1PM at the site to bring the community’s attention to the fact that this resource is sitting empty while the unhoused suffer in the cold.

“This is a generous community, “ says Hedin.  “If the city would lease this place to a not for profit, there are many unemployed and licensed carpenters, electricians, plumbers who would much rather being doing something useful than sitting around.”  He also says that the former senior center is a place where  many seniors who want to help but have no place do so could come and volunteer.  “The Trude Kaufman House is just eating up the fund the Kaufmans left.  The city should make it possible for volunteers to help there and bring unhoused families out of the cold.”

Hedin is not only a tough activist, he is also a poet and playwright and is currently developing street theater for SLEEPS and writing a play that deals with issues around the unhoused.

Published by jeanstac on January 17, 2013 (use the link below to connect to the article and leave a comment for SLEEPS)

Posted by Ruthie Benjamin


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