It was around 2 am when nature called for Stacie Brumley. The Safeway had been closed for an hour, but the public restroom at Junction City’s Laurel Park was a stone’s throw away. That’s where, on June 19, Junction City police cited Brumley, a homeless artist, for a curfew violation.
She says she explained to officers that she has special needs, but no one would listen. Brumley, 53, suffers from a physical disability that necessitates needing a bathroom more often and more expediently than the average person. In 2008, Brumley was hit by a train in Junction City and is still recovering. “There are still times where I wake up and I’m dizzy all day,” she says.
Brumley has been homeless since January and thought she had a support zone carved out. She and her most basic possessions have been floating between several properties on the north end of the city — King’s Grace Fellowship, Junction City Mini Storage, Safeway and Laurel Park.
She says her tent was ransacked when she camped on church grounds and that she received unwanted sexual advances from men. Brumley used to sleep in her car until police told her they’d cite her for that, too. “I had windows and no privacy, but at least I felt safe,” says Brumley, who, fearing reprisal, ditched the car for pennies on the dollar.
A wheelchair and crutches remain packed in the storage unit she now lives out of. The rest of the unit is piled with lithographs — calligraphy and illustrations. A former homeowner and business owner, Brumley sold her art at Eugene’s Saturday Market for years before getting a store in Fifth Street Public Market. Two divorces and a recession later, she is on a waiting list with Housing and Community Services Agency of Lane County.
“The tragedy of being homeless is not the homeless person,” Brumley says. “It’s how the haves treat the have-nots.”
Junction City police were contacted regarding the incident, but did not respond by press time.
Citing her overriding need to use the bathroom facility, Brumley’s legal counsel, on Aug. 24, filed a motion to dismiss the citation. “I wouldn’t pee in a park restroom if I knew there were hours. I just feel picked on,” she says.
Story update: the Junction City prosecutor dropped the charge against Brumley.