Riding my bike around Eugene and along the river I notice the growing number of tent camps and people sleeping or crashed out in the streets and parks.
I wonder, why isn’t the city doing more to address this growing crisis? It is not going to go away, or fix itself.
I see lots of building going on: Hayward Field, the Fifth Street Market. I see the River Walk project, plans to redo the park blocks and build a new City Hall. Lots of new housing being built.
I don’t see plans to build housing for the unhoused that include services for treating mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, job counseling and the other social services to help those ready return to healthy and productive living. I don’t see ads for 50 new social workers, 50 drug and alcohol counselors and 50 mental illness professionals.
Here is what I am not talking about: I am not suggesting taking the unhoused to the city limits and asking them to leave. What I am talking about is beginning the hard work of addressing the underlying problems: lack of housing, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and the need for social services that help people return to productive and healthy lives.