SHELTER IN SPRINGFIELD
So very much to unpack after last week’s extreme weather event. Where were our public safety teams? Why was the emergency declaration so long in coming? Why wasn’t funding available earlier than later?
Why is our emergency response shelter team staffed by unpaid volunteers? Why did a town of 61,000 residents only have a shelter capacity of 150 souls? Why did Eugene only have a shelter holding 275 at peak?
Where was the National Guard? Where were our off duty police resources? (They get paid!)
Why were my volunteers forced to work sometimes 17 hours straight!
Why weren’t our primary routes prioritized (Main Street)?
So many questions. I’d love to share some of what our Sprinfgield shelter experienced.
Egan site manager and lead
Hope on Wheels director
Carry it Forward supervisor.
OUR LITTLE CORNER
I’ve been short on hope lately.
I lost someone close to me last month, and while this compounds my feelings of hopelessness, the world also seems to be heavy for a lot of people lately.
I took a walk around my neighborhood this weekend in an attempt to give myself a little mood boost. But I found myself dodging storm debris, huge puddles, plus the normal January-in-Oregon muddy grass, and once again I was feeling down, not only at the destruction, but at the meaning of it: climate change. More extreme weather. It’s only going to continue and get worse.
I tried to count my blessings, to think of the other people in the world suffering more than I was, but all that did was make me feel overwhelmed and helpless by imagining all the wars and genocides being inflicted on people in other countries, and of the suffering of people locally — those who sustained property damage in the storm, and those who never had houses or cars to get damaged in the first place.
And I thought of all the people I know personally who seem to just be having an extra hard time right now.
And then I turned down another street, and walked into a park, and I saw a crew of workers in orange safety vests and hard hats clearing debris. Some were cutting up and hauling away fallen branches, others others were inspecting trees for dangerous dangling limbs. Slowly, surely, this little corner of the park was getting fixed.
Then I thought of Big City Gamin’ opening up its patio as a warming center during the storm. I remembered the people I saw on various mutual aid groups, offering showers, cell phone charging, food and hot drinks to their neighbors who lost power. I remember watching fire trucks driving gingerly down the road with chains on, their drivers navigating gnarly situations to keep helping. And I started to feel better.
I think that’s all we can do anymore: Try to fix our little corner of the park.
I’m no dummy: I know climate change will continue, wealth inequalities will grow wider, atrocities across the entire world will continue. But watching the tree workers, I also thought of one of my favorite quotes, supposedly from the Talmud: “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”
Let’s keep going. Let’s keep helping in the ways we can. We’ll have more ice storms. We’ll have more suffering. But if we keep making each other soup, and cleaning up storm debris, and fighting to change inequalities and the systems that got us here, I think we can weather this storm, and the next one.
THIS TOO SHALL PASS
Miss you more than words can say.
Last year I was in a wheelchair for six months recovering from a car accident, and Thursday morning I would eagerly await for your kind delivery driver at the Dairy Mart on Royal/99. I would cheer his arrival and eventually he would pull an issue out of the stack and hand-deliver it to me.
Sweet fellah, I hope he and all your crew are rollin’ with the recent punches.
See you down the dusty trail.
LONGTIME READER, FIRST TIME WRITER
Longtime reader, first time writing in. Thank you for continuing to provide us with updates on how things are going for y’all. I find it incredibly heartwarming to see how much love there is for the EW by local businesses and, of course, your readers. Nothing but love for y’all! Keep on keeping on!
LOVE FOR COMMUNITY AND EW
Dear those of you who are still working (what’s the right verb here?) at Eugene Weekly,
I love your weekly newsletter. I love the humor with which you write. You make me love you even more. I can’t wait til you’re back. In the meantime, know that you are being seen, read and appreciated.
I’m loving how the community is rising to the occasion with donations and the fabulous benefits that have been held in your honor. That’s Eugene, right?
You deserve all that and more.
Thank you for hanging in there.
I moved to Eugene two years ago from Seattle and only heard about you for the first time when the (you know) happened. But I’m loving the online newsletters and I love your style! Possibly I’m not your demographic, but I sure love to hear you speak.
blessing = disguise
New readers = Gen X gen; don’t get out much (work from home, live at home, what’s not to love about home? Home’s awesome! Haven’t you tried delivery? I love delivery!) but who are loving the online newsletters because awesome!
So, can we keep the push notifications coming? And push your print editions online, too? I love this way to learn about Eugene.
Eugene — Tech industry transplant from Seattle (don’t judge! I have family here!) (no it’s not my fault about the property prices; even I think they’re ridiculous) (and no I swear, us DINKs are not horrible people, just misunderstood).
PS I genuinely don’t get out much. Would never have discovered you otherwise. Now I feel so smart and connected. You rock.
PPS Do you have a poetry section? I love poetry! Does that make me even more of a geek? Ah well, suppose it does.