From homeless action to thoughts on power in letters


I greatly appreciate the EW article on Eric Jackson. I credit his 2018 large Butterfly Lot camp with leading to the Safe Sleep sites. He forced the city and county to allow large homeless shelter camps.

I’ve been following the homeless issue for over 13 years and the history is clear: forceful protests lead to more shelter. Besides Jackson’s camp, Occupy Eugene led to Opportunity Village and the SLEEPS protest camps led to the Rest Stops. For some reason, this clear pattern is hard for many homeless advocates to understand. They seem to feel that such confrontational protests are not nice.

We are at a bad place in Eugene with the homeless issue. One homeless advocate posted recently on Facebook that the city is crushing the homeless faster than we can save them. The de facto city policy on unsanctioned homeless camps is to keep them moving, and confiscate their belongings that they need to survive if they don’t move fast enough.

Homeless advocates have been telling the city for many years that their policy is destructive, but our City Council refuses to listen. They represent the privileged middle-class homeowners and business people, not the working-class poor. The middle-classers want the homeless out of sight and don’t care about the consequences.

The Eugene mayor and council say they don’t have enough money to create more shelters, managed by nonprofits, and then talk about spending $15 million on a new ballpark. Their funding priorities are always pet projects that provide middle-class amenities, not what is necessary for people to survive.

We have told them that they need to designate legal spaces where the majority unsheltered homeless can set up self-managed tent camps, with the city providing porta potties and trash service. They won’t do it. Mayor Lucy Vinis wrote in an email that allowing camps to stay in one place would create a mess. Forcing them to move also creates messes, and since when are messes more important than survival?

The council’s war on the poor will eventually lead to a response in kind. History shows us that people do not accept oppression forever.

Lynn Porter

Homeless Action



It was so good to have you back in print this week! Thank you for sharing all of the feel good stories of our community rallying together to support EW. I would like to find out the name of the downtown bar that was housing folks during the ice storm. I know that they were asking for donations from the community and I am sure many people would gladly help. 

Melissa Ivan


Editor’s Note: It was Big City Gamin’ that offered up a warm space to the unhoused during the January ice storm. You can find the bar and gaming lounge at, 1288 Willamette Street.


Three weeks ago, a four day ice storm settled over the Willamette Valley causing widespread power outages, preventing mobility, hampering rescue efforts, and exemplifying the power Mother Nature has in shaping our lives. I applaud the expeditious efforts of local utilities in restoring power.

Events like this should be used as a learning tool in determining resiliency in our power generating system. Locally generated energy through multi sourced rooftop and community solar systems and battery storage, coupled with micro grid technology, would keep power energized to participating neighborhood communities.

Locally distributed renewable energy keeps power generation near the point of consumption, increasing odds against outages and reduced transmission losses. Smart grid technology can detect and respond to outages more efficiently and increase resiliency in the distribution system. Virtual Power Plant systems incorporate solar arrays with battery storage, EV battery, and smart thermostats in maintaining resource adequacy much like a traditional power plant with the utilities control.

The Inflation Reduction Act provides funding to develop and expand publicly owned renewable energy generation such as community and rooftop solar and battery storage systems. Municipalities and local utilities should work collaboratively with the public, industry and commercial businesses, community partners and organized labor groups to develop and implement renewable energy projects. 

I urge utilities to make these systems part of their future Integrated Resource planning programs. Locally generated renewable energy systems with micro grid capabilities may be the remedy in the next big weather event to keep electricity flowing to its customer base. The latest ice storm demonstrated we have no time to waste.

Jim Neu