On Nov. 15, POOR Magazine—a California-based indigenous, working-class, and “people-led” media collective—held workshops at two of Eugene’s houseless camps.
The workshops centered around “homefulness,” or “the homeless solution to homelessness,” as said by one of the organizers. In spreading “homefulness,” camp residents were instructed to write either a story or poem. A video interview was also an option and whoever completed one or the other received a $20 bill.
The first workshop began around 10 a.m. at Washington-Jefferson Park.
As breakfast—chicken stew with coffee or tea—was being served at the site of the workshop, an active houseless sweep was taking place on the next block.
There, city workers deconstructed tents and placed them into the back of trucks while four officers with the Eugene Police Department looked on from across the street.
The sweep moved to the area where the officers stood and, while an elderly houseless man was being told he would have to leave, Nathan with Stop The Sweeps began to ask the officers where the man should, or could, go.
Despite maintaining a safe distance and remaining calm and collected while repeatedly asking for this information, officers asked him to step back onto the walking path. Refusing to do so and wanting to help the houseless senior, the officers decided to arrest him for “interfering with a police officer.”
Minutes later the same officers arrested the very same man that Nathan was advocating for citing outstanding warrants.
The workshop continued as planned while all of this happened. As people finished their stories, poems, and video interviews, Candice, a Eugene-based volunteer, was ready to hand out $20 bills.
By 12:30 p.m., the workshop had been relocated to the houseless camp at 13th Ave. and Chambers St. when it had, unfortunately, begun raining heavily.
There, residents ate lunch — the stew from earlier plus beets, bread, and a casserole. Additionally, Acorn Community Cafe provided soup, biscuits, and cookies.
A little over a half hour later, the workshop ended as the rain continued.