Stop The Sweeps-Eugene Hosts Candlelight Vigil for Amber Mark
On the evening of Sept. 14, both the family of Amber Mark and community members gathered at the corner of Highway 99 and Bethel Drive for a candlelight vigil honoring her life following her death nearly a week prior. The vigil also paid respect to fourteen other houseless residents in Eugene who have died over the last month.
Mark, who was 42-years-old, was killed on Sept. 8 when an 18-year-old man, Anthony Rodeen, intentionally drove into the tent that Mark was living in. The other person inside the tent was narrowly missed. Rodeen struck another pedestrian a half mile away.
The vigil, led by Pastor Steve Kimes of the Eugene Mennonite Church and hosted by Stop The Sweeps-Eugene, began at 7 p.m. and was attended by around 50-70 people.
Pastor Kimes began the vigil with a brief overview of the events that led to Mark’s death and, notably, pointed out that Rodeen, who was stopped by bystanders, had said he was having a “bad day” at the time of the fatal attack.
Mark was “an old soul whose smile would radiate across oceans,” according to her family.
Pastor Kimes also said that everyone was there to not only grieve for the soul of Amber Mark but for the soul of the entire City of Eugene. He noted that over a dozen other houseless individuals had passed away within the last month and the generally unknown fact that the average life expectancy for people living on the streets is only 48-years-old.
Then, a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Come Healing” was performed by a member of STSE on the ukulele. Speeches from both members of Mark’s family and the community followed that were mostly drowned-out by the highway traffic.
A moment of silence was led by Pastor Kimes. At 7:30 pm he ended the vigil with a prayer for those that have died within the last month while living on the streets.
“We mourn the death of Amber Mark. We mourn the death of Travis. We mourn the death of Amanda. We mourn the death of Little Dezi. We mourn the death of Johnny Walker. We mourn the death of Nikki. We mourn the death of Mickey. We mourn the death of Gabe. We mourn the death of Dylan. We mourn the death of Michelle. We mourn the death of Spot. We mourn the death of Brett. We mourn the death of Stanley. We mourn the death of David.
May peace fall upon Eugene. May peace fall upon those who live on the streets. May peace fall upon us all.”Pastor Steve Kimes