City Club of Eugene: Travelers in Eugene - Problem or Just Another Lifestyle?

Jul 24, 2017

Recorded on: July 21, 2017

Air Date: July 24, 2017

Today, the Internet, slow growth, telecommuting, new disrupting industries and fewer traditional nuclear families all contribute to new lifestyles. In the past life changes were prompted by depressions, war and seasonal working conditions to name a few factors. Regardless of the cause, the effect, then and now, is to grow the ranks of a transient population, especially in cities bisected by railroads or major highways. Here in Eugene, with both factors, there is a growing realization that the unhoused population is actually composed of sub-cultures that may be very different from each other. Therefore they may need to be addressed just as differently by city services, local residents and even other unhoused persons.

City Club of Eugene’s Friday Forum on July 21 will explore the topic of who is ‘traveling’ through and how they may be a different population from the more typically described ‘homeless’ and how those differences influence local assistance programs. Speakers include two very effective leaders who work directly with the transient population helping to solve problems both for them and local residents and businesses.

David Gerber of Eugene completed his Master’s Degree in Planning, Public Policy and Management at the UO in 2009. He has been the Executive Director of the Homeless Outreach Team since 2012. David spent 12 years living on the streets as a youth before starting a roofing business, becoming a single dad and returning to college. He is the editor and publisher of the Vagabond street newspaper, and runs a weekly community building chess program in Kesey Square known as Slow Motion Sundays. If possible, David hopes to bring a friend who is a traveler who will be available for a few words and also for questions.

Ben Brubaker has been a crisis worker at the White Bird Clinic in Eugene for over 10 years where he is now the Administrative Coordinator. He has filled many roles there including grant writer, teacher, counselor on the 24-hour hotline, and member of the mobile team (CAHOOTS), dispatched through the Eugene police-fire-ambulance communications center. Before White Bird was a member of the 24-hour security team for 9 months at a relief kitchen/camp set up near a demolished building immediately following Hurricane Katrina and, for four years, a counselor at a lock-down residential treatment facility for teen boys.

Aria Seligman, a member of the City of Eugene Human Rights Commission and co-chair of the HRC’s Homelessness Working Group, works as a public affairs specialist for the State of Oregon, will serve as First Questioner.

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