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11:34 PMJul 10, 2019

(Op-ed)Roseburg Parks Commission Meeting Recap Regarding Portable Toilets to Illegal Camps Around the City This morning there was a lively meeting at the Roseburg Parks Commission where a local group was proposing putting portable toilets, trash cans and needle boxes in 11 locations around Roseburg. 9 of the 11 proposed locations were inside City of Roseburg Parks including several in areas that large camps had just been shut down and cleaned up. Several Parks Commissioners, the Roseburg Chief of Police, a City Council member and several local residents including myself spoke out against the proposal. The reasons for opposition included that it would send mixed messages because it's illegal to camp in the parks and illegal to be in the parks after dusk. Putting toilets in those locations for people to use in the middle of the night would then completely undercut the point of the laws and ordinances the City of Roseburg has put in place. Other reasons given included they likely would get trashed, destroyed and they wouldn't be close enough to the camps for people to trouble themselves to use. (basically saying we would need toilets everywhere or within a few hundred feet of every public location) So, no motion was moved forward regarding the portable toilets. The Parks Commission is going to look at adding a few additional garbage containers along multi-use path locations as well as additional sharps containers. It's unclear at this time the location and what type of the sharps containers would be used. I brought up that I believe we should not use the giant, ugly metal ones that currently reside at the Duck Pond and Micelli Park because of the unnecessary stigma that it puts on those that use them. In many places around the world they are put in inconspicuous locations so as not to shame people away from using them. Right now you have to march up to them in front of everyone to deposit a needle. It repeatedly got brought up that these people have nowhere to go to the bathroom at night. My response to this is that's because no low barrier place has yet been created, even as something as simple as a portion of a parking lot fenced in as a "rest area" where those on the streets could spend the night, use the restroom in portable toilets, wash their hands, and have access to drinking water etc. A group of us met for several mores hours after the meeting wrestling with steps we can take to create such a "rest area" with the goal of moving them into long term solutions and ultimately off the streets for good. We are starting to realize that it's not going to be enough to only be involved in cleanups and getting illegal activity shut down, we are also going to have to play a big part in coming up with solutions. And that's totally fine, we all want to help the community in any way we can. We will keep you all posted!

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