HOMELESS MEMORIAL DAY, EUGENE

Homeless Action Coalition (hac@efn.org)
Tue, 22 Dec 1998 22:39:19 -0800


Eugene, Oregon
FORWARDED ARTICLE  from Eugene Register-Guard
http://www.registerguard.com/
Tuesday, December 22, 1998, p. 1C.
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EVENT MARKS 1998 DEATHS OF HOMELESS
Copyright =A9 1998 The Register-Guard=20
By ANNE WILLIAMS  The Register-Guard

On the darkest and coldest day of 1998, Eugene residents paid tribute to
those who have died without homes this year.

And while it wasn=92t cold that killed these dozen or so homeless men,
Monday=92s early sunset and punishing chill seemed an entirely fitting=
 backdrop.

Clasping long white candles protected from the wind by paper cups, 18 or so
people - several of them homeless - trekked from the Wayne Morse Free Speech
Plaza at the Lane County Courthouse to First United Methodist Church, where
a solemn interfaith service was held.

=93They died without housing because we, as a community and nation, allowed
them to live without housing,=94 said the Rev. Dan Bryant of First Christian
Church. =93They were sacrificed on the altars of passivity, judgment,
self-indulgence, greed.=94=20

As the men=92s names were read, several of the nearly 50 people who filed=
 into
the chapel stood to share a memory or a detail of a little-known life.

Like Mary Godowa, who put a face to the name Jerald Whitefoot.

=93He was my partner,=94 she told the crowd.

Godowa had been homeless with Whitefoot, who was found dead next to the
Willamette River in June at age 42. She=92d left him eight months earlier,
determined to salvage her life. Today, she=92s on the verge of finding
permanent housing for herself and two of her three children, a 15-year-old
son and a 9-year-old daughter, and is planning to pursue a community service
degree at Lane Community College.

A Native American, Whitefoot was =93a generous person,=94 she said after the
service. =93He cared about people.=94

Like many of those who died, he was also an alcoholic and had recently lost
a brother and his father. =93I think he was wanting to go see his family,=94=
 she
said.

But the most tears spilled for Rick Aquizap, the most recent addition to the
list. A longtime fixture in the homeless community, Aquizap died just three
days ago in his trailer on a city-sanctioned campspot at Alton Baker Park.
His partner, Daisy Putnam, couldn=92t rouse him on Saturday morning.

Putnam didn=92t attend the service, but friends of the couple were there.
Danielle Smith, who had known Aquizap for years, cried while Patrick Dodd
sang =93Johnny and Jennie,=94 a sad tale about a homeless couple parted by=
 death.

=93He was the first person I met at Armitage (State Park, former site of a
homeless camp),=94 she said. Aquizap should be remembered, she said, =93for=
 his
courage and his fortitude to go right on living to the very end.=94

Others came simply to honor individuals who so often remain invisible in the
community.

Eugene mom Lou Enge, an advocate for housing for disabled people, brought
her son Ian Blumberg-Enge, 8, and daughter Jordan Blumberg-Enge, 10. Bundled
up against the cold, the three joined in the brisk seven-block procession to
the church.

=93I told them it was to remember the homeless people who have died,=94 she
said. =93They said, `They should have had this in summer,=92 and I told=
 them,
`Well, a lot of homeless people have to live in this kind of cold.=92 =93

Representatives from First United Methodist, St. Jude Catholic and First
Christian churches and the Baha=92i Faith Center spoke at the annual event
organized by the Eugene/Springfield Homeless Action Coalition.

Related:
Panhandler-rights advocate dies

Copyright =A9 1998 The Register-Guard=20
EUGENE, OREGON
__________________________________=20

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