Local initiatives highlight kindness work through community policing, addressing homelessness, human rights, access to libraries, and community gardens.
Kindness in Eugene and Springfield
Mission Statement by Mayor of Eugene
“We must strengthen our commitment to work together to advance the values that define our community: social justice, human rights, and environmental responsibility. These issues must be part of every decision we make: how we grow, the impact of new industry and new jobs, and how we, every day as individuals and as a community, stand for equality, fairness, respect and dignity for all of our citizens. Quiero que Eugene sea una ciudad donde todos serán bienvenidos. I want Eugene to be a city where everyone feels welcome.”
—Mayor Lucy Vinis, Eugene, Oregon
Eugene Police Foundation Community Fund
The Eugene Police Foundation fundraises for a small-scale community fund used by the Eugene Police Department to provide help to people in need. Examples of people in need have included victims of domestic violence who needed a place to stay for the night, homeless people who needed a pair of shoes, a man who needed a car part to leave town and another who needed a bus ticket to go home.
By providing help to citizens in need, police are able to have more positive and proactive interactions with citizens.
The fund originally relied on one-time donations from churches and citizens, which meant the funds were not consistently available. The foundation hopes to grow the fund with a steady stream of contributions. Eugene Police supervisors are able to access the fund using debit cards as needed.
To donate: Eugene Police Foundation
Springfield Police Department Mediation Program
The Springfield Police Department Mediation Program is a free service offered to residents of Springfield. Their aim is to help resolve conflicts through bringing opposed parties together with a neutral third-party who will help bridge the barriers to communication and resolution plaguing your conflict.
Mediation offers people with an ability to resolve their own conflicts, and come to solutions that are satisfactory to everyone, while at the same time, allowing people to preserve and strengthen their relationships with the people they are in conflict with.
Eugene Downtown Ambassador Program
The Downtown Ambassadors support a safe, vibrant and welcoming downtown by:
- Establishing a recognizable and welcoming city presence in our downtown core
- Supporting the positive activation of public spaces by setting up games, tables and seating in the Park Blocks and in Kesey Square, and keeping those space clean and tidy
- Providing information to the public about social services that are available, great places to get a bite to eat, upcoming events, parking and general wayfinding
- Educating the public on the rules and regulations downtown (smoking, dogs, trespassing, etc)
- Trust and Confidence– Building trust and confidence with downtown partners and the public
- Public Service– Serving the public interest, supporting and safe, welcoming and vibrant downtown.
- Empathy– Approaching all people and situations with empathy
- Teamwork– Working as a team with each other, other city staff and our downtown partners.
- Well-being– Striving for personal and community wellbeing.
- Adaptability– Adaptablity, responding to emerging needs and opportunities
Springfield Utility Board (SUB)
If households need financial assistance, call 541-747-8349 during the winter season (November 1 – April 30). Catholic Community Services, which administers the program for SUB, will help with the application process. Applications are accepted during the winter heating season, which begins in November.
SUB offers gift certificates in any amount that can be applied towards the recipient’s SUB bill. Call 541-746-8451 for more information.
Downtown Day Storage Service For Homeless
The City of Eugene is contracting with St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County to provide a no-cost day storage pilot service in downtown Eugene. The City funds the services and leases space between the Eugene Public Library and the Kiva for a storage pod. The storage pod is attended by St. Vincent de Paul staff during operating hours, minus a staff lunch break.
- To provide a no-cost, day storage for personal belongings, bags and items to anyone and especially to homeless families and individuals so they can better access services downtown.
- To help maintain accessible and welcoming public spaces, including the public library and downtown sidewalks, by offering alternative storage options.
Hours of Operation
The storage service is provided daytime-only from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., seven days a week. People utilizing the service must pick up their belongings before closing time each day.
The City of Eugene is a collaborative partner in community efforts to fight poverty and homelessness. The City contributes funding and policy leadership to the Human Services Commission and supports a number of additional programs and initiatives to address homelessness.
Information on some of the programs supported by the City of Eugene to assist people who are experiencing homelessness can be found at: Homelessness
Other information available:
Deferred and Diversion Programs
The Eugene Municipal Court has worked together with local service providers to develop deferred prosecution programs for shoplifting, theft, some alcohol related offenses as well as having a program for DUII diversion and restorative justice.
Deferred Prosecution Programs
- Downtown Clean Team
- Community Service
The Community Service Program offers an alternative to serving time or paying fines by allowing defendants to contribute their skills and labor with various nonprofit government agencies throughout Lane County.
- Road Crew
The Sheriff’s Work Crew program is an alternative to incarceration and is available to certain defendants sentenced for short periods of time or sentenced to do time on weekends.
The Eugene Community Court aims to improve public safety and reduce misdemeanor activity in the downtown core to improve safety and quality of life for all. The process promotes responsibility in participants through a combination of supervised community service and direct connections to social service providers.
Representatives of several local social service agencies work with the Community Court team onsite to problem-solve with community members in need of assistance and connect them with services that will address their needs and help them move out of the criminal justice system and toward an improved quality of life.
The City of Eugene is one of 10 cities nationwide who received a Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) grant through the Center for Court Innovation to implement a Community Court.
The Eugene Public Library supports an informed community. The Library promotes lifelong learning and the love of reading by providing access to all city residents to a universe of ideas and information.
Walk-in Counseling at Eugene Public Library
White Bird offers free, confidential walk-in counseling and referral for individuals at the Downtown Eugene Public Library. This service is available Mondays through Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and on Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
In brief sessions, professional staff provide a listening ear, emotional support, information about local resources, and practical problem-solving assistance.
Eugene has six community garden sites, totaling about 15 acres, and is open to all regardless of experience, age, or ability. For nearly 40 years, these garden sites have provided participants an opportunity to steward a garden plot, grow food for their household, and build community with other gardeners. Find out how you can reserve a garden plot for next year.
For more information see the Community Gardens Manual.
Office of Human Rights & Neighborhood Involvement
Eugene’s Office of Human Rights & Neighborhood Involvement works to create an equitable, safe and welcoming community. It provides opportunities for meaningful participation in community conversations, access to government processes and services, and by connecting people to local resources and assistance.
City of Eugene’s Diversity and Equity Strategic Plan
The City of Eugene’s Diversity and Equity Strategic Plan was implemented to meet the diversity and human rights goals and the needs of the City organization.
Hate & Bias Prevention Toolkit
Hate and bias have major impacts on victims, families, and communities at large. In Eugene, everyone has a stake in creating a community where every person feels welcome, valued and respected. This Toolkit is for confronting hate activity and coordinating response to hate activity through community support. Community action can result in building stronger connections and greater resiliency in our community.
Included in the toolkit is information about:
- Identifying and Reporting Hate and Bias
- Identity and Social Groups
- How to Support People Who Experience Hate
- Bystander-Upstander Intervention
On March 13, 2017 the Eugene City Council unanimously passed the Protection for Individuals Ordinance (Council Ordinance Number 20579). This ordinance provides certain protections for all Eugene residents, including immigrants.
The City of Eugene has protection for every individual including:
- Resolution 5174: That we, as a City, are committed to being a welcoming, inclusive and safe community for everyone
- Resolution 5073: That we have a supportive Statement of Principles for Immigrant Integration
Financial assistance is available for Willamalane district residents and family members who want to participate in Willamalane classes and programs. Scholarships apply to many classes, programs and activities. Scholarships are limited to not more than 50% of the activity fee.
Eugene Parks and Recreation offers a limited number of scholarships to City of Eugene residents. Once approved, each individual’s scholarship pays 50-75% of qualified activities, up to $150 for the year. Applications are available in early November.
Willamalane Park and Recreation District actively promotes inclusive practices in order to meet the needs of participants, families and staff in our programs. Everyone is welcome to attend Willamalane programs and facilities regardless of ability, background, culture, religion, gender or economic circumstances.
The City of Eugene’s Recreation staff is committed to making all reasonable efforts to ensure that its facilities, programs and services are accessible to and usable by all people, including individuals with disabilities.
The following services are available with advanced notice. Some requests may take up to two weeks to secure.
Inclusion Services are available by discussing the request with the person taking your registration and/or requesting accommodations using a Eugene Recreation Division Inclusion Request form. Once a request has been received, a Recreation staff member will contact you.
The City of Eugene Recreation Services strives to make recreational opportunities available to everyone. They are committed to supporting the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Accessibility services include:
- Accessible van
- Braille sections of large publications
- FM System Hearing Assistance Equipment
- Large print and audiotape
- Sign language interpretation
- Adaptive Technology at the Library
The City of Eugene takes a proactive approach to enhancing the City’s preparedness and educating the public.
Neighborhoods. Knowing your neighbors can give you a critical advantage during an emergency. Good community relationships can help keep your family and neighborhood safe and simplify your family communication plan. Find out how you can get to know your neighbors.
Get Prepared With Your Neighbors. You and your neighbors can help each other get prepared. Use this process with a group of friends, people from your faith community, a group of co-workers, etc.
Map Your Neighborhood is a program promoted by the city of Eugene that can help you meet your neighbors and prepare for emergencies.
Kindness in Other Cities
Better Way Anaheim, a project of Love Anaheim, offers voluntary community service projects to those who are homeless. Along with basic work experience, the project facilitates access to additional services to help end homelessness, such as referrals to housing, healthcare, social services benefits, employment. Love Anaheim works with the Anaheim Homeless Collaborative and its agencies to identify potential candidates who would benefit. Service outings take place once a week for up to five hours. Up to 10 individuals participate each week. Participants work to clean up parks, paint trash cans or fire hydrants and work on other community projects. Participants receive food and gift cards worth $60 for each day of service. Homeless Participants are selected in cooperation with the Anaheim Homeless Collaborative (AHC) and its agencies.
Gloucester Police Department Drug Treatment
The Gloucester Police Department has created a revolutionary new policing program aimed at getting addicts the help they need, instead of putting them in handcuffs. If an addict comes into the Gloucester Police Department and asks for help, an officer will take them to the Addison Gilbert Hospital, where they will be paired with a volunteer “ANGEL” who will help guide them through the process. We have partnered with more than a dozen additional treatment centers to ensure that our patients receive the care and treatment they deserve — not in days or weeks, but immediately.
Police chief Chris Magnus has been reducing crime and use-of-force by his officers for years in Richmond, CA. His community policing approach includes supporting the communities’ need to gather and grieve the unjust #blacklivesmatter losses by joining them. “We get the conversation about use of force… This is an opportunity for all police departments, including ours, to look inward and examine our approaches and get better.”
Kindness to Panhandlers: “There’s a Better Way” program to reduce panhandling
Albuquerque’s “There’s a Better Way” campaign gives panhandlers an opportunity for paid work and provides members of the community with a more effective way to donate their money. The program addresses four main needs:
- Give people dignity in work
- Connect individuals with services
- Collective Impact to end panhandling
- Help the Community to understand “There’s a Better Way”
In June 2015, the City of Albuquerque posted 15 signs at various intersections were panhandlers were known to stand. The signs urged people in need of food or shelter to call the City’s 311 service. In September 2015, the City of Albuquerque found a van in the City’s motor pool, wrapped it in the “There’s a Better Way” graphics, and launched the “There’s a Better Way” van with St. Martin’s Hospitality Hope Center. The City’s Solid Waste Department drives to areas frequented by panhandlers and offers them day labor, such as landscape beautification and garbage removal. Pay for the work is $9 a hour. After their work day is complete, passengers are transported back to St. Martin’s to be connected with emergency shelter to house them overnight as needed.
Effectiveness/Outcomes: As of February, 2017, the pilot program had offered about 1,700 days of day work, connected 216 people to permanent employment opportunities. housed twenty people with their Housing First model, Heading Home, and connected over 150 people to mental health and substance abuse services. Combined with Albuquerque Heading Home, the Better Way program reduced unsheltered homelessness by 80 percent in 2016. Many communities throughout the US have adopted similar programs.
Cost: The initial budget for the pilot program was $50,000. In fiscal year 2017, the City had budgeted $181,000 for the program’s continued success.
For more information:
Sacramento, CA and Charleston, SC
Kindness to Those Who Fear Aggressive Panhandlers
Sacramento’s crackdown on aggressive panhandling
In response to the perceptions of business owners of a rise in aggressive behavior by homeless people, in November, 2017, the Sacramento City Council adopted two ordinances that target aggressive panhandling and unruly behavior in city parks. Under one of the ordinances, aggressive panhandling was banned within 30 feet of ATMs, public transit stops, and people pumping gas at fuel pumps. This ordinance also encouraged police to crack down on panhandling on medians and near outdoor dining areas at restaurants. Those who violate the ordinance could be cited with an infraction. Under the second ordinance, police are able to remove anyone in a city park who violates existing rules, including drinking alcohol and littering. If people refuse to leave a park or return within 24 hours, they can be cited with an infraction. Those who violate either ordinance three times in six months would be subjected to misdemeanor arrest.
Ban on Sitting or Lying on Sidewalks
The City Council passed an ordinance in April, 2017, to ban sitting or lying down on sidewalks from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. The ban is enforced on busy stretches of certain streets in the downtown commercial district. (Exceptions to the law include sitting or lying in the streets in the cases of medical emergency, disability, children in strollers, and people watching a parade, festival, performance or demonstration, as well as when waiting in line.) Violators can be fined $25 for a first offense, and up to $50 for every violation after that. The ordinance also calls on the city to make an effort to assist people who are “chronically found sitting or lying down on a public sidewalk.”
More Government Resources
The Positive Tickets idea started with a simple vision—imagine cops catching kids for doing things right! Imagine police officers hunting for the positive in youth, instead of just the negative. Ward’s vision was inspired by Keith Pattinson, master storyteller and teacher, when he heard Pattinson speak on the 40 Developmental Assets™. Hundreds of thousands of Positive Tickets later, Ward has seen his simple vision grow into a reality with enviable results.
Ward has now taken his vision of cops and kids one step further. In addition to transforming police departments and communities, Ward is now assisting organizations on ways they can put the Positive Tickets philosophy into action by rewarding and recognizing employees and customers to improve the bottom line.