Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Letters of Support


Hello to the Mayor & City Council of Eugene,

I applaud your active support for Opportunity Village, an idea that will certainly prove to be a timely and effective compliment to all other efforts to address and mitigate the impacts that homelessness has upon all segments of our society. As a still-active, original supporter of the Dignity Village Project in Portland, I’m writing to state my enthusiastic support for Opportunity Village in Eugene. As a supporter, coordinator, facilitator and leader, my involvement in the development Dignity Village, and now several other such projects, has been as a co-director of both The City Repair Project 501(c)3 and also of my own firm, Communitecture, Inc., Architecture & Planning.

The Opportunity Village model will work to effectively address homelessness by directly and constructively engaging people to convert their own problems into solutions. Among the many benefits that we may anticipate emerging from Opportunity Village, we can expect the following:

Residents of Opportunity Village will develop a variety of life skills related to participation, communication, decision-making, accountability, and even leadership.

Residents of the village, women in particular, will be safer living with peers in a place where they have relationships with others, than they are presently on the streets.
The model will be multiple times more cost-effective than conventional tax-supported shelters, by a factor of perhaps 10 to 1, while also enabling couples to stay together, possessions to be retained rather than lost, and pets kept rather than abandoned.

The village will also be a place that will enable greater stability as residents will be better able to look for jobs, training, and educational opportunities while they have a transitional place to live.

There is much more to say about the potential benefits of this project. For now, I will say that I am offering to help by mentoring the coordinators through meetings, design support, on-site dialogues, and ongoing communications. The proposed site at Chambers and 13th appears to be an optimal location, with good relationship to a number of considerations. At this point there is plenty of time to resolve the design before the onset of autumn and cold weather. I am happy to help with this and other processes.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Mark Lakeman, 
Principal & Design Lead 
Communitecture, Inc.
1639 SE 12th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97214
t - 503.230.1293                                                                           
Portland City Repair Project
c - 503.381.5885


I understand the city council is considering the viability of the Opportunity Village project at the 13th and Chambers site. I know I speak for a groundswell of sentiment when I observe that such an initiative is very timely and so very needed. There comes a point where the fundamental responsibility that an effort such as this both addresses and presents, is indeed worthy of being assumed by a community, and I have strong confidence that together, we possess the vision, impetus, means and patience to what amounts to, yes, a vexing but necessary challenge.

I've long played a role in supporting homesteaders and communities seeking to integrate food systems directly into the living infrastructure of their homes. As well as hands-on work 'where the rubber hits the road' I play a primary role in the stewardship of the Lane County Propagation Fair, an annual event which freely distributes the most ecologically-resilient fruit and vegetable germplasm in our bioregion to about 1,000 attendees. I have ready access and experience, in other words, to integrate highly-productive food systems into the Chambers site - which, in ecological terms, lends itself especially well to such an approach - and I am very supportive of this project.


Nick Routledge
Lane County Propagation Fair


Dear Mayor and City Council,

I am interested in, and supportive of the goals of Opportunity Village. I have this type of model work well in Portland, in Dignity Village. There are some people who can become good community citizens and have safe places to sleep within the Opportunity Village model, who otherwise have trouble participating in the broader real estate rental or ownership model. Eugene could lead the way by being supportive of this project. I will be willing to help volunteer some time to this project, if the city supports it. Please let me know if you need anything else from me to show support.

Thank you,
Marc Tobin, 

Degree of Master of Community and Regional Planning from the UO
Founding director at Rising Vision Planning, Design, and Facilitation


Social Justice Committee
Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene
1685 West 13th Avenue
Eugene, OR 97402

Dear Mayor Piercy, Eugene City Councilors and Staff,

At its monthly meeting on June 4, 2012, the Social Justice Committee (SJUUCE) of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene (UUCE) unanimously endorsed Opportunity Village. SJUUCE strongly supports the work of the Task Force on Homelessness created by Mayor Piercy, in particular the recommendation that a site be made available as a place for homeless people "to be".

The UUCE Board of Trustees also heard a presentation on Opportunity Village at its June 14, 2012 meeting and was generally supportive of the project as well.  More specifically, several Board members mentioned that this could be a significant social justice opportunity for UUCE to be involved with, particularly in light of its possible location right across the street from our new building at 13th and Chambers.  SJUUCE believes that the former site of the Army Center would be an ideal location for the Village.

We join with other faith and community groups to support Opportunity Village as well as implementation of the other Task Force recommendations.  The vision of the Village as "an alternative living site for those who are experiencing homelessness and the community members who have joined with them" closely dovetails with the 1st Unitarian Universalist principle, which is "the inherent worth and dignity of every person."  Our congregation covenants to affirm and promote this critical principle as well as "the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all."  We believe there is now a window of "Opportunity" to provide homeless Eugene-Springfield residents their basic right to shelter in a truly compassionate and sustainable way.  We hope you will join us in supporting the opening of Opportunity Village this fall. 


Jeff Jackson