Homeless groups protest in downtown Corvallis

2014-04-02T08:00:00Z 2014-04-02T08:44:52Z Homeless groups protest in downtown CorvallisBy JAMES DAY, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times

Homeless groups in Corvallis, concerned about the closing of the men’s and women’s winter shelters, participated in a downtown protest Tuesday.

Groups gathered just after noon in Central Park and made signs that read “Help Me End Homelessness” and “Where Do You Want Me To Camp, Julie Manning?” referring to Corvallis’ mayor.

“We’re going to put on a peaceful protest,” said Leo Steelman, one of the organizers of the protest. “Our goal is to wake people up and let them know what’s actually going on.”

At 2 p.m., the protest shifted to Southwest Fourth Street, right outside the Benton County Courthouse.

More than a dozen people lined up in the right-hand parking lane and displayed their signs to motorists. The signs drew an occasional honk or wave from passersby.

Renae Nichols, who often is seen busking on Second Street, played her flute on the sidewalk.

Event organizers Steelman and Marge Pettitt brainstormed the idea of a protest Monday at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library on the final day that the shelters would be open for the winter season — despite continuing rain and raw temperatures in the 40s and 30s.

“We thought we needed to bring the situation to everyone’s attention,” said Pettitt, who had been spending her nights at the women’s shelter.

“This shouldn’t be happening in the United States,” Steelman said. “There is a lack of places for the homeless not just in Corvallis but throughout the United States.”

By early evening the crowd of protesters had dwindled to a handful as the group shared the space with the anti-war groups who regularly demonstrate on the site.

Pettitt, meanwhile, put up her tent on the sidewalk, surrounded it with the signs from the protest and planned to settle in for the night.

Ward 8 Corvallis Councilor Biff Traber, a mayoral candidate, said he recognizes more needs to be done to address the needs of the homeless.

“The people of Corvallis and Benton County do a tremendous amount, both volunteer hours and funding, to provide shelter to the homeless during the winter and to help homeless individuals and families find more permanent shelter year-round,” Traber said in an email.

“These efforts do not meet all the need all year; more needs to be done. The challenge is for the community — governments, nonprofits, churches and individuals — to work together finding solutions, prioritizing, and making progress a step at a time.”

Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(17) Comments

  1. mariecollins
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    mariecollins - May 04, 2014 4:16 pm
    A growing number of city governments are trying their hand at relocating homeless people, though it’s not quite what it seems. Ton of cities struggle with their indigenous population of homeless people, whether it's attempting to get them into jobs and housing or into care as needed. Some are attempting a different sort of solution, specifically getting any homeless people or families willing to leave and having a place to stay somewhere a ticket out of town.
  2. newageiscoming
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    newageiscoming - April 14, 2014 12:15 pm
    If you ever speak about my children like that agin I will freaking explode dude im a loving caring father thats what you people dont understand your to concerned with how much money you have and wars that are going on overseas do you know why we have limited resources cause were spending all our money on other countries problems and not our own
  3. TheRealJules
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    TheRealJules - April 07, 2014 4:44 pm
    You misread him. He's PROVIDING for two children; the third one is at the mercy of the headmaster at the children's home.

    The ignorance of which he speaks is the ignorance that leaves one thinking that standing in front of a courthouse waving an unreadable sign at passing traffic does more than assuage one's own guilt at being a "have". It certainly doesn't put food on a homeless person's lap, nor a roof over his head, nor clothes on his back. It's a warm-fuzzy feel-good for the person who goes home at night to a hot meal and two of his three children.
  4. nocapes
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    nocapes - April 04, 2014 7:53 am
    Boy "newageiscoming", in 15 minutes you added another child…Don't have kids if you can't afford to. Jack in the Box will never pay the bills enough but I do admire that you're trying. When people create offspring, they need to get extremely serious about playing the game. If I have kids and know the way I dress and look is keeping me from getting a job that could support them, I change, I play the game. Rage against the machine? Yes! But do not create offspring and then not support them because you're raging. I don't know that the offspring are yours who you purport to support, but some man made them with some woman and both those people need to be earning money, caring for young, and playing the game. I like that you want to be compassionate. Yes, we need that. Have compassion for the children you bring into the world.
  5. dileep
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    dileep - April 04, 2014 2:09 am
    The abandoned in Corvallis – and those who allow them – phiss me off. 100 % free foods right and left. 100 % free outfits. Large support systems. Totally able to spend their money on drugs, liquor, and cigarettes cuz they know they won't go without food. Its actually awesome to be abandoned in Corvallis. Bihar Board 10 Result 2014
  6. boredNcurious
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    boredNcurious - April 02, 2014 11:59 pm
    Once again the Gazette reports on homeless Helton (age 41) and his sex toy Renae (age 19) the flute player (pictured). According to the "gimme shelter" (Oct, 2013) facts (http://www.gazettetimes.com/news/local/gimme-shelter-corvallis-busker-shares-poetry-art/article_11efbcde-3634-11e3-982f-001a4bcf887a.html?mode=comments) Renae has several homes available in Eugene with family and friends, but Helton has convinced her he would die without "his angel". Helton was jailed for about 2 weeks (Jan.11-23, 2014) for domestic violence against Renae (case#CM1221824,#14CR00320,and felony #CM1320061) for which he is still awaiting sentencing.

    This current article also mentions Marge Pettitt (age 57), who recently returned to Chris Helton from where they had coddled each other in New Mexico, pre Renae.. Meanwhile, Helton's real wife and 12 year old child in Colorado wait in vain for child support, but he drinks and smokes away all the money Renae earns for him.
    How do I know all this? Public records, and from a superficial investigation into the 100+ comments on the Oct 16, 2013 article (surely must be a Gazette record), and talking with a few of the many Corvallis citizens who Christopher Helton has attacked since his arrival in 2011. It is no wonder so many so often warn others of con man Helton who continues to blame his blackouts on a 20 year old brain injury rather than his life long pattern of frequent drunkenness which was well established (in his teen years) before his brain injury.
    It is curious, but I don't have time to investigate the other characters, like Taunesha Ward.
  7. Austin
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    Austin - April 02, 2014 6:36 pm
    Justin…there are 4 main reasons one is homeless:

    1. They chose to be homeless. In that case they should get zero, zip, nada help. They should be ashamed of themselves for draining the system of limited resources from those that truly need help. In fact, they should be run out of town for their selfish and insensitive acts.

    2. They are drug and or alcohol addicted. In which case they should be required to go into meaningful treatment and pass a UA each time they ask for any services. If they refuse or fail then they fit in category #1 and should face the same treatment.

    3. They have mental issues. In which case they should be institutionalized in a manner appropriate to the level of service needed to protect them and others…even if by force. This is where the money should be allocated…not to feel good “look I care cr*p”.

    4. They have fallen on a temporary set-back and only need a hand up. These are not the people who hang around town drinking, fighting and urinating. They prefer the limited funds go where it will help those truly in need.

    Standing around “protesting” about this makes one look like a complete fool and undermines the cause. If you and your “group” of do-gooders are so concerned, then house them in your homes rather than demanding we the people pay to support the abuse of those who fit in items 1 & 2 above.
  8. newageiscoming
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    newageiscoming - April 02, 2014 3:30 pm
    Sir I must say you are very ignorant..... my name is justin colbert and I work at jack in the box in corvallis and I was one of the people in that picture flying a sign ........I earn my keep and I provide for two children..... yes as I agree alot of homeless take advantage of what they are given but there are some that truly need the help and support and you know what almost everyone in that picture do have homes and places to stay but they went out of there way to try and bring a little love and compassion back into the world ..... how have you assisted your fellow man recently I do agree dont give your money to someone who is just gonna go buy drugs but maybe just sit and talk with that person for a minute understand who they are and why they are living the way they live maybe you will see that not all of them chose to live that way .......some of these people truly need to be given a chance because there are alot of places of buisness out there that would not hire these people just because of there looks and so on...... anyways my point is that you maybe should have taken a little more time to listen rather than criticize.
  9. newageiscoming
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    newageiscoming - April 02, 2014 3:16 pm
    Im sorry sir but you are very ignorant I was one of the protesters in this rally and I do actually work for everything I own I have three children and im at work 5-6 times a week if you need proof my name is justin colbert and I am a shift leader at jack in the box in corvallis ...... but I digress the point is that yes alot of the homeless here or anywere else take advantage of what is given to them but there are alot of them that have no choice they have to be on the streets .... so the message is dont let the 1 percentile affect the lives of the people who truly nedd the assistance , and when was it ever okay to deny your fellow man I do beleive the man upstairs would be pretty dissapointed to look down at his creation these days ......
  10. 4dfy
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    4dfy - April 02, 2014 1:38 pm
    The TV show Portlandia's theme song has it correct -Oregon is "where young people come to retire." Everyone pictured in this article looks perfectly capable of holding a job -assuming their urine is clean. And if its not, they don't deserve a thing from us. I don't think it is too much to ask that people that mooch off of working people be clean; especially when there are COUNTLESS programs to help them get clean.
  11. Harry Mallory
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    Harry Mallory - April 02, 2014 1:17 pm
    Wow. Something we agree on. Well said. These guys could do for themselves if they had to make the effort, but thats the key isnt it?
  12. Losing Ground
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    Losing Ground - April 02, 2014 9:26 am
    YaRight, I hope this doesn't ruin your day, but I agree 100 percent with your comments, especially your last one.
  13. Kilgore Trout
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    Kilgore Trout - April 02, 2014 5:59 am
    Well, thanks to the article, at least now I know what the demonstration was about.
    Always a bit curious when I see folks going to the trouble of exercising their 1st amendment rights, I noticed this assembly when running errands yesterday. I could not determine what message was supposed to be conveyed, so I circled the block and took a closer look. Still very unclear - small, poorly worded signs, awkward – almost meek - body language, no one seemed to be taking the situation seriously. It appeared like more of a party than a protest. Later on, passing a third time, I still had no clue what statement was trying to be made.
    When I headed home, I passed a guy on Kings with a sign announcing $5 pizza. He had a smile and was boogie dancing, spinning the sign and working it energetically.
    The message was clear as a bell.
  14. YaRight
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    YaRight - April 02, 2014 1:57 am
    When I was younger and moved around a lot I was homeless several times so I have been there. I used my money to get food that could keep me alive and never asked anyone for anything but for them to hire me. More than once I came to a town with 20-50 bucks and always got a job and a place to live within a few months. I never just sat around during normal working hours like those two vultures pictured above.

    The homeless in Corvallis – and those who enable them – phiss me off. Free meals right and left. Free clothes. Massive support systems. Free to spend their money on drugs, alcohol, and tobacco cuz they know they won't starve. Its actually cool to be homeless in Corvallis.
    What B.S.

    I have a hard opinion for homeless people:
    You want to be free? Go live away from working people, i.e. the deep woods, and don't come out to vulturize tax payers. If you're homeless inside city limits then you should be sent to prison (and be forced to work for your keep). You claim you want to work? You get a place to stay, free food, and you get to earn your keep by doing supervised community service (during the night time so you can search for a job during normal working hours).

    Enabling hurts everyone.
  15. jacksonkingfish
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    jacksonkingfish - April 01, 2014 11:20 pm
    Corvallis offers amazing services to the homeless. The shelter off 9th on Rieman is a beautiful building with many classes and counselors for those looking to improve their lives. These folks could live there if they committed to changing their lives and not just crashing there when it's cold. There is a strictly enforced no drugs or alcohol policy that keeps most homeless folks away, or just using the facility for cold weather. I landed there 7 years ago after returning to Oregon from 3 years in California. I found a job within a week as a bartender. I had to take a breathalyzer every night when I returned from work. I was happy to do this to have a nice place to stay, with an amazing offering of healthy food, I saved enough money for an apartment, and thanks to the Community Consortium, moved in with money saved, as well as my dignity.
  16. BooHiss
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    BooHiss - April 01, 2014 8:55 pm
    I couldn't agree more. I work my butt off for what I have. I'm not entitled to anything. The vast majority of these people aren't even from the area- they come here because it is common knowledge in the homeless community how easy Corvallis and Eugene are to live off of. Yes- notice I said "live off of", not "live in". Big difference.
  17. Austin
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    Austin - April 01, 2014 3:20 pm
    You don't appreciate the gift you have been given of a free place to hang out for a while? Then feel free to get the h*ll out ! None of you look like you've gone without food. Put your energy into being productive instead of demanding others take care of you. This "what have you done for me lately" nonsense is getting old.
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