White Bird doctors kick off new program connected to Camp 99

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EUGENE, Ore. - Camp 99 in west Eugene has seen a large wave of homeless people crossing the street to St. Vincent de Paul for help.

Many there are seeking medical treatment with help from White Bird Clinic.

White Bird has been working out of the Lindholm Center across the street temporarily, but that's changing in the coming weeks. We talked with doctors who kicked off a new program this morning


White Bird's medical staff say they've been watching Camp 99 with concern.

“We've been keeping our eye on the situation here at Camp 99 and it's appeared to many of us that the situation had gotten worse over time,” said Chris Hecht, the head of outreach at White Bird.

Chris Hecht says many people at Camp 99 are struggling with their health, whether it be short term or an ongoing problem.

That's why, with the county's help, they launched a two week pilot program at St. Vincent de Paul's Lindholm Center to figure out how to help in a more permanent way.

“Imagine having to get reliable to your doctor appointments when you don't have a safe place to leave all of your stuff, when it's cold and rainy out and you don't have transportation,” said Hecht.

Joe Givens says he's had a bad cold and came to the clinic for help.

“It's a very important thing for the community and it also keeps these communicable things from spreading around,” said Givens.

White Bird's help is not limited only to medical services but social and mental health support as well.

Their plan is to get as many people treated and collect as much information as possible to come up with permanent solutions.

“As decision makers get more data, they're going to be able to look at longer term solutions to the problem,” said Hecht.

White Bird doctors and volunteers will treat people weeknights and for a few hours on Saturdays totaling 24 hours a week.

The program will be running through January 7th before they figure out the next step, especially as people will soon be able to move to new camps managed by St. Vinnies, in the same area.

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