Julie Akins Documents Lack of Care on the Greenway

More detail offered on the Greenway conditions including the meals being served to keep the unsheltered in place on the bike path during the pandemic.
Posting Background: Roughly three weeks ago I began walking The Greenway to check on hand washing stations, essential to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. I additionally checked portable toilets, trash cans, food and general conditions for the unhoused. Along these walks I talked to those living rough outside.Background on Greenway program: The Greenway program determined that the best practice was to keep those already on the greenway in place.

Law enforcement agencies agreed to stop “sweeps,” or removing the unhoused from camps, and Aramak was chosen as the provider of once per day meals. Aramak makes the food for the jail. Additionally, it was decided that portable toilets, hand washing stations and trash service would be advantageous to those sheltering on the greenway. Methodology: I personally observed numerous stops on the greenway, I spoke to those living in camps there, I questioned those involved with programs serving people living unsheltered and I documented with photos as appropriate. When a person witnesses conditions it is considered “evidence.”

I am documenting what I see. However, in due caution and credibility of reporting I walk with a second person who can, if need be, substantiate my findings. On two occasions the second person was Derek Pyle.Findings:

  • Lack of hand washing stations near portable toilets starting in the county at Wrangler’s rest area through Talent and several other stops.
  • Several hand washing stations which are in existence lack water or soap.
  • Lack of trash cans at most stops
  • Portable toilets, mixed results. Some were clean, many were not. Roughly only one in three appear to have hand sanitizer soap in them.
  • Long wait times for food delivery of boxed lunch. Delivery begins at 11 am and is scheduled to end at 1pm. I waited until 3pm on one occasion and on another it never came. I asked the sheriff’s office about it, who explained that there is so much need and so few of them to deliver.
  • Boxed lunches contain a daily meal which includes four pieces of white bread, several pieces of lunch meat, a small bag of chips and a piece of fruit. Condiments are included.
  • Roughly a dozen different individuals have informed me they could not eat the meat because it was “sour”, “spoiled”, “turned” or “a funny color.” At least two agencies who feed the hungry daily have informed me on the record they have stopped using the boxed lunch because they had reports of people getting sick.
  • Three people have informed me they personally got ill from the lunch.
  • The boxed lunches are provided by Aramak,(https://progressmichigan.org/2014/10/top-five-aramark-scandals-havent-heard/). The company has a storied and difficult reputation. (see below or do your own google search)
  • The Jackson County Emergency Operations Center received numerous grants to provide the meals on the greenway from: Oregon Community Foundation, Jackson Care Connect, and AllCare Health and was granted $30,000, $25,000 and $20,000, respectively. As of now, eleven entities have donated funds to support Greenway food program operations, including the City of Ashland, the City of Central Point, the City of Medford, the City of Talent, Jackson County, Bear Creek Greenway Foundation, Teresa McCormick Center, and United Way of Jackson County as well as the Oregon Community Foundation, Jackson Care Connect, and AllCare Health.
  • While the exact amount is variable as grants expire and new ones come on line, the EOC has received roughly $100,000 to provide food on the greenway.

I am checking on people with whom I often work. I am reporting back to my community the conditions I find. No unhoused person has asked me to do this and despite what I am reporting most claim to be greatly relieved at not being ordered to move and are keeping their camps clean. I observed numerous camps with hand wipes and sanitizing solutions, gallons of water and bars of soap as well as face masks and trash bags. Many report receiving these items as donations from Non Governmental Organizations.

Additionally many are still recycling and riding miles to turn in recycling in Medford at the only place open. They are working in order to make money for necessary items such as food and water and hygiene.It’s hoped this long posting clears things up a bit. I have requested interviews and photographs of food from people. They are reticent as they do not wish to create ill will. But I will stay on it.

//inserted by Sharon