About 25 people gathered Friday night at the bus stop at the intersection of Hwy 99 and Royal Ave. to honor the life of elderly community member that passed away at the location earlier that week. The vigil was organized by Black Thistle Street Aid (BTSA), a group that runs pop-up clinics and does outreach to the unhoused.
BTSA says the person, who they did not know the name of, had been using the bus stop as shelter for three days and is believed to have died from exposure during the cold snap.
While the individual was not a patient of BTSA, they still felt it right to remember and hold space for them. BTSA echoed another community member that had shared a cup of water with them before they died, “No one over the age of 65 should be without shelter. No one should die that way. There is no dignity.”
BTSA says they have lost seven of their patients this year. They said to be on lookout for details for the annual National Homeless Memorial Day on Dec. 21. But also to stay vigilant and channel the sorrow into rage towards the City of Eugene to act in providing shelter.