Monday, October 26, 2009

Office Mom Speaks Out


How do you respond in clear conscious to the following letter from one who works downtown daily.This person is not in the minority. The time to implement solutions and act is now. More lip service is not necessary.

EugeneAdvocates for a Clean City


Mayor Piercy & City Council Members:

I can’t speak publicly for my employer, but being the “office mom”, I’m routinely tasked with shooing vagrants out of the alley leading from the parking behind our building to our front door. Sometimes it’s teenagers skipping school who want to smoke in there … sometimes it’s people wanting to smoke pot or drink beer. I try to be respectful, telling them “Guys, this is how our clients get to our building and they get creeped out by people hanging out in the alley. We need to you leave, please.” Some people have been very “respectful” and others have been verbally abusive, telling me I should go back inside and do my job. Unfortunately, trying to keep the alley clear of vagrants is also part of my job (which makes my co-workers nervous when I go charging out the front door to the alley).

In the past year, we’ve also had incidence of a couple hanging out in the bushes of the building next door. (The alleyway belongs to the neighboring business but is an easement.) It started out with a bag of clothing, then graduated to blankets and a tarp, also. With this came human feces … which a co-worker expected me to deal with (sorry, but *that’s* not part of my job description, and would be the responsibility of the client next door). When I was finally able to find the people there in the bushes when I got to work (which made me nervous!), I was able to express to them that the situation was unacceptable (their “squatting” there at night … normally vacated by business hours), and they cleared out.

That situation may have been solved, but we continue to have trash in the alley and human feces. This isn’t a pleasant thing for our employees or clients to walk past. One client said she wouldn’t come back until it was dealt with, as the mess was near the temporary parking space near our front door … yet still on our neighbor’s property.

Believe me, I’m as understanding as the next person of people needing somewhere to go, but squatting in the bushes of downtown buildings isn’t the answer. Relieving oneself in the bushes, whether urination, defecation, or vomiting, isn’t ok. Businesses having to put up with this isn’t ok either, especially when it impacts clients and their desire to come to our business location.

Please, help our businesses, large and small alike, by addressing these problems and giving us tools to resolve them. Knowing that the police have a lot to deal with, and knowing that they won’t even deal with property crimes below a certain dollar value, we often feel like the City doesn’t care and that we are powerless in having any “tools with teeth” to resolve these problems.

(Signed by a person who works downrtown daily)