Safe Camp is a temporary and transitional space for 16 houseless campers on First Congregational UCC's property.
The camp sprung up overnight as this vulnerable population was pressured to vacate the forested area between the Church and 53rd Street.
At this time, Safe Camp has received permission from Benton County to operate until late October.
In the meantime, church volunteers are working with city and county officials, law enforcement, and social service agencies in an effort to proof a concept: that legal and managed camping may be part of the solution as the city and county work to alleviate the housing crisis.
Safe Camp's day-to-day operations are modeled after Opportunity Village in Eugene. Safe Camp is currently managed by Eric Bursky who is on site several hours each day.
Pastor Jen Writes 'Interfaith Voices' Column for the Gazette-Times
Some Background Information
For information on what has happened at the church, see:
- Four walls and a roof: Homeless advocates seek fast action on microshelter proposal for Corvallis area (Corvallis Gazette-Times, Feb. 14, 2020)
- Seeking sanctuary: Corvallis church offers safe harbor to homeless campers – for now (Corvallis Gazette-Times, Aug. 9, 2019)
- Corvallis’ Growth Pressures Neighborhood (Corvallis Advocate, Aug. 14, 2019)
- Safe Camp gets 60-day extension (Corvallis Gazette-Times, Aug. 23, 2019)
- Oregon church sees hosting 'houseless' people on its property as Christian duty (United Church of Christ website, Nov. 5, 2019)
(Links are subject to change by the news websites.)
For information related to homeless rights advocacy, see The Homeless Rights Advocacy Project
For information related to religious institutions and houseless advocacy, see this PDF document from the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project
The Safe Camp Steering Committee consists of:
- Rev. Jennifer Butler, senior minister of First Congregational UCC
- Jane Barth, community volunteer and representative of Corvallis Sustainability Coalition
- Robin Frojen, First Congregational UCC member
- Cassandra Robertson, owner of Abundant Solar and representative of Corvallis Sustainability Coalition
- Jim Swinyard, community volunteer and member of Corvallis United Methodist, former Benton County Sheriff
- Virginia Gustafson Lucker, member of First Congregational UCC
- Tim Roach, retired Presbyterian pastor and member of First Presbyterian Church
- Jill McAllister, minister of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
- Aleita Hass-Holcombe, member of First Congregational UCC and executive director of Corvallis Daytime Drop-In Center
- Garrett Beatty, pastor of Corvallis Evangelical Church
- Andrea Myhre, director of Corvallis Housing First
- Mike Moore, director of public affairs, Corvallis Oregon Stake, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Safe Camp is also supported by First United Methodist Church and the Sangha Jewel Zen Center.
Support This Effort
For information on how you can help support our work, please contact the church office:
541-757-8122 / firstname.lastname@example.org
To make a donation to Safe Camp, please go to the giving page on this website.