I read your letter with interest, Mr. Don French (Letters, 5/14).
You said, “Until there is a distinction between the homeless criminals/drug addicts and homeless needing a hand… the general public will not be supportive of assistance.” Conveniently, there is a distinction, and it isn’t difficult to find. However, it requires the sacrifice of time spent getting to know homeless people to understand who they are — not as a group, but as individuals. This would be a good community project for Eugene.
Perhaps then, local community members and police would stop assuming that when a crime is done, it is an entire camp that is the culprit. If there is a criminal in an apartment building, do we evict everyone in the building? If there is a business that runs a chop shop, are all the businesses in the block shut down? Yes, criminals can certainly be in camps. But it creates harm to all of our city when a social group is treated like the worst of that group. When everyone is arrested, evicted, ticketed or banned because of the actions of one or two.
Perhaps EW understands and appreciates that.