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  • Rotary at Work

Eugene Southtowne Rotary is a service club of committed members partnering with Rotary International to provide support in service to local and worldwide communities through truth, fairness, goodwill, and better friendships, beneficial to us all.

Here's the Latest...

Here is a fun look at a donation from Rotary touching the other end of the world.

The ambulance was donated to Dr. Ellen Heinitz by the town of Oakridge. Oakridge was given a new ambulance as a result of the town being featured on the ABC TV program "Secret Millionaire".

The ambulance was stocked with supplies donated by the Oakridge Fire Dept. and Southtowne Rotary. It was transferred from Oakridge to Texas and shipped by boat on Jan. 31 to Lubumbashi, Peoples Republic of Congo, arriving in Africa in late March. As of April 5 it was waiting at the border of Angola and Congo.

Still pictures will follow later. Dr Heinitz is planning a container shipment in a few weeks with hospital equipment.

submitted by our awesome Ken Goyer award winner, Lauren Alexander

Video is low quality and taken from a car following the ambulance.


Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB)

This month OBOB will celebrate with a pizza party sponsored by Eugene Southtowne on April 25th. Coaches will be there to celebrate with the kids. We will also have an OBOB book for each student participating this year. Thanks to Linda Carnine and the 5 Rotarians who went to Fairfield Math and Science night. They gave away over 150 books to participants.

Head Start

At Fairfield Head Start we will read a book about butterflies and do a project with the children on April 28th.Each child will take home a book. We have been requested to do booths at their end of the year graduation celebration on June 4th. More info to come. Contact Camille to volunteer.

Food Boxes

All sites have had food boxes delivered this month. Lonny also delivered another special request.

Emergency Loans

The committee continues to work with 3 families who have received emergency loans from our fund. One additional request was received this week for a loan to help with extra deposit for utilities. Recipients of loans and emergency help are being asked to work with us on the community garden project in April. The two non-traditional scholarship students each have a mentor – Gerry Reicher and Bill Slattery. They are in the process of meeting with the recipients and starting the grants.

Downtown Languages

We have some volunteers helping with the Pilas activities with Downtown Languages. One person that has started is Trent Wagner one of our new members who speaks Spanish. He is working with the young children.

United Rotary Day of Work

Mark Peeters is working with the Bethel community committee on the gardening project. He will lead the team in a gardening project on the United Rotary work day – Sat. April 26th at 9-12:00.


Gerry and Camille are continuing to work with volunteer Lorin Anderberg (a U of O student) to produce a video about some of the local Southtowne projects. We are expanding the video with more local stories about the impact of our projects. We are hoping to use this in district and also with members.


We will host the team from Denmark during the first week in June. The outgoing team is leaving Aug 23 and will return Sept 20th. We are also actively recruiting young professionals to be a part of this team. Let Camille know if you know of someone. Southtowne will help sponsor the wine tasting at Saginaw for the team and also lunch at the Marche during their U of O day. Camille Ronzio

On behalf of the Habitat Committee I want to thank you for your generous giving to our Habitat House Project.

Approximately 2/3 of club members have helped us raise 90% of our initial goal of $25,000, which is 1/3 of the $75,000 of cash and in-kind donations needed to build a home.

During The Wine & Salmon Festival event we garnered 51 individual donations totaling nearly $9,000, and significantly, 40% of the donations were from our guests. By the way, everyone who gave that evening has been sent a thank you note from one of our committee members.

Our next priority is to begin seeking in-kind donations. We thank Andy Laird, Burnell Ambrose and Jantzen Lloyd for already stepping up on that front. We are creating a form to expedite the in-kind process and will be talking more about that opportunity with you in coming weeks.

Jean Stover and others are continuing their efforts to recruit other Rotary clubs to the project so this will truly be a Rotary Habitat House. If you have any questions or comments please contact Jim Anderson, Jean Stover, Michael Raz, or any of the others on the Habitat committee listed in the bulletin.

Together we are building hope and changing the lives for a family waiting for a safe, decent place to call home.


Homeless Advocate Alley Valkryie provided an overview of both facts and myths concerning the homeless situation in the Eugene/Springfield area, focusing on the various sub-populations on the street, the programs and services that are and aren’t offered, and how other cities have successfully reduced their street populations. Highlights from her presentation are below as is a partial video of her presentation (apologies for the rough videography at start).


  • It's important to gain separate perspectives and to form your own decision about homeless issues.
  • Statistics can be unreliable. For instance, the "Official" number by a government survey is that there are 1700 people in Lane County that are homeless, but this is a very dramatic under-count.
  • In 2013 around 10,000 people apply to services in Lane County and most (over 70%) are from Lane County. While not all are homeless, a much larger percentage than 17% are.
  • According to the Oregon Board of Education, there are 2250 students that are homeless, 1000 of which are in Eugene/Springfield - this shows how unreliable the first "official" statistic is.
  • We do have a seasonal traveler population that comes for the various festivals and fairs, which is their chosen "drifter" lifestyle, and Eugene is one of the stops. Other stops include Olympia, Arcadia, etc. but this is a separate homeless population and most do not seek housing or services. Unfortunately, they do contribute to the problems homeless face including public perception. When Alley talks about the homeless situation, she doesn't include this population.
  • The fact is that most of our homeless population is FROM our area (73%). Only 13% are from out of state.
  • A myth: Eugene attracts more homeless because of our great services. This can be said around the country in every mid-size university city. Mid-size university cities typically have more homeless. We are no more or less a magnet than other "University towns".
  • Eugene does have a large population of visible homeless because of a lack of appropriate shelters.
  • Lane County comes in 19th in the nation for the population of un-sheltered homeless.
  • Portland, Ashland, Roseburg, etc. are all facing homeless population issues.
  • The main reason people migrate that are homeless are because of friends, families, or a job.
  • People are actually leaving Eugene for other areas with more shelter.
  • Utah is giving away apartments and they are not getting an influx of homeless because of that service. It is a myth that if we build it, they will come.
  • There is a very long waiting list for almost all services with the exception of the Mission.
  • The Mission cannot serve everyone. For instance, those with drug and alcohol problems. We don't have enough supportive housing or care and programs for homeless with mental illness or for those struggling with a certain level of addiction. And it is those people who are the most visible and scary and even though it is a very small population, residents look at the entire population and judge based on this one very much under-served sub-population.
  • That small sub-population, however, costs the city a lot of money because they are the criminal element and the most disruptive.
  • Some cities have adopted a "housing first" philosophy. You give shelter to anyone willing to take it. It is not seen as enabling. And it saves a fortune. Each city implementing "housing first" has seen considerable cost savings. Seattle has seen a 50% cost savings.
  • There are a lot of projects in Eugene that are innovative and successful such as Opportunity Village which is housing 30-35 people. 14 of those who first moved in have already transitioned on to traditional housing. It costs less than $10k a year (and is supported by private donations). This project has ignited a trend and is getting national attention.
  • Duplication of projects like Opportunity Village is the #1 way to address homeless populations. So many just need a way to get caught up and back on solid footing.
  • Homelessness is NOT solvable and we can't possibly provide a home to everyone that needs one but there is opportunity to truly affect the problem and minimize the street population.
  • We really need a wet bed shelter for those suffering from drug and alcohol problems. The behavior isn't going to change until we are proactive at addressing this. There's been success in pretty much every wet bed shelter project that has been implemented in other areas.
  • We can put serious dents in the homelessness problem without too much expense and effort. For instance, when someone is evicted but can't quite cover the 1st/last/deposit for a new place, we could offer assistance. Many become homeless because of that. And then once you are homeless for a period of time, it becomes nearly impossible to get out of it without a great deal of help.
  • In answer to a question: Central Latino and Hispanic churches tend to help that population and therefore the hispanic homeless population is less visible.

Jack Tripp provided us with an overview of the Eugene Mission and an update on the recent strategic direction the Mission is taking. Joelle encourages us to not just complain about the homeless problem but stay informed and move to act for helping to affect positive change for our homeless community.

Highlights and Notes of Jack's Presentation:

  • The Mission stores some of Lauren's medical supplies and Lauren often thanks them by supplying them with things they need such as medical scrubs that are used as pajamas.
  • We have a lot of Mission supporters in Southtowne.
  • You see Christ's face in each homeless person served.
  • But it is a tough thing and there it is overwhelming. There are troubled and criminal elements including rapists that organizations like the Mission are reaching out to.
  • We are our own worst enemy because we attract homeless people in this community. We have many resources available. They find out about us online and come here from all over the country.
  • Should you give money to the homeless on the street? Jack says that you are feeding their addiction. Homeless people who are trying to improve their lives will tell you that you are helping them kill themselves. Instead, give packages of food and gloves and speak to them but do not give them money.
  • What can we do? Jack says small business owners need to step up and speak up because that isn't happening. Jack says we own this community and therefore we need to lead the effort to affect change or it will just keep getting worse.
  • Jack relates this story from someone who owns a signigicant business in town. He said: I didn't come from this community and I can't wait to leave because this is the first time I've had to buy a weapon for my wife. Our car and home has been broken in to. I can't bring customers downtown because they are panhandled 3-4 times and it is embarrassing and uncomfortable."
  • 500 beds, 350-500 sleep at the mission each night. Everyone from a 20 year old that just got out of jail to a single mom trying to make ends meet. Another 200 are served in other ways which means 700 are served daily.
  • Homeless creates hunger and ALL donations are needed. ANYTHING. They all need it. 240,000 meals are served a year.
  • Clothes are also needed badly. Every section has a clothing room and right now, especially men's clothing is needed.
  • Chapel service is ALL voluntary and so anyone who says they can't go there needs to know it is not mandatory. Individuals of all race, creed, and sexual orientation come through the Mission. All are welcome. If people don't want to go to chapel service, there is a quiet time. Any one of us can come in and help or just sit and talk with folks.
  • The Mission decided they can't be a shelter for people who want to get well and people who don't because those who don't scare off those that do. So the Shelter is now a wellness center for the Homeless. There is a one year life change program for those who want a new life. They started in August and it is changing lives. They will be placed in housing and jobs throughout the community. Jack asks us to give one of these individuals a chance and employ them.
  • All the social services in town come to the wellness center during the week because it is too hard for homeless folks to get around. This serves the general population.
  • Every guest at the Mission does an hour and a half job every day and that has turned them in to volunteers. That has given many their dignity back.
  • The garden is growing, they have bees, and are becoming sustainable. They have chickens now and that is growing.
  • They want to create a play area for the mothers and children so families can bond together. The cost of this will be $44k.
  • A big part of the wellness center is sobriety. They are now demanding it so that they can create a safe and sober place and that is changing the culture. If you are drug tested positive, you cannot come back for three months. It's very strict now where before, drugs and alcohol were rampant.
  • There is a difference between love and enabling. It is not loving to let someone sit in their own addiction.
  • There is a pick up service for clothing and donation boxes on 1st Avenue.


After working and living all over the world with the U.S. For­eign Service, Paula Benjaminson has put down roots in Oregon. Her talk focused on how being an American diplomat can open doors to meeting interesting people, give us the opportu­nity to help people in need directly, and allow us to get to know a place more profoundly than any fleeting tourist visit could.

Paula has been in the foreign service on and off since she graduated with her master's degree (in international relations). With her husband and children, she has "permanently" lived overseas since 1996 and just recently returned to Oregon after retiring.

Paula first served in El Salvador. She was then able to study Arabic for four months and worked in Jerusalem for a time, supporting activity in Tel Aviv. She also studied Chinese for 2 years in DC, Taiwan, and in China which was used in her work all over China, which included teaching English.

Generally when you work for the foreign service, you work in an embassy but Paula was able to work in more interesting areas like Tibet. While there, they weren't allowed to drive around on their own. Their trips were arranged by the Chinese government, traveling on narrow roads in rented vans, staying the night on the way at a Tibetan truck stop. They stayed for two years working with the government to preserve a national park (twinned with Yosemite). The problem that exists there and throughout China is pollution - so bad that during her 2 years she was not able to physically see some of the higher altitude sights.

Paula married another foreign service officer & had two daughters & decided to take time off for a short time. They moved to Sweden and she began working again there and in Brussels.

Paula's husband got the "job of a lifetime" in Africa and they were there for 2 years, then Namibia living with giraffes and warthogs. Later, when the kids were teens they went to Canada and then to Gabon, where her husband was the American ambassador. This was their last post.

Paula went in to detail about some of her experiences including the opportunity to help preserve and protect the "oldest books on earth" and view them. She was able to see some of the most incredible sights and have amazing experiences during her time there and of course the work is designed to help our world through service, research, and relations with other countries.

More information on being a foreign service officer can be found here: http://careers.state.gov/officer

presented by Alselmo Valenueva

DisOrient is a social justice film festival dedicated to deconstructing the media stereotypes of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans as "Orientals." Started in 2006 by artists, educators, and activists, DisOrient is a grassroots and volunteer-run film festival. When selecting new and exciting films for our festival, we use the W.E.B. DuBois standard of "for us, by us, or about us."


  • DisOrient started in 2004 by a young graduate of Sheldon High School & University of Oregon (Jason Mack) and became enamored with film, and especially independent films
  • Takes place this year April 10-13, 2014 at Bijou Art Cinemas. You can buy one pass to all movies.
  • There are tens of thousands of independent film festivals
  • Three or four categories including shorts, documentaries, and narratives
  • People of all ages and from all walks of life are involved
  • There is opportunity to meet film makers and their staff
  • Free films during matinees on Saturday and Sunday; otherwise anyone can buy a ticket for any film
  • 80-100 films are submitted and a committee of people meet
  • 4 Awards are presented at the close of the festival
  • Films help to educate about different cultures and experiences you would not otherwise get to see

Additional Information regarding the Asian-American culture:

  • Population of ethnic minorities in this town is a lot greater than it appears. 22-25% of student body is ethnic minority. The greatest sectors are Hispanic and Asian-American (& Pacific Islander)
  • This includes recent immigrants and natively born individuals
  • The Asian-American population in Oregon is the fastest growing population
  • In Salem, there is a large population of Marshallese from the Marshall Islands
  • There are associations for each culture group like Philippine American, Marshallese, etc. that respond to disasters (fundraisers and transport of goods) and support the unique needs of their communities and cultures.
  • The biggest obstacles for young people in these communities is the push and pull between culture of their home country and where they live. What's cool there is not here. Parental influence vs. peer influence. You end up developing a duality.
  • Alselmo thinks it would help if all students were required to learn another language and culture.
  • It is a myth that all Asian-Americans are wealthy, but that seems to be the mainstream opinion. Articles like this do not help.


Join us for the Wine and Salmon Festival on March 14th for your chance at these and many other oral auction items:

Pizza making experience with Gianni at LaPerla

A homemade pizza making experience at LaPerla Pizzeria Napoletana. Learn to make your own true Neopolitan pizza pies from the bottom up and have a personalized chance to bake them in the wood-fired ovens of LaPerla. For one person. Followed by a pizza party for 10. Donated by LaPerla Pizzeria Napoletana

Reflections pendant from Beaudet Jewelry

A beautiful .71 Chrome Diopside and Diamond (.10cttw) Reflections Pendant in 14kt white gold on an 18” 14kt white gold chain. A gorgeous piece to add to your collection. Donated by Charles Beaudet and Beaudet Jewelry

Japanese Kaiseki Dinner

A six-course dinner in the Japanese Kaiseki-style. Be prepared for seasonal sashimi, seasonal main course (most likely white fish), five to seven side dishes, miso soup, and rice. This dinner includes beverages including wine, sake, and beer. Date negotiable. Donated by Sheila & David Bong

Sip and Soar Trip to Napa Valley for two

A hot air balloon ride, winery tours and tastings, chauffeur all with air fare and three nights at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa Valley. Spend two hours gliding over the valley with a champagne breakfast on board. Take a private tour with wine tasting at Fontanella Family Winery, have a cave tour and barrel tasting at Del Dotto Estate Winery, and take those tours over 6 hours with a chauffeured luxury sedan. Package includes coach airfare to San Francisco and 3-nights at the Meritage Resort and Spa complete with concierge service.

presentation by John Rowell and Kaarin Knudson, Rowell Brokaw Architects

John and Kaarin provided us with an update and "sneak peek" on the developing plans for the rebuilding of the Eugene City Hall. Final plans will be presented in April.

Click here for a recent article in the Register Guard including a bigger image of the Architect's sketch

Think Big, Smart Small, Make It Happen

  • Past processes resulted in much too big of projects that the city could not afford
  • Starting small with plans to grow
  • Two track process includes a design options and a public process
  • There is a block to occupy and think about
  • First phase will be about 1/4 of the block (25,000 square feed)
  • Block framework
  • First phase will include council and mayor offices, meeting rooms, city manager, and support space
  • Construction will start next year with a goal of completing this phase in early 2016
  • Values of the project include stewardship, identity, participation, simplicity & future Eugene
  • Architects are working hard to ensure that the new buildings connect to the community and our history.
  • Thinking about goals related to being a green city, connecting to the river, creating a civic heart and a place that people visit and are proud of.
  • City Council is adding focus on the public art, parking, and a council chamber
  • Considering the use of old growth cedar that was used in the previous building as a material in the new project. NOTE: It will be a new building that looks at re-use of some materials
  • Considering sustainability and utilizing existing resources
  • Considering energy usage and long term savings annually (as much as $250k)
  • Possibly will be able to generate energy on site and eventually use only as much as is generated
  • Goal is to create a "living city" that extends the current vitality of the Broadway block throughout downtown
  • Planning includes consideration of the surrounding blocks and extending the energies of those areas. Each street on the block is being considered as it relates to the surrounding area.
  • Phase 1 is planned for 8th and Pearl & includes an open space
  • A feeling of transparency is present in the design
  • They are conscious of "building value" for the city with this project
  • It could take many years to complete the block (as much as 20)
  • Other spaces on the block will be used for parking until further buildings are built. That is the short term plan.
  • What to do with the remaining space over time is up in the air. Some feel a central area for all services is necessary and others feel that scattering them around the city is important and a good thing.

Southtowne Rotary and Rotarians have been doing good work in our world for over 20 years. This is a program that reminds us that international trips with Rotary can be very rewarding and create memories (and sustainable projects!) that last a lifetime.

Twenty years ago this month 5 Southtowne Rotarians set out for Oaxaca Mexico to help build a water system for a remote village with no electricity, roads or running water. El Tambor was the destination.

The trip was truly an adventure in a very remote third world area, from getting there to constructing the “system” and the dedication. Hundreds of villagers previously had to take their water from an open, unprotected seep which was adversely affected by unrestricted access by livestock and wildlife.

Club members John Brown and Lauren Alexander were two members of this trip and told the story today. Watch the attached video to hear their amazing and funny tale including memories of "Basketball with the Gringos". Short story: the team with the machetes and guns won.

Another highlight: John brought a polaroid camera and took pictures of every kid and this was the first time they'd ever seen an image of themselves.



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Eugene Southtowne Rotary Club

We meet at the Vet's Club, 1626 Willamette Street every Thursday at noon! Join us.

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 5158,
Eugene, OR 97405-0158

Southtowne Photos

Visitors from South Eugene preschoolSouth Eugene students from the catering programSouth Eugene students from the catering program
South Eugene students from the catering programJerry S. talks with a boy at the Head Start book reading.Jerry S. works with young children at the Head Start book reading.
Head Start book reading.Jerry S. talks with a boy at the Head Start book reading.Jean Stover and scholarship student Nicole helping at this year’s fundraiser

The Four Way Test


What Is Rotary?

Rotary International is the world's first service club organization, with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide. Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto Service Above Self.

What Is Southtowne?

We are known in the Eugene/Springfield community as the “fun” club, where our members come to listen to engaging programs each week and are entertained by our spirited Sergeant-At-Arms. The ideal member for our club is someone who is passionate to help the youth in our community, and who enjoy positive business and personal camaraderie on a weekly basis.

Project Highlight: StoveTeam

In Latin America, millions of households are using either open fires or inefficient stoves to prepare food. The open fires are unsafe for women and children and smolder all day. Inefficient, non-vented and non-insulated cement block stoves produce smoke and use large quantities of wood.  Learn More...

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