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Essential Service: Eugene Laundromat Stays Open 'Til Last Load Is Done

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Tiffany Eckert
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While many businesses have had to close during the pandemic, some are deemed ‘essential.’ Banks, hardware stores, and grocers are on the list. So are laundromats. After all, clean clothes and bedding is important to stay healthy and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

In south Eugene, coin-operated JC’s Laundry has established temporary hours (8am to 8pm seven days a week.) But that doesn’t mean they’ll lock the doors if you still have a load going. Vince La Barbera is laundromat attendant.

“Someone comes in, they don’t realize the changes in the hours. I’m not gonna force them out,” La Barbera says over the hum of tumbling dryers. “You’ve got however many minutes left. Sit in your car and be comfortable. Nap if you want. And then just, rap, rap rap on the door, [and say] ‘Help, I need my laundry!’”

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Credit Tiffany Eckert
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JC's Laundry stays open, sometimes beyond temporary hours, to offer "essential service" during the pandemic.

Besides minding the door, La Barbera sanitizes washers, dryers and surfaces all day long. He says some residents of Eugene Village—a Conestoga hut homeless camp across the street-- rely on his laundromat, especially these days. 

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Credit Tiffany Eckert
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Put in your laundry load, go out and wait in your car or somewhere else, then just "rap, rap, rap" on the door and Vince will open.

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Credit Tiffany Eckert
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KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert unloads freshly laundered bedding from a jumbo dryer.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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