© 2024 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Candlight Vigil Honors The Lives Of Unhoused People Who've Died In 2020

Melorie Begay/KLCC


The advocacy group, Stop Death on the Streets held their 2nd annual vigil in Eugene on Friday Jan. 8. About 100 people came to mourn the lives of homeless people who died in the past year. 

Activist Chelsea Swift said in a speech during the vigil that the community hasn’t collectively grieved for people who’ve died in 2020, including those who’ve died from COVID-19.

She called for solidarity and to push past class divides. Swift there aren’t enough solutions being implemented.

“Instead of providing reasonable shelter for people who live outside, they live here.” Swift said standing in the same area where on Dec. 3 the City of Eugene removed more than a hundred unhoused people. 

“Neighbors have to witness something that they did not ask for, that nobody asked for,” Swift continued, “And instead of all of us being able to look upwards at the people who are the folks who are supposed to save us, we are pitted against each other.”

Local activists have condemned the actions of the city for dissolving the encampment, calling it inhumane and dangerous. They have cited the Centers for Disease Controls guidance on keeping encampments intact to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

30 people were named during the vigil, and another person was recognized making the total 31. However, the total number of unhoused people who have died is unknown since the city doesn’t track deaths of people experiencing homelessness. Activists say the number is likely higher.

Swift noted last year they saw a similar number of unhoused people dying, and called for more widespread involvement in addressing homelessness. 


The following is the list from organizers of people who've died while unhoused:

  • Mickey Beaty
  • Patricia Becknell
  • Daniel Burdick
  • Elizabeth Coates
  • Joseph Crowder
  • Dominic Daley
  • Michae Farnsworth
  • David Gillette
  • Donald Haney
  • David Harrington
  • Kayla Hawkins
  • Elizabeth Hulsey 
  • Matthew Kennett
  • John McCormack
  • Joseph Middleton
  • Jeffrey Kirkpatrick
  • Matt Kutzler
  • Kipling Madjor
  • Andrew Mondragon
  • Steven Montoya
  • Curt Phillips
  • Wendy Peters
  • Jerome Powers
  • Kevin Smith
  • William Steiner
  • Jeffrey Tindall
  • Arthur Toler
  • Odin Vannormannerickson
  • Rachel Wilkinson
  • Kenneth Wilkos 



Copyright 2020 KLCC

Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.