161215-nrr-waterrescue-03 (copy)

Two men leave their tent that became flooded from the rising waters of the South Umpqua River in 2016. They walked to a waiting rescue raft from Douglas County Fire District No. 2.

Within hours of the City of Roseburg’s first homeless commission meeting, police rushed to the riverbanks of Gaddis Park to pull another dead homeless individual from the frozen waters of the South Umpqua River.

With no warming center, no shelter, and the few resources that did exist crippled by the pandemic, many of the area’s homeless have found a spot along the river to hunker down and attempt to survive the winter’s frigid temperatures.

In the past month, three members of the homeless community have died — a 67-year-old man, a 48-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman.

“We want to do what we can to get this warming center up and running as quickly as possible,” said Larry Rich, Roseburg’s mayor who also sits on the commission.

“We need it now,” homeless commission member Shelley Briggs Loosley said during the Monday meeting.

Both statements underscore the importance and urgency of setting up a shelter, because while much of Douglas County has been draining outside faucets and covering patio furniture in anticipation of freezing temperatures, hundreds of unhoused people have been tying down tarps and diving under damp bedrolls.

But both statements also give us hope because urgency is exactly what’s needed.

The commission is made up of CEOs, executive directors and board chairs, a highly capable team of people with a genuine interest in helping the people of this community — all of them.

Opening a warming center is no easy task. It’s even more difficult while simultaneously fighting a pandemic. But it’s one that has to be completed and one that has to be completed quickly, preferably before the snow starts to stick.

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(15) comments


Roseburg Homeless Commission decides not to establish warming center this winter



Had one of those 'gee, I finally got from point A to point B on this one' moments thinking about this last night. As the parade of those arrested seems to grow in number, it occurs that a homeless person in survival mode may just possibly decide to commit a crime in order to sleep in a building that doesn't get below 32 degrees. It's either that or have your body pulled out of Gaddis Park. Pure desperation for survival.

Keepin it Real

How are they planning on finding a solution when they only meet for one hour, once a month?


Gotta agree with you. Maybe their solution is to make it look like they are trying to find a solution, which is getting old.

This is at least the 3rd homeless coalition/committee/commission that has been formed and disbanded in the last 7 years without pushing actions to completion. If they are only meeting once a month for an hour, I expect more of the same.


That's where my frustration comes from. It's been my experience that CEO's, Executive Directors and Board Chairs often take on specialized commissions only to pad their place in a who's who in the zoo prestige. It's always questionable whether they want to actually address an issue, or just brag that they're addressing an issue. If the Homeless Commission were serious about saving lives this Winter, they'd meed for 2 to 3 hours every day until their plan is set and ready to roll out. It seems to me they could use some help doing that, but far be it for them to gather those knowledgeable in planning and execution to help.


When I see the rising number of homeless people (60,000+) in places like LA and NY....I have to ask - where did they live before?


Ahh..........LA and NY.


I can tell you where they lived in Alaska. Native Americans in Alaska lived in tiny, remote villages until they were sent out for smuggling in booze and drinking to excess. They wind up homeless in Anchorage, where passing out drunk on the sidewalk is an automatic death sentence during the Winter. However, in Anchorage the City has rescue vans that scrape them off sidewalks and take them to hotels for the night. Hotels work in tandem with the City so Native Americans won't die from their addictions.


"... it’s one that has to be completed..." Then do it. I want to read results with the very next article on homelessness. No more happy talk to the community about your prestigious commission. Roll up your shirt sleeves and get the job done. Does the Homeless Commission have a Plan? Are they beginning to execute their Plan? Do the Commission of CEO's, Executive Directors and Board Chairs need help from the community and if so, what type of help? Get. On. It.

Marine Vet

Less then 1 month ago. The Douglas City Commissioners Gave OVER 60,000 to 3 different Homeless Groups here in Roseburg. ALL which Prompty Closed the Doors after Receiving the money. All 3 are Run by Church Organizations. So much for the Roseburg Strong & Unity.


Well now you're just making those wrinkles in my forehead get deeper. But then, I've felt for decades that organized religion has abandoned God altogether. Yours is good information to know, thanks for sharing it. Good thing there are still others who don't need the promise of heaven to see the merits of good, humane deeds.


Yes! something must be done immediately! I, like mworden, am also willing to contribute $$


The task is especially difficult during a pandemic, but lives are at stake. If the city sets up a mechanism for people to financially contribute to a warming center, I would make a monthly contribution. No one should die alone, cold, wet and hungry because there's nowhere for them to go to get warm.

Marine Vet

Less then 1 month ago. The Douglas City Commissioners Gave OVER 60,000 to 3 different Homeless Groups here in Roseburg. ALL which Prompty Closed the Doors after Receiving the money. All 3 are Run by Church Organizations. So much for the Roseburg Strong & Unity.


It is almost February and you people are now talking about a warming center? How many more people have to die befote you do something???

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