Schlueter

Schlueter

We have had a really incredible year! Incredibly fun.

Incredibly challenging.

Incredibly busy.

And most recently, we have had some incredibly difficult decisions to make, in a short amount of time. Our lease has ended and we had always intended to extend it, but things have been changing for us and we want to share that with you.

You see, we never imagined Magdalene’s On Jackson being anywhere but downtown Roseburg. We didn’t even look at any property outside of downtown. We felt warmly welcomed when we moved into Jackson Street and opened our doors: We were home! Unfortunately home became a place we no longer felt welcome, safe or successful. A few months ago, as the weather got colder, a group of homeless folks moved in near our storefront. We did as we always had before, said a “good morning” in passing, tried to get to know them and connect. But this situation was unlike our previous relationships with those seeking shelter downtown. In the past, we all worked together. We would bring snacks and water, they kept an eye on the shop after closing. We knew each other’s names, we worked together to keep things clean. While we want to see everyone have proper shelter, we were trying our best to at least share some kindness. Those days have since ended.

Over the last two months, our gate has been vandalized, someone tried to start a fire in our entryway, we have been screamed at, followed, intimidated, and had several men refuse to leave our store when asked. Garbage is a daily issue, banging on our display windows, yelling at our children while walking by and many fights on the street. We’ve had to call the police more times than we can count. And a major issue is also the empty storefront entryway next to us being used as a full-time bathroom. It’s a health hazard and so far, we haven’t had any luck contacting the owner. The beautiful white lights that line the trees and poles on Jackson street during the holidays have a black spot. Our section of the road doesn’t have working lights because some of the folks living on the sidewalk have disconnected them to charge electronics.

These issues alone are a lot for us, especially because we work alone and with our children. But it’s become increasingly difficult to conduct business as well. Our regulars have voiced concerns both about safety and the smell from next door. This makes it hard to get walk-in traffic when things look as bad as they do.

To add to our concerns, the city of Roseburg announced a few weeks ago that they have contracted with a company out of California to bring back parking enforcement to downtown. The city told local news that this is a service to downtown businesses and shoppers and hope business owners and employees will now use the parking garage. We wholeheartedly disagree that this is a benefit to anyone other than the city’s budget. If anyone had talked to us (or the other businesses we’ve asked), they would know how problematic this is. You simply can’t say in one breath that nothing can be done about the homeless situation or safety concerns downtown and in the next breath tell us we need to park far away or be ticketed. The Roseburg parking garage is unsafe, unhealthy and an unacceptable suggestion. We do not feel safe walking our children in and out of a parking garage in the dark that on any given day is littered with needles, human feces and God knows what else. Add in the fact that it’s unattended and the sun currently sets at 4:30 p.m., and this is a big no for us. We are aware of the city’s efforts and steps to help the homeless situation, and we think that’s great. But in the meantime, parking enforcement seems like it should be much lower on the list. We hear many concerns about downtown, access to parking is rarely named by customers. We also have great concerns about the Downtown Roseburg Association. We tried really hard to connect with them and were left ignored for months. We have over 15 years of event experience between us and really wanted to help get things rolling downtown. It’s unfortunate we weren’t given a chance to, and more unfortunate that the one event that did happen, wasn’t inclusive or successful. We are excited to see what Eric with (Re)Discover Downtown continues to do. He seems on the right path and we enjoyed being a part of the events he hosted.

We are sympathetic to the situation. We don’t believe anyone should have to be in the cold, to not have proper care or resources. We want to be a part of the solution. Because this isn’t it. Are we upset to come into work and pass someone pooping on the sidewalk? Yep. But it’s also heartbreaking to imagine being in such a desperate situation to have to do so. It’s all sucky.

Courtney Schlueter is the co-owner of Magdalene’s On Jackson.

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(15) comments

BetsyC

You think you are tired. I have been advocating for the same policies that will actually solve homeless since the 1980s when homelessness first started to raise in the US. I have been advocating these policies for about 10 years when it comes to the city of Roseburg.

Yet they continue to do the same thing they have always done, which does not solve homeless and only makes it worse. Then they want to pat themselves on the back for rallying for a Warming Center and setting up a Homeless Commission that is focused on bring ill fated "navigation center" here without the ability to actually do anything to solve homelessness. We have no homes for people to go to, nor the support systems in place for those who will need that to stay housed.

So the city uses lots of resources trying to keep homeless from living on public property, aka the parks, yet allows them to be in front of these storefronts? Something wrong with this picture, even from a homeless advocates point of view.

Mike

BetsyC,

Care to communicate with me about those policies? rekim8727@gmail.com.

Tom Wingo

It's never been about the "what" with you Betsy -- the problem has always been with your "how." Advocating since 1980 and nothing has changed? Maybe you should try a new approach with the way you communicate with people. Maybe Mike or Ashley can help you with that -- they seem to have mastered good interpersonal communication skills.

AshleyHicks

Those that identify as homeless downtown are running their own businesses. Selling pills, stolen goods, trading food stamps for cash. New tents, tarps, clothing, cell phones are delivered by organizations and do gooder’s - All of it turns into a form of currency using the barter system. It’s a free loaders paradise. Ultimately, the lawlessness is driving away old and new business, investors, and killing the American dream of those entrepreneurs who built their business downtown. My advice run for local government. Volunteer and serve as city councilor or mayor or on a city committee - improve our community for all. But know this, filing will come at a cost to you in ways you’d never imagine. Remember to fight the good fight.

MDAN

Not to make excuses for individuals who are dedicating on sidewalks, but if the city would provide the portapotties that the governments paying them to do, and clean within less than every 4 and a half months. Then possibly that wouldn't happen.as it stands right now as a homeless person WHO DOESNT DO THAT!!, I have to walk a mile to use a restroom every morning.As far as the rude, immature, and hostel behavior. There's no excuse for that, and I'm ashamed as a homeless person knowing that others are behaving that way.

mworden

MDAN, thank you for doing the best you can under difficult circumstances.

Momos

I see rude, immature, and hostel behavior from people who aren't homeless. That isn't your burden. MDAN, I hope things improve for you. That's gotta be a hard life.

mworden

Meth makes everything worse.

melrosereader

Read (or heard) a report not long ago. IIt had to do with a more potent form of drugs now being widely available.

Dave Miller Think out Loud Nov 1, 2021

https://www.opb.org/article/2021/11/01/the-formulation-of-meth-has-changed-it-may-be-contributing-to-this-countrys-mental-health-crisis/

mworden

melrosereader, thank you for that very important article.

I knew something had radically changed related to meth, but I didn't know what it was. I just knew things were much worse. The article describes exactly what I've been seeing on the streets of Roseburg for a while now.

Plugtuglug

But wait. The Douglas County Commissioners just highlighted the fantastic year they had in 2021??? Guess having a great year includes doing nothing to help the community.

Sad to see a town with so much potential, be neglected by the political individuals we elect each year. Been seeing this for decades now and yet residents still vote for their amazing skills of Lack of Vision.

To fix the problem downtown, the county should have enough guts to work on getting the jail moved off main street. Just what everyone enjoys, criminals released on main city streets to add to this homelessness.

Tom Wingo

First of all -- well written letter by Courtney. I appreciate the tone in which you level criticism and the understanding that you give those who are struggling with being homeless. This is a very complicated problem, and anyone who thinks there is an easy solution has no clue...

...which brings me to "Plugtuglug". So it's the location of the jail that is the problem? So the Commissioners should mothball a multimillion dollar facility and build a new multimillion dollar facility so any jailed homeless person won't be able to find their way to downtown? Also, last time I checked, downtown Roseburg was in the incorporated borders of the City of Roseburg. You know, the governmental jurisdiction of the City which has its own form of government with a City Council, Mayor and City Manager -- right?

You want to criticize the Commissioners, fined. At least do it in a smart way.

MollyP

[thumbup]

Wretched722

Sorry to see businesses suffering....doesn't need to continue. The homeless cannot be in the business district. Period.

melrosereader

A complex and persistent problem. Not only in Roseburg, but in many cities large and small. So Wretched, what is your solution?

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