Clackamas County to host Longest Night homeless memorial
All members of the public are invited to attend Clackamas County's Longest Night vigil on December 21 from 6-7pm. The vigil will be held outdoors at Liberty Plaza, 815 Main St., Oregon City.
Attendees are invited to bring new warm socks or a winter coat to donate to homeless neighbors, to help them through the winter. Program participants will include Clackamas County Chair Tootie Smith, State Rep. Mark Meek, blues musician Rae Gordon, Homeless Solutions Coalition of Clackamas County President Dan Fowler and Clackamas County Housing Services Manager Vahid Brown.
The vigil will honor and remember Clackamas County homeless residents who have died in 2022. 348 homeless people have died in the state of Oregon from January through September 2022, and 13 homeless people have died in Clackamas County in that time period. The Longest Night national memorial vigil has been held for 32 years, but 2022 marks that first time that Clackamas County will host a local event. The Clackamas County vigil is co-hosted by the Homeless Solutions Coalition of Clackamas County and the Downtown Oregon City Association.
"This event is a reminder of the serious human toll of homelessness on our communities," Brown said. "We want to remember the dignity and value of our friends' and neighbors' lives that have been lost, and recommit to the urgency of our work to house everyone," he said.
The vigil will include the reading of names, a candle ceremony, musical performances by Meek and Gordon, and community words of remembrance and stories.
Street parking is free in downtown Oregon City after 5 p.m. Additional parking is located at the top of the elevator on High Street; a quick elevator ride will take attendees down to Main Street.
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