Khalil Jansen stands outside her tent at the Oregon State Fairgrounds on Feb. 1. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)
Less than a day after opening a temporary homeless camp at the Oregon State Fairgrounds Pavilion, all 100 slots filled up. Now, the city of Salem is asking for donations for the guests.
Donations needed include socks, blankets, towels, winter gear, adult-sized unused underwear, African-American hair care products, pet food and pet supplies, backpacks, totes, and reusable bags. All donations should be delivered to the Church at the Park Donation Center located at 3104 Turner Rd. S.E. Donation drop off hours are from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
“Filling up this fast really speaks to the need for more shelter beds and housing options in Salem,” said Josh Erickson, a Church at the Park assistant pastor who is serving as the operational director for the temporary shelter, in a statement.
Church at the Park is running the managed camp, which has tents filling gridded spots on the concrete floor of the pavilion.
Local food vendors and restaurants who would like to get involved in meal preparation or donations can complete a contact form on the Church @ the Park website.
The camp is the city’s latest effort to address the homelessness crisis in Salem. The Oregon State Fairgrounds is allowing it on a temporary basis.
“Our fairgrounds have been used by Oregonians for a multitude of uses over the 156 years. During this unprecedented closure, we are happy to allow the use of the Pavilion for this important need,” said Kim Grewe-Powell, interim CEO of the Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center, in a statement.
Related coverage: Salem fairgrounds welcomes unsheltered to temporary campground