Nightingale Hosted Shelters History


Many of the people who have supported Nightingale over the years met each other and began working together through the activities of Occupy, SLEEPS, and Whoville.

September 25, 2013

The Eugene City Council passed Ordinance 20517, which permitted overnight sleeping as part of the Rest Stop Pilot Program on.

2014: First Nightingale site opened!

In December 2014, Nightingale began moving into our first rest stop at Lane County Behavioral Health East. We eventually ran two 15-resident tent camps on this property, which was leased to the City by Lane County. Because the space is used for parking during football season, we had to move by fall.


Our second site was at River Road and the NW Expressway, where we ran a camp with 20 residents. Like our first camp, we used tents on wood platforms, covered with plastic. Unfortunately, we had to pay rent here because the land was purchased with Road Tax Funds. We stayed from August 2015 through December 2015, when we returned to the Lane County Behavioral Health property, on the west side. Here we ran two camps with 20 residents each from December 2015 through August 2016, when football season returned.


In August of 2016, the Eugene Mission welcomed 15 Nightingale residents to their comfortable and shady property, where everyone enjoyed having both electricity and water. However, because some Whitaker neighbors felt over burdened by having so many of the organizations involved in support for unhoused people in their neighborhood, the city asked us to find another site in April 2017.

2017: Current Nightingale site established!

Eugene City Council removed the sunset date for the Overnight Sleeping Program and offered us a site in the city-owned parking lot at Good Samaritan in April 2017.

We started our camp with six residents in Conestoga huts in what the city defined as a car camp. We held an open house to meet the neighbors and attended a Southeast Neighborhood meeting to explain our rules and procedures. Both the neighborhood and Good Samaritan welcomed us.

On October 23, 2017, the city approved our site as a Rest Stop, which allowed Nightingale to house 12 residents. After four months with 12 residents, we were able to apply to house up to 20 people.

As NHS enters its fourth year we are proud to announce that 119 of our residents have found housing since we began running a camp.


Nightingale set board recruitment goals, looking for people with skills in fundraising and marketing and with strong community connections. We eventually added three new people to our board.

We hosted our biggest fundraising event to date in October at the Vets Club. Catered by Fisherman’s Market. With the proceeds from that event, we were able to. purchase four new Conestoga huts (bringing the total number of huts to 20). Additionally, we were able to purchase a warming shelter with funds granted by the City of Eugene, and also received $10,000 from the city to pay for Peer Support for the residents.


We had our most financially successful year, receiving extremely generous donations and grants from United Way, Good Samaritan, Emerald Valley Rotary, City of Eugene, and a CARES Act COVID assistance grant.

Because congregate meal sites closed due to COVID-10, we upgraded our kitchen with a large new MASH-style shelter, a donated refrigerator, and a purchased generator and microwave. We also purchased 15 small propane heaters for the huts.  We were able to acquire computers and a hotspot for tele-med appointments, job applications and other resources.  In order to ensure camp was as safe as possible, we also added a handwashing station and an additional porta-potty, adopted safety procedures and protocols, and encouraged the wearing of masks and social distancing.

We also began a community outreach program that resulted in local businesses providing meals, products, and services to our residents


With the introduction of COVID vaccines, we partnered with Volunteers in Medicine and White Bird Clinic and ran two onsite vaccine clinics.

We expanded the board of directors to 10 members and continued to fundraise with the goal of improving camp even more.

We sadly lost Victoria Nelson, one of the Nightingale founders and a stellar advocate. 


As COVID-19 continued to create waves across the country, we continued our vaccination program and protocols. 

The board continued working to significantly improve the infrastructure at the rest stop so that residents have basic amenities that most of us take for granted, including security features, improved access to water and electricity, an enclosed kitchen, and a shower house. A generous grant from Oregon Community Foundation allowed us to begin work on building an enclosed kitchen, and a generous grant from the Emerald Valley Rotary allowed us to complete rehab work on the huts and purchase must-needed equipment for camp.

At the end of the year, the board voted to expand to 13 members.


Nightingale built a two-year roadmap and ran two successful fundraising campaigns, one whose aim is to build onsite showers and get city-provided electricity to camp. However, infrastructure improvements were paused as the city determined that the new water main from the newly constructed reservoir in south Eugene might run through camp. 


Infrastructure improvements resumed as the city and EWEB rerouted the water main so it wouldn’t run through camp.