Offering respect and dignity, one shower at a time
When was the last time you had a shower? For many of us the answer probably is last night or this morning. For folks living unhoused, that question can be much more difficult to answer because it has been so long since they last had a hot shower that they simply cannot remember.
The mission of LoveOne is to offer love, respect and dignity one load of laundry at a time, one shower at a time, and one meal at a time. LoveOne's story began eight years ago in a laundromat. Our founder Dave McAdams shared some of his quarters with a neighbor who did not have enough money to dry the clothes they had just washed.
That act of kindness has grown into four monthly laundry events serving more than 100 Clackamas County residents each month. Under COVID-19 conditions, LoveOne has continued to expand the services we provide to include showers and food boxes.
As some of you may be aware, the Oregon City Commission recently approved a temporary permit allowing LoveOne to bring a mobile shower cart to Milner Veterinary Hospital on Molalla Avenue. After talking with residents of the Barclay Hills neighborhood, we learned that some of the information being shared about the shower cart could use clarification.
Our shower events are made possible by a mobile shower cart that contains two full-size, fully enclosed and completely separate shower stalls. The cart is not a permanent fixture, and only is on site during the hours of our event. It has a permanent home elsewhere. Please don't worry, people are not showering in the Milner dog wash.
The county did not apply for the Milner site event permit; LoveOne did. The county is not operating the cart; LoveOne is. Clackamas County Disaster Management Department Director Nancy Bush offered to submit our permit to the city, and we gratefully accepted her offer of assistance.
LoveOne had nothing to do with attempts to locate the shower cart at Father's Heart Street Ministry, Clackamette Park or the Abernethy Road location. It should be noted that those sites were a result of the county's efforts to quickly address the growing health issues (infections, body lice, scabies, etc.) experienced by neighbors living outside or in cars and without access to hand washing and showers due to COVID-19 closures of public restrooms.
LoveOne shower cart events (currently in Oregon City at Milner Vet and in Milwaukie at GracePointe Church) are the result of several organizations working together. To name a few: Storyline Community, Clackamas Service Center, GracePointe Church, Milner Veterinary Hospital and Clackamas County Rotary Clubs.
Our philosophy at LoveOne is to leave people better than we found them. This philosophy also extends to the sites we use: We do an inside and outside perimeter check to ensure that all trash is cleaned up and the site is left in excellent condition. Also worth noting, LoveOne volunteers remain on site until the event is over and the shower trailer is gone.
LoveOne is not affiliated with Love Inc., Hope Food Pantry, Oxford House or Free on the Outside. And, although we work closely with various organizations and groups in Clackamas County to meet the needs of neighbors experiencing (or at risk of experiencing) homelessness, LoveOne is an independent community-based nonprofit organization. More information is available on our website: LoveOneCommunity.org
And last but certainly not least, LoveOne has no hidden agenda. We are a group of humans dedicated to volunteering our time and resources to provide respect and kindness to our neighbors in need.
Brandi Johnson is executive director of LoveOne, a nonprofit organization based in Clackamas County.
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