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Oregon City-based nonprofit hopes newly built cart will go to Sandy, Estacada, Milwaukie

COURTESY PHOTO - LoveOne, a Clackamas County nonprofit, launched a mobile shower cart effort in Oregon City on Aug. 9. The next event will be at Milner Veterinary Hospital from 6-8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23.Rotary clubs across Clackamas County have banded together with Celebrate Milwaukie Inc. and the Providence Willamette Falls Foundation to fund the construction of a new shower cart for local homeless people.

Brandi Johnson, executive director of LoveOne, a nonprofit organization based in Oregon City, said the Rotary's $36,000 will help the group expand mobile shower services. PDX Cart Builders will construct the new shower cart along similar lines to the one it built for Clackamas Service Center, which currently is loaning its cart to LoveOne about every week.

Brandi Johnson"Our goal with this new shower cart is to be able to deploy it to Sandy, Estacada and Oregon City and have a range of times for people to know that showers are available," Johnson said. "It's pretty challenging for people living outside or in their cars to have to show up at a particular time, which may not seem like a big deal for people who are housed."

Bill Stewart, immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Clackamas, organized the donation with an eye to his day job as the Clackamas County deputy district attorney specializing in the local homeless population.

"From a community prosecutor standpoint, I see this shower cart as an opportunity to create these service nodes to help bring together people who need various services to help them out of homelessness," Stewart said. "One of the challenges that Clackamas County faces is that we're so darn spread out. If we can connect them to services closer to where they are, we stand a better chance of helping them overcome homelessness."

Mobile shower carts contain two full-size, fully enclosed and completely separate shower stalls. Clackamas County has sponsored the efforts to quickly address the growing health issues (infections, body lice, scabies, etc.) experienced by those living outside or in cars and without access to hand washing and showers due to COVID-19 closures of public restrooms.

County psychological first aid workers attend the shower-cart events, Johnson said, and she'd like to find another site in the Milwaukie/Oak Grove area, ideally near the BottleDrop.

"We can do six showers an hour, following the protocol written out by Dr. Sarah Present, the health officer for Clackamas County," Johnson said. "We want to give people hope, so people can say, 'Now that I'm clean, what else can I do,' like going to apply for a job."

Oregon City Commission recently approved a temporary permit so LoveOne can host the mobile shower cart on three Sundays, including from 6-8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6, at Milner Veterinary Hospital. Johnson reminded neighbors that LoveOne volunteers remain on site until each event is over and the shower trailer is gone.

Online story update

This story has been updated from its original version online to clarify the nature of the employees Clackamas County sends to shower-cart events. County officials describe Go Team members as psychological first aid workers, not case workers.


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