Blog | White Bird Clinic

Eugene Out of the Darkness Community Walk

When you walk in the Out of the Darkness Walks, you join the effort with hundreds of thousands of people to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss.

CAHOOTS will be tabling and answering questions about what services we provide and how to access them. We will also be facilitating a safe space for anyone struggling with emotions in reference to the event.

Event Details

Walk Date: 09/30/2018
Walk Location: Alton Baker Park – Eugene, OR
Check-in/Registration Time: 09/30/2018 at 10:00 am
Walk Begins: 11:00 am
Walk Ends: 1:00 pm

For more information, please contact:

Contact Name: Sara Scofield
Contact Phone: 541-513-5937
Contact Email: swhopner@yahoo.com

Online registration closes at noon (local time) the Friday before the walk. However, anyone who would like to participate can register in person at the walk from the time check-in begins until the walk starts. Registration is free and open to the public. Walk donations are accepted until December 31st.

White Bird Fundraiser: Focus on Photography

Join us for a fun evening! On September 20 at 5pm, The Register-Guard is holding a fundraiser for White Bird. The event will feature prints of 100 photographs from the R-G’s archive, and all proceeds will benefit White Bird Clinic.

Register-Guard photographer Chris Pietsch will be giving tutorials on how to take better photos with your phone. Space is limited. Reserve your seat at registerguard.com/tickets

Navarro’s Latin Creole Kitchen will be here with their popular food truck and The Register-Guard will host a cash bar for beer and wine.

Projects with Purpose

The City of Eugene would like to invite people experiencing homelessness to participate in a park cleanup project (general landscaping), followed by showers, lunch, and on-site resources and social service providers. This event was inspired by the
listening session Mayor Vinis hosted last summer to hear from unhoused members of the community about how we can use and enjoy our public parks together. No experience necessary. Tools, gloves and instruction provided.

To RSVP or for more information, contact Regan Watjus, Policy Analyst, City Manager’s Office at 541.682.8442 or Regan.S.Watjus@ci.eugene.or.us

Day of Caring

No matter your income, insurance coverage, or lack thereof, White Bird Clinic is available to assist you on your journey of growth and recovery. Every day, White Bird offers services that range from medical and dental, to addiction counseling and therapy, to crisis intervention.

Learn about these programs and meet our community partners at the Annual Day of Caring on Wednesday, August 29, 2018 from 10:00am to 2:00pm at 341 E 12th Ave for free health screenings, pizza, and more. Located behind our building at 341 E 12th Ave.

Cleveland Chicken

The Cleveland Chicken team, a 48 year old WBC fundraiser, will be BBQing chicken, as well as offering, chicken sausages, corn on the cob, lemonade and watermelon all three days of the County Fair, right outside W C Fields stage, do come.

White Bird at Fair

White Bird’s RockMed operates two first aid stations, one near Main Stage (Big Bird) and one in Xavanadu (Little Wing). White Bird is staffed 24 hours a day until Monday at 3pm, including several doctors around the clock, and nurses, EMTs, paramedics, and teams roving throughout the site that can be dispatched to incidents by radio.

In an emergency go to the nearest Information Booth. If you cannot find one, ask at the nearest craft or food booth for directions. Each Information Booth can quickly contact emergency services.

PHOTO Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Related

White Bird Clinic Expands Medical Services at Oregon Country Fair
By ANGELA KELLNER • JUL 7, 2017

White Bird Clinic And Oregon Country Fair Nearing Half-Century Mark
By BRIAN BULL • JUL 12, 2018

Non-profit Rate Now Available for 2018 Help Book

White Bird Clinic’s 2018 Help Book is a vital reference book for anyone who works with people with limited resources or special needs. The newest edition is an indispensable tool to provide current and appropriate referrals with over 700 human service resources. The Help Book covers Lane County, including Eugene, Springfield, Florence, Cottage Grove and other outlying areas.

To make the book more accessible to the community, we are offering a non-profit rate of $20 for non-profit organizations with 20 or fewer employees. Contact us at helpbook@whitebirdclinic.org to request this special rate.

Topics include: Emergency Services, Government Assistance, Support Groups, Child/Youth Services, Alcohol and Drug Referrals, Women’s Services, Mental Health Services, Disabled Services, Minority Services, Services in Outlying Areas, Utility Assistance, Food, Clothing, Shelter, Health Care, Education, Parenting, and Recreation.

  • ALPHABETICAL INDEX provides addresses and phone numbers for simple referral.
  • SUBJECT INDEX allows you to locate a resource by problem, type of service or special population.

Information includes detailed program descriptions, hours of operation, eligibility requirements, fees, wheelchair accessibility, email addresses, web sites, phone numbers and addresses.

Larger organizations and for-profit entities can continue to order the book at the standard rate. Click here to access the standard order form. For the non-profit rate of $20 for non-profit organizations with 20 or fewer employees, please contact us at helpbook@whitebirdclinic.org to request this special rate. Thank you!

CAHOOTS Receives EPD 2018 Partnership Award

Congratulations to CAHOOTS medic and crisis workers Rose Fenwick and Kimber Hawes, who were honored at a ceremony yesterday by the Eugene Police Department with the 2018 Partnership Award! Thank you for your care and compassion in serving our community.

Remembering Jeanette “Luna” Rasnack

Luna Rasnack

July 17, 1982 – May 15, 2018

Jeanette “Luna” Rasnack passed away May 15, 2018 in Eugene, OR. She will be remembered by many Birders and is mourned by her community in OR, where she has lived since 2009. She leaves behind her father Carl Rasnack (Deborah), sister Carla Waid (Bryan), brother Joseph Rasnack (Colleen), niece Megan Waid, nephew Samuel Waid, daughter Carlie Joy, special companion Joe and many other relatives.

The family will receive friends at a memorial to Jeanette’s life Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 2:30 pm, at Dayton United Methodist Church, 215 Ashby St., Dayton, VA. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to White Bird Clinic, 341 E. 12th Ave., Eugene, OR 97401 or online at www.whitebirdclinic.org/donate.

Jeanette Karlene Rasnack Full Obituary

Remembering Luna by Joe Schmisek

published in the Eugene Weekly, May 2018

She loved sitting on the grass lawns and in my garden while I gardened. She loved to sit and wait while I did yard work. She loved going to the river and bathing. She liked going to the parks and going on long walks. She liked to play with leaves, gravel and soil with her hands.

She liked old and used jewelry and clothing. She liked loose-fitting dresses and skirts with no undergarments.

She liked things that were simple, things with no monetary value.

She liked collecting stone pebbles and walking sticks; she liked earth-friendly things. She liked places of peace, quiet and solitude, and not being around big crowds. She liked to carry old used blankets and loved to only walk.

She loved brushing her hair and me scratching her back and feet.

She loved to go for walks downtown and loved going to the Catholic church and First Christian for breakfast. She loved me taking her to St. Vincent de Paul’s to shop for clothes and to Sweet Life to get her cake.

She loved going to White Bird, and she liked calling Cahoots for rides.

She had an understanding for other people who were poor, in poverty and homeless. She gave me gifts of no monetary value, from her heart. We would sleep behind Vanilla Jill’s and under a maple tree behind Tiny’s Tavern where I met her, and other big maple trees in the Whiteaker neighborhood.

She loved wearing mits with the fingers cut off them and a sweater shawl, and she loved scarves and high-heeled boots, and shoes, and sandals, and cloth ankle bracelets.

She loved to follow me wherever we would go.

She seemed to want to be a free spirit and not to be troubled by how her house looked or people’s judgments about her; she wanted to be free from worries. She said that she really loved me, and she loved a feeling of being free and not too tied down to worries.

We went to the fairgrounds to have dinner and went to First Christian Church; she said she loved the pleasant music. She told me she wanted to know of good angels. She loved the necklaces, rings and bracelets I got her.

Renovations Completed at 341 E. 12th Avenue

After two weeks of renovations, Front Rooms is re-open for business! We put a lot of TLC into our beloved old building, including a deep clean, floor renovation, wood restoration and a fresh coat of paint. All services are back open for usual hours, including mail, crisis walk-ins and homeless day-use services.

White Bird’s Help Book Has Been Hacked

Last weekend, White Bird Clinic had the good fortune to participate in Hack for a Cause, a local technology competition to build solutions to provide transformative public benefit. Over 200 participants volunteered to put their coding and software skills to the test and 11 non-profits offered up their problems to solve. The one we selected was the community help directory. White Bird’s Performance Coordinator Alan Glick describes what we were hoping for in the following video.

Three teams of volunteers worked around the clock, exploring how our paper Help Book could become an accessible online database. Each of the solutions they presented were beyond our expectations and the community networking opportunities planted seeds for future projects with some of the other non-profit challengers.

screen shot

Demo Start Screen

Joshua, sent us a comment after the event: “I want to say, after really getting to know this data, this is an amazing resource, and I am honored to be able to help make it better.”

We will continue to develop this digital Help Book website with our partners for a 2019 release. We are so thankful for the support from the Technology Association of Oregon for making this hack possible.

Until then, you can support our work by ordering the 2018 edition Help Book and joining us at the Lane County Medical Society building at 990 W. 7th Avenue to pick up your book(s) and have lunch with us on Friday, April 27 from 12:00pm to 1:30pm to celebrate 40 years of local, human service information referral and see what’s next for Lane County’s Help Book.

CAHOOTS Receives 2018 Excellence in Public Health Award

On April 10th, CAHOOTS was selected by the Lane County Board of Commissioners as a recipient of the 2018 Excellence in Public Health Award. The award was presented during the Commissioners’ meeting to recognize the CAHOOTS team’s work in the field as behavioral health first responders, as well as their efforts in outreach, training, education, and support for individuals and groups throughout the area.

White Bird’s Hack for a Cause Challenge

White Bird Clinic is excited to announce our challenge has been accepted for Hack for a Cause 2018! We’re looking forward to working with the Technology Association of Oregon and meeting our volunteers.

All participants will receive access to the Downtown Athletic Club for the duration of the event. Meals and snacks will be provided to attendees who are lending their expertise and knowledge to build technical solutions for the challenges presented.

Click Here for Full Proposal

Questions?

Contact us at info@whitebirdclinic.org.

Suggestions or community feedback?

We’d love to hear them. Want more information? Meet us at Tech Tuesday at the Barn Light, 3/27 from 5:30-7:30pm. Come say hi – we’ll be the ones in the White Bird shirts.

 

White Bird Opioid Treatment Program

White Bird Clinic has recently started a medication assisted treatment program for opioid abuse and dependence and now have a suboxone prescriber. The White Bird Opioid Treatment Program is designed to support individuals who are breaking the chain of opiate use. The program connects clients with a suboxone prescriber and supportive services with our behavioral and mental health counseling services.

Once admitted into Chrysalis Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic, a client will be connected with a counselor for weekly counseling sessions to support the client’s individual goals. The client will also have access to group counseling and other support services such as; an Acupuncture Clinic, Yoga, Tai Chi, and Peer Support. Chrysalis also has a specialized opiate group “The Ethos Group.” Where individuals can find a supportive environment with others who are also breaking the chain of opiate use and discuss specific issues related to opiate use. Once a client has been assessed for medication assisted treatment appointments with our medical provider will be arranged for suboxone services. Weekly counseling sessions along with weekly medical appointments will be required for suboxone maintenance.

To enroll in the White Bird Opioid Treatment Program call 541-683-1641 or come by our office at 350 East 11th Avenue Eugene, Or. and ask for our data packet. Once the new client data packet is completed an intake can be scheduled. There will also be a mandatory TB test required for scheduling an intake and that can be performed at our White Bird Medical Clinic or at an individual’s primary care doctor’s office if they currently have a primary care doctor.

Th White Bird Opioid Treatment Program has reserved slots for homeless individuals to ensure services are provided to those who need it most. There are also a select number of slots for individuals who are not experiencing homelessness. We accept OHP and have funding for scholarships for individuals who do not have insurance. If you have any questions feel free to give us a call at 541-683-1641 or come by our office.

Jill Heiman Vision Fund Helps White Bird Clinic Provide Cold Weather Gear

Living on the streets is even harder without a sleeping bag. Thanks to a generous donation from the Jill Heiman Vision Fund, White Bird Clinic greatly increased our supply of cold weather gear during the coldest months of 2017-2018. When the weather turns to rain and sleet, unhoused residents of Lane County come to our clinic seeking warm clothing and bedding. We used funds to bulk order some of our most requested items.

Tarps, sleeping bags, socks, gloves, and hats are vital for people living outdoors in cold weather. White Bird collects donated items every year from community partners and supporters, but these unfortunately are never quite enough to meet community need. The Jill Heiman funds enabled us to buy items efficiently, in large quantities. We purchased 480 tarps, 320 sleeping bags, 2,550 pairs of socks, 240 pairs of gloves, and 240 knit winter hats. Most of these items have already been dispersed to folks in need, and the remaining stock will be depleted well before the cold weather ends.

Three of our departments distributed the grant funded purchases. Front Rooms, a respite and light day use resource in Eugene, distributed most of the items. Case managers from the Homeless department accessed gear for their clients. Some supplies, particularly sleeping bags, were distributed by CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets), White Bird’s mobile crisis service. The people who received gear were mostly unhoused residents in neighborhoods on the east side of Eugene, though some reached people in the greater Eugene/Springfield metro area.

White Bird is a collective environment organized to enable people to gain control of their social, emotional and physical well-being through direct service, education and community. We greatly appreciate the kind and expedient support we’ve received from the Jill Heiman Fund both for this project, and in the past. You helped us provide critically needed winter wear for Lane County’s unhoused and underserved community members.

Many thanks to the Jill Heiman Fund Committee and our beloved Fair Family!

Valentine’s Day Flu Clinic

Show you care this Valentine’s Day by getting your flu shot. We’ll be offering free vaccinations from 1-3pm on Wednesday, February 14th at our offices at 341 E. 12th Avenue.

Look for us at the picnic tables out back.

Influenza (flu) is a seasonal disease that can cause mild to severe illness. Most experts think flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Less often, a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

People can spread the flu even if they don’t know they’re sick. The flu can be more serious for some people, including young children, pregnant women, older people, people with certain health conditions and smokers. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

White Bird Crisis Response at Academy of Arts and Academics in Springfield

Following recent events at the Academy of Arts and Academics in Springfield, counselors from CAHOOTS and White Bird Clinic’s Crisis office responded to the school to provide grief and loss counseling to students, staff, and their families. An extension of the weekly Mobile Mental Health Resource Clinic already staffed by members of the CAHOOTS team, these counselors facilitated both individual and group counseling and will continue to work with A3 and the Springfield School District to support everyone affected by this tragedy.

CAHOOTS mobile crisis counseling services are available in Springfield 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can be requested via Springfield Police non-emergency dispatch at (541)726-3714.

Additional crisis support is also available 24/7 by phone at (541)687-4000, or walk-in at White Bird’s Crisis clinic, 341 E. 12th Ave in Eugene.

100+ Women Who Care in Eugene/Springfield Honor CAHOOTS with Group Donation

Thank you 100+ Women Who Care in Eugene/Springfield for your vote of support for White Bird Clinic’s mobile crisis program CAHOOTS. Your group donation will help to make a positive difference in our community.

100+Women Who Care, Eugene-Springfield provides immediate funds to 501.c.3 organizations that work to improve life in our local area. They meet 1 hour, 4 times a year, learn about local non-profits, vote for one & write checks on the spot. With 100 members, they can raise $10,000 in just 1 hour!

For more info about 100+ Women Who Care in Eugene/Springfield, visit: http://www.100wwc-es.org

Helping People in Crisis: Register-Guard Editoral

CAHOOTS, staffed by people like Daniel Murray (left) Sam Williamson, Kate Gillespie, Robert Parrish, Henry Cakebread, Brenton Gicker and Laurel Lisovskis provide medical services to those most in need in our community. (Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard)

The CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) program began in Eugene in 1989 as a collaboration between the city of Eugene and White Bird Clinic.

CAHOOTS started small: one van equipped with medical supplies and trained personnel, operating part-time in Eugene. Its mission was simple: to offer help to individuals and families, housed and unhoused, in crisis.

The idea was that it would be better — and cheaper — to have people trained and experienced in counseling and medical care to respond to these calls, which had been going to police and fire departments.

The wisdom of that decision has been amply borne out since then by CAHOOTS’ exponential growth over the last three decades and the place it has made for itself in the Eugene-Springfield community.

It has more than tripled its local presence with two vans in Eugene and one in Springfield, and gone from part-time patrols to 24-7 service.

The two-person teams that staff each van respond to an average of about 15 to 16 calls in a 12-hour shift in Eugene, although it can be as many as 25 calls per shift — slightly less in Springfield, CAHOOTS­ employee Brenton Gicker says, which works out to tens of thousands of calls per year.

Gicker is a registered nurse and emergency medical technician; his partner on a recent night, Maddy Slayden, is a paramedic.

They and their co-workers are a welcome presence on the streets of Eugene-Springfield, greeted with warmth by police officers, with relief by business owners who prefer the option of calling CAHOOTS to calling police, and with respect by the people they help.

CAHOOTS is a significant part of the network of organizations and agencies that provide help to the growing number of people who are homeless locally — about half of CAHOOTS’ calls are to help someone who is homeless, ranging in age from children to seniors.

The CAHOOTS teams have earned respect in the homeless community not just for the help they provide — from distributing socks and bottles of water to emergency medical care and help accessing resources such as medical treatment and emergency shelter — but by the way they do it.

The CAHOOTS employees offer dignity and courtesy, which are often in short supply for people who are homeless.
A typical shift — if there were such a thing — for a CAHOOTS team might include responding to a call about a homeless person disrupting a business; working with a family in crisis; helping someone who is suffering from substance abuse, mental illness or developmental disabilities access services and find safe shelter for the night; treating injuries; picking up people who are being discharged from a hospital or clinic with no place to go and taking them to a safe place where they can get help; and responding to a call from a landlord worried about the welfare of a tenant.

They are trained to address issues such as mental illness or substance abuse and skilled in coaxing people to agree to get the help they need.

Many of their calls involve driving people who are suffering from mental illness or substance abuse to an emergency
room or, if their problem doesn’t merit medical care, to a safe place to spend the night.

Despite more than tripling the size of CAHOOTS in the past few years, the need for its services continues to grow faster than CAHOOTS’­ resources.

“I’m frustrated because we can’t be everywhere at once,” Gicker says. “There’s always things we’d like to be involved in, sometimes we don’t have the resources we need, or access to information. I feel like we’re often only scratching the surface.”

CAHOOTS is a uniquely local response to local needs — people familiar with the program say they don’t know of anything quite like it elsewhere.

Its growth in recent years has shown the need for its service; the response within the community, its ability to meet them given the resources.

It’s time to start thinking about expanding a program that has been successful and that serves a need that continues to grow.

Ideally, adding another van would be a step toward meeting this growing need, as well as allowing expansion of service to areas such as Santa Clara and Goshen that have few resources. It also would allow CAHOOTS staff to respond more quickly to calls seeking help, reach more people who are in need of help, and spend more time working to connect people with the resources they need.

It’s hard to put a dollar value on what CAHOOTS does — how do you determine, for example, how many people didn’t die on the streets because of CAHOOTS? How many people who were able to get help that allowed them to stabilize their lives, or medical care that relieved suffering? How do you quantify exactly how much taxpayer money was saved by using CAHOOTS instead of police or firefighters, or the value to businesses of knowing they can call CAHOOTS for help?

But the role the CAHOOTS teams play in Lane County is a critical one, and likely to become even more critical in the coming years.

This editorial is part of a Register-Guard series focusing on productive responses to homelessness reposted with permission from http://registerguard.com/rg/opinion/36272835-78/helping-people-in-crisis.html.csp

White Bird is Hiring

There are a number of positions now available at White Bird Clinic.

 Now Hiring

CAHOOTS Crisis Intervention Worker (relief)

CAHOOTS Medic

Clinical Support Specialist

Crisis Counselor

Drug and Alcohol Counselor

Financial Specialist

Medical Assistant

Mental Health Counselor

Public Benefits Advocate

National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program Opportunities

White Bird is an approved National Health Service Corps (NHSC) site in a Health Professional Shortage Area of greatest need. (HPSA Scores: Primary Care: 18, Dental: 20, Mental Health: 22) The following positions are eligible for student loan repayment through the National Health Services Corps.

Back Office RNThis position is being hired for up to 28 hours per week and the salary is equivalent to $24/hr.  This position is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the medical clinic’s back office including triage of unscheduled patients or potential patients, nurse visits, completing medical records, rooming patients, orienting volunteer RNs, completing referrals and diagnostics ordered by physician, and assisting the physician with treatment oriented needs as requested.


Back Office RN – Relief PoolThis position is being hired for up to 35 hours per week and the salary is equivalent to $24/hr. This position is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the medical clinic’s back office including triage of unscheduled patients or potential patients, nurse visits, completing medical records, rooming patients, orienting volunteer RNs, completing referrals and diagnostics ordered by physician, and assisting the physician with treatment oriented needs as requested.


Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)This position is being hired for up to 0.5 FTE, and the salary is equivalent to $48/hr. This position is responsible for providing direct patient care to our medical clinic’s patients and supporting the Medical Director/Staff Physician as needed.


Staff PhysicianThis position is being hired for up to 25 hours per week, and the salary is equivalent to $80/hr. Staff Physicians are responsible for healthcare delivery in an integrated, team-based, evidence based Patient Centered Medical Home.

Remembering Dr Contreras

Our dentist, Dr Sixto Contreras died on October 11.

Dr. Contreras graduated from OHSU in 1994. He opened a private dental practice in Coos Bay Oregon. He was a native Spanish speaker who believed in supporting public health.

At one time in the clinic history we were struggling to hire a dentist. Dr. Contreras arranged his schedule so that he could work several days in a row at White Bird every other week. This allowed us to keep our grants and provide excellent care for patients.

Since 2012, Dr. Contreras made the drive from Coos Bay on Fridays for our 7 a.m. walk- in clinic.

He never missed a day, including the morning an accident disabled his car. He called a tow truck and made it to the office in time to see the first patient.

On Saturdays he worked at Lane Community College’s Clock Tower Clinic. Spanish speaking patients at both clinics were relieved to have a native speaker.

Dr Contreras was an energetic man who enjoyed motorcycles, kayaking and cooking. He taught Cuban cooking classes at Fifth Street Public Market.

He was a foodie who often brought Cuban beans to share and enjoyed taking staff out for Indian food lunches.

Many, many Lane County residents have been relieved from dental pain by treatment provided by Dr. Contreras.

He leaves a big hole in public dentistry and in our hearts. We hope he rests in peace.

Stay Warm Drive

Please take a moment to look through your closets and storage for some of the much needed items listed here. The rain and cold is coming and we want to be able to help folks who are struggling in our community meet their most basic of needs.

Thank You! And please share this post to help us spread the word.

Remembering Bob Dritz, A White Bird Clinic Original

  JAN 27, 2017
http://klcc.org/post/remembering-bob-dritz-white-bird-clinic-original

Friends, family and countless members of Eugene’s homeless community have lost a tireless advocate. Robert “Bob” Dritz, one of the earliest administrators of White Bird Clinic, died peacefully in hospice on January 15th. For this tribute, KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert sat down with two of his colleagues at White Bird to talk about the man and his legacy.

Bob Dritz was born in Bronxville, New York in 1946, the big brother of three sisters. He suffered from asthma as a child, a condition that often kept him inside. Friends say this is what developed his lifelong love of books.

Dritz went to college and taught English for a time. In the late ’70s, he eschewed work in California finance and lit out to find his real purpose. Dritz found it here, at Eugene’s White Bird Clinic, a fledgling non-profit agency dedicated to helping the poor, sick and disenfranchised.

Cori Taggart first met Bob Dritz while on a tour for new White Bird volunteers in 1979. The future crisis counselor remembers what she saw:

Wry smile: “These round glasses and a twinkle in his eye and this wry smile–he kinda gave us a wave as we walked through and I said to myself, ‘That is a very interesting looking man.”

The two later became intimate partners and then after that, they remained close.

Taggart: “He really respected women for their intelligence, their independence. He would never make cracks about a woman’s body or anything like that. That was just not him. When really smart women said something, he didn’t need to outdo them.”

At White Bird, Dritz quickly went from bookkeeper to program coordinator. Taggart recalls how he once handled a threat to cut crisis funding.

Taggart: “He showed up at that meeting with a phone book. When it was his turn to speak, he said ‘I want to speak to the importance of this crisis line to our community.’ He opened the phone book and on the front page with all the other emergency numbers was White Bird Crisis. The funding was restored.”

Not interested in the trappings of leadership, Dritz developed an equitable pay structure at White Bird that kept administration square in the middle. For more than a decade, Dee Hall worked with him.

Hall says Dritz was always humble, in attitude and dress. He usually wore jeans and a tee shirt to work.

Hall: “But his concession to being the public spokesman for White Bird was to take the cinnamon colored leather jacket off the back of the admin door.”

And then there was his memorable head of black hair, often tucked under a straw hat.

Hall: “For those of you who knew Bobby, it was amazing. Before he went out to a meeting, he grabbed the hairbrush out of his desk and he would brush his hair very carefully. And then he would put his hand over it and mix it like an egg beater. He reveled in the tussled look.”

Taggart: “Walking into a meeting of county commissioners or important people of some sort…you know he might have a simple little bag while other people would have these beautiful leather briefcases, sharp suits and great ties and everything. But when Bob opened his mouth, they started to listen.”

Friends and colleagues will miss Bob Dritz’s wry sense of humor. After creating White Bird’s mobile crisis unit, Hall says he decided on the acronym CAHOOTS.

Hall: “Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Street, the joke behind that one is that as an old hippie agency, suddenly we were in cahoots with the police. It was a surprise to all of us.”

In 2007, after 25 years of service, Bob Dritz retired from the clinic he helped build. Hall says, Dritz was deeply committed to the collective nature of White Bird.

Hall:”So we would often talk about how can we remain a collective and do the work that’s needed in the community. That structure continues and even with the new generation of White Birders, be believed we’d be able to keep the magic going into the next generation.”

The agency is now synonymous with crisis counseling, medical, dental, and drug and alcohol treatment for people living in poverty or on the streets.

In early January, Bob Dritz developed a blood infection. Codi Taggart was with him when he decided to stop treatment. She sat at his bedside and thanked him for everything.

Taggart: “He looked at me and he nodded and he said, ‘I gave it my all.’ And he did.”

Bob Dritz would have turned 71 on February 5th, 2017. A lover of the arts, poetry and a fan of Bob Dylan if ever there was one.

 

In Memory of Noah DeWitt

To the many people who have known and loved our son, brother, and friend Noah DeWitt, it is with deep sadness that we share the news that his body was found in Eugene last month.

Though this is a tragic resolution to his disappearance, the support of his friends and community these past few painful months has been truly beautiful.

Noah was a remarkable young man gifted with a deeply caring soul, a curious mind, and an amazing capacity to find joy in life and share it with others. His passing is a painful and profound loss. All we can offer is that you join us in honoring the gift of having had Noah in our lives by carrying his bright spirit forward.

The family would like to encourage people to donate to White Bird Clinic in memory of Noah D.