On November 16, 2017, I met a 65-year-old gentleman named Richard Adams at the Oregon City Police Department. I learned Mr. Adams, a former Marine and Vietnam War veteran, had been homeless for 13 to 14 months. He was living out of his vehicle. I started to conduct outreach with Mr. Adams in an effort to get him off of the streets. Over the course of the next month, I learned a lot about him.
Mr. Adams told me he grew up in West Linn, where his father was a West Linn Police Officer. Mr. Adams went to West Linn High School and joined the Marine Corps at 17 years old. He's a combat veteran, twice deployed to Vietnam. He also followed in his father's law enforcement footsteps, working as a deputy at the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office for a short time in the 70s; however, most of his career was spent as a truck driver. Mr. Adams told me he last lived in Wisconsin. He said when his wife left him, he walked away from his manufactured home and drove to Oregon. Mr. Adams lived in Oregon City in the 90's.
Fortunately, Mr. Adams has income from social security and the VA. We worked together to find a place he could afford to live. I reached out to a friend at the Three Rivers Veterans of Foreign War Post 1324, who suggested I contact Fort Kennedy. Fort Kenney is a non-profit organization with a mission to help all veterans move forward in their lives after military service.
I spoke with Fort Kennedy, who referred me to Do Good Multnomah. Do Good Multnomah is an overnight shelter, which provides a safe and warm place for veterans to stay at night. I spoke with Do Good Multnomah and arrangements were made for Mr. Adams to stay at the location. While this addressed a very real need for Mr. Adams, a safe place for him to sleep, it wasn't a long-term solution.
I reached out to an Oregon City business owner and former Marine regarding Mr. Adams' situation. The business owner, who has been of great assistance to me in the past, was eager to help. As a former Marine himself, the business owner mentioned the motto, "No man left behind". While we waited for a more permanent solution for Mr. Adams' living situation at Do Good Multnomah, the business owner provided a place for Mr. Adams to eat and hang out during the day when the shelter was closed.
After roughly a month of working with Mr. Adams and the business owner, a solution to Mr. Adams' period of homelessness was established. The business owner, who'd been abundantly helpful thus far, had a place for Mr. Adams to rent within his means. Mr. Adams moved into his new home prior to Christmas of 2017.
It's exciting to know Mr. Adams is no longer homeless. He is certainly deserving of a place to call home. I'm thankful for the community members and organizations who helped Mr. Adams along the way. I look forward to checking up on him from time to time to see how he is doing. Thank you, Mr. Adams, for letting me share your story. Your service to this country will not go unnoticed.
Homeless Liaison Officer Mike Day