History of the Eugene Mission

Hope is Rising!

  • 1950

    The former Shield of Faith ministry operated a small mission on the second floor of an old store in downtown Eugene where the Eugene Hilton stands today. Meals were served to hungry, traveling men. No beds were provided.

  • 1956

    The Eugene Mission was incorporated by three Christian area businessmen – Jack Gossard, Robert Freeman and John Huber.

  • 1962

    Ernie Unger became the Mission’s new executive director, replacing Roy Gable.

  • 1962

    The Eugene Mission relocated to a farmhouse at 1925 Roosevelt Boulevard, still providing meals only for a variety of men.

  • 1967

    A new facility for men, complete with 50 beds and a cafeteria, was designed and built in our current location at 1542 West 1st Avenue by James W. Keefe

  • 1971

    A dayroom was added, which provided a warm, dry place to stay, for guests at all hours – complete with laundry facilities, haircuts, and a gathering area, as well as additional dormitories for men. The population changed from traveling men to many with mental illness, addictions, criminal history.

  • 1979

    A new women’s center was built with 50 beds. Refuge for homeless women; help for domestic abuse and addictions.

  • 1998

    A mothers and children’s center with 34 beds was built. A safe haven from domestic violence, help for moms without jobs, quilts, teddy bears and stability for children!

  • 2011

    Ernie Unger, 77, stepped down as executive director to join his wife, Pat in retirement after 50 years of serving the homeless in Eugene/Springfield.

  • 2011

    Executive director Jack Tripp took over the helm of the 7.5 acre, 11 building campus with beds for 400 people each night and serving over 500 meals each day.

  • 2012

    Sustainability efforts begin — bees, flower and vegetable gardens, and chicken coops have been established around campus.

  • 2013

    The launching of our new Life Change Program – a faith-based, 12-18 month residential relapse prevention/recovery program for men and women – offered free of charge! Our in-house recovery team helps guests get to the root of their addictions, bad choices, and resultant homelessness, providing them with life skills, tools and hope for their future.

  • 2013

    Opening of the new, one-level, modern Women and Children’s Center, with beds with a capacity of 85-100.

  • 2015

    An expanded focus as a Wellness Center for the Homeless, providing a full range of social service case management to provide our guests long-term solutions out of homelessness. Still loving our neighbors by providing meals – 700+ each day, and beds – 400 each night, free clothing, toiletries, and God’s hope!

  • 2020

    Our approach is to address the root causes of homelessness by sharing Hope and by offering programming tailored to the specific needs of our precious guests. We intend to leverage the 7½ acre campus God has blessed us with to address the complex underlying causes of the suffering we see on the streets. We are inviting community partners to serve alongside us on the Eugene Mission campus to meet our guests where they are and to support them with resources, classes, activities, and life skill mentoring as they move toward self-sufficiency. We are developing a revitalization curriculum that addresses the full spectrum of guest wellness. The courses and activities include expanded chapel services and Bible studies, social interactions, health (including addiction recovery), vocational training, and educational advancement. We seek to provide our guests with the tools and framework needed to permanently re-integrate into a healthy community.

  • 2020

    We are delighted to announce that on July 6th, we will be officially continue to implement the new 2020 vision to the public and welcoming our first new guests through our new “Rescue Shelter” and transformational programming model.

    The significant change will be the new “Path Off the Streets” for our unhoused neighbors. This path begins with access to a 14- day stay in our low barrier Rescue Shelter. The shelter can be accessed at our west campus gate at 2nd and Chambers Street via a 9 a.m. check-in (or lottery) time. The Rescue Shelter stay will be capped at 14 days. A Rescue Shelter guest will have the opportunity for continued shelter and services if the guest seeks admission to our transformational programming.

    The next step of a guest’s stay involves transition from the Rescue Shelter to the 21-day Pre-Program in either our Men’s Center or our Women’s Center which will be sober and secure. (Please note there will be a separate check-in procedure and programs for Mothers with Children that can be accessed at the Eugene Mission Women & Children’s Center.)

    There is a path for anyone who is willing to work on themselves and who is safe to be a part of our community here at the Eugene Mission.  Our Revitalization Programs are welcoming and provide a personalized plan based on the individual’s goals and social, vocational, mental, and physical health challenges. The individualized plans will support our guests in addressing barriers.