During the winter of 2008-2009, Major Thomas Egan, a homeless veteran, froze to death
in Eugene. The event energized the Eugene/Springfield community to found the Egan
Warming Center, a program that provides shelter to homeless people during the coldest
months of the year.
There had been talk of creating a similar program in Cottage Grove, and some individuals
had even done a great deal of preliminary work to try to make this happen, but the
founding of the Eugene warming center gave the final impetus to creating a Cottage
Grove winter warming center.
A broad coalition of community social service agencies, church leaders, government
officials, and public-minded individuals came together in October of 2009 to begin
the process of establishing such a project, which was christened Beds for Freezing
Thanks to the concerted efforts of this coalition, as well as generous donations
of facilities, bedding materials, volunteer time, and financial support from numerous
community sources, an initial site for the warming center was secured. More than
three dozen volunteers participated in a full day of training in preparation for
its opening debut in mid-December 2009.
However, the weather that reached the activation temperature of 28 degrees Fahrenheit
for opening the center had occurred earlier in the season. While the warming center
was not needed for the balance of the winter, the coalition's planning efforts paved
the way for the group to gear up for the winter of 2010.