Sunday, September 22 Through Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Waterloo County Park is located between Lebanon and Sweet Home Oregon on US-20. Our first overnight stay in the park was in my father’s motorhome for one night in the summer during the late 1990’s. At that time, the campground and facilities were new. The park was full with campers.
Since then, we often drove through the park whenever we visited the area. It had always looked nice, especially in the summer months. Then in the 2010’s methamphetamine, heroin and prescription opiates become widespread enough that the character of the community began to change. Reviewers began to notice a homeless problem in the park. These reports seemed to taper off around 2017.
The physical plant of the park, the roads, bathrooms, electrical service, water and so on are still in good condition.
The trails have been improved and added to.
The trees are taller and even more beautiful.
The South Santiam Rivier flowing past the park is still lovely.
How reservations and available sites are managed and communicated has been improved. The park map can be found here.
The boat ramp has been improved and seems more serviceable than in the past.
The quiet morning fog makes the park feel personal.
On the way into the park from US-20, campers pass over railroad tracks. While the track is active, few trains pass through. The trains aren’t loud enough to be disturbing.
The park does have areas for improvement. Bathrooms and showers were not cleaned well or regularly. They need at least two park hosts. One of the park hosts left while were were there and no replacement showed up.
Mobile phone service was serviceable on AT&T and Verizon for making phone calls. Data service was not reliable. The iPad could get AT&T data most of the time. The Verizon mobile hotspot was reliable but not terribly fast.
Over-The-Air (OTA) television was limited to PBS channels. We watched DVDs in the evening.
Below the surface, there are some problems. Whiskey bottle in the shower. The park host having to run off two men who weren’t campers trying to use the showers. Those two men needed more than a shower. They were thin and gaunt the same way that speed addicts get.
During our stay, I came up with four candidate homeless campsites. Maybe it was the tarps pulled over the trailer roofs. Or that all the tires were removed. Maybe the junk scattered about the site. Or the worrisome traffic in and out at all hours of the day and night. Dirty clothes, unwashed bodies.
Then, to my surprise, the day before we left, my homeless candidates all packed up and left the park. Not what I expected them to do.
Sometimes, the lens through which the world is viewed clouds judgement. Sometimes.
Lebanon does have a good but pricey laundromat. Spin City Laundromat. Broken washers and dryers were being repaired while we were there.
The above was taken before the repair team showed up.
The Point Restaurant In Sweet Home Oregon
On our last full day, we ate lunch at The Point on US-20 near Foster Dam. We’ve eaten there before and the food was good as usual.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!