dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog

Quips, queries, and querulous quibbles from the quirky mind of Don Kahle

dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog random header image

Celebrate and Remember Annette Montero

September 27th, 2019 by dk

Annette Montero died a month ago yesterday. Her red sleeping bag had holes in it, spewing a trail of feathers wherever she went. Unable to get to her usual place, she slept in a downtown alley, near a Dumpster.

Annette Montero’s life ended when a garbage hauler was making his pre-dawn rounds. Even if he saw the ragged red sleeping bag on the pavement, why would he have guessed there might be a body inside it? Nobody should be sleeping in an alley beside a garbage container. We all agree about that.

Annette Montero was not having a good day when most people last saw her. She resisted attempts to put her feather-spewing bag inside another bag. She wouldn’t let her bicycle out of her sight. She cut in line at the Sunday Interfaith Breakfast, but others let it slide. We’ve all had bad days before.

Annette Montero’s day got worse. Her bicycle was probably stolen, just as she had feared. When a downtown guide told her she had to move along, she asked about renting a parking space for the night. If cars could stay safely overnight, why couldn’t she? There’s a haunting logic to what might have been her last request.

Annette Montero’s last meal was not the breakfast she ate alone in the basement at First Christian Church. She was visited later by a volunteer for Eugene’s Burrito Brigade. They feed the homeless every weekend, delivering burritos under bridges, on the riverbank, and in alleys.

Annette Montero danced with the volunteer who had brought her a burrito, captured on a nearby surveillance camera. It’s good to know there were at least those moments of impromptu joy in her final hours.

Annette Montero died from homelessness, although that’s not what’s officially recorded. Lane County doesn’t keep records of how many people die from living outside in harsh conditions. Or waiting too long to seek medical help. Or being unable to defend themselves while sleeping.

Annette Montero became a statistic one month ago, but she never stopped being a person. Her family will gather today at noon for a memorial service at First Christian Church, which was undoubtedly the last roof she saw over her head. You’re invited to join her brother and sister and daughter today to say good-bye, but also thank-you.

Annette Montero’s name must stay with us, so that each person sleeping without shelter in Eugene is never reduced to a statistic, an abstraction, a societal problem. Thomas Egan froze to death on December 18, 2008 and Eugene responded, “Never again.” Thomas Egan Warming Centers have been active on cold nights ever since.

Sunday Interfaith Breakfast has been serving a hot morning meal to the homeless every week since 2012. As they feed 300 people, volunteers learn their guests’ names, their stories, their individual histories. Those histories must be joined with ours now. We can say “Never again” by adding to the breakfast’s title the beautiful name of Annette Montero.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at Details for Annette Montero’s memorial service can be found at

Tags: No Comments

Leave A Comment

Are you human? *

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.