Ellis, a 42-year veteran of the Eugene Police Department, began using his own money to buy sleeping bags, clothing and blankets for homeless people in 2008.He has since recruited co-workers to help him with the yearly project, which has grown steadily each autumn.The effort ramped up a notch last year when Eugene residents Don and Anne DeZarn contributed $2,500 — a significant chunk of the grand total of $6,100 in cash that was raised and subsequently used by Ellis to purchase items that provided winter warmth to people who lack housing.The DeZarns are being even more generous this year, having pledged to donate up to $3,500 in matching funds to the project.Don DeZarn owns Pacific Headwear, a company that operates out of Eugene’s west university neighborhood. Ellis has worked out of the police department’s west university substation for the past 13 years.Ellis said the neighborhood has a number of “permanent-resident homeless people” — some of whom occasionally cause trouble for area residents and business owners.Don DeZarn “has developed the philosophy I have,” Ellis said. “We try to look past the (negative) behavior and see the overall need.”Cash donations have begun to trickle in, much of it from police officers and employees of other city departments.
Police collect winter clothing for homeless | With the arrival of wet, cool weather, the annual effort