Pam Whyte and Ron Saylor are not Eugene natives but their lives have been woven into the fabric of the Whiteaker neighborhood in which they make their home.
Both took roundabout roads to Eugene. Ron arrived in 1966 from California. His parents pushed him toward the University of Oregon, hoping to “rescue him” from Berkeley. Despite their efforts, he was drawn into the politics of the era, eventually earning a master’s degree in political science—though “with a paintbrush in my hand,” he explains, referring to the trade that paid his bills and led to the launch of Saylor Painting Company.
Ohio native Pam started school at the University of South Florida, but arrived in Eugene in 1975 on a one-year student exchange program. She decided to stick with the U of O, somehow convincing the registrar’s office she was eligible for in-state tuition. She earned a marketing degree but was not interested in marketing, so pursued a career in accounting. The move paid off; today she’s a partner in the firm of Emge & Whyte.
Pam and Ron connected with each other in 1979. By this time, Ron had purchased a small house, which they still own, in the Whiteaker neighborhood. They also own other properties in the area and Saylor Painting is headquartered just a three-block walk from their home. To say that they enjoy living in Whiteaker is an understatement. When you hear them talk about the river and the parks and the restaurants and the breweries, you realize just how much they love their neighborhood.
Pam and Ron also love and care about their neighbors, and that includes members of the community who are homeless—which is why donating money to ShelterCare is so logical for them.
“We are interested in supporting a vibrant, vital, and healthy community,” Pam explained. “We are also interested in fighting homelessness and giving people the tools they need to get off the streets.”
Proving their commitment to the community, Pam and Ron have been loyal ShelterCare donors for many years, supporting various seasonal appeals, the “I ShelterCare about Homelessness” campaign, and the capital campaign that financed ShelterCare’s new Whiteaker-based Center for Programs and Services.
Pam and Ron wholeheartedly agree that their participation in the capital campaign was as much an investment in the neighborhood as it was in ShelterCare. In part, they were happy to welcome a new neighbor that transformed an old warehouse into an attractive and valuable community resource. But they also stressed that ShelterCare needed this new building to “make the agency whole” and help sustain its important work of housing Eugene’s homeless.
“It feels good knowing that there is a place where people can go for help, to meet their basic needs, and end the cycle of homelessness,” Ron explained.