Boise & Garden City

Memorial planned Sunday for homeless man found dead in Boise’s Julia Davis Park

CORRECTION: This report originally misspelled Perry Woodard’s name.

Members of the Boise/Ada County Homeless Coalition will host a public community remembrance gathering for Perry Woodard at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Bloch Cancer Survivor Plaza in the east end of Julia Davis Park.

Organizers say this will be a chance for those who knew Woodard to honor him and reflect on the issue of homelessness in the Treasure Valley.

Acquaintances of Woodard, 48, said that he was partially blind and had spent time in Boise shelters and at Cooper Court, the temporary camp near Interfaith Sanctuary that the city closed in early December. Woodward was found dead near the banks of the Boise River in Julia Davis Park on Jan. 30.

Peg Richards, president of the coalition, issued a statement on Thursday: “Perry’s death is tragic and we would like to have the opportunity to honor his short life at this time. While it is possible that being at Cooper Court could have made a difference in his untimely death, we’ll never know the answer to that question. But, we do believe that if he would have been housed within a community on that day, there would have been different results. If in no other way in that he would not have died alone on a cold riverbank.”

JoJo Valdez, a friend who knew Woodard for a couple of months, said he was among the residents of Cooper Court, the former tent encampment near Interfaith Sanctuary in Boise.

The city dispersed that encampment in December, offering its residents a night at the Fort Boise Community Center and a chance to connect to resources there. “We can’t confirm whether or not he took advantage of the services the city offered or whether he was a resident at Cooper Court,” Mike Journee, spokesman for Boise Mayor David Bieter, said this week.