Eugene City Council Unanimously Moves to Modify Camping Laws

This afternoon, the Eugene City Council moved unanimously to propose a temporary ordinance allowing homeless camping on vacant city property that is not developed parkland for a trial period of four months. The ordinance has yet to be crafted, and will be subject to a public hearing, but this move by the City Council today is the most progressive step that the City of Eugene has taken regarding the camping laws since they were first enacted in 1983.

This move comes after nearly two years’ work on the part of homeless activists in Eugene, who have been consistently arguing in favor of changing the camping laws at nearly every Council meeting since the fall of 2011. The camping ordinances have been the subject of controversy since they were enacted, and numerous groups of activists have attempted to persuade Council to change the laws since the mid 1980’s.

More information from the Eugene Register-Guard can be found here:

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Eight Arrested for Sleeping in Eugene, Fined $100 Each

On the night of April 4th, fourteen people were camped in a group on public property underneath an overpass near the Ferry Street Bridge. Police woke them up around 1:15 am on April 5th and arrested eight people, four men and four women ranging in age from 18 to 37 years old. Six others were not arrested and deliberately left behind to “clean up the mess” and take care of the dogs that belonged to those who were arrested. Those who were left behind were told by another officer that they would be arrested the following night if they remained at the location.

The eight who were arrested were originally cited for criminal trespass, a misdemeanor and a jailable offense, and they were all held in the Lane County Jail overnight. Early the next morning, the city prosecutor decided to drop the criminal trespass charges and instead charge them with prohibited camping, which is a violation and not an arrestable offense.… Read the rest

Pick flowers, go to jail…

An older (presumably) homeless woman came up to me in Kesey Square yesterday afternoon and told me that she was arrested for criminal trespass the day before for picking flowers in the alley behind Oak Street and spent five hours in jail.

EPD logs show someone arrested for criminal trespass at 1000 Oak Street the day before at 5:35 pm. Lane County Jail logs show that a 53 year old woman was booked and released for criminal trespass by EPD. I can’t prove that she was picking flowers when she was picked up, but other than that her story checks out, and after talking to her extensively, I believe her story. The property she was on is owned by the City of Eugene.

Five hours in jail for picking flowers. The city is scrambling to cover a 6.9 million dollar budget hole but we’re throwing homeless people in jail for picking flowers on City-owned property?… Read the rest