ODOT places boulders at I-105 off-ramp to keep campers away

ODOT is planning to place more boulders on the northbound side of Coburg Road in the spring.

Posted: Dec 3, 2021 7:16 PM
Updated: Dec 4, 2021 11:27 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Transportation has placed multiple piles of boulders in the spaces between southbound Coburg Road and the Interstate 105 off-ramp.

"The area under the I-105 off-ramp onto Coburg Road has been used for some time by campers off and on," ODOT spokesperson Angela Beers Seydel said.

According to ODOT, the boulders are to prevent people from camping in the area. They said their main goal is to keep people safe.

"We find that people cross the road inappropriately, and that's a concern to drivers," Beers Seydel said. "We find that people are blocking the sidewalks and that's a concern to cyclists and people walking through."

People who have been camping under the bridge said they are frustrated.

"They don't want us here, obviously," said Steven Carey, who told KEZI he's lived under the bridge on and off for years now.

Carey said he's been working at a store nearby to try to make ends meet.

"We're being herded or pushed off into somebody else's neighborhood," Carey said. "It's not a good thing."

The boulders will be a permanent addition to the area, Beers Seydel said. ODOT is planning to place more boulders on the northbound side of Coburg Road in the spring.

The project is expected to cost about $45,000 in total.

"To put that in perspective, each time we go out there and do a property restoration after people have been camping there, it costs $5,000 to $10,000," Beers Seydel said.

Other community members said that money could be spent creating more affordable housing options.

"Instead of encouraging people to spend so much money on hostile architecture, let's take that money and spend it on places where people can legally stay and be safe and secure," said Steve Kimes, a member of Stop The Sweeps.

Kimes said there are many projects involving hostile architecture throughout the state.

"The question that houseless people have the whole time is where do they go? And this is the answer that nobody is really offering," Kimes said.

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