Business owners & residents concerned about illegal camping

"A number of companies down here are dealing with gas siphoning, people trying to get into businesses...I have had to hire night security," said Valdez.

Posted: Nov. 8, 2017 10:04 AM
Updated: Nov. 8, 2017 10:13 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- People living and working in west Eugene said illegal camping is increasing crime in the area. They also said the campers are leaving behind a ton of garbage.

Near the corner of Commerce Street and W. 13th Avenue, you'll see carts and piles of trash the fields.

Robert Valdez owns a business off on W. 13th Avenue. He said the trash was left behind by people illegally camping overnight.

Valdez said right now, the roadway is a lot cleaner than usual. He said, typically, several RV's and trucks park there and camp overnight.

According to city code, camping in public right-of-ways, parks and other publicly-owned property is illegal.

Valdez said Eugene Police came by and enforced that code about two weeks ago, but said it won't be long until the street is lined with RV's once again.

He said it's increased criminal activity in the area.

"A number of companies down here are dealing with gas siphoning, people trying to get into businesses...I have had to hire night security," said Valdez.

He said this has been an issue for the eight years he's had his business there and added that it's escalated in the last year.

Susan Germyn lives in west Eugene and drives down W. 13th Ave. several times a day. She tells KEZI that the criminal activity and garbage are a big safety concerns, saying there are multiple businesses in the area as well as children.

Valdez said his main concern is with the illegal activity.

"The drug activity is high. There's been a lot of needles all over the place," said Valdez.

Mayor Lucy Vinis tells KEZI she came to see that area with Eugene Police Officers just last month.

She said people who are homeless can sleep in their vehicles in legally sanctioned sites, and said the city needs more of them. 

Valdez said he isn't upset they're in the area, saying he always helps those down on their luck when he can.

He also believes the streets need to be safe for everyone who uses them.

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