EUGENE, Ore. -- Crews have started to clean up the mess left behind from a homeless camp -- as a recent study finds homelessness is on the rise in Lane County.
The camp was located in a field behind some apartment complexes near Autzen Stadium and next to Interstate 105 and was close to 40 acres.
Crews from Eugene Parks and Open Space, along with nine people ordered to do community service as part of a Lane County Sheriff's Office work crew, cleaned up the mess Wednesday after police told the campers to move along.
Officials said it took more than three dumpster loads to clear away all the stuff that was left behind.
Alex Gee lives at the nearby Duck Village Apartments and said there has been a persistent homeless issue since he moved in over a year ago.
"This area wasn't as safe ... it wasn't as clean as it should be," Gee said.
The Lane County Human Services Division recently released the results of their point-in-time count conducted at the start of 2018.
According to that report, there were over 1,600 homeless people in Lane County. That's an increase compared to the previous three years, but less than in 2012 and 2013.
Of those 1,600, just over 500 people were in shelters or transitional housing.
"Having it so close to my apartment really hits home," Gee said. "I'm housed up in a nice apartment going to school, have a car, these people don't have very much."
Officials have not yet released the results of the 2019 point-in-time count.
Lane County offers a number of services to its homeless population, including dusk to dawn camping sites operated by St. Vincent de Paul.
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