Crews to clear homeless camp on Eugene bike path

Residents are worried that clearing the camp won't stop the drug use in the area.

Posted: Jun 10, 2019 6:32 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- City crews in Eugene are getting ready to clean up a homeless camp on the Ruth Bascom bike path near Coburg Road, but cyclists are worried it won't stop the rampant drug use.

Crews with Eugene Public Works left notices outside the five campsites Monday morning, telling the campers they have 24 hours to leave. The camp is located under a bridge on the bike path near Coburg road and Marin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

City officials said they want to keep the bike path open and clear to the public but said there is nothing they can do about the other homeless people there who are not camping. One homeless man told KEZI 9 News he goes there to panhandle. 

Cyclist Robert Nickeson said he's frustrated with the number of homeless people and the drug use.

"I was coming into work this morning, riding down here and there was only about a foot and half of space to ride through everybody, and I saw three different people smoking out of crack pipes," Nickeson said.

Eugene police have had their eyes on this spot before. Previously they had one of their mobile security camera trailers there to watch the activities and interactions. A manager for a nearby local business who didn't want to go on camera told KEZI 9 News the camera helped with a lot of the issues, but once it was taken out the problems came back.

Lt. Doug Mozan with the Eugene Police Department said the design of the bridge makes it difficult for them to enforce some laws. He said the issues there point to their need for more funding and staffing.

Cyclist Robert Stalbow said clearing out the camp won't solve the underlying issues of homelessness.

"The people who are on the street -- they're doing this by default because they are addicted to one thing or another or they have mental issues, so we got to help them," Stalbow said. "It's not a kindness to leave them in this state."

The notice given to campers also included a list of resources they can use to improve their situation.

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