Eugene City Council votes against panhandling ordinance

The ordinance mirrored the one passed by Springfield City Council in 2016, aiming at preventing drivers from passing items to panhandlers unless their vehicle is legally parked.

Posted: Apr 15, 2019 11:02 PM
Updated: Apr 16, 2019 9:47 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Eugene City Council voted to not pass a panhandling ordinance during Monday night's city council meeting.

In a 6-2 vote, councilors voted down the ordinance, with some calling it unconstitutional.

City councilors said when the ordinance was first brought up for consideration, it was presented as a public safety issue.

RELATED: COMMUNITY WEIGHS IN ON PROPOSED PANHANDLING LAW

Now, after having time to think about the ordinance and a public hearing, councilors have decided that a panhandling ordinance would not be right for Eugene.

READ ON: EUGENE CITY COUNCIL HOLDS PUBLIC HEARINGS ON EXCISE TAX, PANHANDLING

Not only did they bring up that it could be considered unconstitutional, but Councilor Claire Syrett also said it isn't a solution to the real problems the city and the homeless are facing right now.

"I don't believe it is a good use of our public resources to have our public safety officers enforcing this kind of ordinance," Syrett said. "We have much larger issues for them to be dealing with."

Councilors Betty Taylor and Mike Clark voted in favor of the ordinance, with Taylor saying she does believe it is a public safety issue.

During their discussion, some city councilor members did say they would be open to hearing more options in the future that would address things like possible donation boxes and even driver education to help not only panhandlers but the people looking to give to those panhandlers as well.

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