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Eugene clears homeless camp downtown

A large number of people had reportedly been living at the Washington-Jefferson Street Bridge camp.

Posted: Dec 2, 2020 1:26 PM
Updated: Dec 2, 2020 2:58 PM

EUGENE, Ore. – The City of Eugene cleared a homeless camp downtown on Wednesday.

Homeless campers had been given between 24 hours and 10 days to move their belongings from the Washington-Jefferson Street Bridge camp.

This comes months after the city decided to not move camps due to concerns of COVID-19.

City officials said a growing number of people had been setting up camps in the area since the summer months and cited health and safety issues as the reason for clearing the camp. They said garbage, human waste, rotting food, drug paraphernalia, violence and criminal behavior have been present at the camp.

Ethan Klein works with the Democratic Socialists of America and he has been helping Stop Death in the Streets move people. That organization said 120 people had been living in the camp and said moving them will be dangerous during the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended homeless people to stay in place.

However, city officials said there were about 25 camps and 40 people.

Parks and Open Space staff members handed out trash bags to campers on Friday to help them prepare for the move, and campers were provided with a handout about the cleanup on Monday, city officials said.

This is the second time the city placed a notice for the unhoused to move from Washington-Jefferson Street Bridge. Back in June of this year, the city cleared out a camp in the same spot.

City officials said Eugene’s parks will host four new rest stops by the end of December. They will be overseen by nonprofit Community Supported Shelters. Each site can hold up to 20 people. They will be located at the following sites:

  • Skinner City Farm (Washington Street and W. 1st Avenue, Ward 7)
  • Empire Pond (Highway 99 and Empire Park Drive, Ward 6)
  • Westmoreland Park (North side of 18th Avenue, Ward 1)
  • Parking Lot 9 off Leo Harris Parkway (Leo Harris Parkway and Walnut Drive, Ward 4)

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