Eugene to consider ban on traditional panhandling

The proposal mirrors an ordinance passed in Springfield in 2016.

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 9:31 AM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 7:24 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Eugene City Council voted 6-2 Monday to move forward with a public hearing on a proposal to ban traditional panhandling in the city.

If approved, the proposal would mirror an ordinance passed by Springfield in 2016. That ordinance prohibits a motorist from handing anything to a pedestrian from a vehicle that is on a roadway. A motorist can give money, food or other items to panhandlers if they park their car or walk to the person.

Councilor Mike Clark introduced the motion to proceed to a public hearing on the matter. Councilors Alan Zelenka and Claire Syrett voted against the motion.

“I move to direct the city manager to prepare an ordinance that mirrors Springfield Municipal Code Section 6.112 -- unlawful transfer on vehicular portion of the right of way -- and schedule a public hearing,” Clark said.

Community members said they see both sides of the issue.

"Good, bad, that's hard to say," Eugene resident Robert Jubber said. "This is such a big issue, and it's beyond just panhandling, but I think it's a start, a start to a conversation that needs to happen anyway."

Jubber said sometimes people are just in a hard spot and are doing what they can to make ends meet. However, on the other hand, he said in some cases it is better to give money directly to services that can better assist people. 

On another matter, the city council also voted to schedule a public hearing on a construction housing tax to create funding for affordable housing. The vote on that motion was also 6-2, with councilors Betty Taylor and Mike Clark voting against it.

The dates of the public hearings have not been set.

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