Mixed reactions to new curfew on Eugene's Butterfly Lot

Lane County Commissioners hope the new curfew will make for a safer and healthier downtown area.

Posted: Nov 27, 2018 7:12 PM
Updated: Nov 27, 2018 7:17 PM

EUGENE, Ore. – Lane County Commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday that will not allow people on the Butterfly Lot in downtown Eugene from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m.

This curfew follows weeks of homeless campers moving from the Highway 99 Camp back to the Butterfly Lot and then were removed again.

Lane County Commissioners hope the new curfew will make for a safer and healthier downtown area. They said the 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew is the same as other public property in the area, like the Park Blocks and Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza. They want to make it clear the decision does not restrict any individuals' right to lawful protest.

KEZI spoke to Eugene resident who said he now feel more comfortable walking downtown and this will hopefully improve the homeless crisis facing the city.

"I think if they do impose a curfew, I think it could get rid of a drug and alcohol problem that surrounds the homeless in these downtown areas,” Mark Demos said. “It's sort of inevitable that that's what goes on."

While dozens of downtown businesses recently wrote a letter supporting the curfew, some people are against it, saying it's trying to cover up the homeless issues plaguing the city.

"They keep passing laws to target homeless population in the downtown area,” Micael Thomas said. “I'm not really sure what the deal is because it's just pushing the problem to everywhere else."

There are currently fences around parts of the Butterfly Lot. Lane County officials said they plan on having the fences up until they're finished cleaning up human waste and other health concerns.

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