ODOT not moving homeless camps during pandemic

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, they are not moving camps unless they present a significant health or safety risk.

Posted: Jul 9, 2020 8:08 AM
Updated: Jul 9, 2020 10:54 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Transportation is aware of a homeless camp at River Road and Beltline Highway, but it will not be moving the camp. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, ODOT is not moving camps unless a camp presents a significant health or safety risk.

In a statement ODOT said: "Moving encampments causes people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers, increasing the potential for infectious disease spread. ODOT continues to communicate with our community partner service providers during this time." 

If trash accumulates, ODOT crews will clean it up, but without moving the camp. 

If people feel threatened by campers they should call law enforcement, ODOT said. 

Read ODOT's full statement below:

"During this time of COVID-19 public health emergency and in accordance with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), illegal camps are not being moved by ODOT unless they present a significant risk to the health or safety of the public, or the individuals camping. Moving encampments causes people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers, increasing the potential for infectious disease spread. ODOT continues to communicate with our community partner service providers during this time. If camps must be moved, we are following our normal procedures of posting notice before cleaning the area. In camp areas with large amounts of trash, our crews may continue to collect trash even if camps are not displaced. As we move in to fire season, ODOT will be closely monitoring and likely cleaning more camps to ensure unintentional fires are not started.

"The approach described above does not mean camping is allowed. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, camping along any state highway is not safe, often causes environmental hazards, and represents health and safety risks. We encourage people to understand these hazards and find alternate locations to camp.

"If people feel threatened or believe that illegal activities are occurring, we encourage them to report this behavior to law enforcement.

"We continue to monitor the situation, and in coordination with local health authorities and CDC guidance we will adjust our current practices as necessary. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during this challenging time." 

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