The panel was made up of local business owners who work near the square and local mental health professionals. All four men brought up different points about the area in the heart of downtown Eugene, but talks mostly surrounded homelessness.
The city has heard many complaints about open drug use, vulgar language and aggressive panhandling. The panel offered their ideas about how to make it better.
“Without some sort of wet housing to let people get some shelter so that’s one less worry, one less daily survival worry they have, I don’t believe we’re going to be able to move forward with really addressing any of these issues downtown,” said Ben Brubaker, White Bird Clinic.
Brubaker says most Eugene homeless shelters only cater to the clean and sober, which keeps a lot of homeless people on the streets.
Other speakers brought up the need to reach out more to homeless youth.