City Council to Decide on Homeless Camp

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EUGENE, Ore. — Campsites for the homeless are back on the agenda Monday for Eugene city councilors. The Eugene City Council faces the challenge of deciding where to put a permanent homeless camp.

One University of Oregon sorority is asking leaders to choose an area that’s not so close to campus.

The council has a number of options. One location is Hilyard and Broadway location, but the sorority Gamma Phi Beta just down the road hopes that is the last place council members choose.

The property manager for Gamma Phi Beta says since SLEEPS protesters moved in just down the street, they’ve also seen more activity.

“The situation has changed drastically. We’ve had theft from our back porches. We had people wandering on our lot,” said Jeannie Webb, Gamma Phi Beta Property Manager.

Webb says there’s been an influx of homeless people on their property, which scares the girls who live there.

“The girls are frightened often to go out to their cars at night,” Webb said.

She says they’ve put in a fence and they sent the city a letter asking councilors to not consider the Hilyard and Broadway site as a permanent option.

“Part of their criteria was they needed to own the lot and not have it be close to a neighborhood. Well, I argue that we are a neighborhood,” Webb said.

“While I’m sure that there is some concerns from some college students as with most of the people, being the mayor and the council that have concerns they haven’t come by here. They haven’t talked to us,” said Todd Hurlburt, SLEEPS member.

Hurlburt says while members do look for cans and other items in the garbage at night, he can’t be sure it’s SLEEP members on the Gamma Phi Beta property. He just wants councilors to come to any decision Monday night.

“They want us out of sight. That’s what they want. They want this issue swept under the rug, and they want it to go away. Why? Because it’s easier that way,” Hurlburt said.

“My hope at this meeting is that they will understand that we are a neighborhood. We’re a neighborhood of vulnerable girls. We hope they, they will decide this is not an appropriate site,” Hurlburt said.

At the meeting, the city manager is recommending two locations for the council to consider: Garfield Street and Roosevelt Boulevard and another at Northwest Expressway and Chambers Street. Those were out of a list of five plots of land owned by the city.

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