EUGENE, Ore. — The city of Eugene will start clearing out the homeless camp at the corner of Broadway and Hilyard starting Tuesday, but campers say they want more time. Those who’ve been camping at the site said they’re not happy with the way the city’s eliminating their camp. But, the city of Eugene said the site is no longer open for public use.
These campers come from all different backgrounds. “I’ve lived in places, I’ve lived on the streets, I’ve been in places, I’ve been on the streets. I’ve been back and forth in and out of the city, state,” said Michael Sandlin, Whoville camper.
“I’m the youngest of everyone, I’m sixteen,” said Alexis Edmundson, Whoville camper.
Regardless of where they came from, the group said it’s formed an unlikely bond since setting up camp at the site they call Whoville. “Pretty much all they’ve had and for some for a very long time. A sense of belongingness and security, just some basic security that they’re losing,” said Jennifer Frenzer, Whoville supporter.
Now the 50 or so campers are getting ready to relocate, but they don’t know where they’ll go. The city of Eugene said it’ll soon open a third homeless rest stop on Leo Harris Parkway near the Science Factor and Autzen Stadium. But campers said that’s just enough.
“We don’t have room for 35 to 40 more people. We only have 15 approved,” said Michael Sandlin, Whoville camper.
So Whoville campers and homeless advocates gathered at Free Speech plaza Monday to send a message to the City Manager’s Office.
“The scenario has changed. Though anticipation of having some sort of process and it to be a little more methodical and to be helping people locate a place and being able to move to a place is not the process that’s being used now,” said Frenzer.
Whoville said once the city begins clearing out campers Tuesday, there’s no plan for where they’ll go.
“There’s other people that need to go besides back in the streets, in the corners, in the trespasses. They don’t want to be out there,” said Sandlin.
No one from the city of Eugene was immediately available to comment on the issue, but the city issued a statement saying these campers can go to the Eugene Mission or the expanded St. Vincent DePaul car camping program.