EUGENE, Ore. — Both the city of Eugene and Lane County said they’ve found human feces on and around the site where homeless advocates are protesting in downtown Eugene. The group called SLEEPS said this isn’t true.
The group of SLEEPS protesters outside of city hall continues to grow each day and Lane County administrators said so is a sanitation problem. “We’re concerned about the public safety and concerned about any sanitation and want to be sure that public square can be used by everyone,” said Anne Marie Levis, Lane County spokesperson.
SLEEPS said keeping the campsite clean is its number one priority. “We like to keep things sanitary, so soap and bleach are huge, dog poop bags, we’re trying to maintain the cleanliness of the plaza and we do try to take our dogs off site for the bathroom,” said Angie Bartow, SLEEPS protester.
The City of Eugene said on Friday it found nine situations of human feces in the grass across the road and responded by putting up a fence around the area to discourage people from using it as a restroom. “There was human waste found across the street, so that was documented by the city of Eugene. It was not animal waste,” said Levis. SLEEPS protesters said this is untrue. “It was very much dog feces. There’s a very distinct difference. They don’t even smell the same, they don’t look the same. It was dog feces and you’re gonna find that anywhere if you’re walking down the street people walk their dogs,” said Bartow.
SLEEPS protesters said they believe the county is using this finding as an excuse to push the campers out of the Free Speech Plaza. Lane County said it’s not making the link between the feces findings and the protesters, but they’re still concerned about the discovery. “That causes a huge public safety and public health risk for the community and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen. That’s why there’s lots of public restrooms downtown, but obviously the public restrooms aren’t meant for this amount of camping,” said Levis.