EUGENE, Ore. — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has just barely begun the clean-up and restoration process at the west Eugene wetlands, but neighbors still had a lot to say about what has been going on in their own backyard. While the wetlands are now completely clear of illegal campsites, neighbors said they still had some lingering concerns.
“With the construction we’ve got going, we’re fine with that, because that’s actually pleasant noise. What we’ve been used to in the evening is a lot of yelling, screaming and arguing with the transients that lived around here, as well as, threats upon myself and my children just for being outside,” said resident Erin Wood.
And neighbors said the threats didn’t leave with the campers.
“A couple of weeks ago actually, they were told they had to move and one of them happened to cross me on the street and said it was our fault they were leaving and that we would suffer the repercussions. And since then, we’ve had four or five fires, so it leads me to believe that that’s the repercussions that we’re having to suffer,” said resident Jordan Humbert.
Everyone we spoke with said they felt for those with no place to call home, but these wetlands were not a place to be lived in and they hope the clean-up is just the beginning of a solution to a bigger problem.
“There are some really nice people out here, but there are some really bad people. I have a really good friend who’s homeless that comes by all the time, for years he’s come by and he says, ‘Thomas, don’t go down over there,’” said resident Thomas Drew.
Resident Jim Walpole said, “It brings to light the importance of having a safe place for the homeless to stay…Our authorities need to find a place and as citizens we need to support that.”
The BLM said that there has been four fires within the last month. Of those four, two were linked with illegal campsites. It is still waiting to hear about the cause of the fire just off Highway 126, as well as, the fire on Stewart Road on Thursday.