EUGENE, Ore. – An Occupy Eugene activist pleaded guilty to criminal trespassing after chaining herself to a fence around city hall for two days in November.
Gwen Iris says she’s satisfied with the verdict Wednesday morning. She’d rather plead guilty so she can get back to what’s truly important to her, keeping the occupy movement alive.
When Iris chained herself to a fence around city hall, two days was all she needed to make her voice heard.
“It was basically the fence that made me decide that was how I was going to call attention to the issue,” Iris said.
She says the city needs to find a solution to the homeless problem in Eugene, but it wasn’t following through on commitments to help.
“That really enraged me that they would make promises and then work actively against the homeless by putting that money somewhere else. To me it seemed like a huge waste,” Iris said.
Iris says she originally pleaded not guilty to the civil disobedience charge filed against her, but the city offered a deal she couldn’t refuse.
“I’d considered fighting it; but when they offered the violation, I figured it was better for me to take the violation because I could do more good being able to get back out on the street and call attention to the issues I did this for in the first place,” Iris said.
“We’re happy that the guilty plea worked out because the trial could’ve ended with a very high fine and 30 days in jail. So we’re proud and this is a good outcome,” said Brad Litchfield, City of Eugene Assistant City Prosecutor.
Litchfield says it’s unfortunate this happened, but the law is the law.
“I understand they felt they had a message they wanted to say it’s unfortunate that they did that in a way that violated the law, they were polite and cooperative and worked well with the police officers but the city is going to have to enforce the laws of the community,” Litchfield said.