EUGENE, Ore. — Occupy Eugene members occupied the old city hall building all weekend and right up to Monday morning.
One protester even spent 36 hours behind the fence now surrounding city hall. Protesters scaled the side of the building and jumped over the fence.
Both they and officers agree it ended peacefully, but activists say they’re not done spreading their message about homelessness.
As many as a dozen officers surrounded the old city hall building Monday morning after arresting Gwendolyn Iris Sunday night for criminal trespass, putting an end to a peaceful protest that began Saturday afternoon.
“I personally plan on staying here until they come and remove me. I’m here to make a point,” Iris said.
“We made the decision to allow her to do that. We had an understanding that come Monday morning she would be on her way out,” said Sgt. Larry Crompton, Eugene Police Downtown Team.
Members of Occupy and other activists also rallied Saturday to raise awareness about homelessness and to criticize the city of Eugene for what they say has been slow progress on solutions for the homeless.
“They got this $70,000 fence up pretty quickly. I find it sad they haven’t followed through on their promises,” Iris said.
Protesters also put up a memorial with flowers and the names of those who died on the streets of Eugene in the last year.
“This time we’re hoping the city leaves that memorial,” Iris said.
Officers say they weren’t focused on the memorial. Their attention was on the protestors themselves.
“We had three inside and more outside. We had a tent, lots of trash,” Crompton said.
Iris and others say though the protest ended peacefully, it also ended unfairly.
“It seemed like they had waited until the activists went home to rest to move in on the homeless people who had set up to sit here with us and protest,” Iris said.
“It just, it started to grow, and the last thing we wanted to happen was for this thing to fester and become out of control,” Crompton said.
Although this protest is over, Iris and others say their efforts to spread their message are not.
“Just because I’m on this side of the fence doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop talking about it. I’m gonna keep trying to raise awareness and fight for what’s right,” Iris said.
The city could not get us the exact expense of the fence Monday, but they can say the memorial is allowed to stay.