EUGENE, Ore. — Some residents are sharing their frustrations about the idea that local homeless may be moving into their neighborhood park.
The city is currently working to find a way to provide the homeless safe spaces to sleep overnight. During that process, a list of potential spots is being considered, including parks.
Folks living near Ferndale Park said while they believe the city’s heart is in the right place, their park isn’t the right space.
Right now, the sign is clear about no overnight camping, but that could change soon based on the city’s work to help its homeless population.
Eugene City Councilor Claire Syrett said, “We were approached by the advocates for homeless around the issue of homeless sleeping in the parks and being ticketed and arrested.”
Those advocates argued it was a human rights issue and demanded the city do something. So, the city is, but some say it is at their expense.
“It just kind of felt like the air got sucked out of our lungs. We have some grave concerns about the safety and environmental impact this would have on our park,” said resident Olga Martin.
Residents near Ferndale Park are worried that their personal investments to develop these lands are at risk. City representatives said the opposition is a bit premature, because nothing will be decided anytime soon and some of the concerns may be more perceived than real.
“Some of the concerns are fears founded in the idea of who the homeless are and I don’t know that that’s always the case,” said Syrett.
And while most of those living nearby are against the idea, there were a few who said this was a good thing that needed to be done.
“Homeless people need a safe place to live. I think this is a safe neighborhood and it’s a good place for homeless children. They could play and there are trees. It’s a wonderful spot,” said resident Barbara Rose.
Though everyone couldn’t agree on whether this was the right spot, they all felt the topic needed a whole lot more discussion before any action is taken.
City Council will be discussing the matter at its meeting on Wednesday. While they won’t be able to provide comment, members of the Ferndale Park neighborhood plan on being there to listen in and show their support against the camping of their park.