EUGENE, Ore. — While the Eugene Celebration takes place downtown, homeless rights advocates are staying put.
Protesters with SLEEPS have set up tents in the downtown area. Demonstrators say that some of the campers were previously staying in the wetlands on the outskirts of town, but moved here when they were forced out. The group says it wants police to stop ticketing people who sleep in public.
This isn’t the only issue that has popped up downtown. The city’s facilities manager says the city had to close down a lawn across from the Free Speech Plaza due to several piles of human feces. The city hasn’t said there’s any connection between the mess and the nearby SLEEPS protesters. Demonstrator Angela Barstow says that there are several public restrooms in the area that the campers can use.
“We are making sure that people don’t have that far to walk,” says Barstow.
On Friday, Lane County issued a statement that says, “Lane County government is fully watching the SLEEPS protest as they are on county land inside the City of Eugene. We are concerned about the safety and security of all our citizens.”
The county also said that the board’s work is conducted in public and that this is scheduled for the next meeting.
KEZI asked the protesters if they plan on leaving this weekend because of the Saturday Market and the Eugene Celebration, and they said no. However, they also say their goal is not to interfere with people’s leisure time.