EUGENE, Ore. — SLEEPS protesters have been evicted from three different campsites in the past week. First at the Wayne More Free Speech Plaza, the Lane County Fairgrounds and the corner of Chambers Road and River Road.
“It started out with a couple tents and blossomed. I think there were 30 tents here the other night or so,” said SLEEPS protester Bethany Clement.
It was at the campsite on the corner of Chambers Street and River Road where protester Peter Grotticelli was issued a citation for illegal camping.
“I’m supposed to appear in court about that later in the month. I’ll be taking it to the Supreme Court,” said Grotticelli.
He’s not the only one facing a citation, so are a handful of other protesters who have set up camp in one of three sites. “They can move us around, but we’re not going away and we’re not anything to fear either. You know we’re keeping it clean, and we invite you to come join us. This is a public space for all. And the more people that come and get involved, the higher evolved these things will get,” said Grotticelli.
Campers said they’ll continue setting up multiple smaller camps around town. “As we’ve said before, the one campsite here we’re breaking it into four,” said a protester who identifies himself as Tin Man.
Lane County said there are more than 1,700 homeless people in the county. In the county’s budget there’s more than $8 million set aside for services for at-risk and homeless families.
SLEEPS protesters said when you look at the people congregating in the streets, it’s obvious to see it’s still not enough. “People are looking for a place to feel safe. This isn’t a bunch of lazy homeless people that just camp out. It’s about people feeling safe, and people are coming together,” said Clement.