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Whoville Camp Causes Concern

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EUGENE, Ore. — With the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza now closed for cleaning, homeless protesters are on the move again.

People at the camp out on Chambers Street say they prepared themselves Wednesday night for folks from downtown to come their way. As of Wednesday night, at least eight tents from that group settled in there.

While the folks of Whoville gladly welcomed them, businesses nearby weren’t as happy about the situation.

“We started having people come in yesterday. We sent two more expansion camps out, anticipating the extra people to come in and we’re full here again today,” said Tim Man, Whoville spokesman.

Whoville at Chambers Street and Northwest Expressway brought in at least eight new campers to their group, which didn’t go unnoticed by its neighbors.

“It started Tuesday because there were just a couple of tents last week, and now we have a lot of tents,” said Stephanie Gilbertson, Money Saver Officer Manager.

Gilbertson has worked at the Money Saver nearby for more than 20 years. And while she admits it’s not in the best neighborhood, the recent encampment hasn’t helped her situation.

“Every morning when camp wakes up, they’re moving about to find resources. They’re taking water from businesses that they’re not asking. They’re turning on hoses and filling gallons and gallons and jugs of water. And who’s going to pay for that? The companies are,” Gilbertson said.

The money lost is just one concern.

“I have a sign on my door this morning that says for security reasons, customers please knock….and it’s just drama. I’m not getting any walk in customers because people are afraid,” Gilbertson said.

Gilbertson says she really feels for the homeless, but she’s unsure now from what she’s witnessed over the last few days. Her new neighbors say they hope she’ll give them a chance.

“If they could come down here and if it’s somebody from this camp, we’ll make sure that that problem will be taken care of. No one should feel intimidated or threatened anywhere,” Tin Man said.

This isn’t the only place people have moved to. While we have been told there are at least two or three other areas, the only spot disclosed to us is the old federal building in downtown Eugene on 7th and Pearl, which they’ve actually been kicked out of before. But about 30 people are camping there as of Wednesday night.

While they don’t have a permit, they say Homeland Security told them they were fine right now. KEZI 9 News also put in a call to Homeland Security as well and are still waiting to hear back about how long they will be able to stay there.

2 comments

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  1. Kay says:

    So let me get this straight. The only real issues are the lack of water on-site and the fact that people fear the homeless. The first one is real solvable and the second one is a matter of prejudice and ignorance. What a biased article. Give me a break.

  2. Leonard Bruce says:

    Dear Nha Nguyen I was disappointed that you missed the obvious and genuine REAL STORY yesterday when you stayed on the other side of the street from the protest, and your anchor similarly made it a point to avoid eloquent supporters of free speech and advocates of the downtrodden, the actual STORIES, as well. If you refer to yourselves as reporters or journalists you should feel some moral obligation to #1) defend free speech, and #2) cover stories not exclusively from the perspective of your status quo preserving corporate paymasters. Yesterday, there was a hardworking homeless man with missing legs present who was one of many tireless activists who were sweeping up the already clean and well maintained Free Speech Plaza, which any conscientious newsperson would have seen as the frontpage news-worthy story, contradicting the tedious controlled-media narrative that constantly reinforces bigoted stereotypes of houseless folks as being lazy and unkempt. Another news worthy story overlooked was the unaffiliated libertarian opponent of S.L.E.E.P.S., who was ALSO arrested for civil disobedience, while defending all of Eugene’s citizens right to protest. This was a brave and heroic man who posts online as MIKEWRITES, who made a stand for everyone. Perhaps you are a rugged individualist tea partier or libertarian who doesn’t support the tactics or message of S.L.E.E.P.S. at all, you might give thought to this individual’s courageous statement and sacrifice, because one day, you may want YOUR voice, your cause, to be heard. If we don’t believe in free speech for those we disagree with, we don’t believe in free speech, at all. I would like to see more attention paid to the human beings, and less on the slander of the homeless and exaggerated fear mongering about health concerns.

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