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.