EUGENE, Ore. — A dozen homeless camping supporters are facing hefty fines after receiving citations during a protest Tuesday night.
The city of Eugene says there are no new plans in place right now for clearing the campsite at the corner of Broadway and Hilyard.
But last week the city announced the clearing of the site would start April 1, which is causing some backlash from Whoville supporters.
Alley Valkyrie is just one of the demonstrators cited and released during a protest at City Manager Jon Ruiz’ office Tuesday evening.
“Criminal trespass 2–it’s a $280 fine and/or up to 30 days in jail. And you know we all understood that and will accept the consequences and will deal with that,” Valkyrie said.
The group of around 40 people went into the city manager’s office demanding a face-to-face discussion with the city manager. When told he wasn’t available, they decided to stage a protest, something city officials were not expecting.
“We did not have the understanding that you know their interest was to stay until they had a face-to-face visit,” said Joe Zaludek, City of Eugene Deputy Chief.
The protesters’ attempt to getting a meeting with Ruiz was unsuccessful, but they’re still hopeful there will be progress before the campers are moved from Broadway and Hilyard.
“They’ve been there for seven months. Ten more days is not going to hurt anybody. And I mean, this is ridiculous when you look at how far we’ve come and how close we are to a solution to evict all these people on the streets. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever,” Valkyrie said.
The city says it is working with these Whoville campers to find a new place for them to go.
“Interest is still a peaceful transition from that site to the rest stops,” Zaludek said.
Aside from the 15 places at the next rest stop, the city says the Eugene Mission has vacancies, but Whoville supporters say the just want the city council involved in the decision-making process.
“Why can’t you just at least wait so they can weigh in. Don’t do this now. You’re going to be throwing vulnerable people on the streets,” Valkyrie said.
A group of Whoville supporters will meet with Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy to discuss the future of the site this Friday.