EUGENE, Ore. – City counselors are expected to vote Wednesday on a contentious ordinance related to homeless camping.
Mayor Lucy Vinis said she expected the vote to come during a work session Wednesday afternoon.
The work session comes two days after a public hearing where councilors received so much feedback that they pushed off the decision to Wednesday.
The ordinance would create more safe and lawful places for people to sleep. “Safe parking” and “safe tent sites” would be established temporarily where people would have options to legally park their vehicles or sleep in tents.
The goal is to transition current campers to legal spaces that are managed and monitored for health and safety concerns. Under this ordinance, sites would be immediately established and would remain in effect until May 1, 2023.The idea is to move people from city property like parks to those designated areas.
During a three-hour hearing on Monday, opinions were mixed. Most of the comments were about the proposed city ordinance with many voicing their support or denouncing the policy. Those who opposed the measure said it's inhumane for the city to move people during the pandemic. Those who supported the measure said it's time for the city to take action and clean up the parks.
Many said the homeless problem has gotten out of hand and is affecting operations of businesses and negatively impacting neighborhoods that are nearby some of the largest camps.
“We're trying to protect those businesses from some of the impacts of having a lot of people car camping in their midst and at the same time we are trying really not to unfairly criminalize people who have no other place to go. And it's an art form,” said Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis.
Vinis said she expects the council will vote on the ordinance Wednesday during a work session at 12 p.m.