EUGENE, Ore. -- It was standing room only at the Eugene City Club meeting on Friday where the topic of the impacts of homelessness took center stage.
Bob Cerince, the homeless and supportive housing services supervisor for Lane County Health and Human Services, said the collapse of the timber industry and low taxes have decimated the social safety net.
During the meeting, Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner and others took part in a panel discussion to share what they're seeing. Skinner said they file 5,000 misdemeanor crimes a year, the second-highest in the state. He said homelessness is not a problem they can arrest their way out of.
"We need to find off-ramps for people that are homeless and give officers an option other than jail when it's appropriate," Skinner said.
County leaders said the Commons on MLK, a low barrier housing project that's in the works, is one important part of the solution.
That project is set to be completed in December 2020.