EUGENE, Ore. -- Local business owners in downtown Eugene gathered at Elk Horn Brewery Thursday night to air their frustrations and discuss solutions to the spiraling crisis of homelessness and crime.
The meeting started at 5:30 p.m. and lasted for about two hours. Around 40 business owners packed the downstairs area of Elk Horn, which itself was vandalized within the last two weeks.
Chief of Police Chris Skinner and a representative from the Eugene Chamber of Commerce spoke at Thursday's event. Both organizations said they are working on solutions without breaking the law.
Christopher Garibay, a 7-Eleven clerk at Patterson and East Broadway, says he’s frustrated because it scares away customers.
“We get customers that get uncomfortable with the homeless people coming in and out not because they're homeless but because of the behavior they display,” Garibay said.
The business owners unveiled a new group called “Eugene Wake Up.” This is similar to a neighborhood watch with business owners looking out for one another. The overall consensus tonight was business owners are in this together and are fighting for change as one unit.
“The most promising thing I heard being able to come out for the city council meetings and being able to show up and present your opinion and your life and what you do on a day-to-day basis” Garibay said.