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Man calls for more security at Camp 99 after getting into fight

The Eugene Police Department said three people were charged in connection to the fight, which started after Larry Bowser of F.M. Jones & Sons confronted campers who had a tent outside of the camp's fenced area.

Posted: Dec. 5, 2018 6:03 PM
Updated: Dec. 5, 2018 6:05 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- An employee at a business near Camp 99 is calling for more security after he got into a fight with campers on Tuesday.

The Eugene Police Department said three people were charged in connection with the fight, which started after Larry Bowser of F.M. Jones & Sons confronted campers who had a tent outside of the camp's fenced area.

Police said Bowser and others were hit with a cane. Bowser's phone was also destroyed after being thrown on a roof and put into a porta potty.

"I couldn't believe what was happening. I was kind of stunned," Bowser said. "No one has come at me that aggressive before."

Dayna Lucus, who lives at Camp 99, said the camp does have some bad apples, and it's not an easy place to live

"That's why most of the time I stay in my tent because I have severe PTSD from being abused and anxiety issues," Lucus said.

RELATED: Lane County considering permanent shelter on Highway 99

Since mid-November, police said first responders have been called out to Camp 99 on 40 occasions but not all of those calls were crime related.

Lane County spokeswoman Devon Ashbridge said they have a security guard who watches over the camp at night and don't plan to extend their hours. She said the incident speaks to the need for a more structured and accountable program.

MORE Pedestrian crossing under construction near Highway 99 camp

Just down the road from Camp 99 is a dusk to dawn shelter run by St. Vincent de Paul. Officials hope to turn Camp 99 into something similar in early January. Pete Kerns of St. Vincent de Paul said a place with more structure will stop some of those problems.

"They're behavior-based programs, which is to say people need to behave in a certain way in order to remain there," Kerns said.

Officials don't know precisely when in early January St. Vincent de Paul will take over Camp 99, but county leaders hope it's a smooth transition.

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