Lane County considering curfew on downtown Eugene homeless camp site

Lane County considering curfew on downtown Eugene homeless camp site

Lane County eyes curfew on downtown homeless camp site

Lane County may implement an overnight curfew on its so-called “butterfly lot” in downtown Eugene, a site where dozens of homeless campers have recently set up tents at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Oak Street.

County commissioners are set Tuesday to discuss a proposed ordinance that would forbid occupancy of the county-owned parking lot and surrounding property between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. The curfew would also affect neighboring county-owned property such as the Lane County Public Service Building, according to a draft of the ordinance attached to commissioners Tuesday meeting agendas.

County considers curfew for the Butterfly Lot in downtown Eugene

The county has already implemented a curfew on the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza outside the Public Service Building. But the new ordinance would apply to “the only piece of public property in the immediate downtown Eugene area that did not have a curfew prohibiting occupation from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.,” according to county documents.

Homeless campers began setting up at the butterfly lot in early October, after camping on other public property in downtown Eugene to protest the citys enforcement of its outdoor camping ban. The lot is immediately west of the county courthouse and north of the downtown park blocks.

The protest followed a federal appeals court ruling that said city ordinances criminalizing homeless people for sleeping or camping on sidewalks and in public parks when they have nowhere else to go violates the U.S. Constitution.

The city of Eugene maintains its outdoor camping ban isn’t affected by the ruling largely because it fines rather than jails violators.

But Lane County officials worry that enforcement action by the city to remove the camp would violate the appeals court ruling, since there is no indoor shelter to direct campers to.

The county has also encouraged the downtown campers to relocate to a county-owned property near Highway 99 and Roosevelt Boulevard in west Eugene, which offers portable restrooms, trash removal service, fencing, security and access to meals and other services.

Lane County commissioners wont vote on the ordinance Tuesday, county spokeswoman Devon Ashbridge said. A second reading and public hearing on the ordinance is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 27.

EUGENE, Ore. — In reaction to the homeless camp controversy in downtown Eugene, Lane County Commissioners could soon pass a curfew for the “Butterfly Lot.” Theyre considering what theyre calling an emergency ordinance.

The proposed ordinance declares an emergency and gives the board of commissioners “its police power for the purpose of meeting such an emergency, and for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety.”

According to the proposal, this curfew would match the one already adopted by the board of commissioners for the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza.

County commissioners are discussing the Butterfly Lots potential curfew at their meeting Tuesday at 9 a.m.


Posted in Eugene