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More Eugene Police Assigned To Downtown Area

Brian Bull

Eugene Police have stepped up their presence in the downtown, particularly in the Park Blocks area.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.  

Chief Pete Kerns says recently, there have been increasing examples of intimidating and criminal activity.  When police made a drug arrest in the Park Blocks October 21st, a large mob formed and taunted the officers. 

Credit Brian Bull
EPD Chief Pete Kerns.

“What that revealed to us is that the criminal conduct in the park had become more entrenched over the summer," says Kerns.  "And the park was no longer welcoming to everybody.  And the goal for our downtown has been to make it safe for everyone.”

One woman in Park Blocks – who refused to give her name or be recorded – says she fears more police will scare homeless people away from the area, robbing them of community.

Cy Aleman, a U of O alum and Vice President of Pioneer Investments, does a lot of business downtown.  He says he sympathizes with those who might be intimidated by more police.

“But in general, I think that’s probably a small population, and with some of the more dangerous drug use and overall vulgar comments, it’s probably a really good thing to have some police down there to clean it up.” 

Credit Brian Bull
Eugene Police officers at ParkBlocks earlier today.

Eugene authorities have not said just how long the increased police presence will continue. 

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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