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As Downtown Encampment Grows, Homeless Advocate Says City's Accommodation Plan Isn't Enough

Tiffany Eckert

For several weeks, passersby at Eighth Avenue and Oak Street-- outside the so-called “Butterfly” lot in Eugene-- have seen a homeless encampment expand. As the city solidifies plans to create a temporary homeless shelter downtown, some doubt that will be enough. KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert reports.

This urban encampment has a self-proclaimed organizer. 52-year old Eric Jackson has lived on the streets of Eugene for the past eight months. Jackson doubts the planned shelter on the vacant City Hall lot will even make a dent in the current downtown homeless population. 

Credit Tiffany Eckert / KLCC
Eric Jackson in downtown Eugene.

“Their formula is 38, and I’m looking around right here, right now at a hundred,” Jackson tells KLCC. “And another 75 probably, coming through the day. Sleeping.”

Jackson has been a vocal critic of the way Eugene treats the homeless. He sleeps in a tiny trailer covered by a tarp and says regardless of the city’s plans, this camp will remain.

“If there’s 38 more people that want to stay warm in a warm place that the city provides on the corner of that property,” he says.

“Then ‘Amen’ to that because that’s 38 less people that might die in the rain and the cold.”

(ECKERT: Do you expect that most of the people that are here are going to go over there?)

“I don’t expect anybody over here to go over there.”

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and worked in a variety of media including television, technical writing, photography and daily print news before moving to the Pacific Northwest.
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