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City of Eugene offers alternative sleep site as it clears campers from park

Rachael McDonald
Staff from St. Vincent de Paul were at the camp at Washington-Jefferson Park Tuesday to give residents information on the new Safe Sleep site.

The City of Eugene has begun the process of clearing campers out of Washington-Jefferson Park and to a new designated Safe Sleep location.

Some of the people camped at the park have been there for many months. One person who didn’t want to be recorded said he’d been at the park for about a year. He wants to move to the new Safe Sleep site while he seeks permanent housing. The site, operated by St Vincent de Paul, will provide tents, heaters, sleeping bags and storage in a large warehouse at 410 Garfield Street. Kelly McIver is with the city’s unhoused response.

“We just want to be moving people over there as soon as we possibly can,” he said. “Obviously, it’s cold. It’s still in the middle of winter. We want to be getting people out of the park and into a safe, warm, dry facility.”

Rachael McDonald
People have been camping at Eugene's Washington-Jefferson Park for many months.

McIver acknowledged it will take time for people to make the transition.

“But we also know from experience that it takes some time for people to kind of go through their camp spaces, especially when they’ve had them as long as some of the people here have and get things ready and kind of prepare themselves to move," he said. "So, we’re ready to go today, but we’ll be ready and able to help people move over the next couple of weeks as well.”

courtesy of St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County
The new Safe Sleep site is at 410 Garfield St. in Eugene.

The Safe Sleep site has 86 tent spaces. It can’t accommodate pets, so people with companion animals are being offered spots at Everyone Village.

McIver said there are other safety and health issues with the camp at Washington-Jefferson. The park will be closed March 19th for cleanup and refurbishment.

Copyright 2022 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.
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