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Homeless Advocates Call On Mayor To Declare Housing Emergency

Rachael McDonald

Homeless advocates are calling on Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy to use her executive power to declare a housing emergency so a homeless camp can remain. The group held a press conference Thursday at Whoville.

A group of between 30 and 40 people have established a camp at East Broadway and Hilyard in Eugene that they call Whoville. They've been there since September. Last week the city declared the publicly owned lot closed and put up "no trespassing" signs. The Reverend Dan Bryant says he thinks the city decided to close the camp because they're embarrassed by this visible symbol of poverty.

Bryant: "We should be embarrassed. I too want to close this camp. I want to close it by offering better services. I want to close it by providing people a safe and legal place to sleep."

Advocates say Whoville is the only place that these people have to go and they've created a community here that keeps them safe. The city says it will help residents find other places but there are not enough shelter beds or temporary housing for the more than 1 thousand homeless people in Eugene.

(Scotty Perey sings)

Credit Rachael McDonald
Scotty Perey sings a song at a press conference at Whoville Thursday.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. 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.
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