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Politics & Government

Whoville Homeless Camp Must Close

homeless
Tiffany Eckert
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In a work session today (Wednesday) the Eugene City Council voted to shut down the homeless camp known as Whoville. The motion includes opening an alternate location in West Eugene.

Eugene City Manager John Ruiz moved that Whoville, currently located at Broadway and Hilyard, be closed by no later than April 1st. Ruiz also recommended authorizing a second "rest stop" at the Northwest Expressway location.

"Rest stops, although helpful, are for the most part band aids for a few. Therefore I would encourage council to consider the motion and then redirect our energies to other strategies that have the hope of permanence in transitioning people to wellness."

After about 45 minutes of deliberation, the council voted 5 to 2 to accept the city manager's recommendations. Councilors George Brown and Betty Taylor voted no. Jean Stacey is with the Whoville coalition. She was disappointed with the decision.

"The fact is they have no place to go. Even if we put 15 out there (Northwest Expressway) and five at the Mission, we've got 22 people that are unaccounted for and they're the people with the most severe problems."

Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy restated her support for more permanent housing opportunities in Lane County. She said Eugene could and should do more to help the homeless.