Eugene Council Extends Sunset Date On Overnight Camping Pilot

Feb 24, 2014

The Eugene City Council voted Monday night to extend the pilot rest stop program, designed to provide the city’s homeless with temporary shelter on city-owned property.

Advocates say Eugene does not have enough shelter beds to meet needs of homeless community.
Credit Desmond O'Boyle

Last September, the City Council passed an ordinance allowing overnight camping on certain city properties, with the so-called rest stops to be managed by social service groups.  The ordinance was designed to sunset at the end of March so the effectiveness could be evaluated.  But the first rest stop, located in the Trainsong Neighborhood, didn’t open until December.  Many argued three months wasn’t enough time to get an accurate evaluation.    

In response, the Council voted to extend the program until October 1st with Mayor Kitty Piercy saying she wanted the city to do more.

Piercy: “Rest stops aren’t the answer.  They’re just what we’re doing to deal with a situation, to give people a little bit of safety in the midst of a very difficult situation.  But I think we can do better.  And we should do better.  And that’s what we’re going to aim for.”

A second rest stop has been approved for the corner of River Road and Northwest Expressway, but is not expected to open until mid-March.  A small cluster of tents appeared on the site last week.