Eugene Police Chief Talks Downtown Safety

Sep 9, 2018

Credit Rachael McDonald / KLCC

Eugene’s Police Chief says residents and business owners need to find the courage to reclaim the downtown.

Chris Skinner says safety in that area has been a recurring topic in conversations he’s had with locals. And many have told him they avoid it altogether. But Skinner says community members need to be willing to step in and be present. 

“We’re not going to change the face of downtown until we are a little bit courageous and stepping forward and saying you know what, I’m going to take the turf back. I take my kids and my wife and we go downtown because I am going to lead by example and lead from the front and say I am not going to abandon downtown,” says Skinner.

Chief Skinner says while the E-P-D plays a role a big role, it takes the entire community to help improve the feelings of safety in the downtown area and he stresses the partnership between the Police Department, the City, and residents.

“We are absolutely a part of the solution and we want to be. But we also want to do this as a community and in partnership with you and part of what you bring to the table is that partnership.”

Skinner made his remarks Friday at the City Club of Eugene.

The E-P-D plans to submit a proposal to the City Council this month that outlines a strategy to increase resources and meet the needs of all Eugene residents. Skinner says the resources don't just include additional officers. He stresses "if you want me to do my job better and you want our police officers to stay focused on what they should be focusing on which is life safety and serious critical events in your commuinity, and trust me there's plenty of them, I need shelter space and I need low-barrier space." Additional details on the specifics of the upcoming proposal were not discussed.

You can hear his complete remarks at the City Club of Eugene below.