More Eugene Police Assigned To Downtown Area

Oct 31, 2016

Eugene Police have stepped up their presence in the downtown, particularly in the Park Blocks area.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.  

Eugene Police officers at Park Blocks.
Credit Brian Bull

Chief Pete Kerns says recently, there have been increasing examples of intimidating and criminal activity.  When police made a drug arrest in the Park Blocks October 21st, a large mob formed and taunted the officers. 

EPD Chief Pete Kerns.
Credit Brian Bull

“What that revealed to us is that the criminal conduct in the park had become more entrenched over the summer," says Kerns.  "And the park was no longer welcoming to everybody.  And the goal for our downtown has been to make it safe for everyone.”

One woman in Park Blocks – who refused to give her name or be recorded – says she fears more police will scare homeless people away from the area, robbing them of community.

Cy Aleman, a U of O alum and Vice President of Pioneer Investments, does a lot of business downtown.  He says he sympathizes with those who might be intimidated by more police.

“But in general, I think that’s probably a small population, and with some of the more dangerous drug use and overall vulgar comments, it’s probably a really good thing to have some police down there to clean it up.” 

Eugene Police officers at ParkBlocks earlier today.
Credit Brian Bull

Eugene authorities have not said just how long the increased police presence will continue.