Saturday, March 12, 2011

Eugene City Council Reviewing Homeless Camping | KEZI

Eugene City Council Reviewing Homeless Camping | KEZI: "EUGENE, Ore. -- The number of homeless people in Eugene keeps rising and with it, so does the waiting list for an available camping spot.

That's why the community services manager will ask the city council for more camping spaces.

A mix of the economy and limited affordable housing has forced more residents to live in campers at places like Alton Baker Park. Homeless advocates say there's not enough camping permits to keep up with demand, a waiting list that has recently ballooned to 60.

After months of moving and parking his motor home on a daily basis, Richard Haskell can finally enjoy 90 days in one spot; the allocated time period for homeless camping. 'It's a great thing they got going. They should expand it if anything,' said Haskell.

Expansion is exactly what Community Service Manager Richie Weinman is hoping for when he goes before the city council Wednesday.

Right now, 20 camping spots are scattered throughout town, but only three campers are allowed in each lot. 'The best thing we can do is get more of those legal spaces because they take more pressure off of the street,' said Weinman. Weinman says taking pressure off the streets results in a safer community, especially for people like Haskell and John Peach who had to prove they were law-abiding citizens, before earning permits."

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