Butterfly Lot closed peacefully and without citations or arrests

Butterfly Lot closed peacefully and without citations or arrests
Posted on 11/15/2018

Yesterday, based on several reported health and safety concerns, Lane County had no other option than to declare the Butterfly Lot property in downtown Eugene closed and limit access to the property in order to clean and remediate the soil and infrastructure on the property. We were able, with the assistance of the Eugene Police Department, to encourage all trespassers to voluntarily relocate - most to Camp 99 - and there were no arrests.

As people returned to the Butterfly Lot this week, reports of public urination and defecation, threats of violence, and a fire that resulted in injury continued to increase. When it comes to access to public property, the laws in our community apply to everyone; it is important that those laws are enforced in a responsible manner.

As we shared in October, illegal camping has repeatedly occurred on the Lane County-owned Butterfly Lot.  In response, Lane County opened a low-barrier camp in the 500 block of Highway 99 on vacant County-owned property to accommodate the emergency needs of the campers. Camp 99 has portable toilets, handwashing stations, trash receptacles and security services on site and is located across the street from the Lindholm Service Center, which provides meals, showers and laundry services.

 
Last weekend, new tents were erected on the Butterfly Lot. Lane County and City of Eugene officials worked with the campers over several days to encourage them to access services that meet their needs.
 
Lane County asked for the assistance of the Eugene Police Department to gain voluntary compliance and ensure that the trespassers were aware of all available social services, their locations and contact information. Our collective intent was that everyone was treated with respect and dignity throughout this process.
 
Spaces were available at Camp 99 and the nearby Dusk to Dawn location for those who chose to leave the closed property. Lane County provided assistance moving belongings and bus passes for those who chose to relocate to Camp 99 or Dusk to Dawn.
 
Lane County respects and supports every person’s constitutional rights. The Free Speech Plaza, outside of Harris Hall, has been established as a location for lawful protest and is available to any person for protest between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
 
Our interest and focus continues to be to connect people at Camp 99 with services that assist the unhoused. Connecting people to housing opportunities can happen best at established sites like Camp 99, Dusk to Dawn, and the Lindholm Center.
 
The City and County invest millions of dollars every year in emergency shelters and services, transitional housing, and longer-term supportive and affordable housing options.
Please see the attached document for a more comprehensive list of the programs and services supported by Lane County and the City of Eugene to address homelessness.