Lane County provides alternate camping location outside the downtown core

Lane County provides alternate camping location outside the downtown core
Posted on 10/27/2018

Lane County has identified a temporary, alternate location for campers currently located on the downtown Butterfly Lot property at 8th and Oak. The alternate location will be a healthier, safer location than the Butterfly Lot.


Growing concerns regarding health and safety, as well as concerns from community members who are unable to access critical public services located downtown and the growing impact on downtown property owners, made the move necessary.


“We share the concerns of our entire community and have been working to create a solution that addresses those concerns while recognizing the complex challenges of homelessness that are faced across our community and country,” said Lane County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky. “Our focus in Lane County is on identifying solutions, working collaboratively with our partners and acting deliberately.”


The recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court out of Boise, Idaho requires that public agencies provide immediate access to a non-faith-based, low barrier shelter before restricting sleeping access on public property; however, public agencies can provide an alternate location on public property and require individuals to move from the original location.


The temporary, alternate location will be provided with portable restrooms, trash removal service, fencing, and security. The temporary, alternate location is near the intersection of Highway 99 and Roosevelt Boulevard in west Eugene. The property is owned by the County and is near other services, including the St. Vincent de Paul Lindholm Center that serves three meals per day.


As Dusk to Dawn sites, operated by St. Vincent de Paul, open over the next month, the intent is to connect the individuals at the temporary, alternate location with those services that can better meet their needs.


Campers will be able to begin moving to the new location as early as this weekend. Several campers have expressed support for the temporary, alternate location and are collaborating on moving logistics.


Lane County fully recognizes the need for enhanced services and housing in our community and is actively working with our community partners to find and create solutions. The County and City of Eugene have partnered to study logistics and locations for a public shelter. In addition, Lane County currently funds a Dusk to Dawn car camping location at its Behavioral Health campus, an Egan Warming Center location at Lane Events Center and the Youth Services campus. Lane County is also working with Homes for Good to construct a 50-unit supportive housing complex near its Behavioral Health campus, and has offered $1.5 million in grants to support supportive, affordable housing projects across the community.


Low-barrier shelter options include Dusk to Dawn locations that serve more than 110 people nightly. The City of Eugene’s Car Camping program, run in partnership with St. Vincent de Paul, hosts 78 single and family spaces at 42 addresses. For single individuals and couples without children, Egan Warming Centers offer overnight shelter on nights when the temperature drops to 30 degrees or below. In 2016-17, the Egan Warming Centers activated 25 nights and served over 1,600 unique guests.