Council Says No

How did Councilperson, Emily Semple, vote? She and Alley Valkyrie are artists and are aware of how the homeless compete with artists and the arts. They want $200,000 dollars to fund Camp 99 till April. This money could go to struggling artists.

The same Dirty Game that Belle Burch dragged me into, continues. This is racketeering! Some of the homeless want to be professional beggars, and there is no one to beg from on Highway 99. I stayed at the Royal Avenue Shelter on 99 when I was homeless in 96. I did everything they asked of me. Sheltercare got me in a quad.

“During a brief visit Monday, Eugene City Councilor Emily Semple, whose ward includes downtown, said it didn’t surprise her that people were again congregating on the butterfly lot.

“They don’t want to live out there,” she said of the Highway 99 site.

Semple had been a major supporter of the former City Hall location, but the city nixed that option as it decided to join forces with Lane County and invest in an alternative site, located about a quarter-mile north of the intersection of Highway 99 and Roosevelt Boulevard. City officials have said the Highway 99 site allows more homeless people to have a secure place to sleep for a longer period of time.”

I suggest a Highway 99 Homeless Cleaning Brigade, should be given brooms and clean up  the highway for a two miles stretch. They can work out there, and start paying back the Taxpayers.

Here is their latest champion. I’m sure he’d love to get in my face, and expose me for the sake of Alley Valkyrie who is living the good life in Gay Paree’. I might give him the opportunity, just to prove how rabid these leaders are. I suggest Eric try a new tactic, and get Valkyrie to remove her fake abuser report. A apology to go with, might help the homeless. I had every right to write about Belle Burch, because this is the never ending merry-go-round without a solution.

John Presco

Eugene Homeless Voice of Eric Jackson

SUPPORT ME! I need help tonight at 7PM at the Court House in Harris Hall. Last City Council meeting before their winter break. My goal is to keep the 99 camp open “as is” under my management. Possibly under the Nightingale Hosted Shelters 501(C)3 as oversight.

EUGENE, Ore. – The Eugene City Council voted down a Lane County proposal to transform Camp 99 into an approved Dawn to Dusk campsite.

The Council defeated the proposal 6-1, with Councilor Claire Syrett casting the lone “Yes.” Councilor Greg Evans was not present.

The County had proposed transitioning the camp – originally set up as a place for protest campers on the Butterfly Lot downtown to go as a curfew took effect there – to a Dawn to Dusk camp, similar to the one across the highway at the Lindholm Service Center.

In a Dawn to Dusk camp, campers have to leave from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and then return to camp overnight.

“Dusk to Dawn has worked for some people. It’s very efficient, it’s space efficient, it’s financially efficient,” Councilor Jennifer Yeh said. “It doesn’t work for all folks though.”

The mayor, who does not vote except to break a tie, weighed in.

“When we talk about reducing suffering in our midst we are talking here about something that is healthy and safe for people – even if it’s not their preferred strategy,” Mayor Lucy Vinis said. “We are talking about a winter strategy sheltering strategy–it’s temporary.”

The County proposed the move to a Dawn to Dusk site as the first step toward establishing a shelter on the public property.

“Lane County continues to believe that a more structured and accountable program is critical for the health and safety of unhoused individuals and the broader community,” County spokesperson Devon Ashbridge said. “We feel that the Dusk to Dawn model is the most appropriate and proven program within our community to achieve that structure and accountability; however, in light of the Eugene City Council’s decision today, we will be discussing the opportunity to lease the Camp 99 location to the City of Eugene with the Board of Commissioners on December 18. A lease would allow the City of Eugene to operate the Camp 99 location under a model that it believes will best meet the needs of unhoused individuals within the City of Eugene.”

But City Councilors balked at the costs to the city for this program, pegged at $166,000 from now to April to cover the winter season; with one-time infrastructure costs of $58,000.

The Council majority wants the County and City to get together and see how to improve the daily management at the camp in its current 24-7 mode.

“Then we’ll go back and we’ll work with our county partners and figure out what is the right transition strategy,” Assistant City Manager Kristie Hammitt said.

Council Mike Clark said he had heard that many campers at Camp 99 do not support Dusk to Dawn and would simply pick up and move back downtown to set up another protest camp situation like the one at the Butterfly Lot. 

Last week, the Eugene City Council canceled plans to create a temporary homeless day center and dusk-to-dawn site downtown. That site was set to take up a portion of the vacant City Hall lot.

The council voted instead to partner with Lane County and support its new shelter site off Highway 99, while pursuing other options for a day center in the downtown core — though there is no set timeline for that plan.

Eugene City Councilor Emily Semple was particularly torn on the decision.

“I’m very conflicted about it,” Semple said at the Oct. 31 City Council work session. “I’d like to partner. I’d like to get more things going out there at 99. It will serve more people. However, not everybody from downtown is going to the 99 site.”

Semple argued that many of the homeless people who live downtown want to remain there, so supporting the Highway 99 shelter would not move the homeless population away from downtown.

“I want to support both,” she said. “I cannot give up a downtown center somewhere near the core.”

Semple moved to support the county’s Highway 99 site, but also to look into piloting a downtown day center. Her motion passed unanimously with five councilors present; Councilors Mike Clark and Betty Taylor were absent.

The city will be spending an unknown portion of its budget to support that county-owned site in this partnership, most likely from the $8.6 million “bridge fund,” which is committed to increasing community safety, in its upcoming December supplemental budget.

The decision came swiftly. It took a little more than a week after announcing the downtown site on Oct. 22 for the city to cancel it.

No construction had begun before the cancellation.

On Oct. 27, the county announced its new temporary homeless site near Highway 99 and Roosevelt Boulevard. The majority of the butterfly lot protest campers, and other homeless people, moved to that site over that weekend — there were only a few campers remaining near the Lane County Courthouse after that weekend move.

The city was still planning to create its own temporary site in addition to the county’s new site.  Then, a few days later, City Manager Jon Ruiz emailed the council that he had been approached by the county to discuss a partnership.

“Yesterday, the County Administrator approached Kristie [Hammitt, the assistant city manager] and me to discuss how the County and City can work together to pool our resources to increase services at the site on Highway 99,” Ruiz writes in a 6:30 pm Tuesday, Oct. 30 email to the mayor and city council. “Redirecting our efforts to Highway 99 would be in lieu of continuing the development of a dusk to dawn and day center on the city hall site.”

The City Council already had a work session planned for Wednesday, Oct. 31, but amended its agenda the morning of that meeting in order to discuss this city-county partnership and cancellation of its own downtown plans.

“We amended the agenda on Wednesday morning based on the manager’s conversation the day before about the alternative site at Highway 99. He had emailed the council at about 6:30 pm on Tuesday night,” Mayor Lucy Vinis tells Eugene Weekly.

Semple tells EW the council felt significant pressure from the Chamber of Commerce and downtown business to reconsider a downtown shelter site.

Merchants started complaining when news of the City Hall site started circulating, Semple says. “I don’t think that’s why Jon [Ruiz] and the city accepted; on the other hand, I don’t think it was in a vacuum.”

With this partnership between the city and county, the Highway 99 site will now be “semi-permanent,” remaining operational until a permanent site is found, Ruiz said in the City Council work session.

As of Oct. 30, the site was already at capacity with “about 100 people there in 70 spaces,” Lane County Public Information Officer Devon Ashbridge says.

All of this news comes as the Lane County Board of Commissioners may subject the county-owned downtown butterfly lot to an 11 pm to 6 am curfew, according to the commissioners’ meeting agenda. The butterfly lot was home to a protest camp of unhoused people after a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision on a case in Boise, Idaho, ruled it was unconstitutional to criminalize homeless people for sleeping in public when there is no other place for them to sleep.

It’s unclear whether the Ninth Circuit Court decision would affect the curfew. Ashbridge says the ordinance will be discussed more in-depth at the Nov. 27 Board of Commissioners meeting. — Meerah Powell

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.