Official Declares Tent Camp in Plaza a Public Health Risk

Aug 30, 2013

The tent camp at The Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza in Eugene has been declared a "public health risk" by Lane County's Public Health Officer. The Board of Commissioners has called an emergency meeting for next Wednesday to consider closing the plaza.

Members of the group SLEEPS have been camped in the plaza for two weeks protesting the lack of safe places for homeless people to sleep in Eugene. A municipal judge recently ruled in favor of protestors in two cases involving camping in the plaza last winter. County Spokeswoman Anne Marie Levis says the board wants to make sure this is a public process.

"One of the comments by the judge in the recent case was the policies were more on an internal basis than an external basis which is the reason why we want to change the code, look at our Lane Manual, make everything in alignment with the city of Eugene" says Levis.

Lane County Public Health Officer Dr. Patrick Luedke toured the plaza Thursday and declared the tent camp a public health risk. There have been reports of poop in the nearby park blocks. Levis says there have also been issues around public safety and staff access to the Lane County Building. The Emergency Board meeting is next Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Copyright 2013 KLCC